How to build a Rocket Stove in twenty minutes

Have you ever wanted to boil a billy and all you had was a handfull of sticks? (and a few empty cans and a pair of pliers and a pair of tin snips, a can opener and some spare ash?) Well, we sure did.

rocket stove is what you need in this situation! Here at Milkwood, there’s an excellent rocket stove shower that provides us with deliciously warm showers every day – all we have to do is keep the stick pile full. Easy! So when our friend Harris showed us his portable rocket stove (that he boils his billy on) we had huge rocket stove envy.

Yesterday, we had a spare twenty minutes and felt the urge to build!

First, we got all of our equipment together. To make a portable rocket stove you’ll need:

– a large tin (ours was 25mm square and 300mm high) (keep the lid handy!)

– 5 small round soup tins (75mm diameter)

– some ash

– pair of stub nose pliers

– a can opener

– tin snips

We had a couple of different models that we incorporated into our design. The rocket stove at Milkwood, our friends portable one and some pictures we found on the net were all sources of inspiration. All you really need to do is wrap your head around the basic principles: to direct all the heat energy (from the flames) upward –  the heat goes into heating the food, rather than being radiated outward (like most campfires). The design also increases combustion efficiency – this helps to reduce smoke.

The only problems we faced were with our tin cutting abilities.. we went through a couple of tins before we got the shape we wanted for joining the chimney together. If you’e trying this yourself, maybe find twenty-five minutes of spare time instead of twenty for improved aesthetics.

rocket stove plans

l-r: the team, the equipment, kade makes the cut, tin inside a tin!

l-r: pushing the cuts into place, cutting some tin, measuring the shelf piece, inserting the shelf

l-r: Kade cuts the joins, joining two tins, it all comes together, filling the tin with ash for insulation

l-r: some more ash, cutting some more tin for the top piece, Kade secures the inner tin-pipe, rocket stove all lit up!

what a beauty!


Bel and Kade

(Bel writing, Kade trying to get Bel to stay focused and not go on facespace or check her gmail while writing this blog post)


Filed under Building

3 responses to “How to build a Rocket Stove in twenty minutes

  1. Pingback: National Permaculture Day is May 1st! « Milkwood: permaculture in practice

  2. Pingback: How to make a mini rocket stove (mark 1) « Milkwood: permaculture in practice

  3. Pingback: Rocket Stove fun « 1043mabovethesea

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