Nothing to do with audio, but I am slowly getting the bits and pieces up and running at the new house. I fired up the masonry heater over the weekend and am *very* happy with it.
The masonry heater is basically a big wood-burning firebox coupled to about four tons of brick and stone for heat storage. Rather than keeping a small fire going all the time, you burn one big honkin' fire a day and use the thermal mass to absorb the heat and gently radiate it out over a long period of time.
When we were designing the new house, I drew a rectangle labelled "Temp-Cast 2000 Wood-burning Masonry Heater" near the center of the blank page and we built the house around the heater. The living areas all have line of sight to the heater for radiant heating, the bedrooms will be colder but I prefer that for sleeping, and the bathrooms have auxiliary electric heat cables in the floors to keep them toasty in the winter. All in all I'm pretty happy with the house design -- guess it was worth a year of worry and nail-biting after all.
My last wood-burner was a Regency advanced combustion insert, which I thought was pretty darned neat -- a slow, smouldering fire with a boiling blue flame hovering over the wood from the secondary burn. The new heater is much simpler -- the design dates from the 1600's -- but works just as well. There is a secondary air feed for clean burning, but basically you just build a big fire in a well insulated firebox and it gets really hot inside so "everything burn nice".
I haven't heard back from the manufacturer yet re: whether I need to start with curing fires to dry out the mortar -- the heater was built over a year ago -- so I am running wussy little fires just to be safe. Even so, I can run a small fire that looks laugably small in the firebox and still have the thing radiating noticeable heat two days later. Very cool.
After a month of searching I *still* can't find the charger for my digital camera so I can't post a new pic with a fire burning, but here's an old pic and you can imagine the fire, right ?