Here's the cob after we re-sealed the barrel in place. Note that around the barrel is still no-straw 'thermal' cob, but we are starting to put a straw-cob layer on the seat of the bench.
We re-sealed the barrel, added a ceramic flue-liner around the fuel feed, and have started to coat the bench in slip for the next layer.
Oh and by the way... did you notice our Vertical Chimney!
Mixing a fine plaster for the finish coat. (Thanks, Erica's Dad!)
This is easier than tarp mixing... as long as you have strong shoulders.
Cross-section of the Rocket Mass Heater combustion core.
Yes, we got a permit... though as it turns out, this device is not technically a woodstove because it weighs too much.
a Secret Access Panel complete with Code
(so maybe we should have taken the price sticker off the cleanout cap...)
Look for the square, 'secret' tiles in the finished version.
Marble is not very durable as a stove lid, but it sure is pretty.
Scratch coat of plaster...
Ridge of plaster on the float...
Calen takes a turn.
Now we're getting somewhere.
Erica stands by with additional globs of plaster.
This coat is starting to look pretty nice.
Now we use a lot of pressure to make sure it is firm, hard, and doesn't crack.
Shaping the plinth and evening out the plaster.
Beveling the edge
Check the level while it's still soft!
As the plaster approaches final shape, we go over it again with a wet float to burnish it. Send the sand grains down, and line up the fine straw and fiber to make a smooth finish.
Welcome, welcome help.
Smoothing the plaster along the fire box area.
Teaching the technique to a willing helper who has two good legs.
We put plaster out ready for the person on the float.
One section done, two more to go...
Erica getting a snack ready.
The Gal begins her time with the float....
Calen lends a helping hand.
Vertical walls must be slipped, packed, and worked so the plaster bonds tightly onto the face.
Choices, choices... as we think about tile, we lay a test fire to start drying the plaster.
Always exciting to see if the stove will burn happily after another layer of wet mass is added.
Feed wood vertically.
White fog in the night.
The 'smoke' (steam) is gone within a few feet of the pipe.
Better set those tiles while the plaster is still wet!
Setting tiles. (And note the improvised plastic-lid 'float' on the bench.)
Working the plaster along.
Around the barrel is already drying.
Did we mention this is in the middle of winter?
Not bad for a first-time earthen plaster job.
Final placement complete, now for cleanup...
and yes, it's level.
Bright copper kettles and warm muddy mittens...
Tea does sound good, now that you mention it.
Almost done with that last cleanout detail.
Sideways fire. Always fascinating.
Can you tell the cleanout from the dummy tile?
Burnishing will embed some of those straws permanently, but any joints or knobs will need to be taken off first.
And the burnishing begins...
These tiles are set slightly proud to allow for further coats of plaster if needed... but we like this color as it is.
Burnishing starts to bring the straw to a smooth finish.
Happy contemplation at the end of a long day.
The Finishing Team! (yes, the dog helped. And no, the dog is not Erica's dad - he had other obligations before 10pm.)
A week or so later: all dry, burnished again with soap, and with a clean floor. Cushions coming soon!