This morning, after we got the work started in our home construction in Santa Clara, we went over to another village to see a Justa Stove. This stove has a small (about 4-5 inch cube) fire box which discharges the hot gases to a two-foot-wide, shallow chamber which allows only about an inch below the griddle surface and then exhausts into a chimney through a large exit chamber. The area around the fire box is filled with wood ashes. They act as an insulator and keep the heat at the cooking surface.
This stove has several advantages over the typical wood-burning fireplace. The griddle is much more substantial and good metal; it burns only about 1/3 as much wood for the same temperature at the cooking surface; the smoke is removed from the cooking area and therefore does not cause lung problems.
We received a very good demonstration of the way the stove works and how they are built. The organization that builds the stoves charges 110 USD for each one, and the recipient must build the base for the stove. Of course, if we can obtain or build the cooking surface ourselves, we can build the stoves ourselves much cheaper than the “dealer price,” which includes material, labor, and travel expenses. I truly believe that we can provide a real benefit to many people with these stoves.