Friday, April 10, 2009

Single Wall Wood Stove - Take Two

My first attempt at a single wall wood backpacking stove was a little lackluster, in my opinion. It worked, but just barely. This is the second attempt, and while I've yet to test it out, I have high hopes.

It is made from one 28 ounce vegetable can (diced tomatoes, I believe) - so cost was minimal, we'll call it $0 ... if you need diced tomatoes for anything, and have some spare hardware cloth lying around, and a stainless steel shish-kebob stake. Just poke some holes in the right places and you're good to go.

I did things quite a bit differently in this model. There are 5 holes punched out, only on one side, at the bottom. This was so a little less air would get in under the wood. The previous model burned too fast. The last one had 13 holes all the way around the bottom. Initially I intended to make this it's own pot stand, as with the other one. But you just can't fit enough wood in that way, so - as you can see - I opted to not cut out the large rectangle.

At the top there are two large holes. It's much easier to add holes later than remove them. The four tiny holes are for two stainless steel rods that slide through and hold up the pot stand.

All the larger holes in my wood stoves are 5/8". Not because I think they should be, but because my dad gave me a 5/8" chassis punch kit and that's all I have to make nice looking holes in sheet metal. A good hand punch or step-bit would let me make the 1/2" holes I would prefer to use.

The entire stove consists of a lot of parts. The stove can, pot stand, two pot stand rods, and the fire grate. I'm not terribly pleased with that. I prefer not to have loose items that can be lost.

The pot stand and the fire grate are made from 1/2" hardware cloth. You can purchase it by the foot at most any hardware store, or in a roll at the larger big box stores. The fire grate has down-turned edges, so it sits right at the level of the top of the air inlet holes. Ash will fall through as the wood burns down.

The pot stand is not enclosed - on purpose. This allows a generous space to add more sticks as the fire is going if you need to. It sits very securely on the rods inserted through the can.

I know that there are people who use these sorts of stoves (Bushbuddy clones, Bushwhacker, etc.) with those tall and narrow Heineken mini-keg cook pots. Personally, I have no interest in them. Wider based cook pots work much better with this sort of stove. Here is my very first backpacking pot - it's from a Texsport aluminum mess kit that I bought in 1994. I'll be using it because I really don't care if it gets covered in soot.

Even with wood burning stoves, a windscreen is a must. Ultra-light-weight'ers like to use a few layers of tin foil as their windscreen. Yup, it's light. Nope, it don't work for me. Even with a little wind, they just don't have the rigidity to keep from flopping against the stove - and I can see myself burning my hands trying to keep it in shape. I like aluminum flashing. It's very light, but still sturdy enough to hold up against the wind - and keeps it's shape, so even if it does move, I can push it back into place easily.

The windscreen has two rows of 1/4" holes (made from a paper hole punch) - only on one side. This way you can turn it to block the wind. Having holes all the way around defeats the purpose in my opinion.

Now I guess I need to go test it.

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