About the Masonry Heater Stories category

Stories of living with, planning and building masonry heaters, travel reports….

Hi Folks, In addition to looking forward to seeing other people’s projects, I am interested in hearing about the experiences other’s have had with masonry stoves in other parts of the world.

My own story in this regard involves having spent 3 years in the Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine with the Peace Corps. Nearly every home in which I stayed or visited had a піч (pronounced “peach”). If this stove was anywhere near a kitchen, it had a cook surface and likely had a bake oven. I so much want to tell everyone about my experiences living with пічі.

Now I’m back in the western mountains of Maine in a new, small house and slowly starting the process of building a masonry stove here. Slowly slowly but with lots of opportunities to learn along the way.

So-- back to the question at hand… what I would like to see in this forum: plenty of building experiences, plenty of problem solving, plenty of “this is what I’ve seen in the world”!



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I’ve built two masonry furnaces. One in Montana and one in Oregon. My Oregon heater has been in use for 30 years and it needed some TLC. It is a five run horizontal flu. We burn oak and we burn it hot. So after 30 years of brutal utilization here in the Southern Cascade mountains I began to notice the fire box fire brick spalding and cracking to the point of alarming me. I had the choice to rebuild or repair. I opted for the latter. I pulled out all loose material from the firebox and used two buckets of greenpatch 421 to fill all of the voids and form an arch. I replaced all the hardware with firespeaking cast iron door and clean out ports. The original form of the heater was a rustic all weather high density brick. I parged the outside of the furnace with a layer of type s mortar. The next layer was made up of lime, white portland cement and medium sized sharp silica white quartz sand. I used the first two layers as “scratch layers” (roughed them up with a 1/4 tile trowel. The final layer was equal parts lime and white portland to 3 parts very fine white white quartz sand. The face lift has convinced me that the efficiency of the furnace has gone up a notch. I’ve been carrying around a couple of cast iron ornaments for more years than I want to confess. I added them as a fixture to the sides of the door.

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