Solar Cooking – DIY Project Preparation…

Back in the 60s there was a saying among the enlisted Navy ranks, it went something like “Lead, Follow, or get the ____ out of the way!”  It actually was a pretty good rule of thumb.  If one ever expected to be a good leader, he must first be a good follower.  Following good advice and counsel from other folks, and letting them help you avoid making the same mistakes they had made is always a good policy, and one I (hopefully) have not forgotten with the passage of years.

A few days ago, I mentioned the decision to build an All Season Solar Cooker (ASSC).  That was not a decision I came to arbitrarily, quite the contrary.  Over this past month, I have again looked at, and considered, virtually every design I could find on the Internet – but the ASSC is the one design that simply made sense – particularly since this would be my first *serious* venture into Solar Cooking. I continued to look at others after I discovered Mr. La Joie’s site – but kept coming back.  Having downloaded and pored over the instructions he so kindly makes available, (expecting nothing in return other than credit to the inventor), I became more and more firm – THIS is the right one to start with.

A few of the items promoting that decision were original design considerations for his cooker.  Jim was firm he wanted a design that was efficient, light weight, folded flat for transport/storage – fairly durable, yet inexpensive when compared to commercial Solar Cookers – and he DID it.  I find myself literally “chomping at the bit” to build a couple of them with the able assistance of a pair of willing teen-agers, (yep, I warned them already ;)). But first things first, I had to identify local or reachable sources for the materials.

The ASSC “can” be built out of cardboard, however, I want to follow the inventor’s recommendations and his instructions call for a 4×8′ sheet of 4mm thick corrugated polypropylene plastic.  After a bit of research, I found that Ridout Plastics over in Kearny Mesa would sell sheets of it to a private individual.  The other main material called for was adhesive backed aluminum tape, either Nashau 322 (Home Depot), or Shurtape 912 (Lowes).  Unfortunately, what my local Home Depot has in stock, (at present), is only 1.89″ wide.  A quick check on resulted in finding it in 3″ wide so that is on the way. That took care of moving the two “big rocks” in preparing for this project.

Going back to his site, I noted a page entitle “Favorite Cookware” and was pleased to find out he enjoys the TexSport “Black Ice” cooking gear.  I have read enough to know the disadvantages of trying to use my beloved Lodge Logic ironware in a solar oven. It is simply too big, thick, and would take too long to pre-heat for most purposes if all one is going to use is a Solar reflector, (unless it is a parabolic style).  Oh I’m certain it can be done, but the Black Ice cookware would be a lot more efficient for this purpose.  Bottom line, after also perusing his page “Cookware” and seeing the pictures of how it comes together,  a TexSport Black Ice “Trailblazer” kit is on the way from and should arrive on March 8th.

That left the Anchor Hocking glass ware he had mentioned.  Once again, the ability to readily put together a glass “chamber” to trap the heat and promote cooking just made too much sense not to follow up on.  Quick searches on-line discovered that Target apparently sells them as multi-purpose kits with 11 different items in each box, however Sears sells individual 4 qt. mixing bowls and 9.5″ pie plates individually. PERFECT – will probably swing by there late Sunday afternoon. 8)  Over the next several days, I will complete gathering all of the necessary items and finally be ready to get started on the project itself.  (Later on I have plans to build Jim’s “Jumbo ASSC” – but that will be a separate project).

For now, it is time to get some sleep and then find my way over to the San Diego Solar Cooking Club’s demonstration in Santee tomorrow.  Know that is going to be very informative, not to mention FUN! (Gotta remember to take sunglasses)!

This entry was posted by dave on Friday, March 4th, 2011 at 8:28 pm and is filed under Solar Cooking . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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