Monday, 6 September 2010

Simple Hobo Stove


In the pursuit of outdoor living there are a few key requirements to make yourself comfortable shelter, warmth water and food. In the UK it is not always acceptable, sensible or legal to start an open fire on someone else's land unless permission is sought and given.  Enjoying the delights of an open fire I decided to look into how you could have the benefits of a living fire to cook over without the risks associated with it. After a few trawls over the Internet I came upon several versions of the Hobo Stove including versions of the originals from the USA. I eventually settled upon this design.  The basic requirements are: Stainless steel drainer unit available from most stores (with holes in the side).


Stainless steel tea,coffee, or sugar container this should be able to fit inside the drainer, wire cable(mine came from an old lawn mower throttle), a couple of electrical connectors (plastic type they have stainless steel parts inside) a couple of large sea fishing swivels.


A couple of stainless steel BBQ skewers (taken from the BBQ equipment).


A pop rivet gun with a couple of rivets, angle grinder or hacksaw,drill and craft knife. Well that's about all the stores you will require to manufacture the Hobo stove. The first thing that you must do is ensure that the boiling vessel that you are going to use (tea,coffee,sugar container in my case) fits inside the drainer (cooker) that you have bought.



Take the drainer with you to the supermarket or at least take the measurements. The next stage of the process is to decide where and how large you are going to cut an opening, allowing you to put your fuel source into the stove. Once you have decided where its going it's time to cut the opening out.  I used a angle grinder for the job it only took a few minutes.  

Once cut the edges will be razor sharp beware file them back so that the edges are blunt. You have got to be able just about to put your hands in and out of the opening.

Please if you are using tools that you have never used before or not competent with seek advice.  Always think SAFETY FIRST.   

Really that's the cooker done!!  The next stage involves a bit more work, well it did for me.  The container that you are going to use for the cooking vessel. I chose a stainless steel tea caddy from a well known UK store it cost a couple of pounds.  The first thing I did was to locate the centre of the top of the lid of the caddy and drilled a hole to except a screw. I then made a small knob as a handle from seasoned Beech for the lid of the caddy. The next stage was to drill two holes into the side of the lid of the caddy to act as steam vents. So that when the cooking vessel / kettle was boiling the pressure escaped.


When drilling the two holes ensure that they are located above the actually main body of the cooking vessel / kettle otherwise when you fit the lid back you will still have no holes!!!!!!!  With the knob fitted, steam pressure holes drilled re-fit the lid to the caddy.

Ensure you drill two pressure holes

What you must know do, is decide where you are going to drill you holes on either side of the main caddy to allow you to fit the large metal swivels.  Be careful not to drill to high or low on the caddy body, you want the caddy to be able to pour and swivel its your best guess....I thought about it this way the caddy cost just a couple of pounds..kept the pressure of me.  Once the holes are drilled it's time to fit the swivels attached with pop rivets this was the hardest part for me not using a rivet gun for many years. The next step was to get hold of the plastic connectors and remove the plastic from them.  We only want the stainless steel connectors. I used a craft knife for the task be careful its easy to cut the old pinky's.  Once we have our two sets of connectors its time to decide how long the carrying handle will be (I used throttle cable its stainless steel) again its personal choice I made mine perhaps a bit long.  To attach the cable to the cooking vessel / kettle place the wire through one side of the connector then through swivel eye and back through the connector tightening up as you go.The final stage that I completed was the shortening of the BBQ skewers that will support the weight of the kettle.  I kept them long to start with but it was not practical so they where shortened to fit into the stove for an easy pack away.



The very last thing to do is test our new stove out.  I have to say that for the stove to burn the natural fuel that you use it needs ventilation from the bottom.  Raise the stove in some way ensuring that its is stable.  I have found that the best and most portable item is the old fashioned British Military hexamine cooker.  The types of fuel that you can use come down to two types Natural and Manmade. Natural speaks for itself, however I find that Pine cones burn best its the resin. Man made you could buy or even make a Trangia cooker insert or hexamine or such like substances.  I have to be truthful a good project to make and something that is very practical, however I have used mine only a few times.  The cooking pot has been hung on a hanger over an open fire it worked well. A few pictures below of the Hobo in action on the beach near my home.

A day at the beach

Moules el Fresco
"Its a partnership" Moules are collected while the cooker is started
Pine cones for fuel. A cup of Coffee coming straight up
My last word on the Hobo stove is please be responsible and fire aware when in the Countryside.          

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