Friday, November 30, 2012

Gas Me, Gas Me Not

No more huffing and puffing, not even a little.

Wheezing. Coughing. Swearing. Choking.

More swearing.

That was me one July.

Gagging over a wood fire with smoke up my nose and tears in my eyes. Trying to blow life into a reluctant fire under my pot.

Simply heating water over an alcohol stove and dumping it into a ziplock bag of premixed food is my usual style. But I just had to try cooking this other way, using wood to save fuel.

Bad move.

Really bad move.

Finding a way to make it work sounded like a challenge. Sadly, I like a challenge.

I guess that explains my "Dumbnuts" tattoo.

Ray Garlington said "I inexplicably became inspired to try building a wood stove that would not require a battery and fan. I decided, more or less arbitrarily, that the stove would have to be very light (5 oz or less), would have to boil 1 quart of water, hold a simmer for 10 minutes, and be fun to use."

Clean burning, no moving parts, light, small, and dead simple. And even I could understand how to make one. WooHoo!

Take an empty steel can. Cut out the ends and put a grate and legs at the bottom. Add air holes higher up, and a pot support at the top.

Dump in some twigs, then some kindling.

Prime at the top with a few drops of flammable liquid and light it.

The fire then burns from the top down, converting unburned fuel into smoke as it goes.

Air sucked in at the bottom pushes the smoke up, into the flames. Vents higher up add oxygen, and it burns like crazy.

As long as the twigs are small enough, there are plenty of air holes, and the pot is at least two inches above the top of the stove, it's smoke-free.

Toward the end you've got a charcoal fire that cools down slowly and leaves only a tiny pile of clean ash.

With a metal shield or flat rock underneath and maybe a wind screen, you're all set. The fuel supply is infinite.

This is true.



Some places to go for basic, practical information:

The Garlington WoodGas Stove

Risk's WoodGas Stove

Penny Wood Stove

Zen Stoves (wood gas section)

For more technical info on how I did it, sift through my previous posts for the plans.