Building a Rocket Stove: Step By Step Tutorial

You can turn a few everyday objects into your own rocket stove! Image by Aprille Ross, cover design by  Kate Singer.

You can turn a few everyday objects into your own rocket stove! Image by Aprille Ross, cover design by Kate Singer.

The first time I heard about a rocket stove was when my husband was researching ways to create a heat source for his workshop. My first question – what’s a rocket stove? Well, a rocket stove is basically a high-temperature combustion chamber with a vertical chimney. It requires very little fuel (generally wood) to create heat.

Not only can these efficient little heaters be used to warm an entire room, but smaller versions are an excellent way to cook food without needing lots of space or tons of fuel. Making a rocket stove also doesn’t take a lot of fancy tools and you can make onefor almost no cost at all. The project does take around an hour and a half to complete, but it is well worth it!

Building a Rocket Stove: Supplies Needed:

If you don’t have some of the following tools, ask a friend; this is a great ‘buddy’ project!

  • Tin Snips
  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • Pliers
  • Wire Nippers
  • Gloves
  • Safety Glasses
  • Permanent Marker
  • 1 No. 10 Can (those big ones restaurants get fruit and such in; get the top too!)
  • 4 Regular metal Cans (the ones veggies and fruit tend to come in; 15 oz)
  • Material for Insulation – Perlite, sand, vermiculite, dirt, or foam (whatever you have)
  • Newspaper
  • Kindling

*Note: Remove all labels from each can and make sure they are clean inside. And don’t forget to wear glove and safety glasses when cutting the cans.

Building a Rocket Stove: Step One

Trace and cut the hole in the large can. Image by Aprille Ross

Trace and cut the hole in the large can. Image by Aprille Ross

Using one of the small cans as a guideline, trace a circle on the side of the large can. Make the circle about an inch above the bottom of the can – it’ll be easier to cut this little circle out if you aren’t also trying to cut through the bottom seam on the large can.

Punch a hole in the center of the newly-drawn circle using the nail and hammer. This will give the tin snips a starting point,  just like when you’re cutting a circle out of paper. It’s much easier to poke a hole in the middle of the circle and then work your way towards the outside to cut the entire circle out. Cut on the outside of the circle you drew, to give you a bit more room when the time comes to insert one of the small cans into the hole you’re cutting. If you need to widen it a bit, you can use the pliers to crimp the edges of the hole or trim it a little with the wire cutters.

Keep Reading for Step 2!

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  1. more says

    I hardly leave comments, however i did some searching and wound up here Building a Rocket Stove:
    Step By Step Tutorial. Awesome!

    • Aprille RossAprille Ross says

      I’m so glad you got a chance to make the stove, that’s excellent!!! Mom Prepares is my main place for writing and I don’t keep up with my Facebook page, since I can’t access Facebook easily. I do hope you enjoy my other posts on Mom Prepares, as well as all the other fabulous writers’ posts on here. It’s an excellent site for just about anything you need!

  2. says

    I’m no longer positive where you are getting your information, but good topic. I must spend a while studying much more or working out more. Thank you for fantastic information I used to be searching for this info for my mission.

  3. David Coleman says

    Other models of Rocket Stoves I have seen have a wider gap between the bottom of the infeed fuel shelf & the bottom of the infeed fuel can. Should that be considered or is it enough space already as shown in your picture?

    • Aprille RossAprille Ross says

      I found that the amount of space I alloted in this particular stove worked well, but you can always add a bit more!

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