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Masonry Heater Building

Course Overview

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-style masonry heater (approximately 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 2500 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 covers costs incurred during the building of the oven in class and a complete resource packet. The finished look or design of the masonry heater is discussed in this class. Masonry heater core design is also discussed but students will not be ready to independently design a masonry heater core after this class.

Required Tools

  • Clothing that can get dirty
  • Eye protection
  • Ear plugs
  • 2”x 4” and/or 2”x 8” margin trowel (available at most hardware stores)

Optional Tools

  • Rubber mallet
  • Rubber “dishwashing” gloves, elbow length

Currently Scheduled Sessions

No sessions currently scheduled for this course.

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