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alcohol stove or bomb?
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David Sandford
(dropkick) - F
alcohol stove or bomb? on 12/05/2005 06:03:14 MST Print View

I'm planning to build a pressurized side vent stove out of a sterno can.
My (current) plan calls for it to be double walled, have a thumb screw closure for the fuel, and a priming tray.
What I'm worrying about now is how big to make the flame jet holes.
Too small and I possibly could build up dangerous pressure. Too big and flame pattern and fuel use could be upset.
Maybe I'm worrying about nothing, but I would appreciate some advice.

-just occured to me - With the thumb screw the double wall may not be necessary. Larger area for pressure build up but still fairly small. ???

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: alcohol stove or bomb? on 12/05/2005 08:29:19 MST Print View


1. Conduct all tests outdoors. Pressurized stoves might not explode, but things can go wrong. Tape or glue can fail causing parts to separate and spew flaming fuel surprising distances.

2. The plan for what you term 'double wall' escapes me. Do you mean a Trangia type with a central well? Seems unlikely if you are planning to use a priming tray and filler hole. Or are you describing a variation of the low pressure side burner stove which usually has an open top that is sealed by placing the pot directly on the stove which is also the pot support. It sounds as if you plan to have a closed top and a filler hole. If that is the case, you may have a problem:

If the flame jet holes are too large in a sealed stove (using a screw-closed filler hole), the flames can ignite fuel and residual oxygen INSIDE the unit. It might not explode, but it can definitely cause more excitement than you want. Therefore, more small holes are better than fewer large ones on sealed pressurized stoves. Check ZEN stove site for hole sizing for pressurized stoves such as the Photon and the Penney.

3. Do you plan to use the large Sterno can or the small one? Pressurized side burner stoves tend to push their flames out pretty far. If you use the large Sterno can, the heat may largely miss the pot. Furthermore, the large can has a greater potential for uncontrolled and unexpected excitement because its larger volume in relation to the amount of fuel means more oxygen inside the stove to be ignited if a jet wears too large or if you have a leak somewhere. Again, don't light these puppies inside the house.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Re: alcohol stove or bomb? on 12/05/2005 15:15:09 MST Print View

I can't see any reason to make it double-walled, unless you need to hold a heavy pot. Look at the Penney stove (suggested by Vick) and also consider the Cobra stove, which could be modified to be a side-burner if you like.

Red Bull cans make good pressurized stoves because you don't need the extra diameter for the double-wall construction. I get the same performance from my Red Bull Cobra as a Pepsi Cobra (for less weight, of course).