Saturday, February 16, 2008

Wax Stove

Making a “DIY” Wax Stove
I had wanted to make a wax stove since I first saw on at the Bushcraft Living forum a couple of months ago. The biggest stumbling block was finding a tin that I thought was suitable. After checking several craft stores unsuccessfully I stumbled across a perfect tin for .35 cents at a local thrift store.

To make the stove I gathered together a piece of corrugated cardboard, a carpenters square to use a straight edge, beeswax ingots a small puukko knife and the tin.

While I melted the beeswax using a tin can and a Swedish Army surplus Trangia alcohol stove. I started to measure and cut the cardboard to fit.

I cut two long pieces that I cut center slits in about half their width that allowed them to be put together to form a cross. I can be seen in the photo on the right hand side. Next I cut four smaller pieces that I used to insert into the open spaces created by the center cross piece.

Once I had all the pieces inserted and the wax was melted I poured the wax slowly into the tin. I was careful to be sure that I filled each of the chambers created by the cardboard wick equally.

Here you can see the stove in use. I knew from article I had read that lighting the wax stove can be difficult so in order to light it I laid the lit paper match right on the center of the wick and left it there; allowing it to completely burn up. Keep checking back for a future field trial on my new wax stove.


Bushark said...

Hey Chris, I have two questions; 1) how long does the stove last? I'm assuming it's a one time use kind of thing. I read the same article from Bushcraft Living where there was no answer. I'm excited to give this a try though regardless. Secondly, you mentioned a wick and the article did not. I'm curious how the stove is lit and which technique would be easiest?

Anonymous said...

I have run the stove for well over an hour an only used a very small portion of the wax. I think it could be used "indefinitely" if you were to keep adding wax every now and again.
It was a little difficult to lite so I added a cotton wick when the wax was melted the last time I used it.

Mungo said...

This looks like a great idea - I'm guessing that beeswax burns for longer (it sure melts hotter) than paraffin.

I think I'll make one of the myself. I wonder if simply coiling a thin sheet of corrugated cardboard would work.

Anyway, cheers - nice blog!


Anonymous said...

I have seen wax stoves with coils of cardboard, but I thought that doing this way allowed for more wax to be in the stove, and therefore a much longer burning stove.
The only drawback that I ran across with this stove was the cooldown time. However the lid I have for the tin fits tight enough that I was able to carry the stove before the wax had become solid again.
Thanks for the compliment on my blog. I am afan of yours and check it often.

johnny said...

i layerd cotton balls, in a large coffee can then pourd in some wax , then another layer of cotton, and got the can about half full in this way, ending up with a layer of cotton on top. it smoked alot, but it lasted several hours, it could easily be used for cooking, or heating a tent , if u could find a way to get rid of the smoke

johnny said...

i am very interested to know if anyone has did something like this , the size of a home heating stove, and what kind of results they had.

i was considering building one, maybe using wax, vegetable oil, cotton mix

Anonymous said...

The problem with waxes and oils is they smoke to beat the band. I heat my garage with a small alcohol burning stove that I originally made to use in my car if I ever got stranded in the winter. It is very simple to make. All you need is a small coffee, a roll of toilet paper and some alcohol.

Remove the cardboard core from the toilet paper and force it into the can with the side (layered) of the TP facing up. Saturate with alcohol an ignite. Be sure that you are using it in a well ventilated area of course.

One of the neat things about this stove is that the bottom of the can doesn't heat up at all so you can pick it up and move it around even after it has been burning for a long time (unlike a wax stove).

Anonymous said...

Where'd you get your wax?

Anonymous said...

I have a friend that keeps bees.

Cheryl@Gingerbread Crafts said...

I've been looking at these stoves on the net and wanted to try it for myself. I didn't have a tin and didn't want to wait so tried it in miniature.
Used the tin surround of a tealight candle, strips cut from a toilet roll and used melted wax from other tealights. When lit the flame was about 4 to 6 inches high and it stayed lit for well over 5 minutes, I didn't let it burn out, am going to try lighting it again tomorrow.

I can see the merit of this miniature version, possibly heating just enough water for a cup of tea or even when trying to light a stubborn campfire.


Try putting some vaseline on the wicks before storing. It should help when you try to fire it up fort the first time.. Cheers :)