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The Amazing Wood-Gas Camping Stove

A simple DIY Project

By Paul Andrulis
Copyright © 2012 By Paul Andrulis

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions.


Dedications:

This book is dedicated to my beloved wife Melissa, without whose encouragement this work
would never have been possible.
Table of Contents:

The Amazing Wood-Gas Camping Stove


Copyright
Dedications:
Introduction:
Chapter 1: What exactly is a gasifier (Wood-gas) stove?
Chapter 2: How does a gasifier stove work?
Chapter 3: What are the benefits of a gasifier stove?
Chapter 4: Is a gasifier stove really inexpensive to own or operate?
Cost to make:
Upkeep:
Cost of fuel comparison:
Chapter 5: What do I need to make one?
Tools and Materials Needed:
Chapter 6: Lets Make a Stove!
Chapter 7: Marking the cans.
Outer Jacket:
Inner Combustion Chamber:
Chapter 8: Cutting and drilling.
Outer Jacket:
Combustion Chamber:
Chapter 9: Assembling the parts.
Chapter 10: Firing up the stove for the first time.
Chapter 11: Ideas for some useful accessories you can make for your new stove.
Pot stand:
Windscreen:
Carry bag:
Chapter 12: Conclusions
Cooking:
Sterilization:
Emergency signaling:
Emergency Use:
About the Author:
Introduction:

Are you tired of cooking over a campfire and choking on the thick smoke? Maybe you are frustrated
with large heavy stoves, and the accompanying bulky and expensive fuel? Let me introduce you to the
Wood-Gas stove!

The Wood-Gas stove, also called a 'wood gasifier' stove is relatively easy to build, cheap or
even free to make, and both easy and reliable to use. Best of all, the fuel itself is absolutely free,
provided for your use inevitably wherever you have chosen to camp. Though wood will be a common
choice for fuel, any dense, vegetative based, dry fuel (often called biomass) will operate these units.

The smallest unit on the cover page was capable of perking a half-gallon of coffee using only
nine pine-cones for total fuel. Wood-Gas stoves are by nature very efficient and economical in fuel
use, emitting very little to no smoke during operation, and leaving a ridiculously small amount of very
fine grained powder ash residue. Over all, a light weight, economical, and an overall worthwhile
addition to any camping backpack, outdoors cooking set, or emergency preparedness kit. These stoves
are good for personal use, make great gifts, and can even make you some extra cash if you so desire.
They are so fascinating to see demonstrated that the viewer invariably wants one.
Chapter 1: What exactly is a gasifier (wood-gas) stove?

A 'wood-gas' stove is, technically speaking, a stove based upon the process of pyrolitic
decomposition of biomass substances in a low oxygen environment into the flammable gases carbon
monoxide, methane, oxygen and hydrogen, and the inflammable gases nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
The byproducts of a completely 100% efficient device are water, carbon dioxide, heat, and pure
mineral ash. It is called a wood-GAS stove due to the fact that it burns the gas produced by pyrolysis
of the wood, and not the wood directly. Further explanation in much simpler terms concerning the
theory of operation is provided in chapter 2.

The particular type of stove I work with, and provide in this book instructions to build, is a
'modified coaxial downdraft gasification stove'. Through years of experimentation with the design, I
have never achieved 100% efficiency, though I have come very close. This estimation is based upon
the amounts of pure ash, and amounts of gaseous byproducts left unburnt, such tar (soot) residue left
on cooking implements.

The stove consists of two parts. An outer can which shall be called the Outer Jacket, and a
smaller inner can which is the Combustion Chamber where the pyrolysis occurs. A hole is cut into the
bottom of the inverted Outer Jacket, and the inner Combustion Chamber fits snugly through this hole,
leaving a distance of 3/8” to 1/2” air gap between the two cans. The outer jacket sits on the ground,
while the smaller combustion chamber should ride at least 1/2” to 3/4” above the ground.
Chapter 2: How does a gasifier stove work?

A gasifier stove works not by burning wood directly like most wood burning stoves, but by
heating wood in the Combustion Chamber until it chemically breaks down into combustible gases.
This is the process of 'pyrolysis', or the molecular breakdown of a complex molecule into simpler
molecules through the application of heat. These flammable gases are forced out through holes in the
side of the combustion chamber towards the bottom into the space between the outer jacket and the
combustion chamber. Heat from the combustion chamber causes air to be sucked in through holes in
the bottom of the outer jacket which mixes with the flammable gases coming from the combustion
chamber. The cold air/hot flammable gas mixture is then forced up between the outer jacket and the
combustion chamber through convection.

As it is forced up between the two cans, the mixture gains additional heat from the combustion
chamber which super heats the mix. After it exits the gas injection holes in the top of the combustion
chamber, the mixture ignites, and causes the signature flame pattern of a gasifier stove, which you
will notice in the following photograph.

Though the stove pictured is gasifying properly and no visible smoke is present, it is not one hundred
percent efficient. Technically, at 100% efficiency there are no loose carbon based tars or soot present
as all long chain carbon molecules would be broken down and after ignition converted to carbon
dioxide and water. Yet after use, some tar will appear on the bottom of the cooking vessel indicating
unburnt long chain carbon molecules.

A good 'rule of thumb' is simply the more efficient the stove design, the less tar or 'soot' will be
present on the cooking utensils after use. In a downdraft design such as this, I do not think at this time
100% efficiency is attainable, though I estimate that 80 - 90% is. Some designs are supposedly more
efficient, but are either much harder to construct, much larger, complex, and/or heavier, all making
them unsuitable for practical use as a camping stove. Even though it is not completely efficient, no
smoke is either visible nor is there a smell of smoke in the air. A large chamber full of wood leaves a
light dusting of extremely fine powder wood ash. One other consideration; much less soot is
deposited on pans than would be evident from a regular wood fire.

All 'downdraft' wood-gas stoves burn the fuel in the Combustion Chamber from the top down.
The inner Combustion Chamber is filled with fuel such as short pieces of stick, chunks of bark, whole
pine cones, etc., up to the row of the Combustion Chamber's top inlet holes. A small fire is started on
top to initiate the pyrolysis process. When the heat generated is sufficient to initiate the pyrolysis
reaction, the flame from the ordinary wood fire extinguishes, leaving red hot coals which sustain the
fuel consumption. At this point the flames come not from the fuel below, but as shown in the previous
photograph from the gases entering the Combustion Chamber through the inlet holes. The following
diagram shows the basic stove design and function.

As a general design rule, the Combustion Chamber should be tall and thin in comparison to the
overall stove dimensions, not short and fat. A 'short and fat' Combustion Chamber does not properly
gasify the carbon material within. It also does not provide enough travel time for the cold air/wood-
gas mixture to heat properly for good convection to occur. This means the stove has a weak draft and
therefore an improper cold air/wood-gas mixture ratio, ultimately leading to a carbonizing (smoky)
flame and lower cooking energy.
Chapter 3: What are the benefits of a gasifier stove?

If I were to list merely the benefits of the stove, I feel that I would not be giving my readers an
honest and unbiased evaluation. Therefore let us examine all of the benefits, as well as any detraction,
in comparison to other common stove types or even an open fire.

Gasifier stove:

Maintenance: None
Fuel: Biomass (wood, bark, woody plant stalks, pine cones, etc.,).
Size: Small to large. Easily scalable to desired size.
Weight: Lightweight even in larger sizes. No pack fuel weight.
Cost of stove: Inexpensive (new cans), or free (used cans).
Cost of fuel: free
Smoke (yes/no): no
Soot: some
Safety: Relatively safe.

Alcohol stove(Pepsi-can type or factory made):

Maintenance: Pepsi-can – easily damaged, factory – none.


Fuel: Ethyl (Potable 100 proof) Isopropyl (90%) or Methyl (Denatured) alcohol.
Size: Small
Weight: Ultralight aluminum (Pepsi-can) or medium weight brass(Factory). Liquid fuel is
heavy.
Cost of stove: Free (Pepsi-can) or very expensive (Factory).
Cost of fuel: Moderate
Smoke (yes/no): Isopropyl – yes, others – no.
Soot: Isopropyl – yes, others – no.
Safety: Dangerous. Liquid fuel highly flammable and stoves easily tipped over, and or crushed.

Pressurized White Gas stove (camp fuel type):

Maintenance: High. Seals and pump degrade quickly.


Fuel: White Gas Camping Fuel
Size: Medium single burner to extremely large and bulky two burner.
Weight: heavy
Cost of stove: Expensive
Cost of fuel: Expensive
Smoke (yes/no): no
Soot: Not on properly functioning units.
Safety: Dangerous, known for leaks which cause and spread fires rapidly.

Propane stove:

Maintenance: High, tends to develop leaks and become dangerous to operate.


Fuel: Propane canisters.
Size: Medium (single burner) to large/bulky (two burner).
Weight: Medium to heavy.
Cost of stove: Expensive
Cost of fuel: Very expensive.
Smoke (yes/no): no
Soot: no
Safety: Dangerous. Known for developing leaks which can cause fire or explosion.

Gelled alcohol stove (Chafing fuel type):

Maintenance: None
Fuel: Gelled alcohol cans.
Size: Small
Weight: Medium
Cost of stove: Medium
Cost of fuel: Very expensive.
Smoke (yes/no): some
Soot: some
Safety: Relatively safe.

Wood (hobo stove or rocket stove) Stove:

Maintenance: Hobo none – extremely simple single can design, rocket complex and difficult.
Fuel: Wood
Size: Hobo small, rocket large.
Weight: Hobo lightweight, rocket very heavy.
Cost of stove: Both free.
Cost of fuel: Free
Smoke (yes/no): Hobo much, rocket no.
Soot: Hobo much, Rocket some.
Safety: Relatively safe.
Fuel Tab (hexane) Stove:

Maintenance: None
Fuel: Hexane fuel tabs.
Size: Small
Weight: light
Cost of stove: Moderate
Cost of fuel: Expensive
Smoke (yes/no): no
Soot: no
Safety: relatively safe.

Scores by Category:

Maintenance: Gasifier, Hobo, Factory alcohol, Gelled alcohol, Fuel tab


Size: Pepsi-can
Weight: Pepsi-can
Cost of stove: Gasifier, Pepsi-can, wood*
Cost of fuel: Gasifier, wood
Smoke (yes/no): Gasifier, white gas, propane, rocket, alcohol*, gelled alcohol, fuel tab
Soot (with the right fuel): White gas, propane, alcohol, fuel tab
Safety: Gasifier, gelled alcohol, wood, fuel tab

* Note: 'Wood' refers to both hobo and rocket type stoves, as in the final scores they are equal in
this instance. 'Alcohol' in the same manner refers to both Pepsi-can and factory type stoves.

Final Outcome:

Gasifier stove: 5
Alcohol: Pepsi-can 5, factory 3
White Gas: 2
Propane: 2
Wood: Hobo 4, Rocket 4
Gelled Alcohol: 3
Fuel tab: 4

In direct side by side comparison, the only tie for the Wood-gas stove is the Pepsi-can type
alcohol stove for overall usefulness. However, the Pepsi-can type alcohol stove loses the most
important category in my book, and probably yours as well, which is safety. No cooking stove is
perfectly safe, but liquid fuel stoves and bottled gas stoves are by very nature quite hazardous.

One last thing to note, since we are doing actual comparison. It should be pointed out that the
gasifier stove will smoke initially. The Combustion Chamber must reach critical temperature, around
eight hundred degrees Fahrenheit, before gasification takes place. The stove is started with a small
fire on top of the fuel load to ignite it. The stove will smoke like any other biomass fire until
gasification occurs, and then the smoke suddenly stops. After gasification begins, you will be hard
pressed to even smell anything from the stove.
Chapter 4: Is a gasifier stove really inexpensive to own or operate?

This question of over-all cost to own and use is really a threefold problem.

How much does such a stove cost to make?


What, if any, are the problems and cost of upkeep?
What is the fuel cost, and how does it compare with other options?
How long can I expect the stove to last?

These questions all are relevant towards the over-all cost of the stove. An initially cheap stove
may not be actually inexpensive at all, if either the fuel cost is outrageous or it costs a small fortune to
keep operational through upkeep. An expensive stove may be cheaper in the long run if the fuel is
cheap enough. Over-all cost must account for all possible costs.
Cost to make:

The cost to make a wood-gas stove is negligible. When using cans found around the home, it is
absolutely free. Though many may wonder about utilizing used materials, it in no manner creates an
inferior product. It is a good and useful means of recycling the materials as well. Consider the stove
in the photograph below:

This stove has been through numerous rain storms, camping trips, has made countless meals, and
boiled numerous pots of coffee. I am showing pictures of old stoves throughout this book to
demonstrate just how reliable they really are. All of the stoves pictured are beat-up, well used, and
abused camping veterans of many years of camping service. Every single one of them still works as
well as when I first made them. This stove was completely free, as the outer jacket started life as a
steel No. 10 coffee can, and the inner combustion chamber was a steel infant formula can.

You may well even decide to buy brand new cans to make a stove. A new gallon paint can for an
outer jacket will run about five to eight dollars at a lumber store, or even much cheaper on-line. A
quart paint can may cost around four dollars for an inner combustion chamber at the same store. Total
cost for a stove that will last for many years of hard use? Eleven dollars brand new, or completely
free used.

Concerning a backpacking stove, a quart sized outer jacket is optimum for overall size/weight in
a pack. For these I buy a quart paint can for the Outer Jacket and use a thoroughly cleaned recycled
green bean can for the inner Combustion Chamber. Say what you will, but the lowly green bean can is
optimum for a quart can Outer Jacket, and I have not yet found a new can for sale which serves the
purpose better. The factory green bean cans are made of a decent quality mild steel, fit into the quart
paint can perfectly, and they really hold up to constant use. Sometimes the free option can also equal
the best option.
Upkeep:

The only real upkeep I have had to perform was 'pop out' the occasional dent or two. I have yet to
observe a Combustion Chamber failure, and this part withstands the most strain due to the intense heat
it is subjected to during gasification. Even without proper tools a knife could make an emergency
replacement, though for safety's sake I heartily do not recommend it. Using a knife to cut sheet metal
has removed many fingers throughout history. Absolutely under no circumstances use a folding knife
for the purpose. Using a knife should not be considered, unless as a last ditch, no choice, emergency
resort only.

If concerned, a person could help protect their stove from season to season by applying an
annual coat of high temp spray paint to the stove. This will prevent the minor rust and corrosion you
saw on the four year old stove in the previous photograph. Painting the unit between trips would be a
complete waste of time, as the first time it is fired up it would quickly burn off even high temperature
paint in the Combustion Chamber, and the Outer Jacket itself is somewhat insulated by the convected
gases.
Cost of fuel comparison:

The cost of the fuel is the absolute best feature of the stove. No matter how much money is spent to
buy any other non-wood burning stove, the fuel cost itself ranges from prohibitive even outrageous.
Three to five dollars for a single quart of denatured alcohol, or even more for the potable varieties to
run the liquid alcohol stoves. They require almost pure alcohol to operate, and will not run on less
than 90% pure alcohol. Cheap 70% Isopropyl alcohol will not work. White gas often costs three
times more per gallon than the gasoline you put in your car. Gelled alcohol generally costs as much as
thirteen dollars for a six pack of small seven ounce cans, or forty two total ounces. Hexane tabs
generally cost around six and a half dollars for twelve tablets. Yes, you read correctly, just twelve
tablets. Calculate that per gallon.

Over time it literally costs a small fortune to own and operate the other previously listed types
of stoves. Also, you are literally both space and weight limited on how much fuel you can carry with
you. If you are planning a week or longer outing, they are not really a valid camping option. Consider
that sixteen ounces of alcohol is only sixteen meals, or five days plus an extra breakfast. That is also
assuming you do not either sterilize any drinking water or perform other tasks with the stove.

The other wood stoves listed also tend to fail the usability test. Either you cough and choke on
the heavy tar and smoke of a hobo type wood stove, or you are cooking at home on a heavy rocket
stove which has either heavy clay or concrete insulation. The rocket stove is not a portable packing
option unless you spend a small fortune on dangerous ceramic wool insulation, and it is the only
wood stove I know of which is even close to comparable to the gasifier type stoves for efficiency.

Lastly, consider the wood-gas stove. The fuel can be any dense dry carbon based biomass.
Wood instantly comes to mind, but bark, pine cones, various dried seed pods, woody plants, small
sticks, dried cactus, dense dry weed stalks.... I could list for pages the possible fuels for this stove.
So long as the fuel is dry carbon based biomass the gasifier stoves are not picky.

Theron also lies the gasifier stoves main weakness, it's proverbial 'Achilles heel' so to speak.
The fuel for a Wood-gas stove does need to be relatively dry. A Wood-gas stove can be made to burn
damp or green materials, but getting the heat in the Combustion Chamber to the point of gasification
can be a chore. If the stove is already at gasification temperature, green sticks or damp fuel can be fed
with impunity and the stove catches up rapidly.

Initially, green material or rain soaked wood has to boil off the extra moisture before the stove
may even reach gasification temperature. This limits the stoves ability to build the necessary heat to
boil off said moisture. A very frustrating and often viscous cycle.
Chapter 5: What do I need to make one?

As with any project there are requisite items, namely materials and/or tools, needed to make the
object desired. This project uses a few simple tools and only two cans.
Tools and Materials Needed:

The tools you will need are fairly simple, with the only power tool necessary being a hand drill. You
will need:

1 Sharpie permanent marker.


1 Pair of leather gloves. Burrs and the edges of cut sheet metal are extremely sharp.
1 Tape measure, ruler, or seamstress tape. I prefer a seamstress tape as the cloth measuring tape
easily measures circumferences of round objects such as cans.
1 Tin snips or small but heavy duty metal shears capable of cutting light gauge sheet metal. I use
aviation style compound action tin snips.
A 1/8” drill bit to precisely start the holes for the larger step drill bit.
1 Sheet metal step drill for up to 3/4” holes. The cheap ones work just fine, though the expensive
bits do work much better. I use the cheap ones myself. *
1 Hand drill. Cordless or corded either one will work, but variable speed is very handy.

* Note: Large drill bits could be used in place of the sheet metal step drill, but they will not
come close to providing as clean of a hole. If using large bits, start small and then drill successively
larger holes to the finished size. Be sure to de-burr the holes afterwards. As far as cost, a cheap three
piece step drill set is only ten bucks or so.
Materials Needed:

1 can for the Outer Jacket


1 can for the inner combustion chamber, approx 1 to 1-1/2 inch smaller in diameter than the
Outer Jacket can.

The only limitations are that both cans must be steel, and the inner can must be between one and
one half inches smaller in diameter than the Outer Jacket. Aluminum cans may melt due to the intense
heat of the Combustion Chamber during gasification, so should be avoided. The diameter relationship
of the two cans allows for proper spacing between the Combustion Chamber and the Outer Jacket.
This spacing determines whether enough air flow is available, and whether said air flow is heated
enough for necessary proper convection to occur. Too little of a gap restricts the air flow, while an
excessively large gap prevents proper wood-gas/air mixture heating.
Chapter 6: Let's make a stove!

I am going to assume you have the tools listed in the previous chapter. Now, let us determine
what your needs are, which will determine the relative size of stove you need to make. You may
decide you want to make more than one sized stove. This is not a problem as the exact same
techniques are used are used to make a small one, as an extremely large one. It is also much faster to
fabricate two stoves simultaneously rather than separately. Therefore, if you want one for personal
use and a larger one for family use, I would advise building both together.

The first choice which must be made is for the size of the stove. The over-all size of the stove is
determined proportionally by the size of the outer jacket. A description of the capabilities of each
general size is in order. First, here is a small list of approximate can sizes.

1lb (small) coffee can – 3 X 5 ½


2lb (medium) coffee can – 5 1/8 X 6 1/2
3lb (large) coffee can – 6 3/16 X 7 (same as No. 10 tin)
1 qt paint can – 4 3/16 X 4 3/16
½ gal paint can – 5 7/16 X 5 7/8
1 gal paint can – 6 5/8 X 7 1/2
5 qt paint can – 6 5/8 X 9 1/2

Cooking with small camping 'cooking cups' or mess kits works well using a smaller backpacking
size stove. The entire stove is small, compact, and very lightweight weighing in at only a couple of
ounces. A good outer jacket for this stove would be about quart size, and I regularly use either quart
sized paint or stain cans for the purpose.

A stove capable of easily cooking with larger family sized cookware, is a medium sized unit
utilizing an outer jacket of a half-gallon paint can, or a 2lb. Coffee can. The wider based can will be
more stable for full size cookware, will still fit in a backpack, but is twice the volume of the quart
sized. It is still very lightweight at much less than a pound as well.

For group cooking with large cookware such as stock pots, a large outer can should be used for
stability, as a wider base is less prone to tipping. Heat between the medium and large sizes are
approximately the same, but burn time increases due to a much larger volume in the Combustion
Chamber for the larger stove. For this purpose a 3lb. Coffee can or either a 1 gal or 5 qt paint can
should be used for the Outer Jacket. This unit is too large for practical backpacking, but great for
ordinary camping.

Now that you have decided which stove size you need, then it is time to start marking out the
cans. Marking shall be followed by drilling the holes, cutting, and lastly by the final assembly. Much
thought has gone into the manner of conveying the necessary information to the reader. Pure text
leaves everything widely open to confusion. Photographs of one being built leave much to the
imagination even with explanation, though this tends to be the common approach. Therefore I have
chosen to use a combination of photographs, explanation, and illustration type diagrams to show the
process as the most effective solution to the problem.
Chapter 7: Marking the cans.

The first step will be to mark out the outer Jacket. If you decide to change the size or spacing of holes,
you need to understand that the cold air inlet holes need to be at least 3/4” in diameter to allow
enough cold air flow into the stove for a proper wood-gas/air mixture, so 3/4” x 2 + 1/4” (to retain
material strength) is at minimum 1-3/4” spacing. Concerning the Combustion Chamber holes, leave at
least 1/8” gap between holes.

The various hole relationships are as follows: The Outer Jacket cold air inlet holes must be
greater in surface area than the combined bottom Combustion Chamber wood-gas escape holes. The
surface area of the Outer Jacket cold air inlet holes must also be at least equal too, but not less than,
the combined surface area of the upper row of wood-gas/air mixture Combustion Chamber inlet
holes. The surface area of the ring between the cans must be at least equal to, but not less than the
combined surface area of the upper row of wood-gas/air mixture Combustion Chamber inlet holes.
These relationships are necessary for proper convection, and for proper wood-gas/air ratio and
mixing.
Outer Jacket:

The outer Jacket provides two functions. It is the outer jacket which forms an air chamber for the
cold air input to mix with the wood-gas before combustion. It is also the structural wall which carries
the weight of any cooking implements and/or food which are placed upon the stove if a pot-stand is
used. This section will demonstrate how to mark out the jacket for cutting and drilling.

This is the only part of the unit that requires any cutting, as the Combustion Chamber is inserted
through the hole cut in the top of the Outer Jacket. Examine the following diagram for an overview of
the Outer Jacket's side marking. A separate diagram will be provided later for marking out the top.

A. The first set of marks bisect the top into four equal parts. Place a single mark on the rim, then
follow it across to the other rim dividing the can top in half. Mark the middle of this line, then rotate
the can 90 degrees and repeat. You may not be exact, but you will be extremely close.

B. Transfer the lines from step A to the outside of the can at the rim. Hold the can perpendicular
to your body, then place the point of the marker on your mark. Slide your hand straight back towards
your body, and you will have a nice straight line down the side of your can.

C. The line around the circumference of the can at the base is made in a similar manner. Measure
up from the bottom (open end of can) one inch, and place a mark. Place point of your marker on the
mark, with the rim of the can resting solidly on your palm. Hold marker steady, and rotate the can
until the line is completely around the can.

D. For the final set of marks, hold the can with the bottom towards you. The line going around
the can is perpendicular to the four marks down the side of the can. Divide each section between the
four lines into three equal parts by making a short line across the main line around the circumference
of the can, as demonstrated in the following photograph.

In the photo, the lines are all laid out and marked. The vertical lines in the picture, where they
intersect the horizontal lines around the can will be the points for drilling each cold air intake hole.
Now let's work on the top. Consider the following diagram.
A. Place you combustion chamber can upside down onto the top of the jacket, and use your marker to
trace around the rim.

B. This circle does not have to be exact. Freehand draw it inside the first circle by one half inch.

C. These black triangles will be cut out to form the tabs. These will be the tabs that hold the
combustion chamber firmly in place. Once folded down at slightly less than 90 degrees to the
vertical, they will press against the combustion chamber like little one half inch long spring teeth.
The top should look similar to the preceding photograph when the top marking is finished.

This photograph demonstrates what the Outer Jacket should look like after all marking has been
completed.
Inner Combustion Chamber:

The inner combustion chamber has no cut-outs requiring snips, just holes. First, consider the
following diagram.

A. In similar manner as the outer Jacket, the first set of marks bisect the bottom, instead of the
top, into four equal parts. Place a single mark on the rim, then follow it across to the other rim,
dividing the can top in half. Mark the middle of this line, then rotate the can 90 degrees and repeat.
You may not be exact, but you will be extremely close

B. Transfer the lines from step A to the outside of the can at the rim. Hold the can perpendicular
to your body, then place the point of the marker on your mark. Slide your hand straight back towards
your body, and you will have a nice straight line down the side of your can.

C. The line around the circumference of the can at both the top and the base are made in a similar
manner. Measure up from the bottom (open end of can) five eights of an inch, and place a mark. Place
point of your marker on the mark, with the rim of the can resting solidly on your palm. Hold marker
steady, and rotate the can until the line is completely around the can. Repeat this procedure at the top.
D. On the bottom line going around the circumference of the can, divide each section between
the four lines into two equal parts by making a short line across the main line around the
circumference of the can, as demonstrated in the diagram.

E. On the top line going around the circumference of the can, divide each section between the
four lines into four equal parts by making a short line across the line centered between the two
vertical lines, as demonstrated in the diagram. Now, divide the distance between this line on each sid
in two again, placing a mark at each point.

The preceding photograph demonstrates dividing the can bottom as in step A.


This is what the combustion chamber should look similar too. I have chosen on this model to divide
the bottom line into three equal parts between each vertical line instead of two, as I intend to use 3/8”
holes instead of 1/2”, therefore need more holes to achieve the proper surface area ratio.

The picture above demonstrates how to divide the perpendicular lines on the combustion Chamber
bottom to form a grid, which when drilled out, will form a built in ash grate.
Marking out half of the grid using one set of lines.

After rotating the can 90 degrees and finishing the other set of lines, this is what the grid looks like.
This grid does not have to be precise, as it's only purpose is for an ash grate after final drilling. You
can measure and mark out using a ruler for a straight edge if you prefer.

This is the last of the marking. Now, we are ready to cut and drill the stove in preparation for
final assembly.
Chapter 8: Cutting and drilling.

The outer body will be the fastest to complete, with only a few holes to drill, and some cutting which
will go fast on the very top. The combustion chamber has many holes, and will be the slowest to
manufacture.No photographs are really necessary at this point. All of the drilling is already precisely
marked out on placement, and is merely a matter of drilling the right sized holes on the numerous X's
formed by lines crossing each other.

Please wear your gloves for all stages of machining and assembly work which remains. Drill
bits and tin snips can leave razor sharp burrs and edges capable of cutting clean to the bone without
much pressure. It really is a matter of safety. Have a few band-aids ready anyway, as it is better to
have them and not need them, then to need them and not have them. As careful and conscientious as I
am concerning safety, I still invariably encounter a sharp edge somewhere myself, the difference
being that I rarely suffer a deep major injury.
Outer Jacket:

I will start with the cutting section as it will teach a simple solution to a sheet metal work brain
puzzle. The puzzle is how to start cutting with tin snips in the middle of a piece of sheet metal without
cutting in from the edge.

Cutting:
What needs to be done now is to cut out the inner circle, and then cut out the triangles to form the
tabs. Do not cut out the outer circle! It is there to mark the inner edge of the tabs as a guide mark
only, and is not a cut mark. When cutting out the triangles, stop each cut as soon as it hits this line.

After reading the instructions above, you may well be looking at the top of the Outer Jacket with
the two circles and the pattern of triangles while holding a pair of tin snips wondering if the author
lost his ever-loving mind. How are you supposed to cut out the circle, without cutting up the whole
can?

Easy! Use the step drill in the very center of the can top to drill out the very largest hole on the
bit to give yourself a place to start cutting. Now comes a note about the use of tin snips. Using snips to
cut out a circle can be fairly easy... IF you know what to do. Otherwise you will fight it.

Aviation tin snips usually come in a pack of three, and the handles are different colors. You
should have a red, green, or a yellow handled pair. Yellows and reds cut left hand while cutting out a
circle, while greens cut right hand. What this means is that the side of the snips in which bottom side
of the shears is bolted is on the left for yellows and reds, but on the right for greens. Cut to the line
from the center hole, then turn left for yellow or red handled snips, or turn right for green handled
snips. The material the snips push up will then be the center circle can material being removed.
Otherwise the snips will want to bind, and you will experience a hard time cutting it out.

Drilling:
There are 12 holes which need to be drilled, all marked on the bottom line going around the
circumference of the can. If unsure which line is referenced, see Outer Jacket Marking Diagram, and
accompanying explanation C.

Start drilling using the 1/8” drill bit. Drill a hole everywhere a vertical line intersects the bottom
line, which should leave a single row of holes (cold air inlet see diagram) around the base of the can.
Follow this by drilling all holes with the Step Bit, carefully enlarging the holes to 3/4”. Every 'step'
on the bit is marked as to size. Make sure to follow safe drilling procedures, as outlined in your drill
manual, and in the usage sheet provided with the step bit.
Combustion Chamber:

Now, for the time consuming drilling. Drilling is the only sheet metal work that is required for the
Combustion Chamber.
Drilling:

The grate on the bottom of the can should be 1/4” holes ('Grate' pattern on last photo of previous
chapter).
The bottom row of 8 holes around the can should be drilled to 1/2” (Item D. in Combustion
Chamber Mark-out Diagram).
Last but not least the top row of Combustion Chamber inlet holes should be drilled to 3/8” (Item
C. in Combustion Chamber Mark-out Diagram).

Start out your drilling just as with the Outer Jacket, using the 1/8” drill bit to drill all of the spots
where one line crosses another, followed by the step bit after all holes are pre-drilled. After these
holes are all drilled, the only detail remaining is to bend down the tabs.

On the Outer Jacket top, all of the tabs are pointing towards the middle. Using your fingers, bend
them down a little bit until they almost form a 90 degree angle to the can top. The Combustion
Chamber needs to slide against these tabs tightly as the unit is assembled.
Chapter 9: Assembling the parts.

Everything at this point is finished according to the metal-working aspect of the project. You are
ready now to assemble the two pieces into a functioning stove. Make sure at this point that all the
holes are drilled on both cans, and that the top of the Outer Jacket is fully cut out and the tabs turned
down. Please refer to the following assembly diagram.

The Combustion Chamber should appear to not quite fit the hole. This is exactly what you want,
namely a solid friction fit. You want this as the factory rim of the Combustion Chamber will not
easily pop through the hole in the Outer Jacket, and the stove will be both sturdy and solid. To start
the Combustion Chamber into the hole, hold the Combustion Chamber at an angle to the hole, then
start one edge, pressing the can in until half of the bottom factory can rim has popped in. Next,
wobble the Combustion chamber in a circular manner to work the rest of the can rim into the hole.
Once the factory rim has started all the way around, simply press the combustion chamber down until
the top factory rim touches the Outer Jacket top all the way around.

You are done. It is now time to fire up the unit for the first time.
Chapter 10: Firing up the stove for the first time.

The purpose of an initial fire-up is to burn out any residues or coatings which may be in either can.
This should be done only outside and preferably downwind of any open doors or windows. It will
not take long for the unit to cleanse itself, but you really do not want to cook on the stove until
all internal coatings are gone. The coatings, often plastic or zinc galvanization, can put some
interesting chemicals in your food otherwise, and I cannot stress enough that you should stand upwind
of the unit yourself for the first burn. After the smoke has stopped, the unit is gasifying all the burnable
materials within the stove, including any coatings or chemical residues.

Fill the unit just up to the top row of inlet holes in the Combustion Chamber. Do not pack the unit
tight with fuel, but pack it loosely. Enough space has to exist within the fuel to allow wood-gas to
migrate to the bottom row of holes in the combustion chamber and escape. Using small branches and
twigs around 2” long and some tinder in the center, make a very small teepee style fire on top of the
fuel. This will provide the initial heat to:

A. Ignite the main fuel load.


B. Start the initial gasification process.

As I stated elsewhere, this unit will smoke until the gasification process starts, then the smoke
should suddenly stop, and flames should be coming from the gasification inlet holes at the top of the
combustion chamber.
Chapter 11: Ideas for some useful accessories you can make for your new stove.

Accessories make using your stove easier, nicer, or more convenient. They are handy, useful objects
which add to the stoves value on the trail. Here are three basic ideas which you will want to consider
for your stove. These are not the only possible accessories, nor are the instructions provided the only
ways to make them. By all means, you have taken the step towards creativity in making your own
stove, let your imagination come up with improvements, or even new alternatives!
Pot stand:

This is something I highly recommend. I know that you probably have a camping cooking grate with
legs. What camper doesn't? Though it would work, it is not an ideal solution. I played that tune for a
while, but it always left something to be desired. Camping grates are bulky, sometimes heavy, and
other lightweight, free, and most importantly better options are available.

A part of a single can, slightly smaller than the Outer Jacket on your stove is the ideal solution.
You really are faced with two options:

A permanently attached pot stand.


A removable pot stand.

In the following diagram, I will provide an option which can be either. It requires only a can
bottom section cut and drilled in the manner shown in the following diagram. The can bottom section
should be about 2”-2-1/2” tall. Leave the two tabs marked “A.” off for the removable option, or
center the pot stand with tabs bent inwards as shown and screw down to the top of your stove using
two self-tapping sheet-metal screws for a permanent, no fuss solution. You have already learned the
techniques to make the stand while making the stove, so step by step instructions are not necessary.
The diagram should suffice by showing you what it will look like, showing top, bottom, and side
views.
'A.' refers to the tabs which need to be bent inwards if the permanent option is chosen. Run the
screws through the tabs into the top of your stove if that is the case. Cut them off if not. Make sure to
leave the long wide slot on the top section to allow easy addition of more fuel, without having to
remove the pot-stand.
Windscreen:

A windscreen is nice on windy days when the wind tends to blow the heat away from your cooking
pot, causing you to use extra fuel to cook a meal. This idea presented is cheap, simple, lightweight -
weighing only an ounce, and will fit inside your stove. Sheet metal can be used, but is both heavy and
bulky.

Find two straight sticks.


Cut a point on one end of each.
Stick firmly into the ground upwind of the stove.
Place a sheet of heavy gauge aluminum foil around the two sticks.
Fold the ends of the foil around the sticks.
Carry bag:

Do you own a sewing machine, or know how to use a needle? If the answer is yes, than you may enjoy
making a carry bag for your stove. Otherwise you may want to buy one that will work, as a carry bag
will protect the stove, and keep any soot from the stove off of the other items in your pack.

Have a pair of ratty jeans with holes in the knees? How about a foot and a half of rope? If so,
then you can make a simple, free, but extremely durable backpacking carry bag for your Wood-Gas
stove!

Fit the stove down the denim tube of the old jeans leg, until it becomes snug.
Fold the denim tube over on top and bottom, and mark the fold lines with your marker.
Remove the stove.
Cut the tube ½ inch past the bottom line.
Cut the tube two inches past the top line. This is the bottom of your carry bag.
Turn the tube inside out and sew the bottom line.
Fold the top section back on it self until the line is visible.
Cut out the original seam from the edge to the line, then snip off.
Place the rope up inside the fold, with the ends protruding from the notched out seam area.
Sew the bottom of the fold to the tube around the rope, making sure not to sew the tube itself
shut, as this is the end you will put your stove into the bag from.
Tie the very end of the rope together in a simple knot, to prevent it coming out.
Turn the tube right side out. You nows have a carry bag with a cinch type closure!
Chapter 12: Conclusions about the stove, and what you can do with it.

Whether talking about cooking, sterilization, emergency signaling, or even as a backup


emergency device for cooking when the power is out the gasifier stove does it all.
Cooking:

Using the gasifier stove for cooking is easy. Anything you can do on your stove top in your home, you
can do with a gasifier stove. With a pot stand, the stove is completely stand alone and can be used
just like any other burner type stove. The heat is sufficient for any task, and even a small quart sized
stove will have water to a rolling boil within minutes. For large meals add more fuel as necessary.
Just be sure not to overfill the unit past the wood-gas inlet holes, otherwise it will start smoking for a
short time. These stoves do not change the flavor of the food cooked over them, unlike other wood
stoves or a campfire which leaves a heavy smoky flavor.
Sterilization:

Bringing water to a rapid boil and holding it there for five minutes guarantees that all biological life
which may be living in it is dead. From microscopic bacteria, protozoa, parasitic worms, to viruses,
you never know what is living in surface water. The CDC advocates heat as a good means of killing
such pathogens, and recommends one minute at a boil just to be safe below 6562ft altitude. The
boiling point lowers with greater altitude. Five Minutes is a great rule of thumb, as it gives some
leeway even over the altitude limit the CDC imposes of three minutes for over 6562ft. If you boil for
five minutes, it works anywhere.

Boiling for five minutes after a thorough cleaning will even sterilize your camping spork which
someone used to dig out stink bait from a jar, without your permission of course. It also sterilizes
baby bottle, nipples, and rings. If your dish cleaning sponge is starting to smell, boiling will kill the
bacteria causing the odor. In the field, the gasifier stove will work wonderfully for this without
adding chemical hydrocarbon tars like a campfire will do.
Emergency signaling:

Fill the stove with fuel, then light from underneath using a match. This design gasifies burning the fuel
from the top down. Burning from the bottom up produces little heat, but it does provide a veritable ton
of smoke. It becomes a portable 'smudge pot', from which you can signal for help'. Burning oily seed
pods or green sticks over the dry fuel produces even more volumes of smoke. Far more smoke than an
equivalent campfire or stove with the same fuel.
Emergency Use:

A storm rolls through or an earthquake rumbles knocking down power-lines, or even poles. Two to
three weeks before power is restored, and you have an electric stove. The bag of charcoal you have
will only last a couple of days maximum. If an earthquake, it may have severed gas lines as well.
Plenty of food, but no means to cook it. Eat it cold maybe?

Just pull out a gasifier stove, and not even break a sweat. Every imaginable scenario where
emergency cooking is needed, the gasifier stove is there. Easy to build and fuel is everywhere. The
ability to purify water and cook food make the gasifier a true emergency prep necessity.
About the Author:
A long time endearing love of the outdoors combined with almost 30 years outdoors experience
in camping, hunting, fishing, and wilderness survival have joined with a desire to share the
knowledge accumulated through many years of practice. Paul Andrulis has written numerous amateur
how-to articles, and is now bringing his outdoor knowledge and skill set to the general public.

“Survival revolves around a number. 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact. Everything about
wilderness survival is aimed at that bullseye.” - Paul Andrulis

“Wilderness living is fun and rewarding. Wilderness survival sucks, as it is pure hardship and
semi-starvation. The longer you are engaged in survival at any one time the greater the chances you
will not actually survive. The goal in any emergency is to get from survival to living as fast as
humanly possible...... However, if you do not know how to survive in an emergency, you won't have
to worry about living anyway.” - Paul Andrulis