The Rocket Stove was designed by intern Mike Voellmecke (with help from Annie) and built by Mike during the summer of 2010. It is built almost exclusively from salvaged materials (we figure we have about $100 invested in the thing).
How it works:
The oven (literally just made of mud with a wooden door) heats to about 500 degrees f when the system is up and running. There is also a warming area (see the metal bread pans down and to the left of the oven) built into the oven area. Wood is fed into the unit through the access area (bottom right - that round metal thing with the handle is actually an old bacon press covering the burning chamber). The fire then roars (literally) up into the inverted metal 55-gallon drum located below the mud oven and behind the bricks. The bottom of the drum forms the bottom of the oven.
The smoke and heat then flow through the bench (the black circle is an access point where we can clean the system). Over time, the bench heats up to a nice, toasty, 100 degrees or so. Smoke then escapes up the flue (far left, covered with mud so you don't burn yourself while sleeping on the bench).
(above photo by Keith Bowers)