Supplies and Tools Needed for Alcohol Stove Construction



Supplies and Tools Needed for Alcohol Stove Construction


Supplies and Tools

Basic Materials


Hole Making

Epoxies and Sealants

Stove Dress Up


Inner Wall Only

Pot Stand Only

Wick Making

Special Tools


Basic Materials Needed for Alcohol Stove Construction



Most alcohol stove designs use an aluminum or steel can for the body of the stove.  Most DIY alcohol stoves use aluminum drink cans (6oz V-8, 8oz/12oz drink, larger beer cans, etc.) since they are light, easy to find, don't rust and heat up rather quickly.  In lieu of drink cans, various stove designs may be made from aluminum food cans, Sterno cans, air freshener cans, shoe polish cans, candy tins, steel cans.  If you decide to use a different can size than a particular stove is designed for, you may need to modify some of the measurements for it to perform optimally. 



Note - not all cans are made the same.  There are differences between different can manufactures and even cans from the same manufacture can have varying dimensions.


Common US made aluminum drink cans (8oz squat, 12oz regular, 6oz mini and 8.8oz energy) have extremely thin sidewalls, which allows them to heat up quickly but are less durable than other cans.  Cans with ticker sidewalls are more durable and take longer to heat up.  Non US made aluminum drink cans and larger drink cans have slightly thicker sidewalls than common US made aluminum drink cans.  Aluminum food cans (such as cat food cans) are much thicker than aluminum drink cans. 


Steel cans are much more durable than aluminum cans but are also heavier, rust and take much longer and need more fuel to heat up than aluminum.


Smaller cans are easier to pressurize and generally take less time and fuel to heat up.




If you are using a hole saw to cut out the center depression of a can, you may want to use a Ball Company can (e.g. - Pepsi) as the center depression on the bottom of these cans generally have a larger diameter and are better suited for a 1 3/4 inch hole saw than say a Coca-Cola can.



Most stove designs need two or three cans for construction.  Generally the bottoms of cans are used for the top and bottom of alcohol stoves, but you can also use the top of a can for many designs.


If you need to fit two identical or similarly sized cans over each other, you will have to modify them to fit together.  Several techniques are described on the Assembly Page.


If you need to fit two cans over each other, you can use cans with slightly different diameters and careful slip one over the other. See the Assembly Page fro more information.


Smaller Diameter



Slightly Larger Diameter


The 14.9 oz Guinness and 12oz Pepsi can combination is a popular and well known one but there are many more out there.  See below.




12oz aluminum drink can (tight fit)


Lipton’s Ice Tea

Mountain Dew

Mug Root Beer


Sierra Mist



14.9 oz Guinness (Original, Draught, Draught Bitter)

Young's Double Chocolate

John Smiths (Extra Smooth, Original Bitter and Smooth Bitter)

Boddington's (Pub Ale and Draught Beer)

Beamish Irish Stout

Caffrey’s Irish Ale

Murphy’s (Stout, Irish Stout and Draught Stout)

Stone Bitter

Tetley Draught Bitter

Worthingtons Draught Bitter

Newcastle Brown Ale

8.3oz Red Bull

5.5oz V8

2 5/8oz Sterno (loose fit)

4oz Del Monte Can Fruit (Steel-tight fit)

3oz Cat food

Hormel Spam Spread


7oz cat food

chip dip

24oz Heineken

25.4oz Fosters

5.5oz V8 (tight fit)

8.3oz Red Bull (easy fit)

6oz Tomato Paste (unridged tin can such as Hunts) (Steel)

4.5oz Toast Toppers (Steel)


12oz Drink

10 3/4oz Soup (Steel)

4oz Mushrooms (Steel)


15 1/4oz Soup (Steel)

11oz Mandarin Oranges (Steel)

24oz Beer

Arizona Drink

12oz drink

18oz Elements Energy Drink (very thick)

3oz Steel can with ridged bottom

Underwood Deviled Ham

Bumblebee tuna

103/4oz Soup can (Steel)

3oz Tuna can with rounded bottom

12oz Pepsi One

12oz Dr. Pepper



Aluminum Flashing


Some stoves and stove accessories can be made from sheet metal such as disposable pie pans or aluminum flashing.


Order of Increasing Thickness

Aluminum Foil

Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil

Sidewall of US 12oz aluminum can

Sidewall of non US aluminum cans

Disposable Pie Pans or Oven Liners

Aluminum Flashing




Primer pans can be made from various materials such as: 

A bean dip can or comparably sized aluminum cat food can

Heavy duty aluminum foil or disposable bake pan for making a lighter weight base.

Tuna can, chicken can or other can will make a heavier base if that's what you have or can find.




Please feel free to link to this site so that others can find it.  It's easy to link to this site - simply copy the text below onto your web page or see How to Link To Zen Stoves for other linking options.



Zen Backpacking Stoves






Copyright © 2000-2014