Instructables
Picture of Woodgas Can Stove
This is a design for an inexpensive, lightweight wood-burning stove, suitable for backpacking, bike touring, and bush cooking.

It is a two-wall design, which preheats air in between the walls to ignite the smoke. Well-tended, this produces a bright, smokeless flame which produces little soot and leaves little to no scorching on the ground below.

It is built from commonly available (in the United States) parts: a quart paint can, a smaller tin can, and a shorter tin can. The only specialized tools are a safety-style can opener and an Irwin Unibit #1, though similar designs can be made with just a church-key and ordinary can opener and alternate tools are discussed in appropriate steps.

The whole thing can be built in about an hour. This model weighs 6.6 oz (187 grams) after several firings, and nests in, e.g., the Snow Peak 900 Ti or Al pot.

Ready? You'll need:
 
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Step 1: Materials

A 1-quart paint can, with lid. I just bought a new one for a couple bucks at the local hardware store; if you're reusing one with paint in it you need to fire the paint off in an open fire. This is nasty and you're probably better off buying a new can.

A 19 ounce Progresso soup can. Other cans such as 20 ounce cans of fruit will work as well, but the
Progresso cans are a bit shorter, which we want.

A Large, short can. Mine had bamboo shoots in it; many cat foods and canned meats come in this sort of can. The diameter should be a little larger than the inner ring on top of the quart can. Don't get an aluminum one, it'll melt and buckle in the heat.
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dforcucci1 year ago
I made some mods but using the two cans and how they fit together so perfectly was the bomb. Thanks
Ok, I made my own and put a little video together originally for my brother out of state who was asking me about it. Figured I'd share if anyone was curious.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l035B2izqMw#at=503
I dont suppose you have a video of this in use?
Found one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zD0uFxeF6k

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhkcimYSM6w
gunsmith671 year ago
Those "tin snips" of yours sucked for one simple reason... they are actually pruning shears!
Built one today, and did a burn test. It was pretty easy to build, not my cleanest work, but smooth on the outside, and serviceable for backpacking. The test burn was sans water, and I was happy to see no issues, and a burn time of as long as I wanted to keep adding scrap wood, about 45 minutes. After I do a test with water, I'll post a comment as well. I did opt to drill out the bottom of the inner chamber instead of the sides.
gaziger1 year ago
http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200307292_200307292

The largest hole that the Irwin Unibit #1 can make is 7/8"
pstretz5 years ago
This is a great instructable. I will be building one of these to take camping for sure. That being said, I think this may be misnamed. Wood gas is actually a completely different thing altogether. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodgas This is more like a really complicated chimney starter. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimney_starter I have actually cooked on my chimney starter before when quickly searing tuna and steaks and I can completely appreciate this design as a means to concentrate heat and cook things quickly and efficiently.

It would be interesting to pit a chimney starter modified with a potstand against this stove to see which would boil water faster.
atman (author)  pstretz5 years ago
To quote the Wiki on the subject of woodgas: "Certain designs of stove, are in effect a gasifier working on the updraft principle - the air passes up through the fuel, which can be a column of rice husks, and is combusted, then reduced to carbon monoxide by the residual char on the surface. The resulting gas is then burnt by heated secondary air coming up a concentric tube. Such a device behaves very much like a gas stove. This arrangement is also known as a Chinese burner." That's the sort of stove this is! I hope that was clear. This stove is also not unlike a chimney starter.
Pstretz was right: This is a wood stove, not a wood gasifier. A gasifier creates two products: wood gas and charcoal; it requires heat from another fire to operate. The wood is not actually burned in a gasifier.
twohawks2 years ago
My thoughts exactly. Good write-up, atman, thanks.
kiwiiano5 years ago
May we have actual hole sizes, please. Irwin Unibit #1s aren't universally available outside of the US of A.
atman (author)  kiwiiano5 years ago
The actual hole sizes are given, albeit in our funky, fraction based Imperial "inch" system. For those of you where things make more sense, let me interpret the runes:

1/4" = c. 6 mm NOTE: don't make holes this size, use:

3/8" = c. 1 cm for the inner bottom holes and the windscreen and:

1/2" = c. 13 mm for the inner top holes and the outer bottom holes.

Hope this helps!
1/2" = 12.6mm PLEASE! ;)
akilbypup3 years ago
In making this good stove, I couldn't remove the tab-opening Progresso can lid with any of my can openers, because the rim is too high. Surveying available canned goods, I found another source for 19-ounce cans, measuring the same as the Progresso but with an ordinary top and bottom, in the ethnic section: La Victoria brand enchilada sauces (both red and green types) come in three sizes, including the one we need for this purpose. Just thought folks might like to know.
Westmain3 years ago
Current link for the penny wood stove. Link above is dead.

http://www.jureystudio.com/pennystove/pennywood.html
jimjola3 years ago
I built the stove!. Great instructions.
In the inside can I made two rows of holes on the sides and did a fair amount of perforation on the bottom.
I am definitely getting wood gas burning. However, I am also getting flames deep in the can.
I think I have too many holes in the lower end of the inner can. Is a large airy area in the bottom of the can too much?
madpauper3 years ago
if you used the bottom you removed from the outer can and cut tabs in the inner can.
Then cut and bend the outer can bottom down so it would bend down and catch on the tabs you made in the inner can, also between 10 to 12 holes must be drilled in this piece.
Then bend tabs back up to secure the bottom you reused from the outer can.
Now you have a more efficient stove and easier to light and keep lit stove.
bretta4 years ago
I made mine yesterday and tried it out today. It took 10 minutes to make a coffee. mind you I used your same inner can with a 1 gallon paint can, modified with 20 holes in outer can. Is this normal?
rajmathur4 years ago
Please provide pics of where to put the burning material and maybe a video of it in action.
jsawyer4 years ago
I made one, and afer one burn I had to use a hammer to take them apart.  Apparently the paints char up and act like glue...
sarge89or4 years ago
Check out the original this guy tried to copy at this site:

tjamrog.wordpress.com/2008/12/22/the-evolving-backpacking-wood-stove/

I made one according to his specifications and used 3 sheet metal screws to make sure the two cans do not come apart.
jasonm6215 years ago
When the inner can heats up wont that expand the metal, thus weakening the friction hold on the two cans? After one burn i would think a simple drop on a table would make the two can seperate... But of course i may be wrong...
 I made one of these and its actually very tough. Believe me it does get hot, but the two pieces fit together so tightly and so perfectly, it's as if they were made to go together. I found that I had to hammer the two pieces together because they fit so tightly. i have used it on many occasions, from car-camping trips to wilderness backpacking,  and never worried for a seconds about the structural integrity.
lentenaar5 years ago

You could have it burn better by adding a grill-type floor/level inside your burning can, slightly higher then the airholes at the bottom. This will have the fire air-fed from below. Making a more efficient burn, while ash will find it's way through the grill. The sticks will lean on the grill-floor which optimizes airflow. Your fire will reach optimum temperature a bit faster.

I hope this helps.

rabagley5 years ago
The penny-wood stove (http://www.csun.edu/~mjurey/pennywood.html) uses a grid of much smaller holes all across the bottom and one optional ring around the outside. The lower they are, the longer/better each charge of wood will produce wood-gas, so on the bottom is probably the best location.

Ideal might be several big openings on the bottom and a wire mesh bottom dropped into the bottom of the can to spread out the ventilation manifold.
YamiEridani5 years ago
Question, in your into you mention the use of alternate tools like a church key would be discussed in the different steps...have they not be added or did I miss them? Thanks, -Yami
drew53375 years ago
The top of the soup can fits into the inner rim of the paint can perfectly. There is enough friction to hold it in place. Its as though they were made to fit together this way.
HAL 90005 years ago
Wonderful! a cheap, easy to make, effective, and most importantly lightweight stove! put this together this afternoon, only i punched holes in the bottom of the inner can. i think once i make those holes a tad larger (the primary burn wasnt getting enough air, so it kept going out) this will be a great addition to my backpacking gear. as always, i have a suggestion to improve this method: rather than trying to press fit the cans together by hand (i tried but, ill admit, i wasnt strong enough) i put the cans, one inside the other, upside down on a table and placed another soup can on the bottom of the Progresso can. i then pounded it with a hammer untill the progresso can fit tightly inside the paint can. worked in seconds. thanks for the awesome design, i cant wait to go backpacking again!!
greggg5 years ago
Great instructable. On my inferior attemps at woodgas stoves I found using a small birthday candle was a good way to gently light the top of the twigs by using it like a match- the drips helping it to burn. Sort of cheating on the 100% renewable fuel I know, but convenient!
schwieb5 years ago
Great tutorial, I seriously mean that. I do have a question about this step though. Everything else you did looks very neat and tidy, but here everything looks a bit ragged. This is not meant as a criticism. I was just wondering what happened. Is it maybe the cutting tool or the thin can wall or something? This might help me to select different materials when I build mine. Great work.
atman (author)  schwieb5 years ago
Two things happened here... One is the can is a cheap Chinese piece of crap :-) hey, it got the bamboo shoots here, so it did its job! I even dropped it before I opened it, denting one of the sides slightly. The quality of the steel is one reason the holes are jagged. The other reason it's on the raggedy side is the tin snips I was using are the kind that look like a parrot's beak Use the kind that look like a robin's beak instead. Other people have had good results building the pot stand out of stainless steel mesh. Ordinary hardware cloth will burn through in a matter of days.
static atman5 years ago
Fact is It's tough to drill holes cleanly in ANY sheet metal, that 's why holes in sheet metal in commerial production runs are generally punched. Expanded metal will last far longer than hardware cloth, but expanded metal can be very tough to work with. Not being critical of your project, but inserting food for thought for other's.
kat_man_25 years ago
Can I ask what the reasoning is behind removing the bottom of the outer can? Would the stove not be more structurally sound if it remained on?
atman (author)  kat_man_25 years ago
Bottom of the can has to come off to allow the inner can to be press fit. p1pe you're probably right about that. They were what I had access to, though, and they do snip tin.
p1pe5 years ago
Those tin snips suck because they're pruning sheers! :=O
puppylinux5 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
atman (author)  puppylinux5 years ago
Efficiency is a tricky concept. A fan will make for a stronger burn under more conditions, at a penalty of extra weight, moving parts, and a battery which must be replaced or topped up from time to time. This stove doesn't need a fan, and properly built, fueled and fired is capable of a clean, mostly soot-free flame. Bloody Wesley, the 19 oz soup can locks into the inner ring of the quart paint can. It's a really neat hack; the inner can is held in place the same way the lid of the paint can is, by deforming the inner lip of the paint can to fit. Others have used more 'durable' fastenings, but I see no point; it takes real force to wedge that can in there. As mentioned in the instructions, using a rubber mallet to pound the lid on after press-fitting the cans will make the joint even tighter, though make sure you have a nice flat-head screwdriver or butter knife on hand to pry that lid back off!
I don't really get how it locks into place or which end of the inner can is showing here in this pic. is that that the bottom of the soup can?
rownhunt5 years ago
Finally theres a good instructable on this!
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