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A fast and easy way to make a clean, empty, large can into a camping hotplate/stove.
- Peel any labels off of the can and wash it well. Leave no flammable paper or glue on the can. Make sure that the can has one end in tact, and one end completely gone. If necessary, finish removing one end with a can opener.
- Turn the can upside down, so that the open end is down. Cut a rectangle out of the can, cutting through the rim. The rectangle should go around about 1/4 to 1/3 of the can, and go up the can about 1/3 of the can's height. Detach the piece completely, leaving no scratchy bits of metal.
- Turn the can around to the side opposite your rectangle. In the upper half near the closed top of your stove/can, punch lots of holes, using the hammer and nail. Have someone carefully hold the can from the other side when you do this. Make as many holes as will fit about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch apart, in that top half of the back of your stove.
- To use your stove, build a fire small enough to fit under the stove using matches and tinder. Build the fire on a piece of ground with no grass or other flammable material. Clear a space around the fire as well- there should be nothing but dirt in the vicinity of your fire. Gather a supply of twigs to feed your fire. Then, once the fire is going, place your stove over the fire. The rectangle gives you an entrance to blow on the fire or to feed it twigs, while smoke should escape through the holes in the back. To test the stove's heat, throw droplets of water onto the top. When they steam off, try frying an egg or heating up something on the surface of your stove.
- Try making more than one stove. Try different kinds of cans, and see which ones conduct heat best.
- Birch bark is very good for starting fires. Do not, however take bark or wood from live trees. There is Plenty on the ground for you to use.
- If you do cook an egg, which works very well with this stove, be sure to grease your surface a bit first, or the egg will burn and stick. It can take a while to clean off.
- Cut metal can be sharp, so watch out for your fingers. Also, knives and scissors can be sharp. Be careful while you cut the can.
- Do not play with fire! Keep a bucket of water handy whenever you have a fire going. If you don't have water, dig up some loose dirt to throw on the fire if it gets out of hand. Or, keep a fire blanket nearby. When you feed the fire, be careful. Fire may seem tame, but it can easily burn you or get out of hand.
- These stoves are not good for cooking large amounts of food, and are more like camping hotplates, so if you go on a camping trip, be sure to bring a real camping stove and fuel for it.
- When building a fire, be careful what materials you use. Pine needles, for instance, will sometimes make tons of sparks in a manner much like a natural firework, which can be pretty, but very dangerous. Always assume the standard fire proximity position when near a fire, squatting on your heels so that you can easily jump back if the fire becomes dangerous. Wear close-toed shoes.
Things You'll Need
- A large can, about the size of the big cans of packaged ground coffee that you see in the supermarket. Other good kinds are big cans that might be used in a restaurant kitchen or cafeteria for canned ingredients.
- A knife or scissors that are good for cutting something like a can.
- Matches and kindling.
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