Collapsible Wood Burning Camp Stove (On a Budget!)





Introduction: Collapsible Wood Burning Camp Stove (On a Budget!)

About: General outdoors person

The Firebox ( is a folding stove that folds down into almost nothing but still functions as a great stove for camping, backpacking, bushcraft, etc. The only problem is the cost: $50+ for stoves of this design. This is my version of a stove coined "The Firebox Replica" by a few Youtubers. Total cost: about $7

Step 1: Materials and Tools


  • 6 3"x5" Tie Plates (can be found at hardware stores for around $1 a piece)
  • Coat hanger or thick wire


  • Rotary tool (with cut-off wheels)
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Container of water (to cool hot plates)

Step 2: Cuts

I was planning on creating a prototype, change a few things, and then create a good version fully documented but the prototype turned out better than I expected. Read captions on picture as a guide and red lines are cuts that need to be made. I suggest you mark them with a sharpie marker and ruler so cutting lines are much easier with the rotary tool. If you don't have a rotary tool a hacksaw with a metal cutting blade or a jeweler's saw should be fine but may take ages.

Step 3: You're Done!

Slot the pieces together (bars before front and back plates) and you're ready for the first burn. :D

Note: The issue of heating galvanized steel has come up, potentially releasing harmful fumes into the air. This coating can be removed or reduced by heavy sanding or heating in a campfire (these do reduce corrosion resistance).* A high temperature heat paint can be used after to protect metal plates from corrosion.

* As suggested in comments. I personally have not followed these techniques and it is up to you to do your own research on the topic then decide what you will do should you follow this guide.

Better Note: Use non-galvanized or stainless steel plates.

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96 Discussions

As Blacksmith I can Confirm that Using Galvanizes Steel for a small stove like this is perfectly fine...

Yes, you can get Metal Fume Fever from Inhaling the Fumes produces during the "Burn Out" Phase, but unless your doing that inside, or have you face directly above the stove the whole time (Which I would doubt because it would be pretty hot...)

You shouldn't have to worry about the Metal Fumes... But if you are that concerned please, just throw the whole thing in a Bonfire, and leave it for a couple of Hours to "Burn Off" the layer... Then you should be fine...

Trust me, I have used Galvanized steel Many times for Crucibles, and have Heat Forged it plenty of times without any issues...

Understand, chances of you getting harmed by heating it are minimal... And even then, mainly it would be caused by Misuse and Miscare, which can easily be avoided...


1 year ago

I'm a little confused in some of the pics, the bowtie-shaped piece is higher (sitting higher above the shelf) than in others. Was it lowered later, to work better? Or am I missing something?

We are going to have a lot of dead campers here. My kid's Scout troop regularly use Galvanized steel garbage pails to make turkeys for the big out door thanksgiving feast. Cooks fast and quite yummy. Seriously tasty bird.

1 reply

Them trash can turkeys are some of the best birds you'll ever have

I love this idea. Any idea on the weight? According to Home Depot's website each plate weighs 0.16 lb. With some back of the envelope calculations, I get 14 oz for the whole thing.

I used this last night for the first time and it rocks .


has anyone tested the actual peak temp coming from one of these stoves? ddw_az touched on the possibility of a stove made out of aluminum melting. Aluminum melts at 1200°F. This is just food for thought!

I decided to try this out with tea lights to see if I can use it indoors safely.


3 years ago

Really nice stove, bought all the materials yesterday and got started, hmm something didn't fit at all.
After reading again I noticed what was wrong.
We don't use inches over here :-)
So after some small changes to the stove it works pretty awesome
Thanks a lot.

1 reply

Okay thanks I never would of thought of stacking the cutting wheels great idea

I stacked two cutting discs on top of each other while cutting so that the width of the slot was as wide as the circles so that a second pass wasn't needed. Hope this helps. Thanks!

Oh I also forgot to mention that I used aviation tin snips for all of the external cuts, it was a lot faster and cleaner and no need to buy cutting wheels as often. also clean up was better as there were no burrs left. just my 2 cents on that. thanks again for the awesome idea.


Thank you so much. I really enjoyed your instructable, planning on making a few pairs of shoes for myself after I get a chance to pick up some rubber spray. I was a bit shocked that my project was selected from the other finalists.

This would be a great frame set up for the can alcohol stove that I made! I've been looking to make a good frame to use with it that will securely hold a pot over the stove without tipping...I think this is it! Thanks for this Instructable!

Great Idea!!!

However,are those plates galvanized. We learned in welding class that heating galvanized meal causes it to give off highly toxic fumes. That being said I think maybe setting the completed stove in a good campfire to burn off the galvanize would be a good Idea.