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M.D. Creekmore over at the The Survivalist Blog – a survival blog dedicated to helping others prepare for and survive disaster – with articles on bug out bag contents, survival knife choices and a wealth of other survival information is giving away a Go Berkey Water Filter System (a $139.00 value)! To enter, you just have to post about it on your blog. This is my entry. Visit The Survivalist Blog for the details.

How To Make A Simple Wood Gas Stove (Large Version)

Wood Gas Stove -
Coaxial Downdraft Gasification 

This stove is based on the downdraft principle and typically built with nested cylinders which provides high efficiency in the burning process. Combustion from the top creates a gasification zone with the gas escaping downwards through ports located at the base of the burner chamber. The gas mixes with additional incoming air to provide a secondary burn. Most of the CO produced by gasification is oxidized to CO2 in the secondary combustion cycle, therefore gasification stoves carry lower health risks than conventional cooking fires.

Getting Started

  •  (1) 4 Liter/ 1Gallon Paint Can - Plain, Unfilled Type ($3-$5)
  •  (1) 1 Liter Apple Juice Can ($1)
  •  (1) Adjustable Metal Hose Clamp ($1.50)
  •  (1) Printed Template Of Drill Holes (Optional) (Basically Free)

  • Power Drill 
  • Step Drill Bit (1/16" to 3/4")
  • Sharpie Pen
  • Measuring Tape 
  • Can Opener (The One That Cuts On The Inside, Not Around The Outside)
  • Screw Driver or Driver Bit
Step 1 - Marking out the circles and cut lines on paint can lid

Take the lid of the paint can and use the apple can to trace out the centered position with your sharpie pen, like illustrated below. Now create a second circle inside the main circle you created with the apple juice can. Make this second circle smaller by 1/2" or 1-1/2cm.

Now draw lines connecting the circles together. Cut out the inner circle and then proceed to cut the lines up to the main circle. This with create tabs that will create a compression fit when we insert the apple can.

 Step 2 - Marking the drill holes in paint can & apple juice can, then drilling them out.

 You will only need to drill 14-3/4" holes just above the lip of the bottom of the paint can. You will need to use a step drill bit to cleanly achieve this. I recommend that you mark (14) 1-1/2" on center dots with your sharpie. This should give you approx 1/2" to 3/4" spacing between holes.

 Your holes should look something like this, these are 3/4" holes. I didn't measure exactly, so my spacing was off a little bit and this doesn't affect performance. 

You will need to take your can opener and open one end of the apple juice can, I would only use the can opener type that cuts open the top and not the side of the can, if you cut the side of the can you start to loose strength and can bend out of shape easily.

At the top of the apple juice can you will mark out  35-40 dots (1/16th drill bit holes) and mark them 1 inch down from the top to allow for the hose clamp and tabs from the paint can lid.

Now mark 8 dots (3/4 inch drill bit holes) spaced out approx 2 inches apart around the bottom side of the apple juice can.

You will need to make 60-80 dots (1/16th inch drill bit holes) on the bottom of the apple juice can. I wasn't able to make them perfect here but as long as you make a lot of them.

Step 3 - Putting It All Together

You will need to push the bottom end of the apple can through the top end of the paint can to make the tabs of the paint lid to catch and create the compression fit. You can do 1 of 2 things here, I seen people use cold weld compound to secure the lid to the apple juice can or like I did, I used a metal adjustable hose clamp. This way I don't have to worry about the compound break down over time or burning away after multiple uses at the camp site. Since the hose clamp is circular it holds the lid to the apple juice can very tightly and you can also swap out the apple juice can if it starts to get to rusty or fall apart after hundreds of burns.

After that you are pretty much ready to start your first fire in your new Wood Gas Stove!

You will need to hammer or pound in the lid to the paint can to securely fit into place.

 When you start to place your wood you want to layer them by thickness. Place thick sticks approx. 1 inch thick and 2 inches long on the bottom. Then the next layer of sticks should be only 1/4 inch thick and the rest small twigs. To achieve the best results do not fill above the holes at the top of the can. These are the jets for the wood gas to feed the fire.

You will need to just start your fire from the top and not from the bottom as the heat from the fire on top will help release the gas from the wood and help draw it through the top holes to efficiently burn the wood inside.  

As illustrated here you can start to see the wood gas coming through the top holes of the apple juice can.

Once you get the fire fully burning you will see all the jet holes burning nicely and effectively increasing the fire temperature and cleanly burning the smoke, wood gas and wood in your stove.  

   *******Notice Of First Time Burn********

Most paint cans these days come with a grey paint liner in them, so the first couple of burns you will need to burn off this grey liner and by doing so will produce a lot of black smoke. It took me approx three full burns to completely get rid of the liner. You may try to sand blast it off or use some kind of paint remover.