Masonry heaters originated in Northern Europe where winters were cold and fuel wasn’t always plentiful. The natural response? Create a wood-fired presence that was at once incredibly efficient and highly attractive, capable of generating abundant heat and ideal for cooking/baking. Masonry heaters are built with fire bricks and utilize their high mass to radiate heat for 12 - 24 hours, a feature which means they only need to be fired once or twice per day. Students in this course will build a classic Finnish masonry heater (approx 36" wide x 31" deep and 72" high). Bricks will be laid with clay, rather than mortar, as the heater will be disassembled at the end of class. Students will experience and discuss heater design, sizing options, brick selection, oven integration, door and hardware installation, code considerations, and tool use. An exterior finish of clay brick will be utilized. Stucco and clay plaster options will be discussed, as will larger heaters capable of heating spaces up to 2,500 sq. ft., and masonry cook stoves. In addition to designing and building, students will learn to fire the heaters to maximize efficiency and will experiment with the student-built masonry oven located on the North House Folk School campus. The materials fee includes a complete resource packet (allowing students to return home prepared to start their own project) and the resources utilized during class for the building process.
The history of masonry heaters can be traced back 1,000 years or more. Beautiful and highly functional, they are built near the heart of a home where their solid and warm presence serves as an ideal gathering point. Design flexibility of masonry heaters enable them to be part of homes of many sizes and incorporate features such as heated benches, baking ovens, or heating domestic hot water.
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Length in days:
Beginner to Advanced
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Eric is a third generation stone mason who has over 25 years of experience. As the owner of Solid Rock Masonry in Duluth, he has built Finnish, Swedish, Russian and German style masonry heaters throughout the Midwest and southern Ontario. A long-time member of the Masonry Heaters Association, he has led numerous workshops across the Great Lakes Region and at the MHA annual gathering. To compliment his strong desire to educate people about heating with wood in efficient and beautiful ways, Eric has pursued projects ranging from coaching hockey to building log homes to being an environmental consultant.
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