Monthly Archives: February 2012

Wood Stove Update

Here’s what I did on the 27th:

Latch and flues

I kept trying to figure out what kind of hardware to use for the latch. Not enough room for a slider lock, and I didn’t want to put something right through the door like a knob. So I bent some of the metal leftover from the door and hotplate, and got a latch!

I believe the two circles are called flues, already had some confusion between a baffle and a damper, so I’m not sure. The top one has a diameter of 2 1/4″ and 1/2″ holes. The bottom one’s diameter is 1 1/8″ with 3/8″ holes.

Heres what I did on the 28th:

hotplate shows uneven heating

To help the cooking surface spread heat evenly, I added a piece of metal:

I was planning on using black high heat paint, but might not as I really like the color it changed after the first burn. I didn’t have the latch or flues for the first burn, and loaded the stove with too much wood, and it was an inferno! Flames were coming out the door, which was open, and shooting out the chimney elbow! The next test burn I’ll start the fire small, and once it’s healthy, I’ll close the door and play with the flues. Hopefully there won’t be any flames in the chimney elbow, if there is I’ll have to make a damper. That’s a circle that goes into the horizontal chimney that allows adjustments of how much air is escaping. Once I have the bicycle camper finished I’ll take the stove in it and determine the height I want it at. Then I’ll make the legs and that’s that.

(10/24/12 Hindsight)

I’ve been meaning to update this, sorry for the delay. The flue is the chimney. A damper is a bit of metal in the flue used to restrict airflow, which is adjustable. So far as I know the two circles I’d been calling flues are called air intakes. A baffle is a sheet of metal within the stove that is fixed in place from side to side and back to nearly front at the top of the stove. If there were no baffle the natural path of heat would go right to the flue. What a baffle does is force all heat to move toward the front and up under the cooking surface, then out the flue. The Heiny Keg wood stove and Mailbox wood stove do not have baffles, though were I to make the latter again it would.

While this stove was a fun project, and is unquestionably cool looking, you can NOT cook on it or boil water. You could heat a small space/tent with it, but you’d better wake up 3 or 4 times a night to add more wood.

If you want to be able to cook on a diy tent stove, use my mailbox wood stove. It cooks just fine, holds more and bigger pieces of wood, and all around requires much less fussing over. You’d only have to wake up once to feed it, unless you like to sleep more than 12 hours, lol.


Heiny Keg Wood Stove

I’ve made a fire pit and some candle heaters out of Heineken kegs before, and they all worked well in their own way. But I’ve always wanted to make a wood stove out of one. Here are some pics of my progress so far:

Mini Wood Stove

Chimney Elbow and Hot Plate


Grill to elevate the wood for better air flow


Ready For First FIRE!

There will be a few more blogs on this project, hope you enjoyed the eye candy!

First REAL Ride of the Year!

I dug the Bent out of the basement on the 21st and reassembled it because I had a job to do a distance away, and rode it a little after work. But that doesn’t count because there wasn’t any snow on the ground…and because I say so. But today we had about 4″ on the ground. My ‘bent doesn’t do well in snow, the little front tire will try to dump me every chance it gets, and since the sidewalks are never plowed, there’s no way I’m riding with traffic!

But the streets were good this morning, and I needed some supplies from home depot for my heineken wood stove. So I got adventurous and gave it a shot. I took as many backstreets as possible, and had no problems with motorites. Yeah, it’s lame, but I’m coining that one. I estimate it was an 8 mile round trip…my planet bike bicycle computer refuses to function under 60*F for some reason. I did alot of cruising after that, prolly around 6 miles. It was a great time, I can’t wait to get my tadpole trike so I can ride in snow and ice!

My Other Girlfriend

Gotta have a flag!

Every cyclist should have a flag, but especially bent riders, I’m only 22″ off the ground, and it helps alot!

Can you see the headlight and bike horn?

The headlight is solar powered…errr, that would be daft, I mean solar charged.


The left mirror is situated so that I can see traffic while I’m on the sidewalk, or see if a car is about to pass me while on the street. The next object is a broken mount for wireless turning signals/headlight, which aren’t shown until I fix the mount. The next is the Planet Bike computer…non fuctioning meany head that it is! Next is the Airzound bike horn. This sucker is loud, just search for “Airzound bike horn” and check it out! Lastly is the right mirror, situated to see directly behind me.


That’s the rear turning signal on top, which won’t work without the front one. Below it is an attached reflector. The little red thing below that is a solar charged blinker, bright enough to get me noticed in daylight. In order to mount all this I had to cut and drill a piece of aluminum, then bolt and zip tie a painted piece of pvc tube to it, mount the lights, and bolt to seat.

So there’s my favorite Girl………Honey, if you’re reading this, I’m just joking, I swear!!!

Camper Progess 2/22/12

I’ll admit it, I’ve been lazy. Making the camper floor is like taking work home with me. I finished the last two floor panels this morning, reinforcing the 1/4″ plywood with firring strips that is. Maybe I’ll get to the piano hinges later.

But my laziness wasn’t without productivity. I’ve finished a solar distiller, and have most of a solar pasteurizer done. I finally found a medium size cast iron frying pan, used, for $5. That’s needed for the woodstove, which was started yesterday. I’m using a Heineken draught keg, 5 liters, for the stove. As it will be a horizontal stove, for ease of use and longer burn time than a vertical one, it has no flat cooking surface. My plan is to inset the frying pan into the top of the stove a bit. It may be a challenge to keep it from leaking smoke…we’ll see. Inspiration for the wood stove comes from:

Heineken Wood Stove

I’m sorry, this link didn’t work, I’ll have to figure that out. In the meantime, just go to youtube and type diy tent stove proto 2 part 2.

This guy has a plethora of outdoors information. There are alot of other videos of this wood stove as well.

A while back I’d made a heiny keg fire pit, upright. It worked well, but it was alot of work to keep it working well! And I’ve seen a few wood stoves made from it that were vertical, they seem to work well…but I don’t want to have to babysit this thing. So hopefully insetting the pan will…”pan out”, hyuck hyuck! If it doesn’t I’ll have no choice but to mount it on top, as Sousaville did with his soup lid. But I’m envisioning steel half tubes, round on bottom and flat on top, under the right and left sides of the pan, filled with sand. That should make for better heat dispersion and retention.

Another reason for trying to inset the cast iron is I’ve noticed alot of the old time horizontal barrel stoves had a lid that you removed, so the cooking vessel could be placed on the flames.

Camper Progress 2/13/12

I didn’t work on the camper floor at all over the weekend, after working in the cold all week, I needed the down time. Funny phrase if you think about it. “Down time” lifts your spirits, it’s recuperating. I finished one of the smaller panels tonight, all the firring strips have angle cuts. On the previous panels most of the strips were straight cuts…but I discovered I should have been cutting the ends at 45 degrees. I don’t have enough strips to replace them, but I can drill and screw ’em together, so all is good. I’m going to do the same with all the corners, 45’d or not.

Tomorrow is my last day of siding until next monday. That’s lower case on purpose. mondays are a horrible way to spend 1/7th of your life!!! More than likely I’ll only get one more panel done. I may have some window work to do Wednesday and Thursday, maybe Friday too, but they’ll be short days, so I should have the remaining floor sections done on Wednesday. After that I can start connecting the floor panels with piano hinges. I bought four 6′ sections on Saturday. I only need 20′ of that, but I’ll find a use for the leftover, prolly for the shower floor section. Total cost of that is $64.

So far the total camper cost is $344. My $400 total cost hopes are probably done for. If I’m lucky (and anyone else who wants to build this!) it’ll be under $500.

Well, that’s all for now, I’m beat, time to relax.

Solar Distillation

I can’t wait to make this, and some higher quality solar ovens to show you too. I’ve made several solar ovens, and that’s a blog or two in itself, and I’m tempted to rant about them as they’re freaking awesome…but this project will fill a major need for bicycle camping…procuring water.

There are a few ways of making questionable or downright non-potable water potable. You can use purification tablets, readily available at many places, including MalWart: your source for cheap plastic crap. They’re cheap…until you realize how little water they purify. There are of course portable water distillers, expensive and usually requiring electricity. You can spend around $20 to get water bottles with filters built in…but I don’t trust those when it comes to microbes. You can use the bleach method…blech!!! You can google that one, I suppose it works fine, but seriously, bleach my water?! You can use 2 or 3 litre bottles with cotton sand and charcoal to make water filters (which I plan to do), but you should still probably boil afterwards just to be safe!

Or you can use solar water distillers. I’ve made some miniatures out of 20oz pop bottles just for fun. They don’t yield that much. The easiest way involves digging a hole in moist soil, putting clear plastic over the hole, putting a weight in the center of the plastic, and a collection vessel under the plastic under the center. How about no Scott, how about no? I’ve seen some more complicated contraptions that you can build out of common materials and glass, and plan to make some someday.

But I want something lightweight for my bicycle camper, something that breaks down, is easy to assemble/build, and is efficient. Been thinking about it on and off all day, and I came up with this. It’s easy, it’s cheap (if you happen to have Tuff-R insulation laying around, you can substitute with styrofoam or layers of cardboard lined with aluminum foil if you don’t).

Well, here’s my idea:

Solar H2O Distiller

Crappy Blueprint

Crappy Explanation

More Crappy Explanations

Morerest Craptastic Explanations

So it starts with an apology for my inept photography. And then you start with a clear plastic bowl or other clear plastic food container. Then make a base that goes under the bowl, it doesn’t matter if it’s Tuff-R board insulation or not, so long as it’s insulative. All the solar ovens I’ve made have been done with several layers of cardboard or styrofoam, and they worked great, so that should be just fine for this distiller. Paint the up facing side of the base flat black.

Make walls to tightly surround the bowl/container. Line with aluminum foil facing inward. The black bottom retains heat, the tin foil walls or reflective side of Tuff-R bounce solar energy through the water.

Then, in the easiest method, put a small cup in the center of the container, and fill the container, being careful not to get any polluted water into the small cup, up an inch or so.

Saran wrap the container, tight around the edges, but loose enough in the center to place a small weight above the collection cup so that the saran wrap is concave…but make sure none of the plastic wrap touches the collection cup.

Place in bright sunlight and collect water at the end of the day. The version I showed uses a tube and gravity to collect purified water into a separate vessel, a water or pop bottle. If you choose to do this, be sure to seal air tight (or more appropriately water tight) around the tube. And try to keep the external water collection vessel air tight and in the shade.

Camper Progress 2/9/12

I’ve been busy with work lately so I only have five out of nine floor panels finished. I’ve walked on all of them, and they all pass. I have to cut 1/4″ off of all the screw tips, after they’re through the plywood and firring strips of course…although if I’d clipped ’em before that would certainly explain the slow progress!!! The problem is I can’t find screws that are shorter than one and a quarter inch. Ran into this problem with the cargo trailer, but it didn’t matter then. It does now!

The bathroom floor section, the shower area, to be specific, is giving me some challenges. It is because of this section that I want to elevate the entire camper 2′ off the ground. I know I’ll have to sit in order to take a shower, but that sure as hell beats squatting on the balls of my feet! I could not add any firring supports to that section, and it would keep it simple…but then I could never utilize that particular floor panel space, you WILL crash through 1/4″ plywood without proper support! I’m willing to elevate the entire camper 2′ just to make showering more comfortable.

I want this to be a home away from home, you know? It’s not like I’m in danger of becoming homeless or anything (or else I wouldn’t be spending hard earned cash on this!), but I do have a place in my heart and mind for the homeless. I was homeless once, when I was very young, and while I learned alot about life, society, and the nature of people (trying to make a negative possitive here!), sleeping under a bridge sucks! So making showering in a compact space just a little more comfortable is important to me.

I know most people have never/will never be homeless, and therefore will never know what it’s like. I also know how most people think of the homeless. Guess what? They’re people too. Anyone can become homeless. I often find it curious, the ammount of right wing christians who say things like “get a job” or “stop leaching off society”…when their very god himself was homeless, and advocated it! Oops! I just got a little philosophical there, something I try to keep out of this blog. I guess my point is that not all people who are homeless are addicts or mentally ill or thieves. Just like not all people who own homes are outstanding citizens. Some of them are drug dealers and murderers, or worse.

I guess my intention is to say that once you’ve been homeless, it’s always in the back of your mind. So this isn’t just a camper, it’s a “if the fecal matter hits the fan” back up plan of sorts. I call it a “motorless home”.

I’ve got the shower floor panel sitting in front of me, so that I can obsess…er, I mean meditate, on how to make it work. I’m sure after a walk or two I’ll figure it out.