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How to Make a Tin Can Rocket Stove

If you have fire and a few twigs, you can cook – really! The secret is to use a rocket stove. You can purchase rocket stoves, or if you want to save a few dollars, make your own. Jamie at Prepared Housewives put together a great tutorial regarding how to make a rocket stove, and below, you will find the abridged version of her tutorial.

How to Make a Tin Can Rocket Stove

photo credit: Rocket Stove Fire Storm by Yuichiro Haga, CC BY 2.0

Materials Required

  • #10 can with lid
  • two 28 oz. cans (can be recycled from your pantry stash)
  • insulation
  • tin snips
  • heavy-duty gloves
  • marker

Step One: Wear Heavy-Duty Gloves

You will be cutting tin, which means you will be working with sharp edges. Make sure you are wearing heavy-duty gloves before proceeding.

Step Two: Mark & Cut Center Hole

Using a lid from one of your 28 oz. cans, trace a circle on the side of the #10 can, one inch above the base of the can. Using the tin snips, carefully cut out the circle (you may want to punch a hole to start the process).

Check your tracing and cutting skills by seeing if the 28 oz. can fits through the hole you just made. If necessary, make adjustments.

Step Three: Mark & Cut a Hole on the Inside Can

Now do the same thing, but this time measure and cut one of the 28 oz. cans.  This can will be placed inside the #10 can.

Step Four: Start Stove Assembly

With the 28 oz. can you haven’t touched yet, cut off the rim first. Make tabs on this end by using your marker to draw lines one inch apart and 1.5 inches deep. Use your tin snips to cut your marks and make tabs, then squeeze, smash, squish and do whatever it takes to get the tabbed end through both cans.  Once the 28 oz. can is securely through both the #10 can and the nestled 28 oz. can, fold some of the tabs up to make a snug fit.

Step Five: Cut #10 Can Lid

Trace a circle in the middle of the #10 can lid  using one of the smaller cans. Use your tin snips to cut it out.

Step Six: Cut Rim of #10 Can

Follow the diagram below to cut eight tabs in the rim of the #10 can.

Rocket Can Diagram

Step Seven: Fill With Insulation

Pack non-flammable insulation between the walls of the nested 28 oz. can and the #10 can. According to Jamie, “pack it in until you can’t fit anymore!”

Fold down one of the tabs on each of the four sides of the #10 can. Use a hammer if you need help to flatten them.

Place the lid with the circle cut into it on top, and then hammer the remaining four tabs on top to secure the lid in place.

Step 8: Add a Shelf!

Use some of the scrap metal from your cut tin can to make a shelf.  Cut a rectangular-shaped piece with flaps that will fit inside the can the mounted to the side of the rocket stove.  If necessary, hammer the metal to make it flat.  Cut about an inch on each side of the can. Slide the shelf into place and fold down flaps.

Step 9: Time to Get Cooking!

Cut up some of the scrap wood you have lying around, or use whatever you have that will fit inside the stove and burn!  Put the small piecess of wood on the shelf (not under, it needs to breathe). Throw in some dryer light and light.  Keep feeding in wood to keep the fire going for as long as you need!

Preppers Potluck Source: Prepared Housewives’ How to Build a Rocket Stove (and Impress the Boys) Tutorial