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3079off topic -- diy wood burning backpacking stove

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  • Ray Garlington
    Sep 30, 2003
      I have continued messing with this and have a configuration that
      might be useful to fire enthusiasts. I will continue refining this
      design, but don't expect to uncover major improvements. As with the
      Garlington Insulator, I will put together a web page with some
      pictures and additional detail. Comments are welcome.

      The Garlington WoodGas Stove

      After about 2 months building & testing small woodstoves of various
      configurations, I stumbled on an easy to build, lightweight stove
      (3.5 - 4 oz) that will boil 1 quart of water and hold the boil for
      about 10 minutes. The stove is batch loaded, fun to use, and nearly
      smokeless when properly fired.

      On the negative side, this stove requires a starter fluid and will
      blacken your pots. Also, the current version gets hot enough at the
      end of the burn to ignite newspaper under the burner, so the stove
      should not be used on flammable surfaces.

      The design attempts to exploit the "batch-loaded, inverted down-draft
      gassifier" wood-burning technique and manages about 1/3 - 1/2 "blue
      flame" at peak output. As the gas-burning stage winds down and while
      the stove is still quite hot, the flame is mostly blue. Typically,
      the stove is burning wood gas shortly after ignition and has a
      stable yellow/blue flame within about 1 minute. After about 10
      minutes the wood gas is depleted and the stove transitions to
      charcoal burning. Charcoal burning continues for about 20 minutes
      after this transition.

      The stove comprises a steel can, fire grate, stove windscreen, pot
      stand and pot windscreen. The steel can forms the body of the burner
      and is 3" in diameter and 4 1/2" tall. Primary air holes are punched
      at the bottom edge of the can, and secondary air slits are cut about
      3" up from the bottom. A fire grate (wire screen) is fitted to the
      bottom of the can to allow even distribution of the primary air to
      the bottom of the fuel supply. The stove windscreen is made of light
      aluminum (disposable baking pan) about 3 1/2" in diameter and 4 1/2"
      tall. Slots are cut in the bottom of the stove windscreen to allow
      primary/secondary air to enter. The pot stand is fashioned by
      bending a coathanger into a clip that slips onto the rim of the steel
      can and holds the pot about 1 1/4" above the rim. The pot
      windscreen is a piece of doubled aluminum foil that goes from the
      ground to at least 1/2 way up the pot.


      Find a supply of dry sticks about the diameter of a #2 pencil and
      smaller. Dump out the ash from the previous firing, and position the
      stove windscreen and pot stand on the stove body. Break up the
      sticks into about 1" lengths and throw them into the burner. As the
      stove fills, periodically shake/tap the stove to settle the fuel.
      When you get close to the secondary air slits, use only the smallest
      of the sticks you have collected. Shake/tap down the stove once again.

      Spray a small amount of starter fluid (charcoal starter fluid,
      kerosene, alcohol, etc.) on the top surface of the wood supply. Do
      not use too much, because you only want to ignite the top layer of
      wood. (Igniting the lower layers will result in a smokey mess.)
      Light the starter fluid. After about 1 minute you should have a good
      flame going. Postion the pot on the stand and place the pot
      windscreen around the pot.

      Caution: If the stove fails to ignite, do not spray additional
      starter fluid. There will be hot embers present from your previous
      attempt which are capable of igniting the fluid as you spray it on.
      This could result in SEVERE injury to you and others. The safe thing
      to do is unload the stove, reload it, and try again.

      Copyright 2003 Ray Garlington


      Test 9/29/2003
      Air Temp: 55F Starting water temp: 71F

      Time Comments
      0 Light fire
      1 min Water on Stove
      5 min Water temp 130F
      10 min Boiling
      20 min Boiling
      25 min 198F
      30 186F Charcoal is generating little heat....
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