Propane Tank Wood Stove for $5





Introduction: Propane Tank Wood Stove for $5

About: I love to work with metal!

This wood stove was solely made from

1 lb propane tank

4 nuts/bolts

3 in Copper pipe section

Tin wire solder


blow torch

angle grinder(cutoff wheel)


NOTICE : The pictures of the flame where not caused by wood which means that it does not look as well as it can in the picture. when you are burning wood there will be a bigger flame.

Step 1: Empty the Propane Tank

It is vital the propane tank is completely empty before you cut the top off. i used a blowtorch adapetr to drain any excess gas. This step is key , ignoring it can result in an explosion. I don't take any responsibility for actions of this project if the precautions aren't taken.

Step 2: Cutting the End

I used an angle grinder with a cutting wheel to take of the top section of the tank. The walls of the tank are very thin so it only took about 2 mins to completely take the top off.The next step is to sand the inside and outside of the cut area. This dulls the edge preventing accidents.Your propane tank should look like the one above

Step 3: Drilling the Holes.

I drilled the holes while the tank was in a vise so it didn't slip away.Once the four holes are evenly spaced and cut i put the 4 bolts in. I secured them will the nuts , then I tightened with a wrench.Your stove should look like the one above.Once this is complete you can move on to the next step.

Step 4: Drilling the Chimney Hole

I used a 1.5 in hole saw to drill the hole of the chimney. once that was complete I sanded down the paint. Then added flux cleaner. This creates a clean surface for the tin wire.

Step 5: Attaching the Chimney

ONce you have cut and cleaned the hole for the chimney , i cleaned the copper pipe section with flux . then you are ready to solded using tin solder.The reason i used tin is because it has a higher melting point than regular lead alloy solder .The tin will not melt if you do this step correctly.You must make sure that the pipe is wider than the hole so the tin is never exposed to too much heat. if you lyer enough tin on around the copper pipe ist will be secure and ready to use.

This wood burning stove can be used for camping or just you back yard. It is versatile and compact. It was also relatively easy to make and use. Thank you.



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    28 Discussions

    Great Project!! Awful how many negative comments you received. Not entirely sure why people always feel the need to say how bad something is or what else you "should" have done.

    I am so happy i stumbled upon this. Gonna be a great project for my kid this weekend. Thanks for taking the time to post something simple and easy that can be as simple or as complex as the maker wants to make it.

    1 reply

    Thanks for the comment, fully agree its sad how manty negative people are on here. but happy to see you are going to do this project with your son. I hope you gusy have fun.

    Nice instructable. Personally it looks a little small for me, but it is nice. I was under the impression those cans are made of aluminum, so I suppose only a somewhat low temperature fire before it melts (i.e, you shouldn't force air in).

    However most people will ask you to add a section about how to safely cut a propane tank. You should NOT, to my understanding, ever just take an angle grinder to the propane tank. Residue fuel allegedly is very risky for explosion. Instead, people fill them with water and displace excess fuel, and other people take further precautions as well.

    Personally I'm not entirely sure how you'd fill the bottom with water, without fancier adapters. But it may not be that hard in practice.

    11 replies

    For the people out there say it is not practical and not usable. it's what every you make of it. I could have made a wood burning stove out of a stainless steel pool filter and make it huge. But i wanted to make a cheap and easy project that anyone could do. Yes i could make a professional one that would take me 40 hours to build. But do other people do not have the availability to machines like I do . therefore I wanted to make an easy , probably not practical, project that most people could construct. i believe that most people would have ore fun making it tahen using it. That is what this site is about making thating for fun. Not everything has to be practical . Also a note o n the dangers of propane it says in my intro that is is very dangerous and it should be drained completely . that way i do things may not always be the most safe ways but that doesn't mean you have to do them. If you attach any valve to a tanka ndf flip it then open the valve completely open for a couple minutes it will empty out. any remaining gases will not blow up , the small amount of gas will just burn off and make a small 3-4 in flame. Anyway thanks so much for your input i appreciate it.

    Even after you empty the tank, the metal is porous and contains propane. It needs to have a hole or holes to vent it so it can't build up pressure and explode (before you grind or otherwise heat the metal). Even drilling a hole can cause an explosion if you don't cool the drill bit and the metal.

    porous, really??

    Just because you smell the mercaptain doesn't mean there is propane. Mercaptain Is insidious it stays around LONG after the gas is dispersed. Wherever did you get the idea steel was like a sponge?

    I worked as a propane tech for about a I often drained propane tanks to work on them. after draining a 1000 gal tank all day there was no pressure so I shut the tank overnight, when I came back the next morning I drained the tank another hour before the pressure was gone again. just saying I cant explain the science but I can tell my experience.

    Guy named Boyle 'invented a bunch of laws' one of which dealt with the temperature / volume relationship. Most likely when you vented the tank it became cold causing the contents of the tank to become more dense. The tank warmed up, expanding the contents creating a pressure.

    I've done things with tanks that, were I to annotate on instructables, I would get pilloried.

    My welding instructor.
    Didn't say it's like a sponge, but it does have some porosity, and it will retain petroleum products in the pores. Gasoline is a worse situation, but even with propane, it's wise to be careful.

    And I had an instructor tell me you had to dry out the steel before you could weld it. He demonstrated by heating up a piece of steel with a propane/oxy torch. Problem with that is a byproduct of propane combustion is, maybe you guessed it, water. The example didn't make him correct.

    I was an X-ray quality welder certified in Submerged Arc, MIG, Stick and TIG, worked for General Dynamics, Electric Boat Division, Groton CT. Only time the X-ray showed porosity was when the welder screw up. My rejection rate was less than 1% and and that's welding 3" of submarine hull. I put in (at times) 100 pounds of wire a nite by machine - I could have done more but we had a an interpass temperature limitation.

    Even if, just say if there was propane left in the Steel (ridiculous) there would 100% not be enough to blow up.The amount of propane you would need for that tank to blow up in your face is surprising. Trust me those tanks have been engineered and re-engineered. They are a good design and have been pressure tested they are pretty dummy proof.

    if you punch a hole with an awl where you intend to put your leg there would be no way for pressure build.

    on the one pound tanks at the outlet you will see the internal opening that the gas flows out of, at the bottom of this tube is a release valve, not unlike the one used in the stems of car tires and removed the same way with a small tool. This valve will unscrew and come out of the tank, allowing you to invert the tank and drain out the remaining vapor (propane is heavier then air) then flood with water and drain again. Before any attempt to cut a tank is made.

    the tool Is a small round rod long enough to reach down to the valve with a slot in the end wide enough to fit over the square shoulders of the valve.


    2 years ago

    Joepatrick you are inspiring. I was also thinking of how to make a rocket stove and I do have a mig welder not getting nearly enough use. I had not thought of how to use a discarded small propane tank. One of those would be perfect for the fuel feed chamber for a rocket stove. Next will be another compressed gas cylinder a bit bigger in size for the actual burner. I think that there are small cylinders for refrigerant gas that may do the job. Hmmmm... thanks again for submitting your little stove project. I agree with the others that any kind of solder is best avoided though silver solder will take quite a heat. You would still need a loan of an acetylene torch for your project though. All that sheet metal really robs heat away quickly. If you go that far you may as well acetylene weld. If you have friends or a neighbour farmer who has an acetylene setup and you talk nice you may be able to get them to do the weld or, better yet, get them to teach you to weld and so you'll have another skill. All the best. Waiting to see your next project.

    3 replies

    Mapp Gas is easier to obtain does not necessarily require O2 (depending on the project) and uses a regular propane nozzle. For light and smaller projects I think that Mapp is a better option, also as long as you have the propane nozzle you can just purchase Mapp cylinders and use without much worry. Careful if you try and use them on small copper fittings, you can overheat/unevenly heat easily.

    There are also Mapp plus O2 systems now as well. The small O2 cylinders tend to loose pressure as you work and you will have to adjust constantly or have a bad flame. Not worth the effort IMO.

    Regarding any type of soldering...the cleaning, use of PROPER flux for the materials being bonded and heating evenly and slowly is the key. If you are not sure what flux to use then seek information online or at a welding supply house.

    Thansk for your great words. i plan on postibng an advanced version for people who do have welders and tools.

    Just a bit of advise on the connection of the stack to the body.


    really. just don't. Especially not a tin solder.

    If you don't have access to tools/skills/space for welding or brazing, just rivet it!

    on the stack, cut 4 "arms" on the end, beat them into submission/shape with a hammer, and rivet that bad boy onto the body of the burn-stuff-thingie. Even a small twig fire is going to get hot enough to re-melt that solder. then, when the stack falls off, it will gracefully fling molten solder in a random location.

    Aluminium pop rivets would work, but you are better off with rivets made of common nails, or even just using some self tapping sheet metal screws. Bonus to using screws, it can be disassembled, and the stack packed away inside the body. at least until the screws rust into place(a good 3-4 fires at least, I estimate).

    1 reply