I wanted an outdoor fire pit this summer, but we don’t have a place on our small property to safely build one. We decided to build a homemade rocket stove instead. You can make this with all free materials. If you don’t use large cans, ask around, as many times people do not mind sharing a few instead of recycling them. If you choose to use cat litter instead of ashes it technically won’t be free any more, but it will still be quite cheap. (Obviously, use clean cat litter)!
Things you will need:
How to make a rocket stove:
- Trace a circle the size of the small can onto the larger can and one small can. Trace this about an inch from the bottom of the each can.
- Cut out the circles with the tin snips
- Place the small can inside the large can and line up the holes
- Cut the bottom off another small can with the tin snips
- Insert the bottomless can through the holes on the two cans. This should create an L-shaped junction inside the larger can.
- Fill the bottom and sides with ashes or cat litter, leaving the center clear.
Using the rocket stove:
Place sticks and kindling into the cans and light with a match. A pot can be heated by placing on top of the cans.
We noticed that there wasn’t enough draft to keep the flame as steady as we liked so we added a third small can as a chimney. Cut off the bottom and cut along the side so the it fits into the smaller vertical can. (This will stick up above edge of the large can, and can’t be used to heat a pot.)
Cook hot dogs or marshmallows or just enjoy the warmth! If you end up in an emergency situation this is a good skill to have (along with how to make a composting toilet, or hand washing your laundry), and it’s good for your peace of mind to know you can create a usable cooking source that is safe to use in an urban environment.
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