This is my newest invention in the ForeverFire series: the HermitFire, a denatured alcohol heater/stove. This is not the standard quart can toilet paper alcohol heater that’s on so many forums all over the net. This has an adjustable flame, 2 pot stands for cooking, and a heat hood to direct heat toward you rather than straight up.
That’s a gallon paint can. Inside is a quart can filled with carbon felt.
I didn’t have any Monster energy cans around, so I used a Venom can instead. It sits higher, but for this I think it works better. It’s mounted underneath the lid, and the paint lid is reinforced with 22 gauge steel. What you see on top are 6 T nuts, the inner three hold 2″ #10 machine screws for use with small pots. The outer three hold 3″x 1/4″ machine screws for use with large frying pans or pots.
If used like this with a hiking pot the outer pot stand makes it virtually impossible for the pot to tip.
Pretty cool! I didn’t plan it this way, just the luck of winging it! But where to store the pot stand legs when using it as a heater?
I toyed with the idea of making a container like this out of aluminum, but this was so much easier, it’s a steel gum container.
So you’ve seen the stove application of this, now for the heater!
This is the heat hood, fabricated from 22 gauge steel. Instead of the heat going straight up this focuses it forward.
Side view with gratuitous shot of the worm gear.
You could heat with it this way, but it’s more efficient with a flame diffuser.
This is the flame at full power, about 12″ of blue soot free flame!
A closer pic. I apologize for the lack of detail but the only way to see the flame was for the lights to be off.
This is the flame diffuser with the HermitFire on low. All this does is help spread the heat out so that when it hits the heat hood it’s not burning on one spot, and actually seems to produce a more even, hotter heat.
Now let’s take a more in depth look at the HermitFire. A great deal of thought and work went into this project. The fuel cell (quart can with carbon felt wick) needs to be elevated in the gallon can. When testing I used an empty 7oz sterno can. I considered filling the sterno with fuel, just to have extra in case I took this contraption out in the sticks. But I wanted the base for the fuel cell to be secure, and it seemed over the top for the extra fuel. Then I considered using a beef stew can cut down to the height of the sterno can (approximately 2 5/8″). I could rivet it to the bottom of the gallon can. Perhaps I could fill it with sand for extra tip protection. Nix that! It’s heavy enough, and I’m always cautious around anything hot as is. Plus if the stew can was riveted where would the flame diffuser go? There just isn’t enough room between the quart and gallon can walls to store it.
So I cut a beef stew can down and left 6 flaps. Note that it was actually drawn to have 8 equally spaced flaps, but those 2 were cut off so that the fuel cell stand can easily be pulled out. These flaps keep the stand can from sliding around, and because it fits with the pint can perfectly, all you do is set the fuel cell on it and it’s always centered in the gallon can. This way the fuel cell is elevated properly, it’s stable, and the stand is removable so the diffuser has a storage space.
Certain cans just happen to be perfect for the ForeverFire series. This diffuser is made from a chicken dumpling can. What a twist! =P
Because the choke ring is so large I made it out of roof flashing. This was also the first time I made the worm gear out of wood.
I like how this adjusts, the screw always stays were you set it, with the aluminum worm gear that is not always the case. The problem with such a large choke ring is that when fully opened the bit of wood falls, and you can’t readjust the ring. So I added two choke ring supports, the one supporting the bit of wood is pictured above.
Why this second support? These also keep the choke ring spread out evenly when adjusting, so that when fully opened all the air holes are exposed, rather than the choke ring resting on some.
Here’s how the heat hood is attached, two 3/4″x1/4″ machine screw.
Simply slide the hood over the machine screws and push down.
This was a lot of fun! It’s hard to give a burn time on this, as cooking for myself requires a low flame…and by low I mean a blue 4″ flame. I have heated with it on low for 2 days, occasionally turning it up for more heat, but always readjusting it to low as this keeps the temperature consistent for quite some time. That’s 2 days and there’s still quite a bit of fuel left in it. I do believe that this works better/more efficiently than my commercially available denatured alcohol heater, as that burns on high for about 5 hours, and on low for 2 days, consuming about a pint and a half of fuel. Take THAT HeatMate! The cost of making the HermitFire was about $15 less than buying the HeatMate, not that cheap, but I made it, and I’ll save money on fuel. There are some experiments I plan to do to potentially improve the fuel cell, but for now the HermitFire is more than satisfactory!
If anyone is interested in buying one of these please comment and I’ll get back to you with pertinent details.
Happy can crafting!