"Hobo stove" or "Buddy burner"?

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While searching for Y2K methods of cooking, I found this method for making a "Hobo stove":


but there is not much info there. I am looking for an emergency cooking source in case my fuel runs out (propane). Had considered sterno, but the campers say that sterno can't produce much heat.

One guy suggested a "Buddy Burner", consisting of a can and cardboard/parafin inside to produce heat, saying that it was better than sterno.

Can anyone out there point me to plans for the "ultimate/deluxe" Hobo Stove or Buddy Burner?

-- Anonymous99 (Anonymous99@anonymous.com), February 25, 1999


Depends on if you're cooking inside or out. If outside, the king of all small stoves is the Sierra Zip Stove. Small, compact, non-rusting, frugal with fuel, and that fuel can be anything solid that'll burn, from pine cones to twigs to charcoal. Uses a fan beneath the burner to produce tremendous (18,000 BTU) heat. Boils a liter of water in 3 minutes. The fan uses a single AA cell, either alkaline or rechargeable. Most camping goods stores have them, if not try Campmor in NJ (www.campmor.com), know they have them. Get the liter pot that goes with it, makes a nice carrying case for the stove.


-- scooter (cooking@the.woods), February 25, 1999.

OK, here goes. If memory serves me, Dr. Dean Ing published the basics on this about 15 years ago, in American Survival Guide, using a 3# coffee can as the basis, because the seam was lapped and welded, as opposed to the other #10 cans with soldered seams.

I am going to try to

a) describe the construction of one stove

b) and modify it to a 5gal metal bucket size, for family use (Large economy size?? Couldn't resist!)

WARNING WARNING You willhave to be real good at visualization!!


Constructing a Stove from a 5 gallon pail:::

1) Select a pail which has a cover with it, both of which must be steel and intact.

2) Obtain some galvanized sheet metal roughly twice as long as the diameter of the pail and a bit wider than the pail. (aprox 4" longer than twice as wide and 2" wider than the pail). Obtain another piece of galvanized metal about 14" by 16" (rough). Obtain 2 clean hangars or two pieces of Rocket Rod stainless rod aprox 2' long each.

3) Starting 3/4" above the bottom seam of the pail, cut out a rectangle aproximately 8" high and 10" wide (don't exceed 1/3 of the circumference of the pail). Set this asside.

4) Assuming a straight vertical walled pail (does not taper from top to bottom) trace the bottom of the pail on the large piece of galvaznized metal. Take the lid of the pail, over lap on the circle traced already by about 2-3" (the overlap cord should be aprox 4-6" from circle intersection to circle intersection) and trace the lid, taking care to trace around and include the indentations for the tabs that sealed the lid. Before cutting out this modified figure 8, you will need to add (draw in) four 1 1/2" by 3/4" tabs to the smooth half (from the bucket bottom). These will be used to support the surface inside the pail.

5) Also draw "V" notches where the tabs on the larger half of the "8" indent. this will mean that as you cut these out, you will cut into the area marked by the lid by about a half inch, and make many tabs, which you will eventually fold inside, which will support the baffle and seal it off for better smoke flow inside the stove. this figure "8" is going to become a smoke and flame baffle, drecting the smoke across the underside of the top of the stove and up a chimney.

6) Cut out the baffle, fold it to no more than a 90 degree angle along the cord where the two circles overlap, for now. With the larger of the circles resting flat on the ground fold all of the tabs up, punch holes in each tab with either a drill, nail, or ice pick. Fold the 4 tabs on the smaller circle away from the other circle, and punch holes in them.

7) Install the baffle, with the larger of the two circles at an angle of about 30 - 60 degrees which will allow the smaller of the halves to be horizontal in the pail when done. Orient the fold in the baffle so that it is centered over the opening you have cut in the side of the pail. Punch holes in the side of the pail and insert sheet metal screws as needed to install and secure the baffle.

8) Go find your bucket cover. If it has a pour spout, you will be cutting this out and mounting a 6" piece of either 3" galvanized water tank vent or 4" stove pipe, your chioce, in the hole. If there is no spout, you will be cutting a hole near the edge of the cover large enough to accomodate either a 3" or 4" pipe. This should fit VERY snugly, and it is recommended that you manufacture a mounting piece by cutting tabs out of the end of the pipe and inserting the rest of the pipe into the hole with the tabs folded out to be screwed to the bucket top. Which ever size pipe you use will define your chimney. You will need 3 or 4 standard lengths of which ever you chose. Mount the 6" length so that you can assemble the chimney on it/in it securely. This chimney will be a take-apart piece for ease of transportation.

9) Once you have mounted your 6" piece, afix the bucket cover to the bucket using the tabs on it, after orienting the chimney to the oposite side of the pail from the opening in the wall.

10) Get the rectangle you cut from the side of the bucket, and the 14 by 16 or so piece of galvanized metal. Lay the cutout piece on the galvanized, remembering which were the sides and the top/bottom (this should not be hard as it curves from side to side). Trace it and add aprox 1 1/2" on each side of the piece, and a 1" by 3" tab in the center of both the top and bottom (oriented so that the tab will stick out 1" away from the door you are making).

11) Cut out the door, fold the 1" tabs toward you. Cut the rocket rod or hangars 3" longer than twice the length of the door from top to bottom. Wrap the edges of the door around the rod, bend the ends of the rods so that you can have a loop, and a pair of 90 degree angles (side view looks like a l-o-o-ong drawer pull) to mount the rods and door to the bucket so that the door slides up and down on the rods, and the rods keep it just off the bucket. this door will be your feed door, will regulate your draft, and will be how you clean the stove. You do not want this door to move too easily so mount it fairly tight, but not so tightly as to make sliding it up and down impossible.

With the smoke/flame baffle in place, you should be able to cook on this quite effectively. You may want to assemble a spark arrester for the top of the stack from some hardware cloth.

As always, the usual cautions apply, I hold no responsibility for the use or misuse of these directions. They are simply suggestions for an assembly technique. I will not be responsible for anything omitted in steps, etc. You must be your own safety engineer!

Good Luck!!


this is so much easier with the pictures, I just can't get them anymore.

pps I hate ot have to do the disclaimers but with today's society..........


-- Chuck, night driver (rienzoo@en.com), February 25, 1999.

URL for the Zip Stove folks: http://www.gorp.com/zzstove/default.htm I have seen a demo of this stove, and it work as billed. Get an extra motor unit if possible. Note the 6 hours burn time on a single AA battery. Love, Julia Childs

-- Phred Phlintstone (johngo2000@hotmail.com), February 26, 1999.

Buddy Burner Directions:

With a pair of tin snips cut two openings in a #10 can one for fuel access at the end that is open and the other for a chimney.

Cut some corrugated cardboard (stuff with wavy paper between two pieces of cardboard) the height of a tuna fish can as long as possible. Roll it tight and cut off any extra - put it in the can still tightly rolled. Pour the paraffin (wax) over the rolled up corrugated cardboard (the cardboard serves like a big wick) you can refreshen the Buddy burner with more paraffin. Start the burner by lighting it then carefully place the #10 can over it - you can use the top of the can (which is really the original bottom) to cook eggs or pancakes right on the top or to securely place a small pot on top of it. If you save the top that you removed originally put a handle on it and use it to control the flame on the burner to reduce the heat and eventually to stop it. (credit for this goes to Robert Waldrop...see his "Preparedness Nuggets" page.....all KINDS of info from discussion lists, very nicely put together in a 36 page printable list

http://www.justpeace.org/nuggetsindex.htm )

-- Mercy (prepare@now.com), February 26, 1999.

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