I like rocket stoves, these are usually small, usually portable, mini-cooking-heating devices that are very efficient. You can use twigs instead of larger pieces of wood, these tend to be safer since you aren’t using a lot of fuel (twigs) and it goes out if you aren’t there to feed the wood into the stove. I have seen a lot of different methods of building a rocket stove, from simple bricks without mortar to very elaborate and expensive rigs.

I recently ran across an interesting and easy to do method of making a rocket stove from materials that most of us have laying around the house. This was designed and created by an internet friend, Kent Ivey, who is a major tinkerer, he is always coming up with interesting and useful items made with scrap or what most  would consider junk, those of us who follow him on Face Book are always eager to see what he comes up with next.

Here is a photo montage of Kent making a rocket stove, enjoy!

You’ll need a 5 gallon bucket (make it one you are willing to give up for this purpose)
2-2 liter plastic cola bottles (full of cola or water)
A marker that will mark on plastic
Dirt, straw or hay or grass, water
A sharp utility knife, duct tape, something to mix the cob in and scoop the cob into the bucket (wheelbarrow and shovel)
Something to smooth the adobe/cob (a trowel of some sort)
A piece of expanded metal lath, or something similar, that will fit in the middle of the lower hole and stick out at least 6 inches, longer would be better (make sure it can take heat)
Rocks or something to set your pan on the top, you’ll need a space between the top of the rocket stove and the pan

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After you get all of your parts together, set the bucket on its side, draw a circle on your bucket toward the bottom, about 3-4 inches from the bottom, use the cola bottle as a template.

Next, using a sharp utility knife, cut out the circle, be careful.

Make sure the bottle fits, it’s OK for the hole to be a little bigger than the bottle.

Now using duct tape, tape the two bottles together in an “L” shape as shown. Tape them well, be sure to cover every part of the bottles between the bottles, make it as smooth as possible.

Now make your adobe/cob using the dirt, grass (or hay or straw) and water, if you are unfamiliar with making adobe/cob, just look it up online, there are lots of resources to teach you how to make adobe/cob.

Put some of the adobe/cob in the bottom of the bucket, just until it reaches the bottom of the bottom hole, place the taped bottles in the bucket, then continue filling the bucket with the adobe/cob mixture.

Make sure the “boss” is watching.

Be sure to fill all of the voids, do not leave any holes or voids in the bucket.

Yeah, it’s messy, you’d better do this outside. :)

Using a trowel, smooth off the top of the adobe/cob, Kent piled the cob up a couple of inches over the top, he smoothed the top and the sides.

Clean up any adobe/cob that oozes out the hole in the side.

Now allow this several days to dry, if you live in a very humid area, leave it a few days longer.

When the adobe/cob feels dry, open the bottle lids and pour out the liquid.

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Using a sharp utility knife, cut the bottle tops and remove.

Carefully reach in and cut the sides of the bottles, remove the bottles and tape as best you can.

Chances are, your adobe/cob will not be completely dry inside, allow it to dry for a few more days.

Using some small twigs and paper, set a small fire inside the rocket stove to help dry it the rest of the way and start to cure the adobe/cob.

Now take a piece of expanded metal lath, or something similar that will fit in the bottom hole, this is used to hold the fuel as it’s being fed into the rocket stove. Notice the rocks on top, Kent uses this to hold up the cooking pan, you can use whatever heat proof item you have to set the pan on.

Now, stuff some paper inside the bottom hole, place some twigs or other wood on the top of the screen, light it and wait for the fire to catch.

Once the fire is going good, you can cook on your rocket stove, you can also boil water.

Notice how the pan is not sitting directly on the top of the rocket stove, there needs to be a gap between the pan and the stove. Keep pushing the twigs into the stove to keep the fire going.

Looks like Kent had a great breakfast right after this. :) I think the boss got some breakfast too.

I know someone will ask this question, will the plastic bucket melt? According to Kent, it will not melt.


Visit Kent on Face Book

A great rocket stove book.

Another rocket stove

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