This afternoon I built my first woodgas backpacking stove. I must say, it works pretty damn well. I gave it a test run in the woods behind The Cloisters here in upper Manhattan. It boiled water in less than 5 minutes and I only used a handful of tinder. The environmental impact from this type of stove is virtually nonexistent and its a great piece of gear for the minimalist backpacker. It's great to be able to carry a small, light stove like this and not have to worry about bringing fuel canisters for it. All you need are dry sticks and you're all set. I made the stove using a small soup can and a piece of scrap stainless steel I pulled from a dumpster at work. I'd like to thank a few bloggers out there for motivating me to make my own woodgas stove: Heber in particular for his detailed construction notes. “Stick” for his videos of his version of the woodgas stove (by the way, check out Stick's Blog, it's an incredible resource for backpacking gear, tips and information) Lastly, I want to thank Ray Garlington who designed the stove. A quick video and pictures of the construction are below. The video is geeky, I know, but it was actually fun to make. The next time you see me using this stove I will be deep in the Catskills.
Above: I love/hate how noisy the Henry Hudson Parkway is in this video.
Above: This is the top of the stove. Note the four vents near to top of the stove. These, work in conjunction with the vents at the bottom of the stove to facilitate what is called an "inverted downdraft gasifier". In short, this enables the fire to burn from the top, down to the bottom of the fuel source (tinder).
Above: This is the bottom of the stove. The screen keeps the tinder off the ground and allows air in through the vents which double as a support for the screen.
Above: I used a coffee can to make a wind screen. This prevents the fire from being blown out when it's windy (it was windy today!) and also works as a chamber for preheating the air around the stove, further aiding combustion. The coffee can is an ideal height for use as a pot support as well.