Lost Creek Masonry Heater Completed!

This masonry heater features a “white” oven, ample wood-storage options, and a heated bench. The heater is faced with Idaho Bitter Root Ledge Stone, Sage Ledge Stone and the slab details are Pennsylvania Blue Stone. It serves as a visual focal point, as furniture, and as a resilient energy source for the home!

Heated Bench along the whole back of the heater.
Lost Creek Masonry Heater with White Oven, Wood Storage, Heated Bench, Ledge Stone
Our new “Hybrid Core” Approach! Very happy!
Heated Bench Flue on the “back” of the Masonry Heater.
Built by Max Edleson and Jonathan Mears, members of the Firespeaking Team!

Outline for a Resource on Masonry Heaters

Here is an outline for a project about masonry heaters. Ideally it would be a publicly available web resource which was developed dynamically. Items would become links as they were written and discussion generated would be incorporated into the text. The big question is how to fund the project. Ideally, people would be moved to donate based on the utility they got from it. Comments are open below to provide feedback on the project. Feedback will fuel its creation! Also, join our mailing list to receive updates.


  • Why Fire? Why Firewood? Why Masonry Heaters?
  • Gentle Giants of Healing Warmth
  • 2 Kinds of Efficiency – Combustion & Heat Exchange
  • The Challenges Presented by Masonry Heaters
  • “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” Approach


Masonry Heater Architectural Design

  • Heart of the Home
  • Inspirations
  • Placement
  • Clearances to Combustibles

Masonry Heater Technical Design

  • Design Methodology
    • Concept
    • Layout
    • Sections
    • “Brick-by-brick” Design
  • Comparison of Design Philosophies
    • Russian
    • Contraflow
    • Five-Run
    • Bell
    • Rocket

Masonry Heater Construction

  • Comparison of Basic Approaches
    • Pre-Fabricated / Manufactured
    • Core Kits
    • Custom
    • Hybrid Steel & Masonry
  • Foundations
  • “Double-Skinned” Construction : Core & Facing
  • Chimneys
  • Masonry Heaters & Construction Codes
  • Budget

Resources & Next Steps

  • Workshops
  • Organizations

New approach to masonry heater building!

For the masonry heater we are currently working on, we took a new approach to the design and construction of the core by casting the most complex parts. The goal of this is to simplify both the design and construction process so that we can streamline the process for our own projects as well as produce a viable strategy and parts for other masonry heater builders.

Masonry Heater Bypass Damper Update

We believe that bypass dampers are an important part of masonry heater function. They provide an easy way to heat the main chimney in order to then pull heated gases through a much longer heat exchange pathway.

We have been working on our design and currently produce and ship on a per order basis. We are getting close to making them more widely available. Contact us if you are interested.

Masonry Heater Clearance to Combustibles

I was invited to examine a masonry heater that was built by another mason in a town one hour north of us. One of the wooden studs immediately behind the heater, in the wall adjoining their bedroom, had been heated to the point that it had at least reached a smoldering point inside the wall….

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.

Update! Here is the heater completed and a link to the full portfolio post:

Learn more about:

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!