Should any calamity befall you or your family that changes your situation to one of survival, do you know what to do, where to go, how to get there, what to do once you get there, how to provide for yourself and loved ones or what you will need and how much? Most lack the forethought to plan ahead and prepare themselves for any likelihood other then a flat tire, and even then only because the automobile factory placed it in the vehicle for them. Feel free to read, experiment and improvise what I have put on this site to potentially help you one day.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

How to make a cheap Universal Hobo Stove vs. the Alcohol Stove


There is alot of buzz and postings out there for several different versions of the penny, or soda can alcohol, or alcohol evaporative stove. Yes, the alcohol stove can be made from garbage found on the side of the road. Yes, the alcohol for the stove is pretty cheap and alot more readily available then most are aware. But, compared to a simple hobo stove it vastly pales. The alcohol stove is very difficult to get going in the winter because you have to heat the stove against the cold. Using a lighter to heat the bottom of the can is less efficient then just creating a fire and cooking off of the fire versus the stove or using the fire to get the stove going. The alcohol stove has a very limited fuel source when compared to the hobo stove as the alcohol content must be above 60%. The alcohol stove requires more hands-on work to make then the hobo stove does. The biggest benefits of the hobo stove are that it uses virtually any combustible fuel there is, it's small, cheap, easy to make, and more durable then the aluminum can alcohol stove.


1) one tin can candle ( can get them from the dollar tree for $1, make sure the bottom of the candle is fused with the walls and not crimped or oil and other liquid fuels will leak out)(used tuna cans or cut soup cans can be used as the basis for the stove as well)
2) an aluminum can (any kind of beverage can that can be found on the side of any road)
3) a pair of scissors
4) cotton balls or cloth or any wicking material (hemp, cotton, tissue, dryer lint, fiberglass)
5) a small nail (optional)
6) a hammer like object (optional)

Go buy a tin can candle

Heat the tin can candle by putting it in a pot with a quarter inch of water and heat it on the stove for a couple of minutes until the surface has melted or just light the candle and wait for a couple minutes until most of the surface has melted from the heat of the flame.

Place the additional wicking material along the inside rim of the tin can allowing it to absorb some of the candle wax. Only place enough material to make it no more then 75% around the inside rim. The reason being that if you complete a circle of wicking material and it is lit, it will create an oxygen void in the center forcing all the flames to converge at one point as a large candle flame. Keeping a gap allows oxygen to feed the flames and keeps it in the circular shape allowing it to heat a larger area.

Cut 4 rectangles from the aluminum can with a length equal to the width of the tin can candle's opening and about an inch wide. Clip off the corners and trim the pieces to fit inside the tin can candle. Now cut the pieces in accordance with the drawing to allow you to attach them together there by creating the bracket to support cans or pots for cooking. The folds in the center of the bracket pieces is to strengthen the bracket and allow the flames to breath once a can or pot is placed on top of the bracket.

(Optional) Using the small nail and hammer like object, punch 8 holes in the lid of the can along the top circumference. If uncertain refer to the pictures.

Now you have a hobo stove that once it is done burning the fuel of the candle wax is capable of using virtually any fuel source. You can replenish the fuel with other candles, crayons, vaseline, chapsticks and lip balms, used and new motor oil, any vegetable oil, bacon grease, any oil based lubricant, kerosine, gasoline, diesel, rubbing alcohol, heet antifreeze, fuel injector cleaner, octane booster, fuel treatment, hand sanitizer, liquor, colognes and perfumes and body sprays, finger nail polish remover and even a crushed charcoal briquette. With the holes in the lid you can use the hobo stove as an evaporative burner or just light the liquid with an open top. Remember as a rule of thumb with evaporative fuels that the more surface area the better so use cotton balls or fiberglass or some other wicking material to help the fuel evaporate for a consistent burn.

Ensure that the can candle or any container you decide to use has a solid piece bottom instead of a cut-out.  If there isn't a solid seal between the bottom plate and the container walls like in a single piece of stamped metal or food can with crimped ends, liquid fuels and even wax once it melts will leak through the seam once the metal heats up.  This is at the least problematic and worse a serious fire hazard.