1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

masonry heater parts

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by byQ, May 25, 2013.

  1. byQ

    byQ Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2013
    Messages:
    202
    Loc:
    Idaho
    Can one of these things be built relatively inexpensively, say for $2000? Hmmm.....

    Well I think I've got most of the parts for 2 masonry heaters (I've expanded to 2 heaters, now),
    * 2 doors--(Medium sized)------------------------------$325
    * 4 clean-out covers-(2 for each heater)--------------
    * 2 grates---------------(1 for each heater)------------- these 3 things for $300
    * 2 air vents------------(" " " ")-----------------------------
    * 345 new superduty firebrick (9"x6"x2.75-3")-------$400
    * 4 pickup loads common brick(old school, torn)---$50
    * Cover/flag stone 2 truck loads (5/8"-1" thick)------$150
    * 2 bags refractory cement-(for caps & lintels)------$50
    * 2 buckets of Sairset-(dipping firebricks in)---------$140
    * Masonry heater Association plans-------------------$85
    * I still need 20 bags type N cement (get later,
    I don't want it to harden while waiting, again!)-------$250
    * Piping for flue-(~25' x 2, with ~ half multi-walled--$600 (?)
    * Mortar stuff/stucco mesh-------------------------------$60 (?)
    * Cardboard--------------------------------------------------free
    * Ash Trays (4 bread pans)-------------------------------free

    I'm not counting gas. Looks like a total of $2410. I was hoping to make a heater for $1500/2000 or less. Since there are enough parts for 2 heaters, my material cost is $2410/2 = $1205 each. And there will be left overs (fire bricks, common bricks, & cover stone).

    How did the costs get trimmed?

    1) Doors - new doors, medium sized, both slightly irregular. There is an ~1/64" air space (~1" long) when doors are closed. Won't hurt functionality, but seller wouldn't sell for new price. Also one of these cast iron doors cracked from not protecting during return shipping. I found a specialist welder - $25 to weld (he says it will last). Original price of doors $700 each. My cost $150 each + $25 (I wasn't expecting any savings on doors - I was going to buy one small functional door for $400).

    2) 345 new super duty firebrick. Auction type of sale. I had to buy a large quantity (1.5 pallets). Also some of the bricks are angled 1/4" (that is the top is 3" and bottom 2.75"). The angle can be cancelled out in the core which is 2 bricks thick. Regular price $3500. My price $400.

    3) Four or five pickup loads of common brick from school being torn down. $50 or so.

    4) Beautiful cover/flag stone from rock quarry. These are like the soles in a loaf of bread. They are too small for covering house foundations (rejects) but a good size for a masonry heater. So $150 for two mini truck loads (way more than needed). Probably $700 if bigger or more.

    I'ld provide pictures but I'm not sure how to load them ("You can't load a picture yet you are going to build a masonry heater? - Good luck!").

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Messages:
    6,749
    Loc:
    Next to nuke plant Berwick, PA.
    Don't forget the footer your going to need to support that thing.
  3. byQ

    byQ Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2013
    Messages:
    202
    Loc:
    Idaho
    Hogwildz, good catch I forgot about this. I'm doing a 4" slab. The code dept said I need to go down 12" for the masonry heater and the hearth is about 6' x 6' x 1'= 36ftftft - 4" slab = 24ftftft more concrete with extra rebar for the masonry heater. There are probably some other hidden costs. I don't think super duty fire bricks can be cut with a normal brick cutting blade.
  4. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Messages:
    6,749
    Loc:
    Next to nuke plant Berwick, PA.
    So are you going 4" down, or 12" down? A diamond tip blade will make short work of those bricks.
  5. byQ

    byQ Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2013
    Messages:
    202
    Loc:
    Idaho

    The building inspector hasn't stamped my plans yet, but 12" down where the masonry heater is (the entire hearth). Originally I was going for an 8" depth - but was told 12". I'm going to try to build the small contraflow, 26-29" x 36-38" x 5' tall. No bake oven. 12" is overkill but they've never seen a masonry heater even a small one before so they are being cautious.
  6. downeast

    downeast Guest

    Looks like you got everything......impressed with your work ethic.

    Butt, have you ----

    Ever did the following:

    1. Visited homes 100% heated with a MH/RF used for at least 2 winters ? How did the owners/users like the heaters ?

    2. Watched a Masonry Fireplace under construction by pros ? It is an art, carefully, skillfully done.

    3. Studied the varieties of MH, and the pros and cons of the many designs ? Have you seen 'your' model in use ?

    4. Got enough fuel for the beast ?

    Best of luck.

    P.S. Yes, wood stoves are an old technology, yet now qualitatively different from earlier models even from the "wood stove renaissance" in the ancient 1970's. They're more efficient, cleaner burning, prettier, more reliable, ............cost effective. Check out Woodstock or Blaze King, or Jotul, or.............
  7. byQ

    byQ Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2013
    Messages:
    202
    Loc:
    Idaho
  8. downeast

    downeast Guest

    Learn by doing, observing, asking.
    Videos and the internet will give only superficial knowledge and theory. " I read it online."
    One can have a Confirmation Bias in looking at only details which confirm an established belief; not real world.

    Before making the decision to use stand alone wood stoves, we saw MH homes, spoke with MH builders and Tulikivi about their "kits" all here in Maine.
    Cost, time, infrastructure demands, and THE NEED TO BUILD A HEATED AREA (home) AROUND THE MH STRUCTURE (added $$$$) pushed the decision to heat with stoves.
    The only factor for the MH was a large savings in firewood--all experienced owners and builders agreed that it was close to 1/3 - 1/2 of wood stoves for the same BTUs.
    Since we harvest our own firewood, that cost in time and labor was not critical since so far I like it..
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    47,063
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    +1 for getting some hands on experience. Several decades back there was an excellent Russian stove builder in the area. His masonry heaters are still in use today. I heard of some local contractors trying to copy his work and build by the book. For the most part they ended up as failures I'm told. The devil is in the details.

    Scroll down about 1/3 of this newsletter's page for a workshop possibility.
    http://www.sustainablelivingproject.net/news

    Also, have you tapped into these folks as a resource?
    http://www.mha-net.org/
  10. byQ

    byQ Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2013
    Messages:
    202
    Loc:
    Idaho

    Tapped into? That is the source of most of the information and the plans. Without mha I wouldn't be attempting this.

    My goal is to become semi-competent. Good enough to build a couple masonry heaters. I will hone my skills in several ways. The first way is to use miniature bricks to build masonry heaters. This really helps to see how they are constructed.
    One mason told me to start "dry" building my masonry heater. That is just use common bricks (no mortar) to construct the core (which is the most important part) and the side channels. I will build 10 MH's before actually building the real one. I'll know where all of the stress joints are and how masons have dealt with these and other issues.

    I've decided to focus on a couple of masons specific building styles - each mason has their own signature and approach. There are things I've still got to work out. The distance between the core and the outer shell is variable among masonry heater builders. This space is critical - too tight and crack city, too far away and poor heat transfer.

    In Europe, France, they manipulate this space leaving a 1-3" gap between the core and shell. Why? The core gets very hot but it doesn't transfer its heat - so it just stays hot for a long time. In France this is an advantage. The masonry heater doesn't give off much heat (which they want) and it stays warm for 3 or 4 days. They only fire it every 3 or 4 days. Interesting....Of course France is a warmer climate (like parts of the south in the US).

    My house is small, passive solar, and energy efficient. I may want to retard my masonry heater's heat transfer abilities - that is, fire it only once every few days. This way it stays hotter longer but gives off less heat. And in a passive solar energy efficient house this could be better.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    47,063
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Sounds good. This will be a massive investment of time, but a good education. Do you intend on becoming a mason and building future heaters as well?
  12. byQ

    byQ Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2013
    Messages:
    202
    Loc:
    Idaho

    Just 2 heaters, although I'm going to have extra fire brick. Have you thought about trying to build one, yourself?
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    47,063
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Nope. I like them but would have a pro install it, particularly for a one off.
  14. DevilsBrew

    DevilsBrew Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
    Messages:
    659
    3 to 4 days? The longest stretch I have seen is 24 hours between firings.

    I hope you post pictures. Masonry stoves are wonderful.
  15. byQ

    byQ Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2013
    Messages:
    202
    Loc:
    Idaho
    DevilsBrew,
    I took pictures of my masonry heater parts. I click on the "insert image" icon and try to load pictures from "pictures" on computer but they won't load. I'm guessing I have to reformat them?

    Here's a masonry heater quiz of things I've learned so far, take it if you dare.

    1. A masonry heater best resembles which of the following
    a) a carrot
    b) a walnut
    c) a tomato
    d) a jar of peanut butter

    2. Masonry heater cores can be faced with all of the following except,
    a) stucco
    b) Home Depot paver bricks
    c) cast iron
    d) stones

    3. T - F In masonry heater core construction common brick is often used below the firebox.

    4. A masonry heater basically consists of the following,
    a) a double walled core of fire bricks or large refractory cement pieces
    b) an outer shell made of some thermal mass product - stone, soapstone etc..
    c) A special door with glass that can withstand temps of 2000 F
    d) All of the above

    5. T - F After using a masonry heater for a year John notices a hair line crack forming above the door. This is a potentially dangerous situation. John should notify his mason ASAP.

    6. The best way to burn a load of wood in a masonry heater is to,
    a) put the smallest pieces on the bottom and ignite the bottom first
    b) put the smallest pieces on the top and ignite the bottom first
    c) put the smallest pieces on the top and ignite the top first
    d) put the smallest pieces on the top and ignite the top first

    7. T - F According to most masons when constructing the core of a masonry heater using fire bricks, use as high a duty fire brick as you can afford - that is super duty best followed by high duty, medium duty, low duty.

    8. T - F A steel (not cast iron) wood stove could be used effectively as the core of a masonry heater.
  16. DevilsBrew

    DevilsBrew Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
    Messages:
    659
    My amateur guess is the pictures will need to be resized to a smaller format.
  17. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Messages:
    905
    Loc:
    East Central, NY
    This is purely anecdotal, but my friends have a masonry heater and in the winter they typically fire it once every 2 days, sometimes a little longer, sometimes a little shorter. If its really cold, they will fire it once a day, or a little more. They are heating 2 floors, about 2000 square feet, but its a new construction with 24" insulation panels. :) It was built by a professional stone mason friend of ours, it was only the third one he had ever built. I think the only complaint they have is sometimes they just enjoy having a regular fire to tend and enjoy.

    Best wishes on your project, byQ. It certainly looks like an endeavor.
    DevilsBrew likes this.
  18. byQ

    byQ Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2013
    Messages:
    202
    Loc:
    Idaho

    Homebrewz, Thanks for the great info. Sounds like their heater is working for them. How much wood are they burning (by weight) every day or two, any ideas? I ask because I've heard different claims about how much wood a masonry heater burns to keep things warm.
  19. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Messages:
    905
    Loc:
    East Central, NY
    I'm not sure, and I can't really speculate about weight. I did stack their wood for them one year. Off hand, I think they go through about 3.5 cords a year +/- a 1/2 cord, but they have an adjoining office which is about 600 square feet. The have a newer mid-size soapstone stove (its either a Woodstock or a Hearthstone) which heats that. I'm going to say that the masonry heater uses about 2/3 of the wood supply, and the woodstove the remaining 1/3. I can tell you the wood they use is primarily oak, maple, ash, with lesser amounts of other hardwoods (northeast US).
  20. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,345
    Loc:
    Central Kentucky
    Again you compare to parts of Europe with an awfully, and I suspect inexperienced, brush.. A lot of France is NOT warm, in fact they have a lot of glaciers... So yes, if you live in the south of France your heating requirements are lower.. but if you live in, say, Grenoble.. it's a "bit more"..
  21. byQ

    byQ Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2013
    Messages:
    202
    Loc:
    Idaho

    Like Arizona, huh? Vertical distance can change climate quickly. Must have have been southern France. There is no way I'm going to have the guts to leave a 2" space between the core and the shell in the masonry heater I build.
  22. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Messages:
    905
    Loc:
    East Central, NY
    Was just reading the mail here, and I misread your question. The weight of the wood in each firing makes more sense! It was a good armload for each firing. Probably about 50 pounds of good dry wood.
  23. byQ

    byQ Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2013
    Messages:
    202
    Loc:
    Idaho
    I'll answer this test.

    1. A masonry heater best resembles which of the following
    a) a carrot
    b) a walnut yes, because a MH has an inner core and a shell and they are seperated by a small space just like a walnut
    c) a tomato
    d) a jar of peanut butter

    2. Masonry heater cores can be faced with all of the following except,
    a) stucco
    b) Home Depot paver bricks
    c) cast iron I've never heard of one being faced with cast iron but it would probably work
    d) stones

    3. T - F In masonry heater core construction common brick is often used below the firebox. True, this area doesn't get hot enough to be worried about

    4. A masonry heater basically consists of the following,
    a) a double walled core of fire bricks or large refractory cement pieces yes fire bricks or kit pieces
    b) an outer shell made of some thermal mass product - stone, soapstone etc.. yes
    c) A special door with glass that can withstand temps of 2000 F yes
    d) All of the above best answer

    5. T - F After using a masonry heater for a year John notices a hair line crack forming above the door. This is a potentially dangerous situation. John should notify his mason ASAP. False, this sometimes happens. Masons usually tell home owners about this potential

    6. The best way to burn a load of wood in a masonry heater is to,
    a) put the smallest pieces on the bottom and ignite the bottom first
    b) put the smallest pieces on the top and ignite the bottom first
    c) put the smallest pieces on the top and ignite the top first this one, burn down is most efficient
    d) put the smallest pieces on the top and ignite the top first

    7. T - F According to most masons when constructing the core of a masonry heater using fire bricks, use as high a duty fire brick as you can afford - that is super duty best followed by high duty, medium duty, low duty. Surprisingly, False. Medium duty brick are most commonly used. They are believed to handle thermal shock (cold-hot-cold) better. Although masons are starting to use more high and super duty brick as time goes on.

    8. T - F A steel (not cast iron) wood stove could be used effectively as the core of a masonry heater.[/quote] Unknown. I saw where Tulikivi is doing this. That is they are wrapping a metal stove with thermal mass (soapstone in this case). I didn't know this was being done.
  24. DevilsBrew

    DevilsBrew Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
    Messages:
    659
    The cast iron and metal would be less efficient and durable.


    Sort of off topic, I have seen posts where a guy was adding soapstone to his older metal stove. I guess that is a way to save some bucks.
  25. Dave A.

    Dave A. Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    617
    Loc:
    SE PA
    So they don't use a contraflow design? Thought contraflow was a necessary aspect of masonry heaters.

Share This Page