My 1st Homemade Wood Burning Stove

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This morning I made a trip to Wal-Mart and picked up a 12 oz can of coffee in a metal tin and a can of Progresso soup. Afterwards, I went to Lowe’s  and found some of the “hardware cloth” and bought it. Of course it came in a 5 x 2 ft roll, but it was only $7, and now I can make all the pot stands I want! :)

So, I came home and made the stove. I followed the directions on this site (about half way down). I drilled 6 – 3/8″ holes around the bottom of the coffee can. Then I drilled lots of tiny holes in the bottom of the soup can. I drilled 6 – 3/8″ holes around the bottom of the soup can, and 8 – 3/8″ holes around the top of the soup can. Next  I shoved the soup can into the coffee can, and just like it said, the lip of the soup can caught on the rim of the coffee can, leaving around 1/2″ between the bottom of the soup can and the bottom of the coffee can.

So, I took it outside. I collected plenty of wood, and broke them up into small pieces to fit easily inside the soup can. I put a few larger sticks in the bottom, then a few medium size sticks over them and lastly some small tiny sticks. I put some dryer lent on top of this. Once I got this all together, I used my firesteel to light the lent. After about 3 tries, the lent lit up. I started putting some small sticks on the top to help feed the fire, but it shortly died back out. So, I then used some HEET. I squirted some over the top of everything in the can, and then sparked that up. It immediately came up, so again I started placing tiny pieces of wood on top.

The fire started burning pretty decent. Once I saw it was going pretty good I put the pot of water on the pot stand. It burnt for a little while. I saw the flames coming out of the holes in the top of the soup can, like I had read it would do. But then it started dying down. I put a few more small pieces of wood on top, but it turned out that the fresh wood sort of smothered the fire (and it wasn’t but 3 pieces). Here it began.

I took the pot of water off the fire, and then started working on getting the fire going good again. I struggled with this for about another hour and 15 minutes. The fire would die out, leaving some smoldering half-burnt pieces of wood. So, I would blow on it for a while, and when it would not come back alive, I used a little  more HEET. That would work for a while, but then it would die out again. So I filled it up with wood to the top again, squirted a little HEET on it, then lit it up. Again, it burned good, and this time actually brought the water to a boil for about 30 seconds, but then began dying out again. Finally I decided I was done. I left the pot off the stove, and used a long stick to try to stir the partially burnt wood around. It would liven the fire up as long as I poked at it, actually producing a flame, but as soon as I stopped, so did the flame. I let it sit for about 45 minutes, and it never did anything else, so I dumped it out. There were some ashes, but mostly it was partially burnt sticks, that I have no idea why it wouldn’t burn. If it were in a fire pit, these were the kind of sticks that would have kept it going.

So, I don’t know what to do. Here is some video’s of the stove. If anyone has some ideas, or tips, or can just point out what I may have done wrong…..let me know. I will post a link to the videos once I get them up. They may explain things better than I did here.

(And the wood was dry hardwood that had been laying around. What I thought was that the sticks burnt down and filled the holes at the bottom of the soup can, blocking off any oxygen needed to keep the flame alive. So, maybe using larger sticks would help?)

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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3 Responses to My 1st Homemade Wood Burning Stove

  1. Pingback: The Backcountry Boiler by “the boilerwerks” | Stick's Blog

  2. John says:

    I love the idea of making your own stoves. You can also check out some wood burning stoves learning center resources for ideas on other designs you might like to build in the future.


  3. Matt says:

    Be careful with that galvanized hardware cloth. Burning galvanized metals can give off toxic fumes.


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