Homemade Wood Gas Stove
This is a guest post by TheNatureNurd he blogs at http://thenaturenurd.tumblr.com be sure to follow him if you use Tumblr!
By now as a prepper/outdoorsman/survivalist you have probably come across a “Wood-Gas Stove” of some sort. Probably the SOLO stove which basically looks like kind of like a coffee can with vents on it and burns sticks. The concept is simple and so cool (or is it hot?) once I started do some research on how it works. Stoves like this retail for $59.99 and above, but I can show you how to make a wood gas stove that works for about 6 bucks total in raw materials!
Materials Needed For A Wood Gas Stove
Lets start first by gathering all of the material you will need for your new wood gas stove. You can pick up the main body of the stove at a hardware or home store like Home Depot or Lowes for about 3 bucks. It’s a one quart paint can, empty of course. You will also need a 5 or 6 oz can of tuna fish and a 19 ounce can of Progresso soup. You will need gutter wire or as I found at our local Walmart for about a buck, a circular (about 11”) piece of BBQ grill to use on your gas or charcoal grill. You also need a power drill, some metal drill bits in 3/4”, 3/8”, and a smaller size for pilot holes. I prefer the cone bits they make life easier, though I started the project with spade bits for drilling wood. Those bits worked OK, but make it look messy. When I obtained some cone shaped titanium bits for under 15 bucks at amazon, they made it much better! You may want to keep a can of lubricant such as WD-40 around to lubricate the bits as you drill. If you have access to a Dremmel type tool that is handy as well. You will need a cutting wheel attachment and a grinding/buffing/sanding stone to polish those rough edges. Grab yourself a Sharpie marker also to mark where you want to make your cuts on the metal. Lastly, pick up some tin snips to cut holes in the metal.
Instructions For DIY Wood Gas Stove
On the paint can itself, turn it upside down and use the Sharpie make 8 dots for vents around the side bottom of the can. Leave the lid on for now, we will remove it later. Drill some small pilot holes where the dots are to make it easier to finish with the 3/4” bit. Slowly, use the 3/4” bit, drill the vent holes adding some WD-40 or similar lubricant as needed to make the bit smoother as it cuts through the metal can. Use your Dremmel tool now on those vent holes to make them smooth and remove the rough edges to give it a nice finished look.
Now set your can down on a solid surface and place the bottom of the Progresso soup can centered on top of the paint can, keeping in mind the bottom of the can is now the top. Using your sharpie marker trace around the soup can’s bottom to make a circle. Attach your Dremmel tools cutting wheel and cut just about ¼ inch inside the circle you just drew. Once you have cut around the entire circle about every ¼ or so, you want to cut a slit from the inside of the circle to the ring you drew with the marker. By doing so you will create bendable tabs that will hold the soup can snugly inside the paint can which is where we will place it later. The main can is now finished and you can set it aside.
Next, take your Progresso soup can, remove the top, and empty out the contents into a pot or other container to save for later. You will now mark several evenly spaced dots again as you did on the larger can on the first band from the top of the can with your Sharpie. Drill pilot holes where these dots are using the 3/8” bit to drill round holes as on the larger can. Once those are done, on the bottom ring of the can draw horizontal lines with your handy Sharpie once again to cut the slots/jets for air intake. These don’t need to be too long maybe about an inch or so and will draw air into the stove as the wood burns.
Now its time to build our replaceable grill for the inside of the small can. You can do this fairly easily by placing the soup can on top of the grill wire and drawing a circle around the bottom of the can with the Sharpie marker. Using your tin snips cut about an inch extra beyond the circle to allow for folding of the grill to allow it stand up off of the bottom. Trim it up to make little legs similar to a weed eater blade. Fold these legs down to make the grill stand up and insert into the soup can. You might need to trim a little to make it fit just right, as I did. You last main step will be to insert the soup can into the paint can. It should fit just right. It might be a little snug and the tabs will bend in to hold the inner can inside the outer can.
Its time for a test burn while you finish the last construction step. I found the easiest way to get it to burn it to use a firestarter such as petroleum jelly soaked lint balls with a little light tinder then add pencil size or small sticks till its full. Once its going it will burn for a several minutes without need for additional fuel.
Take your tuna can, cut the bottom off and remove the tuna for later use. Leave the top on for now to make it easier to drill a few vent holes on the side of the can. Once you have marked your holes with the marker, drill them out with the 3/8” bit. After drilling, cut out the other part of the tuna can, that was formerly the top, using your Dremmel tool. Make sure you cut just outside the first ring. That should assure it is rigid enough to hold a cooking pot to boil water or cook up some grub and not collapse under the weight. Use your tin snips and remove a couple holes to allow you to fuel the stove with wood while you are cooking. Once that is done your stove is complete!
All in all this is a great way to make yourself a great little single person stove for camping / backpacking / bugging out. It can be easily carried in almost any pack and the bonus is you don’t have to carry any fuel for it! The stove produces very little ash and could be placed in a small stuff sack not long after it goes out as it cools pretty quickly. There are several videos on the web that I watched before I finally bit the bullet and made mine. It took me about an hour total to make it. I will make a few more for my wife and son to carry in their bags as well and it will probably not take as long to complete. I hope you have as much fun as I did making yours! Happy Prepping!
Have You Built Or Used A Wood Gas Stove? If so tell us about your project/experience in the comments below.
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