Sunday, March 7, 2010

Rocket Stove

Rocket Stoves
These are just a few of the many versions of a rocket stove and on the top left is a rocket oven. Rocket stoves, because of their design, allow you to use 75% less fuel (wood) than a normal fire and will be invaluable in your food storage. I was able to boil 2 cups of water for 20 minutes using just a handful of small sticks and a match. Rocket stoves come in all sizes but the idea is the same. You can buy them or make your own. Making your own will cost under $20. A version of the one pictured on the right can be made for almost nothing. (Notice the large flame being created with just a few sticks.)

You will need:

A number 10 can (#10 can)

4 (10 ounce) soup chicken noodle or tomato soup

Ashes or vermiculite for insulation A small grate or rack Tin snips and gloves

Using a can opener, open the #10 can and empty the contents, keeping the lid you cut off. Cut a hole the exact size of the soup can into the side of your #10 can near the bottom. (This is where the elbow will come out.) Make all of these holes as exact as you can.

To make the elbow, take a soup can and cut off the top. Take a 2nd soup can and cut off the top and bottom. Carefully cut a hole in the side of the 1st can (at the bottom) and slip the 2nd can into the hole. Put your elbow inside the #10 can and bring the end of the elbow (2nd can) out of the hole you have cut into the side.

To extend the elbow upwards, take a 3rd soup can, remove the top and bottom, cut it completely up the side and squeeze it together to fit it into the top of the 1st can. Adjust it so it comes to an inch from the top of the #10 can.

Fill the can around the elbow with your insulation to about 2 inches from the top.

Take the lid that you cut from the #10 can and cut a hole in the center just large enough for your soup can to come through. Push this lid over the soup can and onto the insulation.

To make the “shelf” for your wood, take your 4th soup can and cut off the top and the bottom. Cut it up the side, flatten it out and cut it into a 3” x 3 3/4” piece. Shape this piece into a small "T", making the top of the T 3” wide and the bottom 2 ¼” inch wide so it can just fit inside your 2nd soup can. Making it into a “T” keeps the shelf from going all the way into the soup can.

The small grate or rack goes on top of your #10 can to hold your pots or pans as you cook.

To start your fire, push a small amount of paper under the shelf and place twigs on top of the shelf. Light the paper with a match. When the twigs start to burn, put your larger sticks on top of the twigs. Push them through as they burn and add more wood as necessary. You may want to make a larger rocket stove or more than one so you can cook several things at once. Unlimited ideas can be found online if you Google rocket stove.

If you google rocket stove and go to the site that is 20 minutes in length, you'll see how to make the somewhat larger version.
By having a rocket stove I've been able to add many more foods (like pancakes and fry bread!) to my food storage and I'm better prepared for rainy days without having to add a large amount of fuel to my storage.
3/10 I've had a lot of comments on this subject. Of course, you can buy a rocket stove, but it's going to cost you over $50 with s/h. I've made 3 of them and it takes about 1/2 an hour and is actually pretty fun!
4/7 The first picture is a rocket oven (NOT a solar oven) It's made by Grover and runs about $95. It can bake bread or other foods and is used on top of a rocket stove. This would be great for those of you who don't have a lot of sun for the solar ovens.
I've been experimenting with a dutch oven placed on a rocket stove and it works pretty well as an oven. I've baked cakes and breads and have a few suggestions: Don't place your bread pans/cake pans directly on the bottom of the dutch oven. Put a rack or some canning rings on the bottom and place your bread pan on those. Get a small oven thermometer to place inside the dutch oven and be sure to preheat for best results. Keep the heat/flame of the rocket stove as even as you can. You can lift the lid occasionally to check the temperature and the heavy metal of the dutch oven will hold the heat pretty well. If the dutch oven becomes too hot, the bottom of the bread will (of course) burn. But if it's not hot enough, the loaf will collapse. Our ancestors used wood burning stoves to bake and it really was an art. You'll need to practice quite a bit to get the hang of it. Good luck!