Dec 14, 2005 at 1:21 pm #1217359
my first wood stove is a big heavy design but works great with large diameter pots.
my goal for this stove was to make it work with most pots (excluding can pots…they will melt) and have it be as light as posible.
I made a 2.2oz version of a simple design with no raised floor and only 4 air holes and an integrated pot stand. It worked fine but not as light as I wanted, so with a slightly smaller can and more air holes I acheived a better working stove for only 1.5oz.
since it dosent have the lifted floor for tinder you need a lighter fluid to start, my design requires less than a half of an ounce of lighter fluid(less than alcohol stoves require so is ideal for long trips)
my new design was similar to the 2.2 oz version except it has twice as many holes at the base and small holes in the middle.
method for lighting
1. fill bottom with thin twigs
2. fill rest of can with medium to large diameter sticks
3. squirt about 1/4oz of fuel in through the botom holes (equally in each hole)
4. squirt remaining 1/4 oz on top of fuel
5. light around bottom with a lighter.( matches may be better because you can throw the burning match in the top after lighting the botom)
6. after a few seconds blow into the bottom holes to increase the flame size
I used a chicken broth can
no raised floor
I used a aluminum foil base
a little smokey to light
burned for about 6min without refueling and onced burned down to coals, it was still hot, ibet hot enough still to keep a pot boiling
after use there was no sign of metal problems from the heat
works with small diameter pots
I one day plan to thru hike the AT, and I think my stove system will include a wood stove like this with a small sideburer alcohol stove as a back up,this will make me only have to carry .5oz of fuel a day but always carry an extra 2-3oz of alcohol in the bottom of my pack for the days I cant find dry wood. what do you think?Dec 14, 2005 at 1:29 pm #1346955
Nice! I like the fact your Swanson Wood Stove can fit inside your cup when not in use.
RegardsDec 14, 2005 at 3:36 pm #1346963
Jim ColtenBPL Member
Pretty Dang Nice (PDN)!
But if you’ll allow me to pretend to be a gram weenie when I’m not …. I’d like to play devil’s advocate with this.
At .5 oz starter fluid per cooked meal, aren’t you ahead on weight with a false floor and no starter fluid? (assuming 3-4 days between resupply for a quick thru hiker)
Or how about punching a few small holes at false floor height and inserting sticks as a burnaway false floor? Tinder in the bottom, small fuel above the floor, larger fuel above that.Dec 14, 2005 at 4:03 pm #1346966
Jim, thanks for the burn away floor idea.
I could probably light the stove by just puting tinder in the bottom and then small sticks, then large sticks on top.
but I would probably bring waxed paper to light with because when it is getting dark it is dificult to find good tinder and after a 25 mile day of hiking I dont want to spend 20 minuets extra when I could be eating, when plain camping I will use tinder I find. I like the starter fluid because it is easy to light. I can definatly light with less fluid and will experiment, I just used .5oz for my first few tests. I could probably get feul per day down to .2oz.
right now before trying with waxed paper, I still like the starter fluid, but if it works well, then it may be a better option (lighter)
thanks again Jim, you got my mind going on lighter starter optionsDec 14, 2005 at 4:36 pm #1346967
What about the obvious health, moral and environmental issues (Hydrocarbons & Carbon Monoxide) from burning starter/lighter fluid?Dec 14, 2005 at 4:53 pm #1346968
I dont know about moral issues
but I am going to experiment to see how little fluid I will have to use probably .2oz and that probably wont hurt the environment, and breathing in any smoke will hurt you health wise so I will just avoid breathing in any smokeDec 14, 2005 at 6:28 pm #1346971
Douglas FrickBPL Member
>when it is getting dark it is dificult to find good tinder and after a 25 mile day of hiking I dont want to spend 20 minuets extra when I could be eating
You could find plenty of tinder and small sticks as you hike along the trail. Just fill your pockets with as much as you need for the evening and morning. Even if it’s wet out you’re likely to find something dry somewhere along the way. (Ray Jardine mentions this in Beyond Backpacking.)Dec 14, 2005 at 7:41 pm #1346972
.Dec 14, 2005 at 7:43 pm #1346973
Depending on where you are walking there will almost always be a form of tinder that is more reliable than liquid fuel. You can’t beat lighter pine, birch bark, cedar bark, or alder twigs – to mention the most common tinder. They break the rules. For instance, alder lights wet or dry, green or cured. Lighter pine is the skeleton left when a pine tree rots. Birch and cecar bark are self-explanitory. Learn to spot these materials and you will never need to carry charcoal lighter again.
Consider making a larger hole for lighting. It should not compromise performance. Touch off a few slivers of lighter pine in the bottom compartment, and there will be no doubt about your fire starting.
However, until you feel comfortable with your woodcraft, consider making long-burning matches by soaking wooden, strike-anywhere kitchen matches in melted parafin. Melt parafin in a double boiler – something like a coffee can in a cook pot of boiling water. Submerge the matches (I just sink a box at a time). Let them soak for 5 minutes, until they are hot enough to let the excess wax drain off. Remove the box and drain it. Too much wax will interfere with proper ignition, so ignore the old advice to fill the match box with parafin and break out matches as you need them. That doesn’t work. You want the matches to seem almost normal. These wax-permeated matche sticks will burn a long time and will light a stubborn fire. They will also be reasonably waterproof.Dec 15, 2005 at 6:30 am #1346982
Nice tip on the matches, Vick. I’ll have to remember to pass that on to our scouts.
You drop the whole box (with the box) at once? or dump the box in and let them soak?
If you don’t have a double boiler, or don’t want to make the matches yourself. You can play with some of these, they burn like crazy (my experience). Also, sparklite (though I think you can find it cheaper someplace else) works well too…
Me, I think I’m gonna get some parafin and soak some matches.Dec 15, 2005 at 7:58 am #1346988
Yeah, put the whole box in. Otherwise you will have matches tangled like jackstraws (which is why the Brit foreign minister sounds like a joke). Some brands of boxes come apart. I usually take the precaution of tying a string around the outside box. To get wax into the box faster, cut the corners off the sliding inside box. But carefully. I once hit a match head with my knife and lit off a whole box of big ole kitchen matches. It was exciting.
Double boiler: a coffee can and any larger pot your keeper will let you use. Don’t EVER heat parafin directly; it vaporizes and goes up like gasoline. The double boiler is very safe.
A quick and safe waterproofing formula is to dillute old fashioned shellac (Bullseye Clear) 1:1 with denatured alcohol. Dip the matches and set their bases in something like styrofoam. The shellac will be dry in 10 minutes. Varnish doesn’t contribute much to the burn, but it is functionally waterproof, safe either burned or unburned, and really simple to use.
A good ultralight trick is to shellac paper book matches by dipping. Dip the sriker strip, too, but blot excess shellac from the strip. Then cut off all the extra cardboard and staple and the striker strip and put the matches and striker in a tiny Zloc. Lots of fire, minimum weight. This morning I washed my hiking gear, and accidentally did my food bag and cookset. A pack of shellaced paper matches was in the cookset, and got washed. I was surprised, but they lit just fine.Dec 15, 2005 at 8:27 am #1346990
An old boyscout trick was to use fingernail polish rather than shellac… doesn’t work very well… may try the shellac someday…
thanksDec 15, 2005 at 11:04 am #1347004
Douglas FrickBPL Member
If you don’t have a double boiler, or don’t want to make the matches yourself. You can play with some of _these_, they burn like crazy (my experience). Also, _sparklite_ (though I think you can find it cheaper someplace else) works well too…
REI Storm Proof Matches are the same as the lifeboat matches (burn about 12 seconds, very hot). Ten of these matches tip my scale at 0.3 oz. Two strikers in their plastic sheath weigh 0.1 oz. With good tinder these should serve as match and the equivalent of lighter fluid.
The Spark-Lite kit (also available in the BPL Gear Shop under Accessories, with an extensive description) is a standard part of my gear. I often use the sparker to light my double-wall alcohol stove rather than use up matches.Dec 15, 2005 at 12:08 pm #1347005
The problem with polish is it gives off toxic fumes when it burns. Or it used to. Maybe that has changed. I dunno. Something to consider.Dec 15, 2005 at 12:18 pm #1347006
so the sparklite will light an alcohol stove eh… i will definetly getone, it is half th weight of my mini bic lighter :-)Dec 15, 2005 at 3:20 pm #1347012
Michael MartinBPL Member
@mikemartinLocale: North Idaho
Ryan F. writes:
>> so the sparklite will light an alcohol stove eh… i will definetly getone, it is half th weight of my mini bic lighter :-)
Ryan, test this first. And carry a backup.
I use a sparklite for my canister stoves. (I keep it tied to the stove with some spectra cord.) But, I’ve found that they will light an alcohol stove only under ideal conditions — warm, calm, and dry.Dec 15, 2005 at 5:53 pm #1347025
Test the Sparklight on cold alcohol on a cold day. Below freezing, alcohol may not produce enough vapor to be ignited reliably by the sparks. I’ve had enough trouble with that to go to matches. Even then, I sometimes dip a stick or pine needle in the alcohol and light that to get my alcohol stove started. There is no problem lighting canister stoves with a spark because the fuel is already vaporized.Dec 17, 2005 at 12:17 pm #1347099
Ryan, I am very impressed with your creativity and the simplicity of the 1.5 oz. wood stove. This morning I grabbed the same chicken broth can and made one myself. Thanks for your post.
Maybe you or someone else here might have some suggestions on how to capture more heat with a simple stove like this.
I was able to also get a fire quickly lit using a small amount of wax paper tinder. The twigs burned to coals in only a few minutes.
However, in spite of feeding the stove several times, I was not able to heat a pot to boiling. My problem is likely wind. There were gusts to at least 10-12 mph with a temperature of 40F. I did not have a windscreen. I used a SnowPeak Trek 900 Ti pot and 12 oz. of cool water.
I thought the wind might be OK as it did visibly stoke the coals. Even though I built to coals to near the top of the can I wasn’t able to generate enough heat to the pot to a boil.
My next test will be with a bit shorter can, moving the pot closer to the coals. Also, I will fashion a windscreen. I use one with every other stove. It seems reasonable to avoid dispersing the heat from the woood fire.
Thanks for your thoughts.Dec 17, 2005 at 12:38 pm #1347102
I had the same problem when I tried boiling with the stove, I havent had a chance to test this out, but I think I found out a good solution. my idea is that since the twigs burn quick, what you want to do is build up a fire with twigs and let it burn for a minuet to get hot, (before puting on the pot) then instead of feuling with more twigs, fill the burner with thick sticks and once they begin to burn put on the pot.
this will work better, the pics I showed burning were not boil test pictures, on this I just burned, and on this I used thicker sticks, and it burned longer, then when I just used thin twigs to try to boil it did not burn for more than 2 miunets.
if you have time (I dont) could you try starting with thin and then adding thick sticks and tell me about it, I think it will work but I am not sure
thanksDec 17, 2005 at 12:43 pm #1347103
the key is thicker sticks, they will burn longer.
also, get a good flame going before putting on the pot. takes a little longer, but this is also a factor in our boiling failures :-)Dec 17, 2005 at 3:19 pm #1347112
Ryan, thanks. I did try moving up from twigs (1/8-1/4 inch diameter) up to larger sticks (3/8-1/2 inch diameter). You’re right they are the key to getting sustained heat.
But I think with the wind in my backyard today (always in Oklahoma) that a windscreen was the missing ingredient. I’ll try again tomorrow.
Thanks.Dec 18, 2005 at 2:43 pm #1347151
** Success **
OK. I fashioned a quick and dirty windscreen today and retested the little bitty wood stove. Using red oak twigs I built a fire and let the fire reduce to coals. Then I placed the SP Trek 900 pot with 16 oz. of cold water on the stove. I wrapped the windscreen around the windward side and started the test. At 3 minutes I added a few more sticks to the fire. I then forgot about it for a few minutes while I worked on another project. Checking the pot at 12 minutes the 16 oz. of water was at a rolling boil. The results are similar to my experience with a small alcohol stove like the Ion.
Photos work better when you use the right URL.Dec 18, 2005 at 3:14 pm #1347152
glad to know my stove is a sucess :-)
I thought it would be.Dec 19, 2005 at 7:46 am #1347190
Mark LarsonBPL Member
@mlarsonLocale: Southeast USA
Ryan, I hacked up a crude, cave-man version of your stove last night. It was my first wood stove cooking experience, and I had a good time with it.
I’m going to keep my eye out for other can sizes. I think something slightly shorter might work better for me. Something like a 12oz evaporated milk can, or a cut-down 10oz Campbell’s soup can. Should be a fun project to play with this season. Thanks for sharing!
-MarkDec 19, 2005 at 8:16 am #1347194
Mark, you and I are thinking alike. I have a 12 oz. evaporated milk can that’s my cutting and drilling prototype. Later this week I’ll try it as a slightly shorter stove. It might work a bit better by shortening the height from coals to pot.
Also, I want to change my fabrication tecnhique. A drill bit makes a jagged edge on holes in the can. If we can improve the design some we can have our Scouts make their own personal stove. It’s probably best if we don’t combine the stoves with a practical first aid session.
I plan to take my first stove out for an overnight hike next week. It ought to be a near perfect winter stove for the Ozark Highlands Trail in AR.
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