Introduction: DIY Prepper Survival Stove

Picture of DIY Prepper Survival Stove

The DIY Prepper Survival Stove, sometimes referred to as a "Hobo Stove", is a versatile heat source that is both cheap and easy to assemble. The photos for this Instructable were originally part of a slideshow type video we produced for YouTube. They contain the basic instructions, but I will try to elaborate on each step as we go along. This is a fun and easy project that takes advantage of disposable items and re-purposes them into a usable heat source that can be used for heating, cooking, light, survival, etc...

Step 1: What You Will Need to Start

Picture of What You Will Need to Start

To start, you will need a wide shallow tin can like those that tuna or canned chicken come in. Be sure to save the lid to the can when you open it, we'll need that too... You will also need some cardboard, scissors or a razor knife to cut the cardboard, a ruler of some type, and masking tape...

Step 2: Fitting Your Cardboard Wick

Picture of Fitting Your Cardboard Wick

Using the ruler, you'll need to determine the depth of the can. Measure (on the inside) from the bottom of the can to the ridge where you removed the lid (do not measure to the top of the can). Using that measurement, you will want to cut strips of cardboard to that width. Length is not critical (I'll explain). Once you have your strips of cardboard cut, begin rolling them as tightly as you can. What you are trying to do is build a roll that fits tightly inside the can. You can add strips, and hold the roll together while placing into the can, with your masking tape. Again, it should fit between the bottom of the can and the rim where the lid was removed, and look like the picture when you are done. This cardboard roll will become the "wick" of your survival stove...

Step 3: Selecting the Wax to Use As Fuel

Picture of Selecting the Wax to Use As Fuel

Wax or paraffin make a great fuel source for this project because they return to a solid when cooled. We save our wax as the picture describes, but there are also cheap sources of wax such as candles from the nearest Dollar Store (or alike). Since our wax is being reused, it does not carry any heavy scents which might be unpleasant if the stove is used in cooking or a small area. You might want to keep this in mind when choosing your wax for this project...

Step 4: Melting Your Wax - Double Boiler

Picture of Melting Your Wax - Double Boiler

The next step is to melt your wax. The directions in the picture are a good way to create a double boiler that will safely and evenly melt your wax without risk of scorching or fire. The measuring cup will also give you an easy means of pouring the wax. It is better to have too much wax than not enough for this next step. While the can looks full of cardboard, the cardboard will absorb wax. And as wax melts, it always seems like you have less once it's melted. Sooo... To be safe, melt more than you need. You can always allow excess wax to cool in the measuring cup and save it for another project...

Step 5: Pouring Your Wax

Picture of Pouring Your Wax

This step is where most people have trouble. We want to pour the wax over the cardboard right to the top of the cardboard, but not submerging the cardboard. The wax will shrink back some as it cools to leave the top edges of the cardboard to serve as a wick - so it is ok to pour right to the top of the cardboard. The tricky part is to ensure the entire can is filled with wax all the way to the bottom, with as few air gaps as possible. The cardboard will try to cool the wax on contact. For this reason, you want to make sure that you leave it on the boiler until it is good and hot (it will get thinner and more like water the hotter it gets). Then pour quickly and deliberately, filling the can evenly with as much haste as is safely possible. Also, you do not want water in your stove from the outside of the measuring cup. Having a dry washcloth handy for a quick wipe of the outside of the measuring cup before pouring is a good idea. Getting the stove full in one pour is important, which is why we suggest melting more wax than you will need. Otherwise, the wax may cool between pourings and not allow new wax into voids it can no longer reach... Hot wax... One quick pour... Stop at the top of the cardboard... Be safe !!!

Step 6: Stove Ready - Burning In...

Picture of Stove Ready - Burning In...

Once cooled, your stove is ready to use. The first lighting is always the most difficult as the flames must melt the fresh wax away from the top edges of the cardboard before they can properly wick. Because of this, we suggest you go ahead and light it once at home before you are counting on it in the field. You can expect it to be a little difficult to light at first, and that the flames will spread over the surface slowly. Sometimes VERY slowly. This is normal, and only applies to the first burning. Let the flames spread over the entire surface, then allow the stove to burn for 5 or 10 minutes. This will ensure all of the top edges are exposed and ready to wick the next time you light the stove...

Step 7: Snuffing Your Stove - the Lid...

Picture of Snuffing Your Stove - the Lid...

After your stove has had 5 or 10 minutes to burn in, you can use the lid to snuff the flames. PLEASE be careful doing this, and DO NOT burn yourself. You can even use tongs if you have to. And DO NOT cut yourself on the lid, the edges are likely sharp. We simply slide the lid in from one side over the can, with enough haste that it does not have time to heat up. This will extinguish the flame. Then, if you use a stick or something to press down lightly on the lid while the wax is still hot, it will cool and hold the lid on itself.... That is about all there is to it...

Step 8: Wrapping Up... Summary

Picture of Wrapping Up...  Summary

These little survival stoves are pretty easy to build once you have done it a time or two, and really handy to have in a backpack or cook kit. Let's go back over the basic materials...

1) A wide shallow tin can, along with it's lid.

2) Scissors, masking tape, and a ruler.

3) Cardboard, cut into strips.

4) Enough wax to ensure filling the can.

5) Measuring cup and pan to make a double boiler.

6) Tongs and a stick for snuffing the flame / replacing lid.

We hope that you enjoyed this simple fun project, creating something useful from items some might see as useless. We have enjoyed sharing it will you. If you would like to help us in return, please know that we are YouTube creators, and that we depend on the support of viewers. Our channel name is: Bumble Bee Junction... Our primary content covers: Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and Homesteading in general - along with odd fun videos like this project. The easiest way to keep up with us is to Subscribe to our channel. This takes just two mouse clicks. The first, Click Here to visit the channel homepage. The second, look for the red "Subscribe" button and click it. That's it. You will be notified any time we release a new video. Your views of our videos, giving them a Thumbs Up, and leaving your comments on the videos can help support our efforts here on our homestead to assist new homesteaders and gardeners using our 20+ years of experience to shorten their learning curve. Please consider subscribing. We really do need your support. Thank you.

Mark & Tina

Bumble Bee Junction (FB and YT)

A Disabled Veteran Owned East Tennessee Homestead

Step 9: For More: Please Subscribe to Our Channel Using Instructions Above. Thank You !

Comments

About This Instructable

742views

9favorites

License:

Bio: My wife Tina and I are 20+ year homesteaders and the owners of Bumble Bee Junction which you can find on FaceBook and YouTube. We ... More »
More by Bumble Bee Junction:DIY Prepper Survival StoveFrench Onion Soup - Beef Stock - Au JusGrowing and Freezing Sweet Corn
Add instructable to: