Introduction: Propane Camp Stove From Reclaimed Parts

About: I love welding and forging. I'm 14 and live on a small family farm. I like to fix things, build things, and help my family.

I built a working propane camp stove out of reclaimed materials. I used a tire rim, used horseshoes from my horse, an old lawnmower blade and water heater burner. I also salvaged parts off an old BBQ grill that was heading for the dumpster. I used minimal new products costing less than $10. My Dad and Great Grandpa have designed and built various propane camp stoves for many years. My Dad started teaching me to weld when I was 7. I'm 13 years old now and decided that it was time for me to design my own. Using various scrap I found in my Dad's piles, because my Mom won't let me buy new materials because I'm "not ready for expensive stuff yet", I set out to prove them wrong and build a working camp stove out of stuff I found laying around.


Materials used

  • Open Center Mobile Home Rim (reclaimed)
  • Water heater burner (reclaimed)
  • Regulator for Backyard Grill (reclaimed)
  • Lawnmower blade (reclaimed)
  • 3-size 1 Horseshoes (reclaimed)
  • 1/2 x 6in J bolt and 2 nuts
  • 3- 3/8 x 4in carriage bolt and nut
  • 1 can High Heat paint
  • 1 lb propane tank

Tools used

  • Angle grinder w/ wire cup
  • Bench grinder w/ wire wheel
  • Chop saw
  • Pliers
  • Measuring tape
  • Marker
  • Oxy-acetylene torch
  • MIG welder
  • Drill w/ 1/2in bit
  • Dixie Brand Paper Bowl
  • Razor blade
  • Tape for masking
  • fine steel wool (optional)

Step 1: Cleaning

As you begin construction of this stove it is important to clean the materials so they are easier to work with and weld.

  • Remove tire and valve from rim if necessary.
  • Use an angle grinder with wire cup to remove rust and paint from the rim.
  • Use a bench grinder with wire wheel to remove rust and paint from the horseshoes and lawnmower blade.

Step 2: Cutting the Support

Next the lawnmower blade needs to be cut to length and the hole cut for the burner. The final length of the blade and placement of the hole will depend on the profile of the rim and desired burner height. For the stove pictured, the burner was placed 2 1/2 inches below the edge of the rim. The burner is 1 inch thick, to accomplish this height the blade was cut to fit at 3 1/2 inches below the top edge. Remember when measuring to center the hole. Once measured and marked, cut on a chop saw.

Step 3: Cutting the Hole for the Burner

Once the blade is cut, place the intake tube of the burner in the center hole of the lawnmower blade. Place the blade and burner in the rim and determine the location of the hole in the rim for the burner intake tube. Mark the location of the hole with a maker. Remove the blade and burner, then cut the hole in the rim with with an acetylene torch.

Step 4: Attaching the Burner

Insert the burner intake tube into the hole in the lawnmower blade. Line up the mounting holes on the burner with oblong holes on the lawn mower blade. Next, with a mig welder, weld the mounting tabs to hold it in place.

Step 5: Mounting Burner Assembly

For the next step you will mount the burner assembly into the rim. Place the burner assembly into the rim, aligning the intake tube with the hole previously cut. Tack weld the blade into place on the bottom of the burner assembly. Tack the blade in each corner. Once you are sure it is lined up and tacked correctly, flip the rim over. Finally, weld each side of the burner completely into place on the top of the burner assembly.

Step 6: Positioning the Cooking Grate

Select a paper bowl that will position your cooking grate where you desire it. In the cooker pictured, an 8 inch Dixie brand bowl gave the correct height to the grate. Used size 1 horseshoes fit the rim used. Other rims may require different horseshoe sizes or bowl placement to make a satisfactory grate. Place the bowl over the burner balancing on the lawn mover blade, face down. Position horseshoes evenly across the circumference of the rim. Measure the distance between each horseshoe to ensure as even of placement as possible. Reclaimed materials vary so perfection may not be achieved in this step. Tack each horseshoe lightly into place before welding completely. Tack where the horseshoe contacts the center rim to prevent warping when welded. Tack each horseshoe end into place. Using a razor blade cut the paper bowl out from it's location, as it is no longer needed.

Step 7: Attaching the Cooking Grate

Once cooking grate is positioned and tacked in place final attachment can take place. Using a mig welder, start from the inside of the rim and weld towards the outside of the rim at the the edge of each horseshoe where they attach. This will help keep the horseshoes level as you weld them into place. Complete the weld for each tip on each horseshoe.

Step 8: Place and Attach Legs

Thread the bolt into the nut until it just reaches the end of the nut. Align the nut on the bottom of the rim centered under each horseshoe. Weld the nut into place. Repeat for each of the three nuts. This creates small adjustable legs used to center the stove and allows for bottom airflow to reach the burner.

Step 9: Painting the Stove

Using available tape, mask off the orifice holes in the burner. In the creation of this stove, the top of the burner and intake tube were also masked off to give color contrast and prevent later burning off of paint. Using high heat paint, paint two light even coats giving recommended dry time between each as recommended by paint manufacturer. Once dry, remove tape masking areas. Optional step: Lightly buff top of burner with steel wool to remove oxidation and give a finished new appearance.

Step 10: Attaching Regulator and Fuel

Attach regulator to 1lb propane tank. Slide regulator into intake tube approximately 1/8 inch. Line up the propane tank so it is parallel to the ground and level with the bottom of the rim. Position J bolt to hold assembly in place. Mark location for J bolt to attach to the rim. Remove regulator and propane assembly. Drill 1/2 inch hole in marked location. Thread one nut onto J bolt so it is almost all the way on. Reattach regulator and propane tank. Slide J bolt into drilled hole and position on regulator neck to hold the assembly in place. Place nut second nut on the J bolt inside the rim. Tighten nuts from either side to sandwich the J bold onto the rim and hold the fuel assembly into place. Congratulations, the stove is finished and ready for testing and adjustment.

Step 11: Test Stove and Adjust As Needed

Use a pot of water to test your stove. Adjustments required may depend on elevation and materials that were originally reclaimed. Stoves at sea level will not require as much air as high elevations. Test the stove and make adjustments as needed. If air intake is not enough for desired flame size, intake can be adjusted. Air intake can first be adjusted by adjusting legs up to allow more air flow. One can also adjust the cover screen on end of intake tube. If it is already open, one may need to drill holes on end of intake tube. If not all orifices on burner produce flame, they may need cleaning. Clean with a welding torch tip cleaner or a pin. The main orifice coming out of the regulator may also need cleaning. Once stove is adjusted and burning as desired, enjoy your new stove.

Reclaimed Materials Contest

Second Prize in the
Reclaimed Materials Contest