Wood Burning Stove





Introduction: Wood Burning Stove

This is a guide on how to build a woodstove from scrap.

you can also read this in dutch:

Step 1: Get a Metal Container.

First you need to pop down yer local chippy + get an empty oildrum + a pea fritter!

height about 50cm
diameter about 30 cm

depending on how big space you want to heat.

I have also tried various metal rubish-bins.

it doesn't matter if the metal is thin. that way it heats up the space much faster.

don't use anything aluminium. it will catch fire when tempreture gets high enough for spontanious combustion, melting or realy aggressive burning with hot sparks flying about.

Step 2: Get Teapot and Saucepanlid

then get a kettle and a saucepanlid with a lip and a metal handle, making sure your kettle has a bigger base than the size of your lid.

snip the edges then bend and bang inside so you've got a smooth edge with no sharp bits and hopefully your saucepanlid will fit nice and snug.

Step 3: Burn Paint Off

its best to burn the paint off the drum at some point. but then turn it upsidedown and draw round your lid on the base of the drum (fun bit when flame sometimes shoots out of hole in drum)

Step 4: Smoke Valve (optional, But Recommended)

hopefully you can get hold of a bit of flexible chimney flue from somewhere or you could rivet lots of large baked bean tins together if your really keen or mad or just like beans.

then draw a hole for the flue right near the top of the drum. cut out in segments and bend all the sharp bits inside so they lay flat.

a trick to keep the heat in is an adjustable baffle in the chimney, just squewer a baked bean tin lid with a tent peg inside the chimney.

Step 5: Close Bottom and Fill 1/3 With Clay.

close the bottom of the drum with metal. and fill 1/3 with clay. this is to retain the heat.

Step 6: Make Holes to Control Fire

make hole in the side to control the fire.
you can just drill holes and have big bolts to seal up holes when you want the burner to slow down.
You can also make a slide.

Step 7: How to Use

put some cardboard or paper inside and stak little stick on top, bigger sticks on that etc. (so instructable for making a fire). open all holes to let lots of air in. open chimney flab to let smoke go out. now light fire. put the lid on top, but don't close it all the way, just enough to stop smoke coming out of burner.
when it's going first close lid on top (or put the kettle on). close holes on the side or slide if you got one, te regulate the air intake and thus the speed of the burning. (depends on what sort of wood you're burning).

at first the clay may smell wierd, but that will wear off.

after a few weeks the clay will be all dried out and you will notice the burner stays warm for hours after flames have gone.

- make sure no children can play near burner
- keep flameables well away
- don't have anything burnable above the burner
- make sure you got enough ventilation in the space you use this in.



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    19 Discussions

    Nice drawings--wish they were larger! Should galvanized metal (zinc content) be avoided?

    5 replies

    Tes zinc should be Avoided not only the smell is bad but the fumes are Toxic

    Avoid zinc, it will give you the headache of a lifetime. Burn it off first by putting the drum in a large bonfire. Light and leave it until the next day. (This also works for paint and oil on drums) Don't breathe the smoke!

    thanks. Believe it or not, I just found the drawings on a gathering in the UK about 10 years ago! It says a anti-copyright notice so i multiplied some for other travellers to use. Later I took this info with me to Holland and some more of these burners where made. Anyways, the drawings just happen to be very small, sorry, can't help it.

    in step 1: "don't use anything aluminium. it will catch fire when tempreture gets high enough for spontanious combustion" What? Did you mean melt? Didn't read past that.

    7 replies

    May be confusing aluminum with magnesium (or zinc). Could use some explanation of why some things were done the way they were-like no ash dump, if the clay needs sand or hay in it so it doesn't form steam pockets, could you use sand instead, some indication of scale would be nice, how the bean cans might be put together, why upright and not horizontal, something about how to get the flue outside... Good HIDI (How I Did It), nice humor.

    o (forgot). about the clay, I never bothered with mixing or anything, just dig down and used whatever claylike substance was about. Think globally, act locally. whatever was easyest to obtain. I'm sure some scientist might be able to tell which sort of clay would work best and what mixtures and such. But this is travellers' science. Keeping it simple, yet effective at no cost.

    feel free to make a ash dump. I used a lot of clay to retain the heat, and a ash-drawer was difficult to make in combination with the clay. But I found scooping the ashes out with an old soupspoon every other day was no hassle at all. scale: height around 50 cm diameter: about 30cm but sized depends much on how big a space you want to heat (and how much wood you want to burn ;-)#

    Try burning a pop can with a blow torch. You'll see the aluminum (aka aluminium) get white hot and start combusting. It looks kind of like magnesium burning but it's not self sustaining at ambient temperatures (i.e. once your turn off the heat, it will stop quickly). Where would you get a magnesium container large enough for this anyways?

    Metal burns friend. fireworks and flairs are magnesium, and if you wanna make something really impressive, mix a little alluminum dust and rust dust... you get thermite. actually, dont it spatters, and cant be put out with water.

    fortunately I have never experienced this myself, but I have heard plenty of stories of people who have used aluminium (like the old milk-containers) for a burner or chimney with it either melt or starting to burn in a very agressive sparkly way. I spoke to someone who once had a burner from a aluminium milk-container and the thing just started to frow sparks around, he had to flee out of his bender and 10 minutes later all was ashes.

    If you are a competant welder, old gas cylinders make good wood stoves and last longer than thin steel. However it is essential to remove all traces of gas before welding and cutting begins. Make sure the bottle is empty, then you MUST remove the outlet valve, once remove tip the bottle upside down to let out any gas. Then fill the bottle with water for a few hours JUST TO MAKE SURE ALL GAS IS REMOVED. OH AND NO SMOKING WHILST DOING THIS.

    2 replies

    I tried that too (got someone else to do the welding for me), but found that If the metal is thicker it takes a long time for the burner to get hot enough to heat the place. During this time most of the heat goes out the chimney, so you're freezing for another hour waisting wood and then it gets realy-realy hot and you have to shut the air intake or so else it gets too hot. So for bender-dwellers and yurt-inhabitants: if you want instant heat and not waste wood waiting for the burner to get heated up, go for the thinner metal. Thin metal won't last as long as the ticker stuff, true.

    Your right about thinner metal heating up quicker, and i guess when it rots, its cheap enough to make another one.