Introduction: The 'Hobo Stove'

About: I am a 14 year old that lives in Canada and rides polar bears to school. I have three dogs and love them all equally. I love Instructables because anything I want to learn about I can find a great Instructab…

The 'Hobo Stove' is an easy to build portable fireplace that can boil water and cook marshmallows. Whether you just need to be warmed up or have to cook sausages this stove is perfect for you. I came across this design a while back when a friend of mine made it in a tech class. I saw that the design was very effective because the holes at the bottom create great ventilation ports. I thought I would put my personal touch on it to make it a little more effective. I hope it serves you well.

Step 1: How It Works

This mini fireplace work by having small holes at the bottom for ventilation for the fire. When the holes in the two cans are aligned the fire will burn brightly but when they are offset the two cans will store heat effectively. Since it reaches extremely high temperatures the clothes hanger handle lets you pick it up without getting burnt.

Step 2: Items Needed

To build the 'Hobo Stove' you will need:

1. 796 mL Can

2. 540 mL Can

3. Electric Drill

4. Pliers

5. Wire Cutters

6. Clothes Hanger

7. Safety Glasses

The following are tools that can be used but are not needed (they make it look nicer and make it easier to build):

1. Measuring Tape

2. Marker

3. File That Will Fit In Drill (not in picture)

4. Awl (not in picture)

5. Hammer (not in picture)



Step 4: The Cans

First of all you must empty the cans. This is important because if you do not soup will go EVERYWHERE when you drill your holes.

Step 5: Start the Holes

This step is not necessary. All you have to do it poke small holes in the can where you want your ventilation to occur. This will help make the drilling easier. I made eight on each can but you can use however many you want. IMPORTANT: Make sure the holes on the cans are aligned so the ventilation will be at a maximum. To do this the measuring tape and marker will help to put them at regular intervals and mark them so that you don't forget where you put them.

Step 6: Drill Your Holes

Drill the holes where you made your starter in the previous step. You can see in the picture I had wood inside the can. This is because the can will bend with the drill so it made the drilling a little easier by acting as a support. I used the same sized hole for both cans but you can make one smaller if you want ( I don't know why you would want to though). Just make sure the holes aren't too small or the ventilation aspect will not work as well.

Step 7: File the Holes (optional)

To make the holes look nicer I used a circular file in the drill. This make the holes perfect circles. I also used a flat file to shave of pieces of scrap metal still attached to the can.

Step 8: Cut Clothes Hanger

To cut the clothes hanger you just have to cut the straight bottom area from the rest of the hanger with the wire cutters.

Step 9: Drill Holes for Handle

All you have to do is drill two holes opposite each other near the top of the 796 mL can. These should be smaller than the ventilation holes and just big enough to fit the clothes hanger rod through.

Step 10: Add Handle

Bend the clothes hanger so that it curls up really tight right inside the 796 mL can and form about the same shape as seen in the picture above for the part you will hold onto. The tight curl right inside the can ensures that it will not fall of but make sure not to much of it is in the can because then it won't go down to the cans side easily.

Step 11: Assemble

All you have to do is put the smaller can in the larger one so the ventilation holes line up. If the part of the handle inside the larger can stops the smaller one from entering cut it shorter.

Step 12: Light It Up

Since it is quite small it will not burn big sticks and so needs constant attention to keep a fire going. However it burns fiercely and can get hot enough to boil water. A good way to start a fire is to put paper in the bottom and then insert a lit match through the ventilation holes.


This reaches extreme temperatures so do not touch it while it is still hot. As you can see it burns through the wood it is on so do not place it on a valuable table. I have seen it burns through a plank of wood. (Sorry no pictures but it was awesome, you could see through to the other side down the hole it made)

Step 14: I Hope You Enjoy

I hope this small fireplace helps you on your own outdoor adventures and that you could follow this Instructalble easily. This is my first Instructable so if you think I could improve any where in the write-up post it in the comments, it will be much appreciated. If you come up with an addition that make the design better also post it in the comments, I am exited to see what you come up with. Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed dont forget to vote for me in the survival contest. Thank You!

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Runner Up in the
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Epilog Contest VII

Participated in the
Epilog Contest VII