Introduction: German Incense Smoker - Cottage

Picture of German Incense Smoker - Cottage

First of all this is a so called "Räuchermännchen". It's used to burn incense and it is very typical for Christmas in Germany.

I build a different smoker for my wife as a Christmas gift. You can find this instructable here:

We are traditionally celebrating Christmas with all our family members. I didn't want anybody to envy my wife about her present. That's why I've created this smoker and built four pieces of it - each for my parents, my parents in law, my grandma and my sister in law. To be honest, I have build seven. The first one was the proof on concept and belongs now to our collection of smokers. The last two were made for friends, who saw the smokers and wanted to have one for their own. The fotos in this instructable were taken at different times and may show different smokers. So please don't be confused, if the cottages look not identical.

I've started with a small sketch. Everything can be done at home with a small set of tools and material. Enjoy.

### Disclaimer ###
I got a nice hint by esamosfet on my other smoker project:

But hey, isn't incense smoke a source of pm10 and particulate? This should be used with parsimony. Regards, Max.

You might want to use the smoker with deliberation.

Step 1: Blueprint

Picture of Blueprint

I use two different hard wood slabs. One with a thickness of 6mm for the entire cottage and the base. The second slab has a thickness of 15mm and is used for the chimney.

Step 2: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

What's needed?

  • Two hard wood slabs with different thicknesses. I use 15mm and 6mm, but you can use different size as well. The final appearance may differ, but that's the idea about DIY stuff, isn't it? :D
  • Measurement devices
  • Pencil
  • Saw
  • Wood drills
  • Electrical driller
  • Screw clamps
  • Clear lacquer
  • Brush
  • Wood glue
  • Cutting heads
  • A coin as a base for the incense cone
  • Grinding paper


  • Chop saw for cutting all pieces. You can use a hand saw or jigsaw as well, but the finish is better with the chop saw
  • Milling machine for finishing the edges of the ground plate. You can use grinding paper as well. I use the milling machine to mill notches for joining the body parts together.

Step 3: The Cottage Body

Picture of The Cottage Body

I use my chop saw to cut the four body parts out of the 6mm thick slab. The front and back panels have the same sizes as well as the side panels. My chop saw can be rotated and I use this function to cut out 45° triangles from the front and back part.

It's important to know which kind of joint do you want to use. I'll use my milling machine to cut small notches in the front and back panels. The width of the notch is 6mm (same size as the thickness of the side panels) and the depth is 3mm (half the size of the thickness). That's why I cut the side panels 6mm shorter than the front/back panel. After glueing together the body will have a dimension of 60x60mm. You can use another type of joints, but adjust the sizes of the panels accordingly.

I use a 20mm driller to cut out a small part on the bak panel. This is where the air flows in for the ventilation.

Step 4: The Roof

Picture of The Roof

I use my chop saw to cut the two roof parts. The roof consists of two identical panels. I use 6mm thick slab again to cut out the parts. My chop saw has the advantage, that it can be rotated and tilted. I tilt it in a 45° angle and use it to cut out the roof top, where the two parts will be joint together later.

I use a saw to cut small notches in the roof parts. This creates the illusion of roofing tiles being on the roof. Now I can drill a 8mm thick hole in one roof side. It's important to drill this hole close to the edge, where the 45° angle was cut out before. Otherwise the chimney would not appear to be close to the roof top.

Step 5: The Base

Picture of The Base

The base consists of two panels, also cutouts from the 6mm thick slab. The large one is the base and the smaller one holds the incense cone and the prevents the cottage body from moving on the base. The middle part has a size of approximately 45mm, but just measure the inner dimension of the cottage body. It's important to have some play so that the cottage can be lifted easily.

I use my milling machine to apply a nice finish to the edges of the base. You can easily achieve this with grinding paper as well.

I use a 20mm driller to drill a small and not so deep hole in the middle plate. The coin will be glued here later.

Step 6: The Chimney

Picture of The Chimney

For the chimney I use a 15mm thick slab and I cut out a 30mm long and 15mm wide piece. It's important to drill the hole before cutting the 45° angle. I use a screw clamp to hold the part and to prevent it from breaking. Now I can drill a hole right through the whole piece with a 8mm diameter. The last step is to cut a 45° angle on one edge. You can finish the hole with a groove cutter (well I don't know how this thing is called exactly, but it is used to break the edges of an hole. You can see it in the last foto).

Step 7: The Door and Windows

Picture of The Door and Windows

I remove one layer of my plywood with a cutter knife (You can use thin pieces of wood from the DIY market as well) and cut out two windows and one door.

You can use different ways to make these. For example you could paint the window on the front panel or use a soldering iron to brand in the door. It's all up to you :)

Step 8: Assembling and Glueing the Parts

Picture of Assembling and Glueing the Parts

Now all parts are prepared to be joined together. At first I glue the door and the windows on the front panels. Next step is glueing the middle plate on the base plate. I continue with glueing the cottage body parts together. Now comes the roof. The last step ist to glue the chimney on the roof right on the hole.

Step 9: Finishing

Picture of Finishing

After everything is hardened I use some grinding paper to remove small edges and the rest of the wood glue. Now everything is ready to be lacquered. I use two layers on all parts.

When the lacquer is dried, I glue the coin to the hole in the inner platform.

Step 10: Done

Picture of Done

Finally the smoker cottage is finished and can be tested :D

It's difficult to catch the smoke on camera, but let me tell you, that this is working pretty good. It has a very good draught and exhales the scent to the whole room. I hope my family members will like it. I've made seven of the smoker yet.

I hope you will enjoy building this. Please let me know your experiences and improvements. Please put photos in the comments. :)


filotto78 made it! (author)2017-02-26

I used 6 mm lite plywood. In a morning I cut out pieces for 4 cottages, and I just finished the first. To be hones I still have to laquer, I'll do next days.

Stish (author)filotto782017-02-27

Wow. It looks amazing. I like the round door. I see a lot of smoke, so I guess it works pretty good :)

I made a new kind of smoker, but haven't finished the article yet. This time I used wood oil as a finish. It's faster to apply and has a great look. You could try this as well. You can see them compared on the picture I've added to this post.

Thx for sharing.

filotto78 made it! (author)Stish2017-02-28

I like your new "smoking houses". Yes, lot of smoke but I this it's due to the size of incense. My cones are tall, and that's why I think they contributed to "smoke" the inner side of the roof (see pic)

I also want to receive your advice about the finishing. I'll use oil, since I never used before and this is a good chance.

Looking forward to see your article. Very nice job!

Stish (author)filotto782017-03-01

Maybe you can try out the oil on some scrap sheet of plywood and see if you like the finish. To be honest, I've never use oil on plywood, just on "real" wood. I like the look and the smoker works just fine with it.

The soot on the inner side is normal. My houses look the same and all smokers I bought have the same marks. Nothing to worry about.

I'm looking forward to see you finished smoker.

filotto78 made it! (author)Stish2017-03-02

I tried the oil. Perhaps I bought a too light oil, I can barely see the effect on the house, but some result can be noticed on the front wall. The next house will be treated with a more dark oil, in order to stand out the (poor) veinign of the wood.

Stish (author)filotto782017-03-04

I like the finish. I think I can see a difference. But maybe it's just the lighting. Anyway great job. Thx for sharing. Please keep me posted, when you try the next one with a darker oil.

filotto78 made it! (author)Stish2017-04-07

I tried another oil, darker than the previous one. I used it on the same item. The outcome is better than before, the veining of the wood is slightly more highlighted than before.

Stish (author)filotto782017-04-09

That looks great. I should get some darker oil as well. I did some new projects meanwhile and always used oil as a finish. I really like that method :D

KevinH283 (author)filotto782017-03-18

I burn all kinds of incense in mine. I call that "seasoning" the burner.

KevinH283 (author)2017-03-18

I really like your blueprints! I made the other burner just using them, with minor changes to make it my own. great job!!

Stish (author)KevinH2832017-03-21

I'm glad you like it. Please post a picture of your version. I'd like to see it :)

BirgitJansen (author)2017-01-18

Wow, they really look nice. I love my Raeuchermaennchen, but sure will have to try to make a cottage. I doubt it will look as nice as yours, but one try, right? Nice job, Stish, really nice job!!

Stish (author)BirgitJansen2017-01-19

Thanks. It doesn't matter if your version looks a bit different, as long as you have fun making it. If you have any questions please don't hesitate and ask them. Maybe I can assist you. And most importantly, please send me pictures of your version. I'd love to see them :D


About This Instructable




Bio: Born in Berlin in 1985, engineer, contrarian, 'The Big Bang Theory' fan, my blog:
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