Alcohol Stoves

11:24 p.m. on May 22, 2010 (EDT)
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I am just starting to experiment with DIY alcohol stoves, and really want to get the advice and suggestions from the crusty 'ol bunch on here, 'cause I've kinda grown to trust ya' :)

Any advice is appreciated: what types do you use and find most effective? what kind of burn times can you get? Etc...

My first attempt is a modified penny version and works alright:


In action (with a folding pot stand I made as well)


In Progress...gotta empty those cans somehow! ;)


boiling water (about 4-5 min)

1:04 a.m. on May 23, 2010 (EDT)
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I have made about 25 to 30 different designs but the best overall is a modified version of this one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wwWguu-f6Y

I never bought the plans or cutters but it is pretty easy to make with a book and razor knife as well as a straight edge and cutting board. I do not heat treat or stretch them either as I do not see the need.

I do not like the logos on the cans and sand them off..... This is accomplished much easier when the can is full and not opened.

You can make bigger stoves as well with bigger than regular soda cans. (Arizona Iced Tea for instance.)

Not much need for the rack you made with these stoves.


Man o man, They must have made a billion of those Revere ware pots....... I have a set that I have used for 30+ years.

9:51 p.m. on May 23, 2010 (EDT)
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Gonzan, if that is your first stove you did well man! I started with a super cat stove with instructions from Jim Woods Base Camp (website) and have moved on up from there. Yes you do have to consume the contents of the cans, that is a rule of stove making. Haha!

This is my favorite alcohol stove, it is a pressurized stove with a priming wick wrapped around the outside for quick starting. Behind the stove is a wire pot stand that comes with it.

I have several home made stoves & several commercial ones, but to tell you the truth I prefer the ones made by "tinny" at www.minibulldesign.com.

The stove pictured above was made by him, it has a capacity of 4 oz. of fuel and burns very hot. I do not think he makes this model anymore. He makes other stoves that do not burn as hot and are more fuel efficient than this one.

He also makes alky stoves from stock aluminum with a remote fuel bottle so you can re-fuel during cooking for extended cook times which is great if you like real cooking or baking.

I have learned a lot from the Internet, and YouTube of course, and I enjoy making stuff, but the stoves that "tinny" makes are cutting edge performers. Whether you are interested in buying a stove or making your own, you should check out his website and YouTube channel. Tinny also makes custom pots and lids, plus sells fuel bottles, etc. from his website.

I am in no way affiliated with Tinny or his products, but I have used a lot of alky stoves and his are great, so is the service.

11:03 p.m. on May 23, 2010 (EDT)
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I will throw in that "tinny" is one heck of a character. I enjoy his videos.

11:55 a.m. on May 24, 2010 (EDT)
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Thanks Trout and Noodlehead!

I did some internet searching and got alot of excellent info from Tinny's site, ZenStoves.net, and Mark Jury's site.

I have a couple more questions for you Trout, if you don't mind-

How long does your "tinny" stove burn on 4oz? Is it made from 24oz Foster's beer cans? and lastly, are there 18 or 20 jet holes?

9:53 p.m. on May 24, 2010 (EDT)
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I have a couple more questions for you Trout, if you don't mind-

How long does your "tinny" stove burn on 4oz? Is it made from 24oz Foster's beer cans? and lastly, are there 18 or 20 jet holes?

Don't mind at all gonzan,

The model I have pictured is the "Sketti" named so because it burns for 30 minutes or so on 4 ounces of fuel, and you can really cook spaghetti on it if you wanted too. It is made with two fosters beer can bottoms and the fill hole has a threaded insert for a tiny thumb screw to close the fill hole off.

As far as how many jets...I'm not completely sure. Tell you what, I'll count them in the morning and post it here. I know they are quite small.

11:51 a.m. on May 25, 2010 (EDT)
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The stove I have has 20 jets / holes total gonzan.

It has 16 holes around the inside of the stove edge, and four more holes around the fuel filler hole.

2:30 p.m. on May 25, 2010 (EDT)
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Thanks!

that is really interesting- I wonder what the purpose the 4 holes around the fill hole serve? I just bought a Threaded Rivet Setter Tool, some 1/4 rivets, and 1/4 thumb screws to match. I am planing on making several of the stoves to help get my younger siblings all outfitted for backpacking. Neither they or my parents can afford to buy them much gear, but they really want to get into backpacking.

11:34 p.m. on June 2, 2010 (EDT)
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Fuel: See if you can obtain 97 to 99% IPA, (isopropyl alcohol). Acetone is available at Home Depot and perhaps at your local hardware store. These fuels will give you reduced burn time for a given amount of fuel. They burn hotter, more BTU's than a number of readily available fuels. The acetone has less BTU's than the IPA. It will leave a fine layer of soot, easily removable.

Trouthunter offered Tinny's pressurized stoves - a good suggestion as they're tried and true. Alcohol stoves are limited to warm weather and low altitude. Insulating the stove, if practical, will reduce burn time and conserve fuel. Wind shields are a big help as well. Combining the wind shield with insulation is another solution to reducing burn time. Also consider insulating your pot, not from the heat source, (horizontal area), but around the vertical surface. Which insulating material is the problem. The fiberglass rope used on Tinny's stoves is a potential solution for the pot. Aerogel or flexible foiled fiberglass batt material could be used for the wind shield although a bit heavier and occupying more volume than tin foil or light gauge aluminum.

You will find that cold water heats faster than warm water, an interesting thermodynamic fact.

My own stove design weighs less than 1/4 ounce and boils 16 oz. of water in 3-3/4 minutes in my modified titanium pot and no wind. Overall burn time with acetone is roughly 6 minutes.

9:43 a.m. on June 3, 2010 (EDT)
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Thanks Performance,

I am still experimenting and building various versions and sizes. I am quite pleased and impressed with the results. I have made 7 different versions so far. My goal is something that "replaces" my white gas stove, and that I can really use practically for cooking. Though many of my meals are the "just-add-boiled-water" type such as oatmeal, pasta, or dehydrated combos, I really like to do more involved cooking than that. So I want something that burns hot and has a relatively long burn time.

I will post photos and full results soon, but so far 3 of my stoves will boil a full quart of water in 7 minutes, and yet still burn for around 30 minutes.

2:22 a.m. on June 4, 2010 (EDT)
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One thermodynamic aspect I failed to mention to reduce boil/heating time: keep the amount of stove and pot metal to a minimum in thickness and surface area to limit the amount of heat taken away from heating your food or water. Less fuel will be required as well.

July 31, 2014
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