Thursday, March 27, 2008

Jeeves! Make Me A Stove!

They're out there. All the smart, inventive people. And the others.

I didn't realize it until recently, but this Internet thing has a lot of videos on it. You can learn stuff.

I was investigating a couple of new web sites that I'd heard of. One was totally new to me. It is called "Instructables: The world's biggest show and tell". Well, OK. Who's counting anyway? Biggest it may be.

Surprising thing though. I found lots of instructions on how to make lightweight stoves.


I happen to have written a book on ultralight stoves, but it's a lot more than pages of instructions. It's full of lunacy, and also has 26 stories, some of them quite the amusing sort of thing. And a 38 page lexicon you won't find anywhere else on Earth. So a buncha videos isn't really competition.

Come to think of it most of the videos aren't competition for anything at all. But you still may learn a thing or two. At least a video shows you things moving, and that's fun.

Before getting to the various instruction sets and videos, let me mention some sources of solid information. A couple of these have been around for quite a while.

First, the first one I found, "Wings: The home-made stove archives". A great, old-fashioned web site right out of the 1990s. Good info, and lots of it.

Then "Scott Henderson’s Pepsi Can" stoves, new and old. (Disclaimer: Site unavailable at time of this post, but it should be there. Please don't blame me if it isn't.)

And the big daddy of home made stoves, "Zen Backpacking Stoves".

For tips from master stove designer and maker Deems Burton, see the "Pika Alcohol Stove System". The first two images here are from his site.

OK, on to the newcomers. First, Instructables.

Try some of the following, and if they don't suit, keep looking:

Can Stove.

Least cost outdoor stove.

Wood burning stove.

Cool Little Miniature Stove!

Hobo Stove from Tin Can - Traditional High Tech Camp Stove.

Backpacking Stove from Aluminum Flashing

Ultra-simple, improvised camping stove.

Now for a few from Make magazine.

HOW TO - Make a portable camping stove.

Penny alcohol backpacking stove

A better soda can stove. And again.

And then of course, YouTube.

Fire-Spout Mini Wood burning camp stove. The Fire-Spout-Mini is a wood burning camp stove for the camper and backpacker, it will give a roaring fire within about three minutes of striking...

Homemade double jet alcohol stove. Homemade alcohol camping stove in action. Assembling stove and boiling water (half a liter in 3 minutes)...

Wood Gas Camp Stove. Vinay burns small sticks until he runs out. Potential part of Hexayurt unit...

Popcan camp stove. I built a camp stove out of a popcan and used isopropyl alcohol as fuel...don't try this unless you know what you are doing...

I personally think that the resources I reference in my book and on my web site are better all around. Better designed, better executed, with better instructions. But it's nice to see the videos. It means that it's all catching on. People find that they can make their own whatever. They aren't any longer dependent only on what they find on store shelves. That stuff is still there, but it becomes only one more option instead of the only choice at all.

I'm in favor.

By the way, I split out the stove instruction part of my book, so you can get that separately if you'd like. Really cheap for a PDF version.


Fire In Your Hand: Dave's Little Guide To Ultralight Backpacking Stoves

Dave's Little Guides Storefront

Make your own computer mouse from a real mouse. (This is too good not to include.)