Chimney Alcohol Stoves



Chimney Stoves aka Open Vented Alcohol Stoves


Mini Zen Chimney Stove made from 5.5oz V8 cans


Chimney stoves work by creating an updraft through the stove that feeds the flame with oxygen and by having the flame start inside the stove which causes it to really heat up and vaporize more fuel.  The simplest versions are singled walled while others are doubled walled.  The heat output can be adjusted by restricting the side ventilation via a number of means.


Note - These are just some of the many DIY alcohol stove options.  For more information on different options visit Zen and the Art of the Alcohol Stove and the Templates page.



Cat Can Stove


Cat Can Stove


Several chimney stove designs incorporate a wick with some form of ventilation, a few with double walls and a couple with adjustable air flow.  This allows for greater vaporization of fuel and hotter burn temperatures.  And when properly designed, these can be more efficient than just pouring your alcohol into an empty can, and may even afford you the option of adjusting the heat output and allow for simmering.


The Cat Food Can Alcohol Stove is known for its high heat output (for an alcohol stove) and fast cook times and is probably the most popular double walled chimney stove that incorporates a wick in it's design.  It incorporates a ventilated 3oz aluminum can in the center and a 7oz aluminum can for the outer air jacket.


Double walled chimney stove made from top of 12oz can and bottom of 5.5oz V8 can


There are several ways to make a working double walled chimney stove.  All you need are two different sized cans and some imagination.  See Deems Burton's Pika Stove page for several different chimney stoves based on the Cat Can Stove theme.



Mini Zen Chimney/Sideburner Stove


Chimney Stove made from two 5.5oz V-8 Cans

(25mm top hole, 6 1/4" vents centered 1/2" from top , 3/8" top pressed flush with 1.5" bottom)


Other aluminum versions of this theme can be made from drink cans by press fitting the bottom of one can into another (see above).  Vent holes can be made with a hole punch.  If you set up the the right number, position and size of holes, such as the one show above, you can set you pot directly on top of the stove without the need of a pot stand.  See Low Pressure Sideburner Stoves for other examples and the Templates Page for templates.


Chimney Stove made from a single 8.3oz Red Bull Can


If you use an unopened top for the base of your stove, you will have a greater fuel capacity than if you used a bottom of a can for the base of your stove. 


(25mm top hole, 6 1/4" vents centered 1/2" from top , 3/8" top pressed flush with 1.5" bottom)


To make a mini Low Pressure Sideburner as show above:

  1. Cut the can 3/8" from the bottom  and 1.5" from the top of an unopened mini aluminum can (Red Bull, 6oz V-8, etc).

  2. Use a template on the 1.5" section and punch the side vents out with a regular hole punch (6-8 holes should be sufficient).

  3. C-clamp a US quarter dollar (25mm diameter) or a comparably sized coin or washer centered on the 3/8" bottom.

  4. Use a sharp hobby knife (#15 blade) to scribe a line around the US quarter dollar.

  5. Carefully use a sharp pointed knife to start a cut and tear out the scored circle.  Clean with an SOS pad, sandpaper, round file, etc.

  6. Place the 3/8" bottom upside down on a firm surface (as shown above) and press the 1.5" section flush with it.

  7. Flip completed stove over.


Note - The unopened top can be substituted with a second bottom



Related Links:  myog-cone-brenner-gastautor-quasinitro - German page -  quasi-nitro's "Cone - Brenner" - dual walled Zen Chimney Stove



4 in 1 Cat Stove


Variation of J. Falk's 4 in 1 Cat Stove made from 3oz Cat Food Can


Here is another chimney stove that can also be used as a low pressure sideburner stove and doesn't need a pot stand..  See the Templates Page for templates.


Sterno Turbo


Sterno Turbo (Brasslite Turbo I knock-off)


The Sterno Turbo stove above is designed after the Brasslite Turbo I Backpacking Stove and is made for a 2 5/8oz Sterno can.




Mini Binder Clip Simmer Ring


Better simmering can be archived by altering the size of the top hole and side vents and/or by placing a separate Sterno lid with a smaller hole on the stove.  A simmer ring can also be made from a strip of aluminum flashing with tabs on its end folded over the two sides of a small binder clips.  This setup allows you to easily adjust the amount of air flow into the side vents without binding (less problematic).



Steel Chimney Stove


Steel Deviled Ham Can

(25mm top hole, 6 1/4" vents)


Want something bulletproof?  Short steel food cans such as Underwood Deviled Ham make nice versions of this setup and would be much more durable and more forgiving to power tools.   If you can't find the perfect sized can, you can always cut down and/or piece together cans to make an acceptably sized stove for your application.



Commercial Stoves


Common 4oz fondue stove design with rotating air regulator


There are a handful of commercially made chimney stoves on the market.  Brasslite stoves and the fondue stove shown above are the most common and backpacker friendly chimney stoves available.



Special Tools


Modified Paper Hole Punch with increased bite


Many of the simple designs require you to make 1/4" holes.  This can prove trick in cat food and similar cans, since a regular paper punch may not fit over the rim.  Most regular paper punches can be modified so that they open up wider as shown above.  Simply take a pair of needle nose pliers and wiggle the center limiting column until it and the paper guide fall out.


Unibit - ideal for making or enlarging holes in thin metal


Note - drilling smooth large (1/4"ish) holes can be a challenge, especially with aluminum cans.  This is important if you want the side of your stove to be burr free to allow for a tight fitting and movable simmer sleeve.  A Unibit (stepped bit) works very well at making or enlarging holes.  You can also fill your can with water and freeze it before drilling to give it a firm drilling surface.




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