Rocket Water Heater – Part 2, by St. Funogas

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) The Finished Project Since there is a lot of information on building rocket stoves on SurvivalBlog and elsewhere, I have not described any construction details on the stove itself. The following photo shows what my working rocket water heater (RWH) looks like, with an explanation of the number and letter annotations. This small building was later covered with bat and board siding, with a small door covering the on/off switch and thermometers. Here are all of the key bits and pieces: 1. Inflow and outflow water temperature thermometers. (Thread these into the …




Rocket Water Heater – Part 1, by St. Funogas

Have you ever considered the things you’d miss most in a TEOTWAWKI situation? I think a nice hot shower has to be pretty high on my list. It is right up there with coffee. So, once I got my nearly-off-grid little cabin built, I set out to build a prototype rocket water heater. There are a hundred and one different ways to make a rocket water heater (RWH). But as an introduction, I’ll show you how I built mine. I’ll also mention a few things that I wish I had done differently, just to give you some ideas on how …




Getting Out of Dodge – Part 2, by Doc

(Continued from Part 1) Two slanted walls were poured on the East end. They were 22′ wide at the building and 14′ wide at the East end and went from 8′ to nothing at the end. This was for a roof for the patio and security when I was traveling. Then I had the messy job of coating the outside with tar to seal it. Next a layer of 2″ closed cell styrofoam was installed on the outside walls. Then part of the ditch was back filled to hold the foam in place. The temperature was hot and I was …




Getting Out of Dodge – Part 1, by Doc

In 1993, I was practicing in a large city and had a home on a lake in the suburbs. I had an attractive younger wife and life was good. I bought a new computer and was stopped in traffic on my way home while ahead of me, a backhoe was digging a hole in the street. I was hit from the rear by a truck loaded with pipe fittings. The truck had a sprinkler company sticker on the door, and was driven by a Mexican with no insurance. The impact was so great that my car was slammed into a …




A CONEX Cabin at Our BOL, by Montana Guy

Editor’s Introductory Note:  This article (in shorter draft form) was originally posted in 2016 at Survivalistboards.com, and is posted with the author’s permission. (He retained his copyright.) Author’s Introductory Caveat: Some government authorities may not allow living like this. It worked for us in Montana but then we chose to not seek permission from them. — Our first Montana winter was spent in an 8′ x 10′ shelter. We survived. And yes, we are still married. This article is directed toward folks who: Live far from where they would like to establish a bug-out, and May want to eventually move …




A Beginner’s Wood Splitting Journey – Part 1, by The Novice

Six years ago, my wife and I slipped the surly bonds of suburbia and sought refuge in less densely populated parts. We settled in a log home in the woods. The northern woods in winter are beautiful but cold. Keeping warm led to a discovery: propane is expensive. So in the interest of fiscal responsibility, we henceforth heated our home by the sweat of my brow. The details of felling trees, limbing, bucking logs, and hauling billets belong to a tale for another day. My story today concerns splitting wood: the experiences of a smooth-handed greenhorn reducing billets of wood …




Eight Lessons Learned From the Polar Vortex Plunge

The recent plunge of the Polar Vortex deep into the American Midwest should serve as a wake-up call for those who are preparedness-minded. Here are some recent headlines: Polar Vortex Triggers Coldest Arctic Outbreak in at Least Two Decades in Parts of the Midwest Minneapolis could break low temperature records originally set in the 1800s, and Chicago could challenge its all-time record low of minus 27 F, set on Jan. 20, 1985. (BBC): Polar vortex brings deadly cold snap to US states (BBC): Polar vortex: Ice quakes, burning railways and other quirky effects Polar vortex brings coldest air in a …




How To Safely Heat With Wood, by W.S.

Let’s talk about how to safely heat with wood. I’ve been in the alternative heating business for more than 15 years. During that time, I’ve put heaters in remote tiny houses, large cabins, barns, and even a geodome! Winter is Coming – Plan Now Winter is coming. Please plan now, if you are not ready or if you need to make some revisions to your heating configuration. This year, most of the country was hammered with harsh winter storms. Make sure to plan now. The Wood Stove Just as the foundation of a home is what everything is built on, …




Letter Re: Solid Fuel Stoves

Hugh, Our home is located in NW Wyoming, at an elevation of just under 6,000 feet. We have operated both a coal stove (Hitzer Model 30-95 EZ-Flo Hopper Stove) and a wood burner (Blaze King Princess Catalytic Model) for a number of years. The wood stove is on the lowest level of our three-story log home, while the coal stove provides emergency heat for our storage/pantry building. Over the years, we have learned a great many tips and techniques for using solid fuel heaters. The most important step in installing and using one of these stoves is to get the …




Two Letters Re: Review Of The Jøtul F 50 TL Rangeley

Hello! Regarding FT’s review of the Jotul stove and her concern about dealing with removing and cleaning out the ash pan daily as they advance in age, I can only share my own experience as a youngster in a small southern town in the winter. In keeping with her observations about the merchant trusting her to pay for the stovepipe after installation, might I suggest that in regard to respect for elders, you’re not in California anymore? I recall my parents advising (ordering?) me to go down the road to our elderly neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Ward, every winter day …




Letter Re: Review Of The Jøtul F 50 TL Rangeley

Hugh, Our primary heat for our home is wood. When I bought our home in 2011, I replaced a used wood stove with a brand new Blaze King model called the King. The company offers the Princess, the Queen, and the King. All three can be regular or catalytic type. Ours is the catalytic version. We will start burning wood in September and burn through mid-April, and we have done this since we installed the stove. We burn only birch wood that has been split and stacked for a minimum of two years aged. I buy a load of logs …




Letter Re: Jøtul Woostove

Dear Hugh, We have been using a name-brand (Firefox, a UK brand) woodstove at our home in the Greek Islands for about seven years. We had the baffle at the top of the stove burn through within two years. The manufacturer would not send us a replacement, referring us to a retailer in the UK. They wanted the best part of $100 dollars for the part, plus postage of about the same amount. Instead, I took the broken part to a local metal shop. They fabricated one out of much thicker steel for $20, and it’s still intact; in fact, …




Prepare to Be Prepped – Sometimes You Have to Survive Daily Life, by Just-Do-It Jane

Most of us in the U.S. have been touched by winter storms. If you live in the South like I do, then you’ve probably tossed your hands in the air and said to yourself, “Wait a minute! What happened to mild winters?!” Fortunately for me, my friend “Survival Messenger” has had the foresight to help me (and many others) understand why we should prepare for come-what-may scenarios. She has shared everything from her favorite high-tech gadgets to trusted and ingenious homemade solutions for everyday problems. I’ve been the thrilled recipient of handy buckets and bags filled with so many helpful …




The Care and Feeding of a Woodstove

Here, at the Rawles Ranch, we heat our house with a masonry wood stove. Because of the thermal mass of its masonry construction, the stove holds heat and, therefore, provides a much more consistent heating effect; well, that is the case for at least three-fourths of our house. Our stove’s wood box is large, so there is the risk of overheating the living room, especially in the fall and spring, when the afternoons warm up outdoors. In those seasons, we have to be careful to keep the stove’s air vent nearly closed almost all of the time. (However, we are …




Letter Re: Coal–The Other Black Gold

James, I was in a bad pickle this summer.  A housing opportunity came by and my family moved to a nice country home in Minnesota farm country.  It’s low traffic, well sheltered from the wind on all sides by mature trees, and safe for outside pets.  There is ample space for a large garden that will produce a surplus while feeding the entire family.  Yet there is one problem.  The house, while well kept, is a century old.  It is not very well insulated, and we knew from the previous tenant that it is difficult to heat in the winter. …