The First Ever Rocket-Style Griddle Oven

by ziggy on November 20, 2015 -- 2 comments -- Follow

Rocket-Style Griddle & Barrel Oven

The first fire ever in the first rocket-style griddle oven ever!

One of the exciting projects going up at the recent Natural Building Colloquium was this amazing rocket stove-style griddle oven. It’s a wood-fired griddle with barrel oven, both heated by the same fire — in this case, a downdraft fire similar to what you see in the now classic rocket mass heater design. This was designed and built by two mass heater wizards, Max Edleson of Firespeaking and Flemming Abrahamsson of Fornyet Energi in Denmark. It was the first of its kind ever built, and it was really sweet to see the griddle oven take shape over the week.

See below for a sequence of construction images and the finished product. Too cool. I wish I could have taken it home with me.

Rocket-Style Griddle Oven Design

Max (to left) and Flemming (right) busting out the masonry work of the griddle oven

Max and Eva Edleson are the talented duo responsible for the barrel oven design (check out the barrel oven book if you haven’t already), an alternative to a cob oven that heats up quickly and has a separate chamber for building the fire. The Edlesons also build some spectacular masonry heaters. Flemming is another wizard in the masonry heater department, and between everyone they’ve come up with a very sweet collaborative design.

Griddle Oven

Final courses of brick nearly in place

The griddle oven uses a rocket stove-style firebox that you feed vertically, resulting in splendidly clean combustion. The heat of the fire warms a huge 3/8″ thick steel griddle, and a barrel oven below. Actually, it’s not an 55 gallon barrel persay, but a custom welded chamber with a classy hinged door and two nice deep oven racks that resembles a barrel. The heat travels in something like an omega (Ω) pattern, up the right-hand side of the barrel, under the griddle, back down and slightly under the barrel, and finally up and out a chimney.

rocket griddle oven 02

A good look at the guts of oven and heat path inside the griddle oven — note the firebrick lining the chamber

The guts of the stove are a combination of firebrick and reclaimed red brick, all mortared with a clay sand mortar mix.

Rocket Griddle Oven

This is where the combustion happens, also note the feed tube (firebox) down to the right

Rocket Griddle

The lefthand side of the barrel, where the heat flows back down around the barrel and then up a chimney

At the end of the week, the first fire was made and the oven began drying out rather quickly. Thankfully, we were able to use it at least once to try it out — it wasn’t the best testing situation because there was still a lot of moisture in the mortar, but amazingly the fire burned very cleanly. The griddle seemed to take a while to really get hot, but a better test would be to fire it up now that everything is cured.

Rocket-Style Griddle Oven Plans

The plans for the griddle oven, drawn up by Flemming

No word on whether or not a full set of plans will be made available for this… but I hope this design is further toyed with. It could be an excellent wood-fired oven for cooking for large groups of people.

Thank you to Max, Edva, Flemming, and Karen for sharing your amazing talent and skill!

p.s. See more photos and a video of the griddle oven in action on Max and Eva’s website here.

Pancakes on the griddle

Max cooks up the first pancakes!

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  • Max Edleson

    Ziggy, thanks for covering the griddle oven! It was a great example of how collaborating can bring about innovation. We are in conversation about making a plan-based booklet. Maybe also with a smaller version of the griddle oven. No specific timeline yet. For those interested in staying updated, I recommend following the link you provide above and signing up for our newsletter.

  • Great article and pictures. I’m a Peacebuilder, earthbag builder and development worker in the Philippines. I think I’ll be taking a crack at building one of these. Thanks for the pics. 🙂

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