Design Development for a Tulikivi Masonry Heater

This is a chronicle of design development for a custom Tulikivi masonry heater that shows the process of communication between us, our clients, Tulikivi, and Tulikivi’s design team.

After having some initial conversations with the clients by phone and obtaining a .DFX file of the floor plan from the architect, I made the following rough sketch proposals…


The clients were leaning in the direction of the TTU 2700.  They were interested in adding some benches so I made the following more specific drawing that included benches and a proposal for how they could store their wood…  

Upon making a site visit and meeting with the clients and the home builder at the rough framing stage, an issue with the way the chimney placement was dictated by a minimum hallway clearance of 36″ on the second floor was identified.  This caused me to change the proposal from a top-venting unit to a bottom-venting unit with a side chimney extension so that we could shift the chimney location and meet the necessary clearance on the second floor while maintaining the relationship between the heater and the living room on the first floor. Hence…This pivot was facilitated by a design precedent by Warmstone Fireplaces & Design, which was available to us via the Tulikivi dealer intranet….

I flipped the image horizontally in a graphics program to show the clients what I had in mind…

…we honed some details together and I sent our request to the Tulikivi design team in Finland via our North American representative Boris Kukolj…
The design team led by Jari Murto responded with the following…

We liked it all except for one small detail:They made the edit we were looking for:

….and now we are looking forward to receiving the unit for this project which is slated to built in March 2019.

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Wintergreen Heater Core Design

These are the kinds of drawings that I wish I had had more exposure/access to when I was starting out in masonry heater building.

It still takes a somewhat trained eye to understand the overall flow of gases through these sections.  Further refinement and artistry would render them more understandable still.  Basically, wood is burned very efficiently in the firebox, goes up and around a “white” oven and then down and around into a heated bench before coming back up and exiting through the chimney.  A bi-pass damper will be installed in order to be able to prime the flue.

It has long time been a desire of mine to contribute to sustainability and ultimately to peace and happiness.  I am hoping to put more energy into communicating through writing and drawings, and also into sharing both the artistic and emotional parts of this process.  Subscribing to Firespeaking’s mailing list and/or following us on Facebook are two good ways to stay in touch and show your support!

Decorative Brick & Tile Masonry Heater

This is an initial photo report of a recently completed masonry heater with inline wood-fired oven built in Grants Pass, OR.  The heater uses Balmoral brick and tile details that the client provided, along with polished concrete details made in our shop.

The core:

The craftsman: Max Edleson of Firespeaking and Jeremiah Church of Boreal Heat!    

Detail of Polished Concrete:

The Rocket-Fired Barrel Oven

Here is an exciting innovation combining the advantages of a rocket-fired combustion box with the practicality and efficiency of a wood-fired barrel oven.  This idea was developed by Flemming Abrahamsson of Fornyet Energi in Denmark.  See also his brilliant Rocket-Fired Griddle Oven Design, which further combines a cooktop griddle to the configuration.

This is an important evolution in the barrel oven concept because it both improves combustion and does away with the need for the additional hardware beyond the barrel of a firebox door, grate and ash drawer.  Notice the very simple yet clever sections sketched at 1 and 2 which demonstrate how the flue path is baffled to improve heat exchange.

Flemming has agreed to provide these drawings and the photos of a build sequence for free in order to maximize their potential reach.  You can contact Flemming for project specific design/consultation and also for barrel oven hardware in Europe.

Masonry Heater Staircases

Staircases and masonry heaters both provide essential functions yet take up substantial floorspace.  Placing a heater near a stair case requires respecting proper clearances to combustibles and can sometimes lead to tricky finish details or awkward spaces.  Why not combine these two important functions into one!?  Here are some ideas….

Staircase Heater by Roland Voppel of Vuurmeesters (photo credit: Fred Roest)
Staircase heater by Brian Klipfel of Fireworks Masonry and Marty Pearson of Stone Comfort
Staircase Heater by Pál Szentgróti of Szentgróti Manufaktúra
Heater by Flemming Abrahammson of Fornyet Energi
Heater by Flemming Abrahammson of Fornyet Energi
Heater by Flemming Abrahammson of Fornyet Energi
Back of Staircase Heater by Firespeaking.  (full project report)
Staircase Heater by Warmstone Heat. Built by Ron Pihl, Dale Hisler and Jerry Jessen.
Design Work by Chris Springer of Iron Hammer Stoneworks
Rocket Mass Heater with heat exchange in staircase by Fornyet Energi.

All images used with expressed consent!

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