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Japan, Ito Peninsula: Contraflow Masonry Heater

Fire Works Masonry recently had the good fortune of a return trip to Japan for an opportunity to once again work with our friend Aki Yoshimizu of Peak Home Builders.

Our first project was a contraflow masonry heater with a white bake-oven, heated bench and wood storage box. The rough stucco coat is still drying in the photo of the completed fireplace below.

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The project was in a small home on the hillside of the lovely coastal town of Ito, Japan.Japan Ito Masonry Heater Hillside IMG_0491

The hillside location made for great views but tough material access.

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Our competent host and project manager Aki secured a power ladder to assist with the material loading. Several tons of material are required to build a high mass, heat retention masonry stove. A view down the long run of the power ladder is in the photo below.

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Fortunately, we also had great help from local chimney sweep and MHA members Hiro and Yuichi. Yuichi unloads two clips of firebricks for the core from the power ladder in the photo below.

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The masonry heater starts with the layout on the concrete base pad.

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With the layout establish the high temperature core begins.

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The contraflow core goes quickly with a seasoned team of heater builders. Marty and Yuichi lay the final brick course on the core in the photos below.Japan Ito Masonry Heater Core P1080538

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The team stayed onsite during the project, so the worksite doubled as our campsite. The team relaxes after the first long day in then photo below.Japan Ito Masonry Heater Campsite P1080533

Our Japanese hosts were great cooks despite the simple kitchen. Yuichi mastered the charcoal grill behind the masonry wet saw while Aki prepared fresh, local sashimi for us.

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Once the contraflow masonry heater core is complete, the external facing is started. The facing will be local, dense red brick.

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The photo below shows the completed red brick masonry heater shell, ready for a stucco coating. The heater has a heated bench, white bake-oven, and a wood storage box.

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Hiro took the lead on the metal chimney installation. He is a member of the MHA as well as the Chimney Sweep Guild. He works on installing the chimney while the red brick facing goes up in the photo below.

Japan Ito Hiro Chimney P1080660

Once the chimney installation and brick facing are complete, the rough stucco coat is applied. The masonry  heater door hardware is installed next. Yuichi works on installing the large loading door in the photo below.

Japan Ito Masonry Heater Door Installation P1080772

Finally the heater is complete and ready to warm the home this winter.

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Fire Works Masonry