German Incense Smoker - Tiled Stove




Introduction: German Incense Smoker - Tiled Stove

About: Born in Berlin in 1985, engineer, contrarian, 'The Big Bang Theory' fan, my blog:

First of all this is a so called "Räuchermännchen". It's used to burn incense and it is very typical for Christmas in Germany.

My wife is a big fan of incense smokers. She has a lot of them in different shapes and colors. I wanted to create a special gift for her this Christmas. I decided to build a miniature tiled stove, which can be used to burn incense.

At first I made a quick sketch. It should have a upright format with a small ledge on top, a oven door for the air ventilation, some logs near by, a stovepipe with a curve, tiles and a small cat sitting on it. The cat is not part of this tutorial...actually I bought it on a Christmas market :) But the rest can be done easily at home. Enjoy.

### Disclaimer ###

I got a nice hint by esamosfet

But hey, isn't incense smoke a source of pm10 and particulate? This should be used with parsimony.

Regards, Max.

You might want to use the smoker with deliberation.

Step 1: Blueprint

I use two different hard wood slabs. One with a thickness of 6mm for the oven body, the ground plate, and the oven door. The second slab has a thickness of 15mm and is used for the oven platform, the ledge and the inner platform for the incense cone (which also stabilize the oven body on the base).

Step 2: Materials and Tools

What's needed?

  • Two hard wood slabs with different thicknesses. I use 15mm and 6mm, but you can use different size as well. The final appearance may differ, but that's the idea about DIY stuff, isn't it? :D
  • Small piece of log for the log pile. I use pieces, which still have bark on it for a better look
  • Copper pipe with a diameter of 15mm. You can adjust the size as well.
  • 90° curved copper pipe with the same diameter of your pipe
  • Measurement devices
  • Pencil
  • Saw
  • Copper pipe cutter
  • Wood drills
  • Electrical driller
  • Screw clamps
  • Clear lacquer
  • Brush
  • Wood glue
  • Cutting heads
  • A coin as a base for the incense cone
  • Grinding paper


  • Chop saw for cutting all pieces. You can use a hand saw or jigsaw as well, but the finish is better with the chop saw
  • Milling machine for finishing the edges of the ground plate, the ledge and the platform. You can use grinding paper as well. I use the milling machine to mill notches for joining the body parts together.
  • Heat gun to darken the oven door, but you can use color or simply leave it unchanged

Step 3: The Oven Body - Cutting

I use my chop saw to cut the four body parts out of the 6mm thick slab. The front and back panels have the same sizes as well as the side panels. It's important to know which kind of joint do you want to use. I'll use my milling machine to cut small notches in the front and back panels. The width of the notch is 6mm (same size as the thickness of the side panels) and the depth is 3mm (half the size of the thickness). That's why I cut the side panels 6mm shorter than the front/back panel. After glueing together the body will have a dimension of 60x60mm. You can use another type of joints, but adjust the sizes of the panels accordingly.

Step 4: The Oven Body - Cutting Out the Oven Door

I use a pencil to mark the cutout for the oven door. I drill a hole in each corner, which can be used to cut the middle piece out. I use grinding paper to finish the the edges.

Step 5: The Oven Body - Shaping the Tiles

I mark the fugues of the tile with a pencil in 20mm spacing and use a even piece of wood as a guidance for my saw. I cut approximately 1mm deep notches int the wood. This will have the effect of fugues. I repeat this on all four body panels. Finally I cut the edges of the front and back panels.

Step 6: The Oven Body - Joining and Glueing

I cut notches with my milling machine to join the pieces together, but you can do this without notches. Just glue the edges together. Therefore I apply wood glue on the edges and press the parts together. I use two clamps to apply some pressure on the panels. The glue needs some time to dry.

Step 7: Cutting the Rest

The body of the oven is almost finished. Now I can measure the exact inner dimension of the oven. They can differ deepening on fault tolerance during milling, cutting and glueing. The dimensions are important for the inner piece, because the oven body will be pulled on it.

I cut the ground plate, the base of the oven, the ledge of the oven and the inner platform.

Step 8: The Oven Door

I measure the inner dimension of the cut out in the front panel. I mark the door with a pencil on a piece of the 6mm slab. Now I can drill small holes to achieve a wire frame look and cut the door out. Using a heat gun I change the color of the door. You can use color as well or simply leave it untouched.

Step 9: Finishing the Edges

I use my milling machine to finish the edges of the ground plate, the base and the ledge of the oven. You can use different shapes or techniques to achieve a same or different finish.

Step 10: Drilling Holes for the Pipe and the Coin

Now I need a hole in the ledge to insert the pipe. Therefore I use a 15mm drill at first (same diameter as the copper pipe). I drill into the ledge in the middle, but not right through. I stop some millimeters before breaching through. Now I can use a smaller drill (10mm) to finish the hole. This is important, that the pipe doesn't fall through the ledge.

The incense cone can get very hot, that's why I need a metal base for it. I drill a 1mm deep hole in the base. The coin can be glued right into it (I forgot to make a picture, that's why I've insert a photo of the finished base. Sorry).

Step 11: Glueing and Small Details

All pieces are cut out and can be glued together. I glue the base on the ground plate. On top of them I glue the inner platform. Finally the ledge can be glued on the body of the oven.

We have a chimney and I use a small piece of log to cut miniature version of it. You can use all kind of wood for this. I like to have barks on it to improve the illusion.

A small piece of wood can be used as a handle for the oven door. Just glue it on the door.

Step 12: Finishing

Finally all parts are ready and can be lacquered. I use two layers on all parts. The door and the logs are lacquered separately and glued afterwards.

I use the pipe cutter to cut a piece off the copper pipe for the stovepipe and stick the curved pipe on it. The stovepipe is placed in the hole of the ledge.

I glue the coin to the hole in the inner platform.

I bought a small cat figure on the Christmas Market. It is made of wood. I glue it on top of the oven. You can just drop this step or build something else on your own. Make it you own project and customize it the way you want it. My wife likes cats, so a cat it is :)

Step 13: Done

Finally my oven is finished and can be tested :D

It's difficult to catch the smoke on camera, but let me tell you, that this is working pretty good. It has a very good draught and exhales the scent to the whole room. I hope my wife will like it.

I hope you will enjoy building this. Please let me know your experiences and improvements. Please put photos in the comments :)

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42 Discussions

I made this a couple of months ago, with a couple of minor changes. Absolutely LOVE IT!!!

Thanks for the idea

Wow, looks great. My girl friend and I, we are moving every four years to a different country.

1 reply

Thx! Looks like we have the same kind of job ;)


1 year ago

I love it it looks like it could even be used in a doll house setting ? Will have to add to my fav for later tryout ? Thanks for sharing your gift to your wife I am sure she loved it ?

11 replies

I think it could work for a doll setting, you might have to adjust the size. Please send me pictures when you are done with yours. My wife loves it. We use it everyday for burning incense cones.

glad she loves it ?

I will I have saved your instructable to my collection of things to make ? At the moment we have to finish working on my Workshop ? We have the floor and walls done in the shed we build now we have to fix the ceiling and exchange the roller doors for large windows once that's done I can get back to working on all my hobbies ?? well still have to build the wall units and work benchs ?? first then I can start using my workshop ???

Good luck with your renovation. I have the same problem. We are currently living at two places and I don't have a dedicated workshop yet. Due to renovation I have tools and equipment at both places and every time there is one tool, which is not there when I need it.

Cheers :)

lol that's how my workshop came into being I use to live in the city and had to come home every 6 weeks to help Dad for 6 weeks after 4 years of that kind of living the shed was built my things placed in there and I moved back home full time ?? that was 5 years ago and it's take us this long to merge the two homes into one ? and converting the shed into a workshop working around all the boxes yet to be unpacked ??? I have forgotten half of what's in the boxes after all this time ???

Yeah I know exactly how this works. My wife and I, we are moving every four years to a different country. We still have a house in our home country, so I have one moving workspace and a located one :) It's not easy.

sounds like you have your hands full that's for sure and to find time for other things during all of this is great ? I sure don't miss those days of always being on the move this home is my final stop ? Hence the workshop the ultimate dream of any crafter ?

I hope your moves will one day lead you back home ?

There will be definitely an end to this in the future. I'm really looking forward to it. I could finally finish my workshop at home. But there is a lot of work to do.

I'm glad that you have arrived at your final stop.

that's good to know travling is fun but after a while well it's nice to be in that one place that you can say yep finally home ? I hope you get to finish your main base workshop one day ?

Thanks it's great to have a perminat home now ? Done with all that moving around from place to place I sat and worked it out on the average time span of all of my moves that I have done over the past 50 years lol and the avage worked out to be 6 years at each place ?? so yep glad it's all over now ??

We have still 30 years to go and move around the world. But we can handle it :)

????oh boy that's a long time to be moving around lol but I can say much there I did it for 40 years first of with my parents army brat that's me ??? and I was not able to settle down for a long time only the past 6 years have I been in one place ???

Good luck with the travling and moving enjoy it while you can at least once your back home and settled in again you will have lots of memories ??

I'm glad that you've finally settled. I'm looking forward to this day. But don't get me wrong, I enjoy being out in the world, but sometimes I wish to be back home and settled. I'll get there :D

Very nice! I would love to reprint this article in Wood-Fired Magazine. Please contact me at

1 reply

Thank you. Please see my message within your mails.



1 year ago

Nice work on the project. It looks like you took your time and it paid off.

Sorry that someone always has to find negativity in everything. I think people have more to worry about than the particulate matter of incense. I have never heard of anyone that died from incense

1 reply

Thanks, it took much more time as I thought. But it was totally worth it. The hint was well-intentioned :)


Love it, nice present and saving it in my favourites