Introduction: Hack a Weber Rapidfire® Into an Awesome Woodstove®

There are loads of Instructables about making small portable wood stoves. I've made a number of these stoves over the years, hacked out of tin cans and other bits of scrap.

When I saw the Weber Rapidfire in my local hardware store, it's reasonably priced (£20 in B&Q) and looked like it was ready made for hacking into a really nice woodstove, plus it's quite well built so should last a bit longer than the average old tin can.

UPDATE 30/08/2014:

I have now created a (slightly improved) AutoCAD compatible DWG file of this Instructable, suitable for laser cutting services. It's attached to this page with the filename 'weber.dwg'. Please feel free to download, share and improve this file & of course have pan rests made using your local laser cutting service.

UPDATE 11/9/14:

I now have ready made laser-cut pan rests available for sale on eBay, using the same design as the .dwg file:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pan-Rest-4-Weber-RapidFire-makes-it-into-awesome-Bushcraft-Camping-Wood-Stove-/301309770529?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item4627763b21

Or contact me through Instructables. I'm UK based but will ship worldwide.

Materials:

Step 1: Destruction Stages...

  1. Get your Weber Rapidfire.
  2. Lever out, or cut out, the conical grill/hearth thing (it's in there to hold the charcoal if it's being used for a charcoal starter, in our case it would get in the way a bit so it needs to go)
  3. I levered out mine by sticking a screwdriver in one of the slots in prising one of the three lugs out. Once one is out, it's easy to pull the whole thing out.
  4. Now you have an empty chimney tube.
  5. Remove the squarish secondary handle. [If you want to leave the hack there, or if you don't have the tools to make the pan support bit, you can actually balance this handle on top of the chimney as a simple improvised pan support. It works but you can't put a very big pan on it before you start to restrict the outflow of the fire and it will go smoky.]

Step 2: Making a Proper Nice Pan Support

I'm sorry but I was so excited to get the pan support made that I didn't actually take any 'before' pictures of the metal plates, or any 'during' photos of the metal working process. But I'm hoping that for most people it is pretty self explanatory basic metal work.

You need two paired slots, 2mm wide and 25mm deep, on on each piece of metal, so that when slotted together they form a cross shape. This could be done in many different ways - I had to use the fairly low-tech solution of a hacksaw (my favourite kind of saw ;-) ) and some needle files, in order to get a slot that was neat and exactly 2mm wide.

Note that one slot comes up from the bottom of the metal plate, and the other comes down from the top, so that they slot together.

(You could do this slot in many other ways including with a 2mm wide saw machine, a bandsaw, a milling machine, a laser cutter, etc.)

Next up you need to cut some notches so that the support will sit securely on the top of the chimney. I simply measured where they should be, marked up, and made 5mm deep triangular notches with a triangle shaped file. (In my case these notches were each about 90 - 95mm from the central notch, but this may vary slightly so I'd recommend measuring and centring the pan support on your individual stove)

I then rounded the corners and sanded and smoothed the metal.

Step 3: Lighting Up...

The stove needs to be on a fire-proof base for use. It WILL burn a wooden surface, and scorch grass to ash. So I'd advise placing it on a flagstone, paving block, bricks, or a raised metal surface.

Fuel: The nice thing about these kind of stoves is that they run on the kind of tiny twig stuff that most people wouldn't even bother to bend down to pick up. They produce their incredible heat through gasification of the wood, and therefore you don't need much wood. That makes them great for camp cooking in rural campsites as you can usually find more than enough fallen dead wood to run your stove!

Here as you can see in the photo I have filled the chimney about 2/3 full of small finger-thick dry twigs, in this case from a dead Elder tree.

Lighting: The chimney effect makes it very easy to light even in windy conditions and it gets going quickly. You could light it in a credible, Bushcrafty kind of way - such as using a bowdrill, hand-drill, or firesteel. You could even focus the rays of the sun with a fresnel lens salvaged from the landing light of the wreckage of the plane crash you survived out in the wilderness.

Sure, we can all do that, but it would just be showing off.

I tend to splash on a little paraffin and throw in a match.

Step 4: In Use:

From lighting to a usable cooking heat was less than 60 seconds.

This stove heated 1 litre of water from cold (about 20C today) to full boil in 2 minutes 30 seconds.

The unbelievable heat of these stoves makes them ideal for cooking that requires super-high heat, like Chinese stir-fry and doing really good pan-fried steaks, properly done on the outside and rare inside.

Another great feature of these twig-burning stoves is that they go out quickly. That sounds odd for a fire, but if you think, when you light a charcoal barbecue it might be red hot for 4 hours, during which time you are responsible for making sure kids and adults are safe around it. It's nice to be able to light a fire, do your cooking, and then have it go out and be safe. If you don't put any more fuel on, they go out within 20-30 minutes, and are cool to touch after another 15-20 minutes. Great for responsible wood fired cooking in a campsite environment.

Comments

author
TFS Jake (author)2014-06-30

they make a smaller version for even better portability.

author
Food-D (author)2015-06-17

Very good. I just did one where you use the naked heat for searing steaks/kebabs. Love it!

author
greintsma (author)2014-08-28

Hi there! I just found one in the dumptser about an hour ago!

do I really need to remove the grate? couldn't the twigs lie on that? The only problem i can think of is that they might get too much air?

Whadda ya think?

-Thanks, G.

author
markyb (author)greintsma2014-08-30

I only removed the grate so it would be easier to lift the stove off the surface, leaving the fire in situ. I use the stove to start a larger campfire quite a lot so I needed to be able to do this. Leaving the grate in situ shouldn't cause any problems really. Why not conduct an experiment and post the results on here?

author
greintsma (author)markyb2014-08-31

Thanks Marky!

Peace to you and your's. G

author
dorybob (author)2014-07-07

very nice instructable. I have used one of these for years to light charcoal but love the idea of turning it into a stove.

author
David the R (author)2014-07-04

I've carried an old briquet starter in my trunk for about 20 years with a couple of skewers, a newspaper, briquets, matches, and a roll of paper towels. Chicken, veggies, sausages, whatever I find on a drive. A piece of screen allows me to use it for pots. Get some well built skewers, they clean up with one paper towel. If all you have are those thin cheap ones use two in parallel so the food can be turned over and won't flip around.

I recently added a small steel cooking basket to the mix. It requires more clean up than the skewers but you can use small smaller pieces of food. Most fish are better in the basket, few can be skewered easily.

If you are in an area with bbq's, use them so the ashes fall into the pit. If not make sure that it is on a very stable non-flammable surface.

Use oak, apple, peach, any stone fruit if you are using wood. Briquets are the easiest though.

author
ooohlaa (author)2014-07-04

love the creativity of this ... I just sold my relatively unused vintage pyromid stove recently and wondered if I was foolish, but now I see I can fabricate something quite nice looking and useful if I need it ... thanx for a great job.

author
ctwistedpair (author)2014-07-03

plant pot or pot plant

author
craftclarity (author)2014-07-03

Gasification stoves are pretty cool. I've seen solar-powered ones that use a well-placed CPU fan to provide a constant stream of air to the fire....pretty slick.

Nice work!

author
Arnoldofingo (author)2014-07-03

This is AWeSome... Never again will cooking outside be an issue.

Many- many thanks...

author
hairybaroque (author)2014-07-03

Most impressive! Anything that actually gets useable heat out of Elder, dry or green, is doing very well indeed; I tend to see Elder as a heatsink under most circumstances as it tends to lie in a wood burner and sulk because it doesn't seem to have much calorific value. I shall look out for one of these Weber gadgets.

author
bigfoot03242 (author)2014-07-03

I made one like these in 95 using a charcoal starter and a Gas stove burner grate I cooked with a cast iron skillet, a mess kit and a small wok and used shish kabob rods to make bread on a stick (like cooking marshmallows) Grand biscuits( roll it between your hands in rope form and make sure you tuck and pinch ends so they don't fall off while cooking) and Cresent rolls

author
brett_the_beast (author)2014-07-01

Wouldn't it make sense to leave the charcoal holder thing in the bottom so that you don't wind up scorching the grass or anything? Plus you could then light it from the bottom.

author
markyb (author)brett_the_beast2014-07-01

1) even with the wire grate left in the bottom you will still scorch the grass. Ash and embers will fall onto the grass, and the mass of the fire is extremely hot which will cook the grass just from radiated IR heat. I still recommend raising it on a raised metal surface like a BBQ, or putting it on a flagstone/paving stone or bricks.

2) you can still light it from the bottom through one of the rectangular holes all round the bottom.

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Bio: UK freelance General Hacktitioner, health IT specialist and wannabe coder, lifelong hacker of anything and everything including woodcarving, knives, fires, electronics, guitars, furniture, computers, cooking....
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