Contributed by: Perry Michael Koussiafes, 1/26/02
My homemade solid fuel stove consists of a small storage tin, about 5-6 inches in diameter and maybe 3-4 inches tall. I have tried different tins of different heights and find that taller isn’t necessarily better. The design is inspired by military canteen cup stoves used by the US Army and also the Swiss "torpedo style" canteen and stove.
- Drill with various bits
Church key can opener and hole reamer (nail, etc.)
- J-B Weld (metal epoxy) optional
Small storage or candy tin. Diameter should be a little larger than the kettle to be used. Coat hanger wire.
Drill holes around the base about 1/2 inch diameter every inch or so (I made a previous version poking holes with a church key can opener).
Put 4 holes around the sides about a half inch up from the upper rim so that two holes would be about 2 inches apart and the other two holes would be opposite. Through these holes skewer a couple of tent stakes. One can also use coat hanger wire. This is where the kettle sits.
JB-Weld a metal lid in the middle of the bottom as a fuel tray to protect the bottom of the tin and also to get the fuel a little above the holes to hopefully create a draft effect.
If you use a tall tin, cut a 1-inch wide slit down the side (from the top) about 3 inches long to allow the kettle handle someplace to protrude. With a short tin the wire stands are close enough to the top of the tin that the handle rests above the rim.
By itself it weighs about 4-5 oz. With the lid and a couple of steel tent stakes, about 7 oz. I painted one using black high heat grill paint. The paint came right off when I lit the trioxane. $4 wasted on paint.
The idea is to chimney the heat around the kettle; thus this stove is made to be used with only one kettle. Get a tin with a diameter just a little wider than the kettle used. It is very stable and takes little more room than the kettle itself. The kettle sits inside when stored.
For the test I used an MSR titanium kettle (holds a little over 2 cups of water. 28oz?). I brought to a rolling boil 2 cups water which was at about 3 degrees Celsius, about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. I used military trioxane heat tabs broken in thirds and stacked. The outside temp is around 75 degrees Fahrenheit and this is done in my garage, so no wind.
- Esbit stove – boil time 8min30sec.
- Wing stove – boil time 11min30sec. I had to use only two of the third pieces of trioxane as that was all that would fit. I added the final third at 10 min.
- Homemade stove – boil time 6 minutes. I noticed the fuel was almost gone at a little over 6 minutes. Could have been a bad tab. I also noticed it burned a little smoky at first. Better air flow might fix that. Subsequent uses in the field have the water boiling before the trioxane tab is used up.
Trioxane tabs weigh about ¾ oz in their aluminum wrapper.
Trioxane tabs tend to burn to completion no matter what in about 10-12 minutes.
If the wing stove had slightly taller stands it could have held all three tab thirds and put out more heat in the given time and probably have reached boiling faster.
Around Christmas time there may be more of these tins floating around for fruitcake and stuff, so more designs can be tried.
I burned my finger reaching inside the homemade stove to light the trioxane. I’ll use a candle lighter next time.
The homemade stove would probably show similar times even in wind as it is essentially a windscreen holding a kettle. The other stoves would be more affected by wind. The homemade stove also has a bottom which contains the flame, protecting the forest floor (not always a concern, but sometimes is). The homemade stove really succeeds in chimneying the heat up, and it can be felt readily if your hand is above the stove.
One could use the taller version with either heat tabs or a soda can alcohol stove. Drill holes for the tent stakes or coat hanger wires at higher and lower levels as needed.
Perry Michael Koussiafes, 1/26/02
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