DIY Charcoal Chimney




One of my favorite activities when I go camping is getting the chance to cook outside. To me nothing says camping like cooking over an open fire or a nice bed of charcoals. The problem being, charcoal takes so much time to get ready to use. I decided like some other members on this site to make my own charcoal chimney. My inspiration for this project is from user Hapa ( ). I wanted to give it a little bit cleaner look without loosing functionality or increasing cost.

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Step 1: Supplies

For this project, you will need the following...

  • 1 Gal metal paint can
  • About 2-3 ft of wire
  • Drill
  • Wire cutters
  • Can opener
  • Pliers/ channel locks
  • Metal file/ round file

Step 2: Drill the Airholes

The first step of this project is to drill into the bottom of the paint can. Using the largest spiral drill bit I had, I drilled several holes to provide the burn chamber with air so the flames wouldn't go out. I spaced the holes out about every inch or so to give plenty of air for the flames. Once drilled, I filed out the holes to remove any sharp edges.

Step 3: Drill the Wire Holes

Halfway up the height of the can, I drilled the holes that the separating wires would be threaded through. Since I wanted the holes to be directly across from each other on the can, I divided the circumference of the can into quarters then eighths. Just as I did in the previous step, I filed down the sharp remnants from the drilling.

Step 4: Cut and Install the Seperation Wires

Using the can to get the measurement, I added a bit extra on both sides to allow the wire to be secured. Once I had the measurement, I cut four wires of approximately the same size. Using the file, I removed the sharp edges from the cutting process. I bent the end of the wires on one side to prepare them to be installed. Once they all had been bent, I inserted them into the can. Holding the wire on the interior of the can, I bent and pounded the wire down to lock it in place.

Step 5: Remove the Bottom

The last step for this project is to open the bottom of the can to allow the paper to be loaded in to cook the charcoal. Using the can opener, I just cut the bottom off. I did so carefully to lower the chance of getting sharp edges on the bottom. Luckily, it came out pretty clean with a couple of exceptions. The few sharp points were filed down for safety.

Step 6: Finished!

At this point, your chimney is finished and ready for use! This quick an easy project will be sure to have your charcoal going in no time. So enjoy cooking outside with your new charcoal chimney!! Thanks for reading and to Hapa for the inspiration!

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    2 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice Instructable! Keep the lid and you can "preload" the chimney with charcoal (use the lid to avoid spilling charcoal in the car or boat) and paper for a day trip hot lunch or supper. I think I'd make the air holes bigger for bettter ventilation and easier lighting. The commercial chimney I have has larger holes.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    put a couple of tent stakes across the top and you have a one burner stove for your coffee pot or oatmeal/soup pan while camping without having to fire up the whole barbeque. good job. i've had one of these for years. voted for outdoor and camping.