FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Friday, 6 January 2017

How To Make A Wood Burning Stove For Next To Nothing

Build Your Own Log Burner Stove Practically For Free!



The house finally started getting cold towards the end of December so we thought it was time to put the fireplace to work. the problem is with two small children it wasn't practical to have a real open fire, especially since we can't be in the room to attend it at all times. Initially we drilled some holes into a stainless steel bucket and used it for a few days as sort of a mini incinerator, but we quickly found that most of the heat was being chucked up the chimney and it wasn't a really efficient way to burn firewood. So we started to look into wood burning stoves and log burners but even the smallest and cheapest ones were around 100 euros and to be honest they were awful, So in true FAST Blog style we decided to make our own!

We were racking our brains for a while about what we would use and how we would do it when I remembered a post I read on the survival forums about someone who was trying to make their own log burner stove out of an old gas bottle and it hit me, that would be the perfect way for us to make a stove. We managed to pick the empty gas bottle for our stove up for the princely sum of 8 euros! To be honest that is the extent of what our new stove ended up costing us, the few other trinkets we had lying around.

First things first, we had to make the gas bottle for the stove safe. DO THIS BIT IN A WELL VENTILATED AREA.After opening the valve on top until it no longer hissed we used a large stillsons wrench to undo the valve from the top of the bottle. It's not as easy as it sounds as there is some sort of sealant on the thread so you may have to persuade the wrench with a lump hammer, we did!

Remove the valve from the gas bottle and fill your future stove with water

Now although the bottle was "empty" there was still plenty of gas in there, more than enough to ruin your day if you don't play it safe. The best way to stop your future stove from being a minor explosion is to fill the bottle with water and leave it overnight, better safe than sorry.

Mark out the door for your stove

Next we marked out the door for the wood burning stove, we wanted to make sure it was big enough to put a decent sized log on the fire so we didn't have to keep feeding it with twigs every 5 minutes.

This is the size and shape door we wanted for our DIY log burner
To get started we screwed the valve back in to the top of the stove and carefully cut the door out with the water still in the gas bottle using an angle grinder.

Cutting the gas bottle to make the wood burning stove
There's nothing like the smell of freshly cut metal in the morning!

Plenty of sparks when you cut out the stove door, don't wear your flammable pants!

At this point you have the absolute bare basics of your stove / logburner, I've seen people online using them like this as fire pits and patio heaters but of course for indoor use you need to put a bit more work in to the build.

The bare basics that will become your estufa

For our design we wanted a proper door on the front of the wood burner rather than a gaping hole. So using the piece we cut out from the front of the gas bottle we tack welded on some old hinges I had lying around and a screw in eye as a door handle

Me and Tel setting out the hinges for the gas bottle stove and getting the positioning right

Of course if you don't have a welder its just as easy to drill a few holes and bolt the door on to the hinges, or bribe someone to do the welding for you.

Welding the hinges onto the gas bottle for the stove door

Another action shot of Tel welding the hinges onto the gas bottle for the stove door
Once the door was on we used the angle grinder to cut multiple slots into the bottom of the gas bottle so that the stove could draw in air when it is burning the firewood, but it also acts as a grate to let the ash fall out of the bottom of the log burner. We also drilled holes around the base of the gas bottle for additional air intakes.

After that we welded on a piece of hollow tube fence post to act as the chimney for the smoke, ideally you want nothing smaller than 68mm to ensure that the smoke can vent out sufficiently. If you use 68mm it's also a common car exhaust pipe size so you can easily source fittings etc to make up a flue if necessary.

Welding our wombled chimney pipe on to the stove
Once the chimney was in place we drilled some holes around the very top of the chimney in the hope that it would help draw the smoke up the chimney faster, then it was ready for a test run outside to see how it performed.
Testing out the almost complete stove with a bit of kindling
When we tested it outside it seemed to work perfectly, so we gave it a lick of black paint, we had some old black engine enamel lying around that was left over from our motorcycles so we used that, but a good cheap alternative is black BBQ spray paint.

Everything always looks better with a lick of black paint


And there you have it, the DIY stove was finished and we took it inside for a real test run.

The Finished DIY Wood Burning Stove
As you can see the stove has no problem handling decent sized logs and really puts out a great amount of heat for its size, because rather than the heat being convected straight up the chimney and lost it is radiated through the mass of the metal stove instead. This means it is a much more efficient heater than an open fire and uses up far less fuel, thus creating less waste/mess. For us though the main benefit is that it is a lot safer to use with the small children around.

The house is now cosy and warm thanks to the homemade wood burning stove

I am a great believer of evaluation and improvement. After using the stove for a couple of days the only thing we have changed was to add additional intake holes all the way around the base of the gas bottle because after the fire had been burning all day and the ash started to block the bottom grate the stove would struggle to keep a strong flame with the door shut, the extra holes have solved this issue and we continue to use it every day as the only source of heat for the house with no problems at all.


Once again cannot thank Slim Pickings enough for licensing their music to us to use on Youtube


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29 comments

  1. Replies
    1. wow what a neat idea... this is just what I need but I don tknow welder and I don't have the equipment, but worth remembering for when I find some one who can help me :)

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  2. Very impressive. Glad you are now all cosy with your new stove.

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    Replies
    1. It has made such a difference. The good thing is once you bring the temperature up the caves stay warm really well

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  3. jambaloney is giggling with glee - he loves it when people can solve a problem using what most people would consider junk! and your new fireplace looks great!

    sending love to you all! your friend,
    kymber

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    Replies
    1. He would be in his element out here, everything is make do and mend!

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  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Louise, it certainly works a treat

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  5. Wow, now that was one impressive make, amazing.

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    Replies
    1. Super easy to make too if you have the tools for the job :)

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  6. Thanks for sharing how you made the stove. It looks great!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Gracie, not bad for an old scrap gas bottle!

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  7. If there is reincarnation, I hope I come back as a boy - with a truck. I could lift and I could haul and I could make woodburning stoves.

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    Replies
    1. Don't have to be a boy to do any of those things, I hope my daughter does them all when she grows up lol

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  8. I'm not a troll or trying to be a jerk, but how is that safer behind the screen than simple firewood?

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    Replies
    1. The door on the front is only open for the photos, it's usually closed so no embers spit in to the room, the screen is because we have very small children so it stops either of them falling into the hot stove in the fireplace when they are rushing around.

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  9. Amazing! Well done. Wasn't there a tv programme a few years ago about a chap in Cornwall who set up a business making these? I think he sold them for about £1,000 each. Hotpods, maybe? Happy New Year - and happy new adventures. x

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    Replies
    1. I hadn't heard of this but I've just looked them up and you are right, they are called hotpods and at the moment he is selling the original gas bottle stoves for £3344 on a 6-8 week lead time! Not bad profit for a 8 euro gas bottle with a few shiny bells and whistles on!

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    2. I also remember this. Didnt he use washing machine door windows so you could see the flames? Or maybe it was a pyrex dish. it had that financial man on it. Rene...

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  10. I'm going to show this to my Shug. He makes stuff all the time. He's been busy building our house, but when he's finished he could do something like this for his garage and stay warm in the winter months piddling around out there. Very inventive! Stay warm and safe!

    Cindy Bee

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    Replies
    1. If this post keeps one other persons garage warm then we'll be very happy with ourselves, we'd love to hear back from him if he does make one, especially if he thinks of any improvements!

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  11. Awesome, if only i could manage to make one of those myself..haha i managed the old pop can stove and that serves me well enough, found you while blog hoping this evening, shall follow with interest
    Sammie xx

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    Replies
    1. Great to meet you, I've just gone and followed your blog so we can keep up with your adventures

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  12. Excellent womble-ing! Love it

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  13. It's kept us toasty this winter that's for sure

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  14. Hey that looks real neat. I built mine about four years ago but made it so it was on its side instead of upright. Here it is.
    http://isserfiq.blogspot.com/2012/10/cobbling-together-new-wood-stove.html

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We are always glad to hear your comments, thoughts and opinions :)

Etsy

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