Introduction: Portable Off Grid Oven & Stove

Often in our emergency preparedness plans we initially think about power generation - myself included. (Multi Fuel Generator, Charcoal Powered Generator, Easy Generator to Home Hook Up). We often say that we don't want our food to spoil. We don't give much though into how we we are going to cook the food we are saving when the lights are off. My weber gas grill is cool - but I'm not going to percolate coffee on there. I have a backpacker's ultra lite stove - but that won't help much with my family of four.

Electric stoves and ovens are power hungry and would zap most if not all of the power from your generator. Unless you have a power inlet box, you can't even plug your electric stove into your generator.

Gas lines from municipal utilities often get turned off during times of natural disasters. Additionally home gas ovens won't operate without electricity to run the safety shut off valve. So no grid power means no oven.

We have a flat top wood stove which we cook on during the winter - but I can't imagine firing that beast up in the middle of the summer heat.


This winter my wife told me she wanted to start making soap again and that basically involved cooking lye. I can't say that I'm the biggest fan of hot lye in the kitchen around small children. We also do a good amount of canning. The heat in the house makes it a very unpleasant experience and it reminds me of why older homes had "summer kitchens".

I decided I wanted to make an outdoor cook top with several gas burners and a no electric required oven for pies, breads, casseroles and pizza. It needed to be small enough to store in my shop, easy to use and portable so I can take it tailgating or camping.

Step 1: Source the Stove

I was scouring my local you pull it auto salvage yard when I ran across this camper. It looks like it was from 50 Shades of Shag. It was well used and stripped of many automotive parts - but the camper specific parts were still there. AC Unit, generator, stove, furnace, water heater, power inverter and propane setup.

The stove at just over 20 wide x 18 deep x 21 tall was perfect. It has a two position rack in the oven and no electoral connections what so ever - it is completely mechanical. For $50 it was mine. Honestly I probably over paid because I've seen them cheaper after I bought this one.

I've seen junk campers sell for $200. One could easily salvage the stove and scrap the rest for a nice profit. It seems when people are done with junk RV's they just want them gone. Additionally I've seen plenty of RV stoves for sale on Craig's List. I'm sure a little digging around and you can easily find one.

To remove lift the stove top just above the knobs, remove and set to the side. Loosen the gas line but don't beat it up - we will need to keep a long piece of it. Remove the 4 screws that secure it to the cabinet. Pick up the stove and remove it form the cabinet avoiding banging up the copper gas line.

Cut the gas line as far away from the back of the stove as you can. We will reuse this line.


Other parts you need:
Copper flare Union,
Double male flare union
2 Handle
Plywood
Screws
Stain or sealer
Propane line with low pressure regulator valve.

Step 2: Cut Wood Sides and Bottom

Finish carpenter I am not - but I had good help.

3 sides of the stove have a slight lip so it can sit in the cabinet box. I used some scrap plywood I've had laying around for 6 years. The stove in the camper had a storage bin under it - and looking under the stove you find some sort of vents. So to be safe I wanted to put a storage cubby under it.


My board was already 26 inches deep so I only had to cut it to length. Using a large straight edge and a circular saw I cut three mostly straight pieces. The left, right and rear. I did a quick test fit and amazingly it fit snug.

With the oven still sitting in the box marked the bottom panel with a pencil. Removed the stove from the box, set the box aside and cut the bottom board. Attach the bottom board to the the cabinet.


I used 1.5 inch screws I had laying around.

Step 3: Add Feet

I had some old couch feet collecting dust in the shop. I wanted the base board to be off the ground, table, deck etc. These can also be purchased at home improvement stores for about $2.

I also wanted to be able to elevation squares under the stove at a later time.

Using 2x4 scrap pieces as a guide I screwed the feet to the bottom. This allows me to build elevating blocks out of 2x4's, 2x6's, 2x8's or 2x12's - and the stove will be secured in place by the feet.

Step 4: Secure to Cabinet

Once the feet are finished flip the cabinet over and put the stove back in.

Secure the stove to the cabinet with screws - one in each corner.

Step 5: Add Handles

Add handles for easy transport. These were $2 each at a major home store in the hardware section.

Step 6: Attach Propane Line

Drill an access hole for the gas line.

Put the salvaged line back through the access hole and attach to the burner fuel rail.

Measure cut and flare the copper line so that it sticks out the backof your cabinet.

Step 7: Propane Tank Setup

I have a long propane line and a low pressure regulator around that I use with my multi fuel generator. It also fits this setup with a double male 3/8 flare union.

You will need a low pressure regulator and a piece of flexible propane line. These are easily salved off of a gas grill that is being thrown away. Home improvement and camper stores also stock these items for a relatively low cost.

I like the long line because it gets the gas away from the open flame. It also allows me to utilize the 100 gallons of propane I have stored on site that is attached to my home gas logs.

Step 8: Done!

Thats it. We are done. It works really well. This build for me was done with mostly scrap parts.

I've got plenty of space for 3 different pots (or 2 pots and one coffee percolator - lets be honest) on the stove, a roasting pan in the oven and storage on the bottom.

I'll apply some stain, mineral oil or beeswax as soon as I can decide on which I wan to do. I might add some sort of a wind screen if it proves to be an issue. As of now I have not needed it.

Now I'm ready for fall tailgating, summer storms and lots of canning.

Comments

author
IdahoDavid (author)2017-03-14

An elegant solution for off-grid settings. It would also have an application for modifying a cargo van for camping if you didn't want to have a permanent kitchen installation in the van.

author
mkramer4 (author)2016-08-23

I have just acquired all of the parts needed to make this. Will be putting together soon!!

author
meddler (author)2016-07-06

I'm trying to make a oven powered by a rocket stove. I grabbed an electric oven from the dump for the oven box. But the insulation wasn't usable, so I'm going to put a refractory cement recipe all over the box and I'll see how it works.

author
crol (author)2015-08-23

I have been fortunate to come by 2 RV stove/ovens and 2 RV small 3 way refrigerators. I have been try to figure out how to make a cabinet that houses both with one gas line. Sort of handy or maybe I should say willing to try anything once.

author
tnowling made it! (author)2015-05-23

not quite done yet but the same principal

temp_966930673.jpg
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TrollFaceTheMan (author)2015-03-27

Cool project!

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mjbyyz (author)2015-03-27

I have had one of these stoves - exactly the same except it's red! - for over 40 years. When I got it, I built it into a kitchen unit in the back of a box trailer with a hinged lid over the back end. Also another much bigger hinged lid towards the front of the trailer for camp materials in transit. The whole trailer box was approx 60 x 84 in. The propane tank was at the front end (outside of course) and a flexible pipe ran to the stove from the front.

We took it camping one Thanksgiving weekend and actually cooked a small turkey in it - the pan only just fitted in the oven. What an experience. We used this set up for years, and one of our kids used to take the whole thing camping on their own too.

Since the trailer is now no longer around, I have the trusty stove unit sitting in my garage not doing a thing. Eureka! Your 'ible has given me the impetus to build a similar box and get using the stove again! THANK YOU! And as someone suggested, I think I'll put it on casters so I can move it around from time to time, place to place. Brilliant idea! WDITOT! (Why Didn't I Think Of That!)

author
spark master (author)2015-03-27

WOW, I have always wanted an outdoor oven for the summer. You could put it on lock wheels as well. And Insulation and reflective foil would add a touch more efficiency. I almost bought a simple camp oven but w/o thermostat regulation for heat a barbque is as good, this is better. Much, much much better. Heck an el-cheapo 24 inch gas stove can be used as well, but these ovens may be cheaper and smaller.

Thanks fer a great instructable

author
espdp2 (author)2015-03-26

This is a really nice project. We "rescued" a trailer stove, but it's staying in the trailer. We've decided that in case of emergency or stinky cooking that needs to be done, we want the whole thing intact for a backup home. I know not everyone needs, wants, or has room for an RV in their yard, but it works for us. Thanks also for lots of funny comments! Cheers.

author
espdp2 (author)espdp22015-03-26

One small improvement to your setup would be a pack of those wooden shims for squaring door frames. If you are using the stove outside, you have no chance of a perfectly level surface, so the shims can help you make it so.

author
irebenko (author)2015-03-26

What a coincidence! The house across the road just blew up their kitchen to bits using this same method. No joke! Thankfully the owners weren't at home.

author
bethmwl (author)2015-03-26

I love it. Inspiration. I wanted an entire camper kitchen in my back yard, you've shown me it can be done. A little freaked by the on/off of the oven tho, prefer setting my temps.

author
Alten8 (author)2015-03-26

Interesting build but, there are a few portable propane stoves on the market:

Amazon: $224 http://www.amazon.com/Camp-Chef-Camping-Outdoor-B...

and

BassPro $235 http://www.basspro.com/Camp-Chef-Propane-Camp-Oven...

Coleman offers a unit as well.

Coleman Signature Outdoor Gear Propane Camp StoveOven $325.jpgAmazon, Camp Chef Camping Outdoor Oven with 2 Burner Camping Stove.jpgCamp Chef Propane Camp Oven and Stove $235.jpg
author
fenikkusu (author)2015-03-26

This is a great instructiable! Even if you aren't into the whole prepper / survival thing these are reasonable and good instructions to be able to salvage a stove and reuse it in a different way (or even the same way installing it into another RV) doesn't really matter. Its sound stewardship of the earth which is an extremely important lesson to teach our kids! So you get an A for that alone.

For me personally I always consider (and notably this is just me personally... everyone is different and anything is also acceptable) if we really are going for off Grid, well what does that term mean. I suppose this fits the bill in many ways.

I just want to toss in though, plan on other ways as well if you are truly going for an emergency disaster plan. I live in New England and we lost our power for 12 days during a freak ice storm that encased anything outside in an inch thick sheath of ice. It brought down numerous trees. Living on an old and long farm road we couldn't even get to town for the first four days and boiling a pot of water in 15 degrees took an amazing amount of propane. Talk about "a watched pot never boils"! Furthermore, once we could get into town (mostly because we sturdy New Englanders broke out our chain saws and worked together to clear trees from the roads... yep after the second day it really sunk in that we couldn't depend on road crews there was simply too much damage for them to handle) So once we COULD actually get into town there was no gas, no propane, Home Depot had long run out of generators. Even if deliveries for any product from gas to food had been able to get through which they couldn't because of all the trees down, no places that sold such products had power. There was no refrigeration at the markets, there was no power to run gas pumps. Propane under pressure worked until that ran out too.

And our governments response? And I will publicly complain here! FEMA should be ashamed of themselves! Their solution was to create a video that told us to take care of our neighbors and make sure they were safe and not freezing to death! The awesome part of that video, almost none of us had the power to view the video you realize, so we only found out about it after the issue had passed! Brilliant. I want a refund on my taxes for the fiasco! I am clearly paying for a service that I'm not getting!

So yes this stove is awesome and works well when everything is fine and dandy in life, (I might use such a stove to boil down maple sap into maple syrup for instance) AND it is a GREAT way to use something up (the discarded stove), which we all need to be doing in every facet of our lives, but in a real emergency it has a limited shelf life that being when you run out of propane. I vote have many levels of backup emergency gear in place, including some good old fashioned wood at your disposal. A dutch oven on a simple campfire will also cook food and boil water! For those reasons I may not consider it "off grid" as such. The Grid just like a food chain or food web that the children study in school has many different routes that ultimately affect many other things, when one path is disrupted there may be far reaching consequences that one did not formerly consider... just something to think about....

But overall I like this project very nicely done and you have come out with something that is attractive as well. Nice cabinet and great thinking to put the shelf for pots underneath! Great Job! I love that the kids helped! Good job dad! If everyone had involved their children years back in just such ways we wouldn't be in the mess we're in today with the environment! In other thoughts we MUST work to be as self sufficient as possible, because if you're waiting on the government for help well don't hold your breath! I consider here that perhaps the people in my area could have made use of military generators and why didn't they truck some in. Nope we got a video that we couldn't watch and which instructed us to do what we were already doing. It was a pretty huge failure on FEMA's part!

author
More Cowbell (author)fenikkusu2015-03-26

Hey thanks for the kind comments! I agree. We keep about between 3 and 5 chords of cut dry and ready to burn wood on site. We can use it in the wood stove or the fire bowl. We've got plenty of cast iron and a nice dutch oven. For propane we keep 4 full 20# "grill tanks" and one 100 gallon tank on site. You can ask RV guys these stoves (and the refidgerator and water heater) will last a long time off one grill sized tank.

author
fenikkusu (author)More Cowbell2015-03-26

No, No you deserve it!
Take a bow!
Good name too by the way!
lols

author
More Cowbell (author)fenikkusu2015-03-26

Everybody could use more cowbell....

author
fenikkusu (author)More Cowbell2015-03-26

ABSOLUTELY!!!

Thanks for the great exchange!

You rock!

author
kingofrandom92 (author)2015-03-26

I was thinking breadking bad when I saw the RV.lol

author
dragonblue24 (author)2015-03-26

Indeed kudos for recycling and thinking outside the box!
I had to facilitate catering in a tent once and did a similar thing. But I needed a big stove with a full size oven. So I found an older gas stove on the curb and cleaned it well.
Then I went to an appliance place and bought jets for propane that I replaced the city gas ones with for approx $10.
This step is very important if you go that route especially if you plan to use it indoors to avoid carbon monoxide. As a rule of thumb if your flames are yellow you have incomplete combustion and thus CO.
I connected it to a bottle with a regulator from an old BBQ I had laying around and it works great! It is amazing how long you can cook on just one bottle of propane!

author
z99702 (author)2015-03-26

Very nicely done. Congratulations!! I am in the process of building one of these, also. I have the stove sitting in my workshop and I am designing the box.

One word of caution: Be very careful when using the oven. The original installation instructions for these stoves require clearance space around the sides, back and bottom of the cabinet. The stove is designed to hang from the countertop (just like a kitchen sink). Using the oven for a long period of time could scorch the wood and possibly cause a fire. You can find the manufacturer clearance requirements here (page 18 of 19)...

http://1983fleetwoodpacearrowownersmanuals.blogspo...

author
topdoc2r (author)2015-03-26

I'm a former RV tech, I would remind you to use 2 wrenches when tightening the flex line to the union at the stove so the copper line doesn't get twisted or loosened inside the cooktop.

The BBQ regulator shown ls okay for outdoor use, but I would recommend a 2-stage reg is recommended. $20 invest for much more safety.

Build a manometer to test and adjust your reg too. This is a cheap and fun tool to build! None of the material below is mine, but stuff I've hunted out for others!

The safer the better! Nice ible, love your helper!

Todd.

http://www.rverscorner.com/manometer.html

author
Kardolf (author)2015-03-26

This is a brilliant idea! A great way to recycle, and provide a huge amount of functionality, too!

author
PJSolarz (author)2015-03-26

Great idea! A couple of ideas came to mind. I might put this on a little larger base to hold the propane cylinder and add casters to the bottom of it to move it around. If the oven burner has a valve like the stove top burners do, to adjust the height of the flame, you can use an oven thermometer to adjust and monitor the heat, if not, you could probably salvage or even buy a valve and a knob fairly cheap and incorporate it

author
maewert (author)2015-03-26

I enjoyed the instructable. Just a word of caution: When your set-up has excess hose between the tank and the stove, you should take special care when disconnecting the hose from the tank. If the hose is full of propane, disconnecting it can cause the gas to escape quickly and can frostbite your hands! To avoid this painful experience, turn off the valve at the tank and open the stove burner's valve to let out all of the gas in the long hose first before you disconnect it and you're good to go!

author
More Cowbell (author)maewert2015-03-26

I agree. I always cut off the tank first and let burn the fuel remaining in the line. I treat my gas grill the same way.

author
victorvector (author)2015-03-26

Well done , and simple !

It may be a good idea to cut some holes into the bottom panel of

that plywood box ; if you have a gas leak at the burners it will flow like water

( propane is heavier than air ) , and layer in the bottom of the plywood box....

author
wely (author)2015-03-26

I Love It!

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Ripcode66 (author)2015-03-26

Awesome!!

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RK8 (author)2015-03-26

lmao at "50 Shades of Shag"

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toddmc451 (author)2015-03-26

Great idea. :-)

I think that for me, I would want the gas bottle stored and secured under the oven. This would also make the stove top a bit higher so I wouldn't have to slouch over while cooking (which would hurt my back after a while).

author
AndrewW2 (author)2015-03-26

Does the thermostat still work in the oven?

author
More Cowbell (author)AndrewW22015-03-26

Manual ovens don't have a thermostat. They are on or off. They do have a pilot light so you can turn the gas off. Most people regulate the temp by cracking open the door - just like they do for wood burning kitchen stoves....Which is my list of must haves for my next house. I just don't have the space right now.

author
fred3655 (author)2015-03-24

Is having the oven worth it, or does it consume a lot of gas? I built a counter under the back patio roof with storage space underneath. On the counter I have a fairly large two burner stove. We fry fish on it to keep the mess & smell out of the house. Also works well for stinky stuff like cabbage, cauliflower, etc.

author
More Cowbell (author)fred36552015-03-24

Gas consumption is minimal. However unlike your home oven it is either on or off. So you have to watch what you are baking. It helpful to us because we do a good bit of baking - and it was already attached! I think a 2 burner stove top would be just fine. I know those use a high pressure regulator - how is the fuel consumption?

author
lilpat535 (author)2015-03-24

I like it when i tried to print it wouldn't print

author
gabcunha (author)2015-03-24

nice but
http://www.balcaodeeletros.com.br/?p=produtos&g=139&n=2&order=preco

author
More Cowbell (author)gabcunha2015-03-24

I agree, those are nice. But they cost more. There is also this one, but it is smaller.

http://www.campchef.com/stoves/portable-ovens/deluxe-outdoor-oven.html

author
EvolvedAwesome (author)2015-03-24

It looks beautiful! But I love the reasoning and the 'thinking' behind it. What a cool ible!

author
Master of Make-Do (author)2015-03-23

Not too shabby! I wanted to rescue a Winnebago gas stove for the same purpose. This is the kind of stuff I'm interested in. Thanks for posting this!

author
seamster (author)2015-03-23

This is just brilliant. I love the idea, and the execution!

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Bio: I'm a computer engineer - but please don't judge me by that. I heat with wood, fix broken things and love camping with my ... More »
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