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Quantum Cookstove

Discussion in 'The New Monster Thread' started by nonchalant, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. nonchalant

    nonchalant Silver

    When building a fire, the type of wood matters less than how dry it is, and it's shape. You start with tinder (often paper), and put twigs on top, plus a few sticks. Arrange these items so that oxygen can reach everything readily, and the fire doesn't get smothered. After the fire is started, add larger pieces. Splitting the wood with an axe can make rough edges that catch fire easily. Large round logs are difficult to get started, so save them for when the fire is larger.

    When you have a cookstove like this, however, there are other options.

    This stove has vents to control the air intake (on the left side) and the air exhaust (on the chimney centered in the back). When the fire is started (in the box on the upper left side of the cook surface) restricting air flow through the intake and exhaust is helpful, because it speeds air flow through the fire (and also restricts heat loss through the chimney.

    But the most interesting feature is a small sliding lever that you cannot see, that controls a door that redirects air flow. It is at the back of the cook surface, towards the right side. I think of it as the Maxwell Demon door. This door is normally open, allowing air to flow directly from the fire toward the chimney. After the fire is getting fairly established, you can start closing this door in increments. It blocks exit of the air through the upper part of the rear of the cook stove. The air then starts filling the inside of the cookstove, and you would have a big problem with smoke in the house if the air didn't find a second exit, cleverly positioned in the lower part of the rear of the cook stove. The hot air has to circulate to the left under the cook top, and then downwards around the oven, then across the bottom until it finds the other exit. Then it zooms upward, joins other air that manages to get past the door, and all of it runs up the chimney.

    This door is used to 'turn on' the oven. You can use it to regulate the temp of the oven. But also, since the door sends hot air to the left under the cooktop, it also increases the heat on that part of the cooktop. You can then heat 6-8 pots or pans at the same time, all from a small fire on the left side.

    This lever was broken on our stove when we bought it, but we got it anyway because DH can fix anything. :)
    Perhaps the lever isn't a maxwell demon, because it requires a human to use it, and knowledge and experience to use it correctly (without putting out the fire or ending up with a smokey kitchen). But perhaps it is. The metal door, the fire, the human with experience, and also the ingenuity of whoever came up with the design of a downdraft oven in the first place -- all together form a maxwell demon?

    There are some other quantum aspects of the stove, like the humans that huddle around it in the morning to absorb IR light, the plate warmer on top to take advantage of waste heat, and even me spreading the cooled ashes (from the bin at the lower left of the stove) around the yard so that nutrients join the shallow water table which then nourishes the nearby trees which will eventually find their way into the stove.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
    cinnamon, fitness@home and Da-mo like this.
  2. Da-mo

    Da-mo Gold

    I grew up wit stoves like this - ours also had a heat exchanger in it for heating our hot water cylinder.
    Last house we owned had a free standing wood heater with space on top to keep pots warm/hot. During winter we'd have a big pot of soup on top full of ham bones and veges and we'd just keep topping it up.

    My Fijian relatives that still live in the villages in the mountains still make me humble with their ability to cook cakes, puddings and deserts on an open fire.

    I like that you are using ashes as soil nutrients. In mongolia they have used animal dung for fuel forever and they spread the ashes on garden beds that have been producing for millenia without any other form of fertiliser. I have two horses that produce up to 20 tons of dung per year - I compost most of it but am also looking at making it into bricks to dry in the sun - then burning it and fertilising the land with the ashes. There are companies beginning to do this commercially now and some large equine facilities are using the heat produced for energy as well - saving energy costs, disposal costs fertiliser costs and reducing the dependance on chemically produced fertilisers and use of fossil fuels.

    Been toying with the idea of rewarming after CT in front of a wood fire last few days . . . .
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014

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