My first ever rocket stove

I am now the proud owner of a rocket stove. And I built it myself! πŸ™‚ Even better, it’s cost us nothing but a bit of bog, some time and a very little power. Everything else was free.:D

Simply vile! Urgh. Still, the container is useful.

Simply vile you mean! Yuk. Still, the container is useful.

During my research into rocket stoves I came across this wonderful free booklet and inside was a design for a rocket stove that simplified it to the point I felt able to give it a go. A friend was also keen so we made plans to organise to build one. In discussions with Martin though he expressed interest in having a goa as well and on a trip to Laverton market we picket up 10 20L cooking oil drums I felt would work for rocket stoves. A freecycle ad netted me some chimney flue and the rest of our equipment was tools we already had on hand. πŸ™‚

Cut a hole in the top. Check!

Cut a hole in the top. Check!

Yep, that's a hole in the top.

Yep, that’s a hole in the top.

Cut a hole in the side and tip the remnants of the oil everywhere. Check!

Cut a hole in the side and tip the remnants of the oil everywhere. Check!

Today was the day. Armed with cutters, drill, angle grinder, a vegetable oil drum and 2 scraps of flue leftover from installing Martin’s shed heater and a tin can, we constructed our very firstΒ rocket stove.

Flatten a poor unsust=pecting coconut cream can and cut it up beyond recognition. Check!

Flatten a poor unsuspecting tinΒ can and cut it up. Check!

Cut holes into the chimney flue. No, scrap that. get Mr Muscle to do it for you, claiming arthritis to dodge a hard job. Check!

Cut holes into chimney flue. No, scrap that. Get Mr Muscle to cut holes in the chimney flue andΒ claim arthritis to dodge a hard job. Check!

Put all the bits together, move and balance the stove on 2 rubber poles and light it up. Check!

Put all the bits together, move and balance the stove on 2 rubber poles and light it up. Check!

Just lit and starting to really burn.

Just lit and starting to really burn.

This section of flue needs to be shortened yet so the burn was less than efficient BUT...

This front section of flue needs to be shortened and the tin is yet to be filled with ash for insulating (keeps all the heat in the chimney instead of everywhere else and it’s non flammable) so the burn was less than efficient BUT…

It worked! It actually worked! It worked so well that it melted the rubber log on which it rested and stuck to the stove. Not so good.

It worked! It actually worked! It worked so well that it melted the rubber log on which it rested which is still stuck to the stove. Not so good.

A little smokey but not too bad really. I wouldn't use this in future to boil the kettle unless it was already lit but for cooking soup or a stew I imagine it will work a treat.

A little smokey but not too bad really. I wouldn’t boil the kettle on it in future unless it was already lit (I’d use the Kelly Kettle) but for cooking soup or a stew I imagine it will work a treat and it would fry eggs and bacon no worries.

It’s still incomplete but we gave it a test run before finishing it off and trialed it by boiling the kettle. 1 litre of water boiled in 8Β½ minutes! πŸ˜€

The timer started just after the kettle went on the stove. The resulting cup of tea was superb.

The timer, which started just after the kettle went on the stove. The resulting cup of tea was superb.

The book with the instructions is free to download and the necessary pieces to build it are easy enough to source for free. Your local transfer station (tip) may well start to see used flue coming in now as people light their fires for the winter and discover the flue needs replacing. The used oil drums are possibly able to be sourced from your local take-away or restaurant as they will more than likely buy oil in bulk. πŸ™‚

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14 thoughts on “My first ever rocket stove

  1. Lynda says:

    Are you having fun, not much are you? LOL I can just imagine you jumping around so pleased with yourself. Well Done. That’s actually not bad, 8.5 min. Like ive said before, if society comes crashing down then im moving in with you.

  2. foodnstuff says:

    Brilliant stuff! You don’t muckabout, do you? πŸ˜‰ I’m tempted to avago.

    But tell me, is there anything about the Kelly Kettle you don’t like (apart from cost) ? Anything you think a rocket stove can do better. When I saw you’d bought a KK I was tempted to get one. Not half as much fun and satisfaction as making your own though.

  3. Avago for sure! Good practice to play with the rocket before building something more robust. And having a spare on hand to gift to a neighbour or sell when the SHTF won’t hurt either. πŸ™‚

    As you say, the price isn’t fun but the Kelly Kettle likely would last longer than an electric kettle and a good stainless steel hob or electric kettle isn’t cheap. Then there is the ongoing costs of the gas or electricity to heat the water. The KK is probably a sound long term investment if one has access to twigs (which I know you do). I can’t really fault that much about it to be honest but if I start truly nit picking I’d say the handle. You have this great handle which you can’t use as intended due to your hand being above the top of the kettle/chimney which would result in a serious burn. I know however that the kettle is intended to be used for camping and for ease of storage and carrying the handle is likely the best suited to it. Also, I would think the fire base might be better made from something slightly thicker. It probably makes little difference due to the size of the rocket but it would lose some heat for sure from the firebox. Truly though there is little I can fault about it. I’m picking at things to find something to say it’s less than perfect. πŸ™‚

    I’d think a rocket stove would be great if you cooked your breakfast every morning in which case a simple kettle on top of the last of the embers with perhaps a few more twigs and you wouldn’t need a KK but if you have cold breakfasts but a cup of tea or coffee every morning then perhaps the KK would be of use. You can use the KK to cook on top too if you get the extra kit and I can make my coffee on top of it with a small SS jug and my little 1 cup coffee percolator so martin gets his 2 cups of tea and I get my coffee but for my 2nd coffee… :/ Lighting another little fire in the brazier base with the grill top isn’t worth it and wastes too much heat. Still, coming into winter we will have Ignisa on many mornings so that won’t be an issue until November or so.

    Oh, another downside to the KK is that it can’t be used on a total fire ban day. πŸ˜‰ I’m working on a solar kettle for those few days though. πŸ™‚

    Hope there’s something there that helps.

    • foodnstuff says:

      Very comprehensive reply; thanks. I remember now about the KK handle and the way you had to pick it up; didn’t like that part of it. What about a rocket stove on a total fire ban day. Don’t suppose that would be allowed either, even though the fire is (sort of) enclosed.

  4. Aren’t you clever! πŸ™‚

  5. narf77 says:

    Rocket Stove protocol up and running…time to up the ante methinks. Time to rummage out that stainless steel thingamahoozits and find someone who can weld it…I know just the person! Excited MUCH about rocket stoves. Your’s looks wonderful πŸ™‚ Get those hoppers out collecting sticks to stockpile for winter. Wet sticks = no fire 😦

  6. Sonia says:

    Wow, looks great! I made some sort of camp stove (can’t remember the name) a couple of years ago using instructions from the Internet. The actual stove worked out OK, but the windshield was very flimsy, which severely impacted the end result. But I hadn’t thought of cooking oil drums, what a great idea!
    Just the process of making stuff is so much fun, and seems to open up a whole new way of thinking in your brain, that we don’t use much in the intellectual desk job world!

    • Practical knowledge applied in real life is just the bees knees isn’t it! I love the buzz I get from projects like this. They aren’t pretty, they aren’t necessarily well built but they are mine and they do the job and they take me off grid too. πŸ˜€

  7. Linne says:

    I am green with envy! A rocket stove!! and you made it yourselves!!!
    I’ve been talking them up (and now Kelly Kettles) thanks to you. thanks for the linkie to the instructions; I love their bread oven! I’ve saved the booklet, of course, and will be letting others know of it. How perfect!
    As to your KK and picking it up, you might consider having a cast iron bit made (or found??) that you could use to grab onto the handle. It would need to have a sort of shepherd’s crook at the working end and the other end would need to be large enough to grasp effectively. A wooden handle would be nice, but potholders would do, I think. Anyway, just an idea. I’m way behind with comments and email, just so you know. But soon. ~ Linne

  8. Leigh says:

    I came by to return the blog visit and thank you for taking time to comment on mine. I got to reading and had to comment here. My husband has been researching rocket stoves so I know there is one in our future! Yours is wonderful. A good size for a first project too, yet truly useful.

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