Introduction: Making a Water Canister With Fire

Picture of Making a Water Canister With Fire

We live in a time of big cities, electronics, and waste. In a world where we've lost our bond with nature and the respect that comes with it. But we've also the knowledge that we gained from living with nature that is still used by indigenous tribes. Knowledge we can implement in our daily life, such as medicine, making techniques and managing food waste. This is the reason why it's important to preserve this knowledge and pass it onto the next generations

I started researching about indigenous knowledge, focusing on making techniques. I found a technique used for the first canoes/boats ever found, dating back to 8000 BC. In this technique, hot coals were used to carve out tree trunks to make canoes. A beautiful technique were patience is the most important ingredient for success. A virtue that is lost in our modern society. Using this technique I made a water canister that we can use in our daily life, and also solves the problem of our plastic waste from water bottles. By making and using this canister in our daily life this knowledge will survive.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

To make the canister you need coals, a place to put your coals, tongs to pick up the hot coals, a sharp knife for carving the wood and a wood saw. Then you need a log of hardwood approximately 23 cm high and 12 cm wide. The wood shouldn't be too dry otherwise it will crack and the end result won't be that good. And you also need a strong stick to get the burnt wood out of the log.

Step 2: Let's Begin

Picture of Let's Begin

Start by lighting the coals and letting them warm up until they are grey. You don't need a lot so just begin with 5 pieces of charcoal and then in the process just keep adding more when you run out.

Next put 1 coal in the center of the log and begin to blow air onto it. The more oxygen you add the faster the wood will burn. You can also use a bicycle pump to speed up that process and blow more air directly on the coal.

Step 3: Start Scraping

Picture of Start Scraping

The coal is now burning the wood and you will see that in the beginning it will go pretty fast. When the coal has burnt a hole of approximately 0,5cm deep, you can start scraping the burnt wood out. The scraping will give you an extra 0,5 cm of depth and is important because you need fresh wood to burn. Now keep repeating this process, you should aim for a width of 6,5cm for the hole and depth of 15cm. It's important when you reach your 6,5 cm of width, that you start only burning downwards (and not in the width). You can do this by only blowing on the bottom and not on the sides, so the heat is focused and also by not letting the coal sit too long. If you let it sit too long it will start burning form the sides.

Step 4: Saw

Picture of Saw

After finishing the long process of burning the hole in the log, you can start to saw of the bottom of the log. The sawn-off piece will become the lid. The lid should be 4 cm high, but first check the depth of your hole, so you know that you have enough clearance. Then saw off a 4 cm thick slice with the wood saw.

Step 5: Carving

Picture of Carving

After you sawed of the bottom, begin removing the bark with your knife. Always cut away from yourself so that you don't cut yourself.

Step 6: Finishing the Water Canister

Picture of Finishing the Water Canister

Keep on carving, but now round of the bottom, the technique is to begin 4cm above the bottom with carving in little steps, and with every step carve further down to get a rounded edge.

Step 7: Making the Lid

Picture of Making the Lid

You can make the lid out of the piece you sawed from the log. Trace the shape of the hole on your piece of wood. Tip : you can use a piece of paper and some of the ashes. Lay the paper on top of your hole and dip you finger in the ashes and rub it over the paper. You will see that the edge of the hole will become clear. Now cut outline of the hole out of the paper with scissors and report it on the slice of wood with a pencil. When traced start by sawing off the rough shape of the hole and then carve the rest precisely for a good fit. When everything you've reached the right shape for your lid, you should start tapering off the edge like shown on the drawing.

Step 8: The End Product

Picture of The End Product

You now have a water canister totally made with indigenous knowledge. You are now also part of this indigenous knowledge. Use the water canister in your daily life and help indigenous knowledge survive.

For more info and more of my work check

Step 9: Movie About the Project


Sio Design (author)2014-01-28

Wow 30.000 Views, never expected this. Thanks for all the positive reactions.

jadekorrin (author)2014-02-02

What do you use to seal the inside?

artenlor (author)jadekorrin2016-11-12

I'd use bee's wax.

char6708 (author)2015-01-30

pretty cool

Tex Arcana (author)2014-03-11

pictures, please

Garadin (author)2014-03-09

I'm going to do this, so I can try aging small quantities of alcohol in various woods. It's a tiny charred barrel! Genius!

Sio Design (author)Garadin2014-03-09

What a great idea, Good luck.

masonmitchooll (author)2014-03-03

What do you use to seal the inside and keep it from rotting?

AnthVale (author)2014-01-30

Awesome I'm going to have to try this. Pats fan? Same here!

Sio Design (author)AnthVale2014-02-10

He thanks, but not really Pats fan. Just bought it when I visited America, just liked the logo and the colors. Place where i'm from we are fans of the other football

good guy 826 (author)2014-02-09

Please be cautious! Lye is made by soaking ash in water for extended periods of time. Make certain to clear all of the ashes out before use.

Sio Design (author)good guy 8262014-02-10

He thanks for the warning didn't know that.

hdmotorc (author)2014-01-30

Great time killer love it

wsecomp (author)2014-01-28

Good job. Is there one type of wood over another that is suggested?

Also, a pair of quick spelling fixes in your instructions: You want to use "lid" to describe the top piece, not "lit" (which means ignited); and I think you mean to use "depth" instead of "debt" (which means to owe someone).

cisto (author)wsecomp2014-01-30

Also, "waste" not "waist", though if you're talking about America there is a whole lot of "waist" out there that is result of the waste we eat.

Sio Design (author)wsecomp2014-01-28

He thanks for spelling fixes, but for the wood I used for test and the final product, oak , spruce, and birch. So for these I know that they work. But I think an other good hard wood would also work.

cisto (author)2014-01-30

It would make a great cup for mate (ma-`Tay). Probably takes some time, but the end product is attractive. Nice post.

Gamer Guy (author)2014-01-29

Great job! I have not seen something like this before, although I have heard about the canoes carved with fire. I have always been curious about how it was done. Thanks, and nice job!

a.steidl (author)2014-01-29

Cool project, love ancient tech, tried, tested, and true for thousands of generations. :)

厨房狂人 (author)2014-01-29

really nice product

ThatKnottyguy (author)2014-01-29

VERY nicely done! Love it!

fantine (author)2014-01-29

This is what 'ibles should be: skills, effort and creativity. Each of us who tries this will come out with an original. Thank you!

bigmikes (author)2014-01-29

Well Done!

and depite the speling i waz able to understnd it all too!


ferjanyen (author)2014-01-29

A very nice instructable!!! where ever you come from, thanks for showing it to us.Would like to make a comment though, for the purist your methode is fine but do you think that we could make one of this containers with a blow torch?? the heat for burning the hollow would be more controlable! thanks again and keep burning!

lbrewer42 (author)2014-01-29

GREAT 'ible. Do yourself a favor and look up Tom Brown online. Years ago I started to learn things like this b/c of his books. I had a friend who visited his wilderness school. Years ago Tom was taught how to live off the land/wild by an Apache Indian tracker that he called "Grandfather." I have used much of this knowledge for my own fun in survival camping.

DeeRilee (author)2014-01-29

Wonderful! I was aware of the use of coals while making a dug out canoe...never would have occurred to me to make a container! Now I can think of other items...bowl, cup!

Aswa (author)2014-01-29

I love your drawings and the video, it's very comprehensible as is!

And to those complaining about his spelling: Why don't you, instead of just nagging, kindly offer your help to proofread his 'ible for him?
This man is obviously not a native English speaker. So many people take it for granted that they speak English and get to read and understand so much on the Internet, and in the real world, too.
He could have just written it in Dutch -- and then you still would have understood the gist, thanks to his well-done sketches and video.
Have some appreciation!

dropkick (author)2014-01-28

I've seen this method used to make dug-out canoes. Never thought about using it to make a water container. Neat.

mfrontuto (author)2014-01-28

would a regular heavy duty ground fan work for giving it constant air as well?

m3harri (author)2014-01-28

Waste not waist

camping crazy (author)2014-01-25

This is very neat!! I have made spoons with this method before but did not think it would work with something so deep. Do you think you could make a bowl like this?? Thanks for posting!!

mdeblasi1 (author)camping crazy2014-01-28

1000 years ago entire canoes were made like this;
so a bowl? no problem!

Sio Design (author)camping crazy2014-01-26

Yea I think you can. You only should put more coals in the middle. The process will be the same.

Misac-kun (author)2014-01-28

If I knew this technic some years ago...

darcilamb (author)2014-01-28

Cool! You could make a killer indoor planter this way. Thanks for sharing!

ccannon7 (author)2014-01-27

Thank you for the instruction and pictures. I think..... Even an old lady like me can do most of this myself. {:0)

ABDRULE (author)2014-01-27

I think I might have to give it a try. ignore all the negative people keep up the good work and keep on creating.

doitduo (author)2014-01-27

I really love the concept of this DIY. It seems like it would take hours and hours to complete. Keep up the good work, and keep on top of your English and you'll be writing in our language in no time man. Hey stop by my website if you want and tell me if you see anything you like!

jexner (author)2014-01-26

That's amazing! Thanks for sharing :)

billiard16 (author)2014-01-26

I understood your instructions. I also appreciate you taking the time and effort to share. I thank you.

fazgard (author)2014-01-26

Thanks for the working concept, good drawings.

codongolev (author)2014-01-26

great instructable, and great drawings. the whole instructable could've been drawings and I'd have understood perfectly.

gcanders (author)2014-01-26

I like it. The end result is a nice conversation piece, too. I have many carving tools, and have never thought to use burning coals in making concave designs. Great idea.

Mielameri (author)2014-01-26

What a great concept! I like the illustrations, and these, coupled with the instructions, make the process pretty clear. Thank you!

dunning117 (author)2014-01-26

Nice instructable. Spruce is not a hard wood btw.

rhigg63 (author)2014-01-25

Use spell check:)

Sio Design (author)rhigg632014-01-26

Hahah thanx was sort of a rush job , had to show it in class. Hope is oke now.

jplaiss (author)2014-01-26

It appears as if a heavy accent and speech recognition software with no desire to look back have done their worst. Should the wood be dried or fresh cut?

Sio Design (author)jplaiss2014-01-26

The log should be in-between the process of drying. So fresh cut won't work because then is to wet . But to dry you don't want either because then you got to much cracks. So the moment in the drying process, when you see your first little crack ,then is log oke for using the dug out technique. Thanx for positive critiques

Stan1y (author)2014-01-26

would be easier to cut the slice for the lid first or use a smaller section of branch.

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