Having the skill of making a wood stove is essential as a survival technique in the wilderness. In this article, we will show you how to make one from scratch.
Table of Contents
- Use Google SketchUp software to design your wood stove. We recommend using a 4mm thick sheet (mild steel) measuring 1200 mm by 625 mm.
- Begin by folding the steel sheet to make the front and backside of your stove. Avoid welding four metal sheets together as it will consume a lot of time.
- Before fitting the bottom with bolts, seam weld the stove’s top and provide a baffle inside the furnace for proper combustion.
- Work on the legs. They should be small and angled. You can use steel or an old chair’s legs.
Cutting or Grinding Your Wood Stove
- Grind a groove inside the stove, and then cut the strip from the metal sheet. Your box should measure 500 x 200 x 250 millimeters (LWH). Use an angle grinder to bend its corners.
- You will need to use a 2-millimeter fine cutting disk to cut a groove, followed by a 4-mm thick cutting disk to create a wide slot.
- Cut approximately three-fourths of the steel’s thickness to make a fold. Then mark the stove’s door opening at the top. A thin grinder and a jigsaw will help you cut into the stove’s corners.
Welding/Folding Your Wood-Burning Stove
- When making the main box, weld below the stove’s inside corners. It does not have to be too neat.
- Proceed to the front part. Weld both inside and outside, then grind it to smoothen it. Grinding will make the wood stove look nice.
- Cut a metal for the baffle. It should fit on both sides, the front and the back of the stove’s body. Ensure that you leave a tiny space, about 30mm, for aeration.
- Cut the top part and weld it in place, starting from the exterior.
- Create a 50 mm oversized top measuring 600 x 300 a (L x W). Cut a hole at the top using a jigsaw. Drill a few spots around the circle, then place the damper piece in the flue.
- Fix the base by welding small tabs inside and underneath your stove.
- Tap and drill the tabs using Allen-keyed bolts (not necessary). The base and the stove’s bottom should sit flush.
Creating the Door, Hinges, and Air Vents
- Build your door by cutting more metal sheets, 10mm in size all-round.
- Use a rope and glue to seal the door. Create the hinges by cutting small tabs from a flat bar. Drill a hole on the flat bar that can fit a 6mm round bar.
- Fix a 6mm threaded road on both hinges before welding them. Try to lift off the hinges to see if it can leave the stove’s pin on the box.
- Next, mark the ventilation space and drill out its shape’s corners.
- File the corners and fit the air vent above the stove’s door. Rotate it to reveal the drilled holes.
- Place your flat bar on the stove’s front part and drill both pieces to align the holes. Finish by welding the smaller brackets so that they can slide on.
Making the Flue and Legs
- Find a 4-inch thick steel pipe- it does not have to be too thick because the stove’s body absorbs most of the heat.
- Cut a hole measuring 1000 mm and 500 mm, 1.5 meters above the stove’s top to fix the pipe.
- Fit the flue damper on the stove’s shorter side through the piece cut from the stove’s top.
- Weld two bolts through the holes on the sides. The bolts should be inside the flue.
- Proceed by welding a small lever to operate the damper from the outside of the stove.
- Using a 24-inch steel ruler, make a collar, then fit the flue inside. Roll it to make a circle, weld it, and place the piece through the hole on the stove’s top.
- You can either use metal or an old piece of furniture ( chair) to create your stove legs.
Painting and Finishing the Stove
- It is advisable to spray your wood-burning stove with heat-resistant paint, which lasts more than a year.
- Get rid of the rough edges and lumpy welds by filing your stove. You can also sand it using emery paper for a smooth finish before painting.
- Light a fire on the stove to cure the color. The burning will also make the color last longer.
- Finish the building process by making a grate using a thick wire mesh.
Efficient Wood-burning Tips
- Never forget that a clean wood stove is a warm stove, so always keep it clean. Removing the soot from the furnace improves the stove’s combustion efficiency.
- Different woods have varying heat levels. Hardwoods burn more than softwoods, although softwoods are cheaper. You can use softwood during the start and end of the winter season. The softwood also gives a cleaner burn without turning your canopy into a sauna.
- Do not use your wood stove near combustible materials, like furniture, doors, and walls. You can use a heat shield metal (28gauge) if you must use your stove near surfaces. The shield should be mounted on the ground to provide space for aeration between the stove and the wall.
- If you will use your wood-burning stove near your tent, place it around your favorite chill spot.
- Consider a good storage place for your wood stove.
Do you love camping? Check out our blog on how to build a smokeless fire pit next time you are planning an adventure trip.