How To

Thanks Log Cabin Cooking for these great tips!

Think you need a fire pit to enjoy a s’more or hot dog cooked over an open flame? Think again. We partnered with Barbara of Log Cabin Cooking to break down the steps to making a portable stove at home. Enjoy…and roast an extra marshmallow for us, ok?

You’ll need a few things. A gallon can with both top and bottom, a pineapple juice can, two bean-sized cans, tin snips, a hammer and something like a giant nail. And some ashes. And work gloves and maybe even something to protect your eyes. And pliers.

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Stick something against the side of the can so it doesn’t get squished when you hammer the nail into the side to start a hole for your tin snips. This is make-do stove making. You’re going to stick one of the bean cans into a hole you’re going to make through both cans, so you need to draw a bean can outline for cutting on each can.

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Now, you’ll need to start in the middle hole you banged with your hammer and then cut to the edges of the hole, at which point things fell apart for me. So Wayne stepped in because he writes and sings about old-time ramblers and such and that must count for something … and I’m not an expert hobo chick yet.

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You need to fold these flaps under so you can poke your can through. Use pliers and good luck.

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Now, both ends of your bean can have been removed and you poke them through both cans just like that. Thank you, Wayne.

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Fill the space between the cans with ashes (for insulation).

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A can works better.

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And now, you need to cover the ashes with tin that you cut from the top of the gallon can like this because this is a tidy hobo stove.

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Now one last thing. Take the other bean can and use your tin snips to make it flat with the rims removed. You need to make a shelf like this for your fire. have it go all the way through the can so it sticks out a little into the middle of the juice can. Just wiggle it in so it stays. Cold air gets sucked into the juice can from below the fire shelf making a combustion chamber somehow.

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Ok, just one more thing. You need to make some vent holes, which I also have not yet perfected. I made them in the middle can like this. Now assemble some dry sticks, little ones. Waxed paper is a great fire starter. Put your stove on a fireproof surface, not an antique wooden porch. Lay your fire on the shelf and light it.

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In exactly 5 minutes, you will boil water enough to make you a cup of tea with about 4 or 5 sticks! Up next is the tin-can rocket stove garden “cooking outfit” supplies post a la Dr. Ethel, lady hobo.

And, in case you’d prefer to make your stove in the company of others, well then, Wayne and I will be teaching a Hobo tin-can portable rocket stove class on Tuesday, June 11th from 5:30 til dark. We’ll make our stoves and then collect veggies from my gardens which we will COOK on our little stoves. Outside, picnic style. And I will learn how to crimp in the edges of the stove holes by then!

PS Folks have written in asking for more details about the shelf where you build the fire. Here’s a photo from the top down (of my now well-used little stove).hobo stove shelf

What you do is to cut the top and bottom off your second bean/soup/etc. can. Now you’ll tin-snip a line down the middle, from top to bottom of your cylinder, forming a rectangle. Scootch that into your little can so that it forms a shelf with air flow possible below and a place for your fire materials on the shelf. This little slice of tin will poke out into the middle of the large can and your tender will sort of just hang in the middle and burn like crazy if the draft is right. It’s all good. That’s where a little make-do fiddling around comes in.

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