Category Archives: Pyromania

Yet Another Wood Stove

I “foraged” this popcorn can from someone’s recyclables. I knew I’d make something out of it, and decided on a wood stove. This isn’t as nice as my postal stove, but it wasn’t meant to be. It just shows what can be done with “trash” in a minimal amount of time.


I decided to build this upside down. Why? Because I have a bat fetish, that’s why! No I mean the can would be inverted, for 3 reasons: the top is wider, allowing for a greater heat base,  with the lid on the bottom it would allow for easier clean out, and if the lid was up top there would be the chance of smoke leaking out.


First part of the Sapporo can chimney installed. This was scavenged from the postal stove…I’ll make a better one for it once I fix it…and if I ever have the funds to finish my bicycle camper and mount the postal stove in it!


Inside view showing flaps in the flue that were cut and folded over to secure it.


More “trash”. I had this laying around. Unfortunately denatured alcohol is now sold in plastic containers =( This will be the stove door…and possibly a baffle.



Inner lines are what will be cut out of the body.


I always get caught up in the making and forget to take photos of the process! Why I’ll probably never make an instructables! The next thing I did was take the piano hinge off my heiny keg wood “stove” and mount the door. Then I made a latch and installed it. Then I took the scrap from the stove body and made the cover for the air inlets. I laid the cover on the door, traced it, then drilled the air inlets, then mounted the cover with a rivet.


Gratuitous shot of the latch. The whole door flexes, so I didn’t have to make the latch on a pivot point.



This isn’t airtight when closed, but it serves its purpose. Just showing what can be done in a pinch, after all!


Rudimentary chimney finished!


Looks like someone may have stolen the popcorn!


I’ll build a trap for those popcorn gnomes yet!


Just enough room for a hiking pot (filled with popcorn kernels…rotten gnomes, take the bait!).



FIRST FIRE OF 2013!!! You can see the sticker burning off the top.


Lights out!




Works with the door closed!

And because I can’t get enough fire:


Today it’s a candle heater!


This is a crayon and carbon felt tuna candle!


Gotta make sure it works with the door shut!


Commemorating The Devil

All this snow we’re getting here today has me wishing for summer, so I was going through some pics and found some cool shots and thought I’d share. 3 years ago I made a heineken keg fire pit with a little devil face on it. It worked ok but the fire wasn’t very big and it took a lot of babysitting, so the following year I got my hands on a propane tank and made this Hot Devil:



I’ve had a lot of good times with this little friend.







I’ve had the passerby call this a bonfire…yeah it’s pretty impressive but a bonfire it is not! It took a few hours to make this bad boy. First I had to drain the remaining propane. Then, with the valve open, I had to take my time tipping the tank horizontal and adding water, then tip upright, and repeat…many many times! Fill it all the way up, the water pushes any lingering fumes out so you don’t maim yourself when you drill it out. The only tools I used were a drill with 1/2″ bit and a jig saw.



Pretty straight forward and a little monotonous, but it was fun when it was done!

My poor poor little devil…on the 4th of July weekend of 2012 he was badly hurt by a mean old tree:



This guy covered the entire back yard…and fell as I watched! This was first thing in the morning, I hadn’t even had my coffee yet. There was a windy thunderstorm and I was watching it from the back door. I heard two low concussions and instinctively took a couple steps back. That car you see was right in front of me. A moment later the car and fence in front of it had radically changed shape…and that was the most surreal instant of my life so far!



To help you get an idea of the size of this here’s how the backyard looked from the driveway.



Here you can see part of the back door I was standing in. Had I not stepped back I would have been struck by small branches that came in the door. Had the tree fallen differently and hit the house there would have been a lot less blogs on this site!



The headlights are still on and the horn still blaring when this one was taken.

So my fire pit and mailbox wood stove were both damaged but are still functional…the really weird thing is that my bicycle cargo trailer was partially struck and undamaged!

Nomad Boil Test

I don’t really get into M.R.E.’s (meals ready to eat/dehydrated food) as most users of alcohol stoves do. I just know that my Nomad cooks regular food faster than any other stove I’ve made…and that it can cook anything I want. I’ve done stews that took 4 hours to simmer, after bringing the 2.5 quart pot to a boil. I’ve done a crayfish boil in a much larger pot. I’ve cooked up collared greens southern style. I’ve done steaks and pork chops and a ton chicken. All of these things were possible because of the Nomad’s ability to adjust the heat output and because of its long burn time between refills.

As I don’t eat M.R.E.’s I’ve never done a boil test until today. Some people wanted to know the boil time using 1 ounce of fuel on high and on simmer. This is not possible. The Nomad holds 7 ounces. If I filled it with just 1oz I could do the simmer test but the high flame wouldn’t be high. As stated before the Nomad will burn with a high flame for 2 hours, and continue burning for another hour, but with a diminishing flame. In order for the test to be fair I had to fill it up all the way.


Nomad with Manly Rustic cook pot, 12 oz pop can for size reference.


Size reference for all you vapers out there: my Lavatube 2.0 with mini did clone.


Room temperature water, 2 cups.

High test achieved rolling boil.



I next did the simmer test, again with 2 cups of room temperature water. It achieved boil, but not a rolling boil.



Just out of curiosity I ran the high test again, to see if it would take longer with less fuel.


3 seconds longer?!? UNACCEPTABLE!!! Into the scrap pile with you Nomad!

From what I’ve seen online the boil times for alcohol stoves tend to be between 5 to 9 minutes, though I’m a little unclear whether or not some tests were 1 cup or 2. Chime in and let me know what you guys think of these times!

The HermitFire

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!

ForeverFire Nomad Version 2.0

Well I’ve used the Nomad for months now, and I still love it. As the carbon felt gets used more it does take a little longer for the flame to get to it’s maximum. Not a big deal, because the flame is also less finicky when started, meaning I don’t have to worry about an orange flame before it’s hot enough to adjust. I just light it and put my pot or cast iron frying pan on which helps to get the heat to it’s maximum. After a couple of minutes I adjust it.

The problem I had with the Nomad after heavy use is that the JB Weld that helps to bond and seal the Monster top to the quart can lid burns through, as well as where it was used to weld the nuts holding the machine screws.



It’s not clear from the photo, but this makes the machine screw pot stand unstable, and it was only a matter of time until it collapsed while cooking. Here’s an under shot:



At first I could just finger tighten the nuts shown, but that was rapidly failing as more of the JB Weld burned off the top nuts, and because the quart can lid isn’t that strong. Also, sometimes the tripod pot stand seemed a little bit precarious when flipping burgers or chicken in the frying pan.

My solution was to fabricate a new lid:



4 legs are the least of the improvements. The biggest is that instead of setting the monster top on top of the paint can lid, I inserted it from underneath the lid. This eliminates the need for JB Weld. The second biggest improvement is that the pot stand isn’t resting directly on the paint lid. I used the lid of a steel soup can to reinforce it.

Because I found it unnecessary to adjust the pot stand height I tried using T nuts. This means no drilling through the lid, and no nuts underneath the the lid. Simply screw the screws down and the tension created when they hit the lid makes for an impressively sturdy pot stand.



See? No nuts! You can also see the outer lip of the Monster energy drink top inserted from below.

I was always curious about mounting the Monster top from below, and I knew it would work on the Nomad because of another project I just finished. I also got the inspiration for reinforcing the lid with steel from that project. Blog soon to follow.

I got slightly off topic there! This new pot stand setup is sooooo much easier to use, sturdier, and all around better!

I’m a diy kind of guy, and have shown how to make this nifty adjustable alcohol stove. I know there are people out there who don’t have the time or know how to make these. That’s fine. Since I love to make these, is there anyone willing to purchase them?


Please comment if so and I’ll set a price and make arrangements.

New Alcohol Heater/Stove in the Works

The past few days I’ve been tinkering with a bigger badder denatured alcohol heater that is also a stove. This thing should burn efficiently for a very long time to function as a respectable heater. By removing the heat hood it will be possible to cook normal meals on low, and large meals for several people on medium to high.

So far it boasts about a 12″ blue flame on high. It’s based on the ForeverFire. I have no idea what the burn time is with such a large flame, but it holds about a pint of alcohol! I’m hoping that it will be far more efficient than my commercial heater/stove, which does not have a heat hood built in. I had to make one for it out of firring strips and aluminum foil. The heat hood for this new invention will be made from 22 gauge steel.

I’ve got a lot more building and experimenting to do, but it should be done soon. I’m trying to pack as many bells and whistles into this as possible. It’s not exactly small when it comes to alcohol stoves, but it is portable, though that isn’t what it’s being created for. For the trip out into the woods I would use the ForeverFire Nomad, but for extended camping or bugging out/in this new guy would be my go to.

Update: Finished project here: The HermitFire

Denatured Alcohol Candle…but that’s just a part of it

The real title should be “Denatured Alcohol Candle/Stove as well as Rustic diy Recyclable Can Cook Pot with Lid”. In text speech that would be dacsawardrccpwl. It’s gonna be big, so watch for it in your messages.

So I was bored today and decided to see if I could make a denatured alcohol candle. I took a 2.6oz sterno can and drilled a 3/16th inch hole through the lid. Then I placed about a 4″x1/4″ bit of carbon felt through the hole, as the wick. When I lit it fuel started coming up onto the lid and burning with an impressive flame! Not a candle by any means, this was the easiest alcohol stove I’d made! But I wanted a candle! So I drilled an extra 1/8″ hole, and it worked just fine.


Now if you cover the hole with a penny (thanks for the inspiration penny stove!) you get this:


Penny Sterno Stove.


Candle mode.


Stove mode.

Here’s a shot of the wick:


Pretty cool. But I was still bored, my can crafting urge wasn’t fed. I have several hiker pots. The past few days I was feeling campy so I was just cooking in old cans. But they were a pain in the hand and pliers to handle. So I made this:


Rustic Cook pot with lid.


Cook pot with hand saving handle.


This is a 24oz pot.


Manly rustic pot lid with bit of wood knob. Grrrrrrr!

Here’s the can the pot was made from:


Here’s the can the lid was made from:


It has a wider diameter than the pot can.

What follows is a pictorial build:



The handle was cut using a cutting wheel on my dremel.


I then rounded it to fit the can with a sanding wheel.


I used the discarded lids from both cans to make two of these dog tag looking thingamahiglycomplicatedjigs.


Bend them. These are what connects the handle to the pot.


I used aluminum quarter inch rivets to attach the elbows to the handle.


Then I attached the handle to the pot with steel eighth inch rivets.

The knob to the lid was attached using an aluminum quarter inch rivet.

Pretty simple stuff, but I had alot of fun doing it. I’ll do it again using small tree branches, but as is I like the hobo frontier look of this cook pot. If you’re going to buy a camper’s/hiker’s cook set, why not go greener and instead of throwing away or recycling cans at home reuse them? You can’t customize store bought pots! Plus, a lot of you who read this already make your own stoves…why not take it a step further?

The Dos Equis guy says “I don’t always can craft, but when I do I always stay creative, my friends”.