A camping stove is a warmly welcomed addition to any camping trip. The average camping stove can cost anywhere between $10 to $200 and they all serve the same simple purpose...to heat things up. I challenged myself to design a simple wood-burning stove using only materials I had in my apartment, the result is the Tin Can Camping Stove.
Step 1: Gather What You'll Need
I only used materials/tools I already had in my apartment, so here is the list of what I used but I encourage you to challenge yourself, be resourceful, be creative, and use whatever materials you have on hand.
- One large tin can (my can was an empty 1lb can of stewed tomatoes) opened/emptied/cleaned
- 2 Wire Hangers (one preferably with added cardboard tubing as pictured )
- Can Opener (if you've not already opened your can)
- A Hammer
- Snipe Nose Pliers
- Flat Nose Pliers
- A nail or philips head screwdriver without a plastic handle
- A towel
- Tape measure or ruler
- A Freezer
- Kindling for your stove
Step 2: Freeze That Can!
Fill your can with water and stick it in the freezer, allow the water to completely freeze. This will prevent the can from being bent out of whack when you hammer out your ventilation holes.
While you're waiting for the water to freeze you can tackle Step 3.
Tip:When filling the can, leave a little head-space at the top for the water to expand into when it freezes
Step 3: Make Your Handles! (a.k.a the Trickiest Step)
While waiting for the can to freeze, grab your wire hangers,scissors, tape measure, snipe nosed pliers, and flat nosed pliers. It's time to cut and bend out some handles for your stove.
First, untwist your hangers (you can do this with your hands) so that you essentially have bendable wire to work with.
Second, measure out and cut a length of wire about two and a half times the height of your can. (ex. My can was 4-1/2" tall so I cut a piece of wire about 15" ) Use your snipe nosed pliers to cut the wire. Cut a second piece of wire the same length so that you have two pieces to work with (each one will make one handle)
Note: The measurements do not have to be exact, in all honesty you could probably just eyeball it, so don't stress being too meticulous here.
Third, using your flat nosed pliers bend and shape one wire into a rectangular shape, shape the wire to the size you desire your handles to be. (ex. I wanted my handles to be about 2-1/2" wide and 4" long). Repeat this for your second handle.
Fourth, measure and cut off 2 pieces of the cardboard tube, each a little shorter than the width of your handle. (ex. my handle was 2-1/2" wide so I cut off two 2" pieces of cardboard, one for each handle)
Finally, slide the cardboard piece onto your wire and twist and seal the wire with your flat nosed pliers.
you should end up with two rectangular handles, complete with cardboard grips.
Step 4: Grab Your Can! (once It's Frozen)
Once your can is completely frozen (I let mine sit overnight) retrieve it from the freezer, grab a towel, hammer, and nail (or screwdriver) and get ready to pound out some ventilation holes for your stove.
First, set your can down on the towel.
Second, grab a hammer and nail (or screwdriver) and use them like a hammer and chisel to punch out ventilation holes around the bottom half of the can. The idea is to allow oxygen in through the bottom of the stove to help feed the flames. Punch out the holes in whatever pattern you desire.
Step 5: Get That Ice Out!
Once you're done punching your holes, simply run the can under some hot water to melt the ice enough for it to slide out of the can.
Note:I noticed that the bottom of my can had been pushed out a bit when it was frozen, if this happens to you just hammer it back down into place after removing the ice.
Step 6: Cut That Can!
It's time to make the attachments for your handles.
First, mark off a 2"x2" square on the top half of the can.
Second, mark off another 2" x 2" square on the opposite side of the can.
Third, using your snipe nosed pliers and scissors cut the two vertical lines on the square, leaving the horizontal line as a mark for where you'll bend the can. You're essentially creating a flap which you will pull down, (repeat this step for the opposite side as well)
Finally, bend the flap down, toward the outside of the can, and trim off all but roughly 1" or so of the flap. (do this on both sides of the can)
Safety Note:Be very very careful when cutting and bending the can, those are some sharp edges!
Step 7: Attach Those Handles!
Time to fasten those handles.
First, take one of your handles and place the non-cardboard gripped side underneath the remaining bit of flap.
Second, take your flat nosed pliers and bend the flap down and around the handle. Ideally you should be able move the hand up and down without it slipping out. If it slips out just pop it back in and re-bend until it stays put.
Step 8: Finished!
There you have it, your very own Tin Can Camping Stove!
Now take it for a test run!
Step 9: Test Run!
To test out the stove I wanted to see how long it'd take for it to boil 3 cups of water.
The Run Down
- Added some kindling to the stove and set it ablaze (note: Birch bark is an excellent fire-starter)
- Let it burn for about 2 mins before setting the pot of water atop the stove
- Added kindling as needed through the slots on top sides of the stove
15 mins to boil 3 cups of water! Not too shabby for a little stove.
Thank you kindly for checking out my instructable, best of luck if you make your own!
Finalist in the
Summer Camping Challenge