Homestead ‘Popcorn’ Stove
Fred Erdmann’s rocket stove is a real “found materials” piece. The build begins with a popcorn can that, when filled with sand, gravel, or soil, provides more than enough insulation for full combustion. Erdmann’s rocket stove produces enough heat to boil vegetables or seafood on cold, wet nights at his coastal Washington-state homestead.
Materials: Large metal popcorn can with lid; 6-inch-diameter metal elbow; 6-inch-diameter stove pipe; metal screws or high-heat metal epoxy; grill grate; 3 or 4 legs.
• Cut two 6-inch holes into the popcorn can — 1 in the side for the elbow and 1 in the top for the stove pipe.
• Attach elbow to stove pipe with metal screws or high-heat metal epoxy.
• Fill the can with an insulation material (sand or soil).
• Fasten the lid to the can using metal screws or high-heat metal epoxy.
• Fashion a grill grate to lay across the hole in the lid.
• Cut a strip of metal, wrap the top lid, and fasten to form a wind block. (Optional)
1-Hour British Brick Stove
Ravi Deo spent about an hour building this sturdy rocket stove in his suburban London backyard, but only because he wanted it completely level. If you’re not as particular, you could be grilling in a half-hour. This permanent setup is sure to be a hit at backyard cookouts.
Materials: Concrete paving slab; bricks; metal lath; grill or oven grate.
• Set a concrete paving slab (17 inches on each side or larger) so that the top is at ground level.
• Arrange bricks in a horseshoe shape on the slab, and lay metal lath on top.
• Add a second horseshoe layer, sandwiching the edges of the lath between the layers.
• Add a four-sided layer of bricks on top of the second horseshoe for the chimney base.
• Continue to add layers, alternating seams, to build the chimney to full height.
• Lay an old grill or oven grate on top.
Cinder Block Rocket Stove
Colleen Codekas’ take on the straightforward cinder block stove includes a sturdy foundation that would be at home in any backyard, fishing spot, or campsite. To cook on this utilitarian design, load wood into the vertical block’s top core (opening) and cook on the front core of the horizontal block.
Materials: 4 concrete pavers; 2 cinder blocks; brick; grill grate.
• Arrange 2 concrete pavers into a “T” to form the base of your stove.
• Lay 1 cinder block horizontally and stand another, vertically, on the pavers. Stand a brick on-end on top of the horizontal cinder block’s midsection. Square the joint.
• Stand 2 pavers on their edges on top of the base cinder block’s sidewalls. This should form an “H” when viewed from above (photo at far left).
• Top the “H” with the final cinder block (photo at near left).
• Place a grill grate across the top.
‘Space Shuttle’ Cookstove
With little more than a welder and some scrap metal, Muhammet Sel fashioned a handsome rocket stove in Turkey. He’s dubbed the finished project the “Space Shuttle” because of its color, but also because of its impressive heat production. The design of this wood burning cookstove incorporates a 1-inch insulation sleeve, which Sel fills with soil.
Materials: 60-inch-long, 4-by-4-inch pipe; 29-by-4-inch, 16-gauge sheet metal.
• Cut a length of 4-by-4-inch square pipe into 2 equal sections at a 45-degree angle. One of these will serve as the supply shaft and the other as the combustion chamber.
• Cut a flat shelf for the supply shaft that runs along the pipe’s length to the short side of the angle.
• Weld the shelf to the supply shaft to partition off approximately 1/4 of the pipe for airflow.
• Weld the supply shaft to the combustion chamber to form a 90-degree angle.
• Attach a bottom plate that extends 1 to 2 inches beyond the combustion tube’s sides.
• Cut a front plate to fit around the supply shaft, and attach.
• Cut a back plate and 2 side plates that will fully enclose the combustion chamber. Attach.
• Fill the insulation area between the combustion chamber and the plates with soil or sand.
• Cut a top that encloses the insulation space, but leaves the combustion chamber clear.
• Smooth all of your welds with an angle grinder.
• Attach 3 or 4 solid bars with flat tops for cooking support. These bars should allow enough airflow beneath the cooking surface to maintain the draft.
• Apply a coat of high-heat paint.