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Help, please, with my alcohol stove
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Elizabeth Rothman
(erothman2) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Help, please, with my alcohol stove on 05/15/2008 19:38:16 MDT Print View

Hi all, I looked back a ways and couldn't find an applicable thread, forgive me if this is going over the same old trail again- I made a 1/2 penny stove from V-8 cans, as suggested on Mark Jurey's site, to use with my Heineken pot (with the paint on, but that's a different thread.) It takes my pot o'water to ALMOST boiling before it's out of fuel. This is in my temperate backyard with water from the hose. I tried sealing the seam btw top and bottom cans with JB weld but still, I can't get the mileage needed to bring the water to boil. Any suggestions? I'd rather make a stove than buy one, but don't want to make a career out of tinkering with it. Thanks for any ideas.

boba fett
(hiflyer) - F
modified heineken stove on 05/15/2008 21:52:53 MDT Print View

You could do a modified tri-pair setup out of the Heineken Cans...

Pics and videos here:

Elizabeth Rothman
(erothman2) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
help, please, with my alcohol stove on 05/15/2008 22:40:33 MDT Print View

OK, thanks Jared, maybe I wasn't clear in my request. I COULD start all over and make a different stove, sure, but this 1/2 penny stove should work. I made it according to measurements provided. I added a priming wick, have paired jet holes around the rim and 3 under the penny. I fill it to the brim with Heet, the yellow bottle- that's a bit short of one ounce. It lights fine, but burns out before it comes to a boil. I can't figure out why it's not performing as has been claimed. I'm asking for help trouble-shooting- others used a 1/2 penny stove have ideas? If I'm going to make a different stove, there's about a million great-looking designs out there. I like this design, though- maybe it just needs to be a bit taller to hold a full generous ounce rather than a bit shy of an ounce? Thanks for ideas about how to get this design to perform, or for reassurance that it doesn't, and it's not just me.:-)

Derek Goffin

Locale: North of England
penny stove on 05/16/2008 02:06:40 MDT Print View

Hi Elizabeth,
I hav'nt used a penny stove but anyone who tries to answer your question would probably need to know how much water you are trying to boil.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Help, please, with my alcohol stove on 05/16/2008 05:42:11 MDT Print View

Hi Elizabeth,
As derek notes, we need to know how much water you are trying to boil.

General tips to try:

Reduce the number of jet holes. (aluminium duct tape is great for experimenting with this.

Use a wider bottomed pan: Always more efficient but heavier. I have a 5" diameter titanium pan which weighs two ounces.

Experiment with the size of the gap between pan and stove: critical to max efficiency.

I achieve a boiling full US pint with 1/2oz of fuel with my kettle design, so it can be done!clever kettle

john flanagan
(jackfl) - F

Locale: New England
penny stove for heiny pot on 05/16/2008 08:49:25 MDT Print View

Elizabeth - I've had similar frustrations with the ha'penney stove and eventually ditched it. However, I always want to boil 24 oz, not the 16 that most stoves are designed around. Before ditching your stove, I'd try two things. First burning a mix of half & half SLX alc. and 90% isopropyl acl (rubbing alc). This mix is a bit more BTU dense. Second, fill the stove to the rim (literally) so that at first it's burning an open pool of alc. This just extends the stoves burn time. Maybe you've already tried that?

Frankly I've about abandoned heiny pot because I haven't found a stove that works especially well with it. So far, the best (most consistent boil of 24 oz) I've found is the Mini Zen Chimney/Sideburner Stove found here:

A full sised penny stove with the jets pointed inward works GREAT but can't be carried inside the "pot"

Alcy stoves take patience, persistence, tenacity in pursuit, and a certain joy in tinkering. Without those attributes, I think they're an exercise in frustration.

Edited by jackfl on 05/16/2008 08:55:48 MDT.

Elizabeth Rothman
(erothman2) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
How much water? And thanks. on 05/16/2008 09:03:00 MDT Print View

Sorry about not saying, I was trying to boil a pretty full heineken pot, so probably 20 oz. I was figuring real world I'd want about a pint for food and the rest for a cup of tea. I appreciate the insights. I'm bound and determined to give the h pot a try, so with renewed energy for tinkering I will carry on. Of course I started out with a lot of zeal and my tinkerer's hat on, but allowed myself to get deflated by three or four rounds of failure. Back to it!

Kyle Purcell
(dufus934) - F

Locale: North Texas
Some other thoughts on 05/16/2008 10:25:17 MDT Print View

The first thing I would suggest (and forgive me for stating the obvious), but are you using a windscreen. This helps to avoid heat loss. If you are doing that, maybe you should do a little tinkering. I'd start with the fuel. I like denatured alcohol, and you can add various other alcohols (iso is a good one if its 90%). Just a couple of ideas, hope they help!

Elizabeth Rothman
(erothman2) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
the obvious on 05/16/2008 10:54:17 MDT Print View

No problem, stating the obvious is part of trouble-shooting. I am using a wind screen- the obvious that I was (duh) overlooking was that success stories generally are related to a pint of water and my efforts were with a pint and a half (mas o menos) of water. Duh. I'll reduce the volume, play with fuels, then move on to another stove design... and then, if that fails, I'll buy a stove from a superior tinkerer. Maybe I can barter some basil and a zucchini....

Kyle Purcell
(dufus934) - F

Locale: North Texas
Re: the obvious on 05/16/2008 11:02:31 MDT Print View

Mixing tinkering/mixing alcohols might be a good place to start. There is a good thread here that you might be able to get some ideas from.

Edited by dufus934 on 05/16/2008 11:17:32 MDT.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
Help, please, with my alcohol stove on 05/16/2008 12:03:10 MDT Print View

I use a Whitebox stove with my Hineie pot and it works great

Elizabeth Rothman
(erothman2) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
White box 'works great' on 05/16/2008 12:09:33 MDT Print View

Can you be more specific? Volume of water boiled with how much fuel used in how long a time? Just curious.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
Help, please, with my alcohol stove on 05/16/2008 17:11:18 MDT Print View

I'm afraid I'm not as scientific as many ..... I boiled about 20 oz of water with around an ounce of alcohol ... took about 7 or 8 minutes. I like it and remember ... I'm used to a jet boil, so I'm tough to please.

Elizabeth Rothman
(erothman2) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Exactitidinousness on 05/16/2008 18:10:24 MDT Print View

scientific enough for me, thanks.

Mark Hurd
(markhurd) - M

Locale: South Texas
Re: Help, please, with my alcohol stove on 05/16/2008 20:59:20 MDT Print View


I love the penny type stoves. They work great and are fairly fool proof even for me. The height of the pot above the stove is critical and with a little experimenting you can find the sweet spot for your stove/pot combo.

I'm a big fan of mixing 91% Isopropyl with ethanol or methanol in about 50:50 mix. or use a little less of the isopropyl if you're getting too much soot.

Happy Trails,


(P.S. - Just for fun you should try a CFV stove - worlds easiest to make and one of the most efficient alcohol stoves around. All you need are scissors, paper towels and a disposable pie pan. Search Forums for "CFV" for the thread.)

Edited by markhurd on 05/16/2008 21:00:28 MDT.

Tohru Ohnuki
(erdferkel) - F

Locale: S. California
Priming with 1/2 penny stove on 05/16/2008 21:30:50 MDT Print View

I've built both the original and 1/2 penny stove versions and i think the 1/2 penny could be improved. The original penny stove primes well because the jets point outward toward the cup so that some of the flame's heat can be conducted to the alcohol making it vaporize. In the 1/2 penny design, the jets point inwards and the flames don't hit the rim to heat the alcohol. So after trying a few designs, a good solution that primes every time is to drill 6 holes, 3 in the original position pointing inwards and 3 pointing straight up. The new holes should be drilled at the top of the 'dimple' that forms the base of the can. It's easier if you do it from the inside of the burner before assembly. With this design, i can get a 2 cup snowpeak to boil in about 5-6 minutes.

Dave Weston

Locale: NW
Lid on 08/26/2008 16:20:04 MDT Print View

Make sure you have a lid or foil on you pot.

Gregg Russo
(GreggRusso) - F
Aluminum beer cans for cooking? That doesn't worry anyone? on 03/18/2011 14:26:31 MDT Print View

I've used stainless steel with exterior copper coating for years now when car camping and a titanium 0.8 liter for thru hiking PCT in 2003. But using an aluminum beer can to cook food? I also avoid using any of those pots that have a non stick coating which inevitably delaminates to some extent. Though I do occasionaly use a small Calphalon wok when car camping and rock climbing but that's impregnated not coated. Perhaps I'm not keeping up...? and the whole aluminum cookware thing has been debunked? I've always assumed that thru hiker naturalist types would be very keen regarding Weight is'nt so important that we lose sight of long term health consequences, if any, right?

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Aluminum Cookware on 03/18/2011 17:57:28 MDT Print View

Yes, the whole aluminum cookware thing has been debunked. No association with Alzheimer's was ever established.


Andrew Applegate
(andrewpdx) - F
Re: Aluminum cookware on 03/20/2011 22:41:15 MDT Print View

Also, many aluminum cans are lined with BPA - not good stuff.