The wood gas stove is a highly efficient, compact, and portable wood burning stove that uses natural materials for its fuel source, eliminating the need to pack in extra fuel when hiking or backpacking. This tried and true design has many variations, and it’s capabilities can easily extend beyond a cheap and lightweight backpacking stove, to applications such as emergency use, bug out or simply a free camp stove for the budget minded individual. The wood gas stove, or “gasifier” stove is a very simple project for the DIY enthusiast, and takes the good old fashioned “Hobo Stove” to the next level!
There are a few ways to build a wood-gas stove, but this is how I did it. When I looked at other designs, the tool list included some peculiar tools that I would never really use much like large hole punches and strange lid removers. I decided that if this were to be a true DIY project, I would have to use what I had on hand. Here’s how I built it:
- 1 – 13 oz can (“Member’s Mark” Chicken Chunks from Sam’s Club”)
- 1 – 1 qt empty paint can (from Home Depot, lid not required)
- 1 – 19 oz can (Progresso Soup, or a 20 oz Pineapple Chunks can)
- 1 – wire mesh (some suggest 3×3 wire mesh, but Home Depot only sold big rolls, which was too much and more money than I wanted to spend. The best alternative I found was a 2 ft long piece of gutter screen for $2—plenty of wire screen for my project and not expensive)
- Kitchen can opener
- Drill with big drill bit (or a 1 in metal hole punch)
- Dremel with circular metal cutting bit
- Large metal shears (for cutting the wire mesh)
One fun part was eating the food. A lot easier than disposing of the cat food when building my cat can alcohol stove.
The Progresso Soup can had an easy-open-top, so the only can I needed a can opener was for the chicken chunks. A regular can opener can’t open the bottoms of cans, so that’s where the Dremel first saw service. It turns out that the Dremel was very useful and quick in its duty. Not only did I make quick work of the cans, but I also used the Dremel to cut open the “feed hole” in the chicken chunk can.
The largest drill bit I had on hand was 3/8, so I just drilled a lot of holes. It turns out that the quantity of holes worked great, so I don’t recommend buying a big drill bit or single-purpose hole punch unless you really, really want to.
I was happily surprised to find that the 19 oz Progresso can fit snugly inside the paint can. I had some JB Weld, but to date I haven’t glued anything together since it fits so well already (in fact, I had to lightly tap the smaller can into the paint can, which really makes a tight fit).
After a few fittings, I decided to cut about 1.5 inches off the bottom of the 19 oz Progresso can for a little more air clearance off the ground. I also used the Dremel to make 4 slices near the bottom of the 19 oz Progresso can for the wire mesh.
The gutter mesh is galvanized and I flexible enough that I think it is almost perfect for this type of project. I was able to bend and fit the mesh and inserted the corners into the slices and then bent up the corners up.
I took the stove on a trip to see family and I am happy to say it works great. Most of the wood around my house is snow-soaked and I can attest that wet wood is hard to burn.
It was actually really easy to make this stove. I hope my illustration helps inspire anyone who is looking to make something like this.
- Some people make the pot stand out of mesh.
- You can use JB Weld to glue the inner chamber to the 1 qt pot
- You can paint the whole stove with fire-resistant paint for additional durability and a fancy look
- You can buy extra-fancy tools to make this if you want; I won’t hold it against you.
- Avoid galvanized metal to avoid burning toxins during use. Choose stainless steel mesh.
To understand better the building process, watch the video bellow.
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