This kit includes -
In order to complete this build, you will need a 55 gal. steel drum and 4" thick concrete blocks. Also, you will need either some fire clay bricks or the optional circular Barrel Supports.
A cast refractory Barrel Cap to fit over the top of the steel drum. This item is circular and 26" across. It is 2" thick and weighs 72 pounds. The material it is made from will conduct and store the heat from the exhaust.
Half-round Barrel Supports to form the round end of the wall made from 4" thick concrete blocks. These pieces have a generous 6" hole for connecting 6" stove pipe on its way up through your roof.
Posted by Brian on 17th Nov 2014
So for reference, I am heating a 40x30 log house with a partial second story (think a loft but with a couple of walls). It is from the 70s and has old windows, and I'm only just starting to chink it; in other words, somewhat drafty. I live in North Idaho and right now it is 10 F.
Assembly of the rocket stove was pretty straight forward. The pallet arrived well packaged and everything is very well manufactured. Having no masonry skills to speak of, and cement blocks of slightly different dimensions than recommended, I wound up with probably 12 or so hours of labor and build time.
The stove burns and drafts great, and I get no smokeback whatsoever when starting it, even on high-wind days. It does take a bit to get my large house warm with this unit but once it gets there we easily maintain comfortable temperatures even when it's 10-20F outside. This is improving as I work on chinking so I have high hopes. I will be adding a thermal bell to this system as well which I think will give me further gains as well as some radiant heat after burning.
Wood usage is down significantly from the stove that came with the house, which was basically a steel box with a door and a stovepipe. I would say I've cut usage by 30-40% and that's without any way to store the heat. I'll try and come back later with actual cords used over the winter.
This is a fairly expensive unit, especially for people who expect rocket-style wood burners to be cheap, DIY projects. However, even with the pre-cast barrel supports and shipping to the opposite end of the country, it is still cheaper than some of the nicer traditional stoves on the market. For a novice especially, placing a 'known variable' in the build equation was well worth it in terms of not having to re-engineer anything. Speaking of barrel supports, they are well worth it. They go together easily and they hold quite a bit of heat in and of themselves.
Give this a go if you have the money. Support from Dragon Heaters was top notch whenever I called with questions, and they even made suggestions on incorporating a bell when I asked.
Posted by Unknown on 6th Feb 2014
To summarize, I'm really impressed. No smoke back (even while lighting and going out) it assembles easily, looks great, burns hot and clean, and it warms my whole house up in just a few minutes.
The only potential shortcoming of this kit is the gasket material. The barrel gasket broke in shipping, and was a bit too thin to provide a good seal against a somewhat irregular barrel surface. I replaced it with slightly thicker wood stove rope gasket material, which worked great.
I'd buy another one (in fact I plan to), and would recommend them to anyone who can afford to buy such a nice unit.