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Pot Lifter - MYOG
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Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Pot Lifter - MYOG on 02/27/2006 11:08:51 MST Print View

I have several pot lifters and a couple are very light. I was in one of my local outfitters last week to buy a Brunton Optimus NOVA liquid fuel stove.

I looked at an MSR Titanium Cook Pot set that had a nice looking pot lifter as part of the set. I asked about the pot lifter and was told MSR sells them seperate for $12.95. It weighs 1oz.

I have a bunch of small pieces of aluminum and titanium left over from other projects and decided I would try and make a new pot lifter. I made several paper card stock models and played with them until I came up with a design that I thought might work.

I made the first version out of some thin aluminum. I made a few changes and this one works well. It will lift a mostly full 1.5 L pot of water OK. The aluminum version weighs 13.3 grams or 0.47oz.

My plan is to make a titanium version and expect it will weigh about half the aluminum version or about 0.25oz to 0.30oz.

Edited by bfornshell on 04/04/2013 20:08:01 MDT.

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Again, Nicely done... on 02/27/2006 11:25:29 MST Print View

Bill, did you just 'roll' the outer handle around a pen or something?

MSR LiteLifter (for reference)

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Pot Lifter - MYOG on 02/27/2006 11:31:13 MST Print View

Bill, Nice design.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Pot Lifter - MYOG on 02/27/2006 15:06:57 MST Print View

Joshua asked:

Q - 1. Bill, did you just 'roll' the outer handle around a pen or something?

A - 1. I used a screw driver clamped to my work bench. Sorry it happened so fast I didn't take a picture. This is what it looks like:

Edited by bfornshell on 03/30/2013 12:06:13 MDT.

Jason Klass
(jasonklass) - F

Locale: Parker, CO
Yea! on 02/27/2006 21:08:17 MST Print View

Really good idea! Keep us posted about developments!

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Screwdriver on 02/28/2006 07:34:45 MST Print View

Nice, I knew you had to have used a 'form' of some sort as I doubt even you could get a round that good 'freehand'.

This is going in my bookmarks for when I get time after baby is born.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Pot Lifter - MYOG on 03/04/2006 15:39:42 MST Print View

Joshua, You might want to save this thread to a PDF file. It might disappear without warning. I seemed to have overstepped "the Chaff" boundary and so anything with my name on it might be fair game for the big deleter in the sky.

Missing thread on 03/05/2006 10:04:25 MST Print View

Bill - it was the whole thread that went missing, not just your post. I don't think it was you specifically that caused this so much as the degeneration of the entire thread. You caught a fair amount of flack, and things got a bit personal.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Pot Lifter - MYOG on 04/08/2010 23:29:54 MDT Print View

PM with a Pot Lifter Question on - April 8, 2010

Q -What thickness of aluminum did you use to make it? And what type of fastener did you use on the finished product? Is it something I, someone without a machine shop but with a carpenter father, would be able to reproduce?

A - Hi,

When I was trying to get my gear list below the "SUL" 5 pound level I looked at every item that was on (back then) my gear list. My first goal was to try and reduce each items weight by at least 50%.

When I got to my Pot Lifter I looked at what I had been using and looked at the new MSR Pot Lifter. I liked the design of the MSR item and decided to make a copy but out of lighter material.

The aluminum I used was 1/32 of and inch thick. After playing with my pattern mockup I cut the aluminum using a pair of tin snips. Then I did the final shaping with a file. I drilled the holes and made a "rivet" out of some aluminum round rod material. I buy this at a local hobby shop. The round rod was about 5/32 inch. I cut a short piece and put one end into the three pieces that make up the handles of the pot lifter. I put the pot handle on its side and laying on that large flat chisel you see me using to bend the aluminum. I hit the end of the aluminum a few times until I made a cap of sorts on one end. Then I trimmed most of the other end of the aluminum rod and did the same to that end. I now had a small cap on each end of the aluminum rod - making a rivet to hold it all together. Don't make it so tight you can't work the handle.

I practiced making the rivet a few times before I did it on the Pot Lifter.

Most of the tools I use are simple hand tools.

When I first made this Pot Lifter I planned on making another one but using some thin Titanium. The aluminum was light enough and work fine. I never made the Titanium version.

John Addleman
(Jaddleman) - F

Locale: Boulder
Cool! on 04/09/2010 10:34:31 MDT Print View

Thanks for bumping this.

Dan Yeruski
(zelph) - MLife

Re: Pot Lifter - MYOG on 07/21/2011 12:54:27 MDT Print View

Nice design.

Are you able to lift a pot and turn sideways to pour water out into a freezer bag or is it limited to lifting only?

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Re: Re: Pot Lifter - MYOG on 07/21/2011 18:43:59 MDT Print View

Hi Dan,

I haven't seen this thread in about a year.

Your answer is YES, no problem. I just ran a couple of tests. This is a rather large pot and one I would use to melt snow and dry bake in. It is 6 -1/2" across and 3 " deep. I put 4 cups of water in the pot and poured it like your question asks. No problem at all. The 4 cups fills the pot about 2/3. I then filled the pot to the top [6 cups and 1569.8 grams or 3.46 pounds of weight] and poured. I still have great control and no sliding of the pot lifter.

This pot has a nice lip on it so it is easy to get a good grip.

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F

Locale: Armpit of California
Pot lifter on 07/21/2011 21:09:05 MDT Print View

Are these for sale?

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Re: Pot lifter on 07/22/2011 11:25:16 MDT Print View

No, I don't sell the things I make. I do encourage others to make their own gear.

Henk Smees
(theflyingdutchman) - MLife

Locale: Spanish Mountains
Ti foil on 07/22/2011 13:17:06 MDT Print View

Hi Bill,

Thanks for encouraging others to make their own gear. You taught me a lot over the last couple of years.

Just came across this post and, since I have some Ti-foil scrap laying around which is 0.003" thick (bought it from Steve at Suluk46), I'm thinking of replacing my pot lifter (weight: 31gr. - just over an ounce). Do you think this Ti-foil will be sturdy enough? I would use same with one of the BPL Firelite SUL Titanium Cookpots I have (1350 for groups, 550 when solo). As you might know, these pots don't have a large rim, so it might be a bit trickier to have it working well.

Many thanks in advance.

Henk - The Flying Dutchman

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Pot Lifter - MYOG on 03/28/2013 12:55:08 MDT Print View

Bill, what were the dimensions of this pot holder?

Edited by lindahlb on 03/28/2013 13:14:02 MDT.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Re: Re: Pot Lifter - MYOG on 03/30/2013 12:16:19 MDT Print View

Hi Brian,

Does this give you what you are looking for?

 photo PotLifter006_zpscd6d06a5.jpg

Edited by bfornshell on 03/30/2013 12:29:27 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Pot lifter on 03/30/2013 12:40:10 MDT Print View

I ignored this before because I don't need a pot lifter, but

I like the progression from 1st to 2nd version - simpler, I can see your thinking evolving

"No, I don't sell the things I make. I do encourage others to make their own gear."

Yeah - selling things is such a pain, obnoxious customers that are never happy, it's hard to make a profitable business with overhead and everything, I really respect all the people here that make and sell things. Making many copies of the same thing gets boring.

It's interesting how the commercial version weighs twice as much or more and has extra features that are un-necesary. They don't care too much about weight. They like "features" the marketing people can spin. They don't appreciate simplicity. That's why you have to make it yourself. Plus, you get to experience the creativity of designing and making something.

It's interesting you posted this in 2006, and you're still here, 7 years later.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Re: Re: Re: Pot lifter on 03/30/2013 13:47:10 MDT Print View

Hi Jerry,

I have been a member here since 24 August 2003, that makes it almost 10 years.

I might be the oldest continues member if you don't count some guy named Ryan Jordan or other "staff" members.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Pot Lifter - MYOG on 04/01/2013 09:25:16 MDT Print View

That's perfect. Thanks!

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
Love the design on 04/02/2013 10:02:50 MDT Print View

I've been using a DIY silicone thumb and two finger protector as a pot pincher/grabber, but now I'm inspired to see how light I can make something like your model. Should have some ti around here somewhere . . .

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Love the design also on 04/02/2013 10:13:40 MDT Print View

Rob, I think the thickness of your stove wall titanium would be perfect for this. The planet needs this light weight pot grabber! At least I do...

Henk Smees
(theflyingdutchman) - MLife

Locale: Spanish Mountains
Design and craftsmanship is perfect on 04/02/2013 10:45:47 MDT Print View

The first time I read this article (quite a few years ago), the design draw my attention and decided I wanted to imitate same (you all know the old saying about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery) but I never got around of doing so. When I saw it again (yesterday), I decided to start straight away. And...... yes, I’ve already made the first drawing (to be able to calculate the weight and find out whether it would be worthwhile):
Tenazas 2
I’m planning to make it out of stainless steel (thickness: 0,75mm) and it should be much smaller than Bill’s design (small enough to be stored inside my BPL 550SUL Firelite Cookpot); according to the first calculations, it shouldn’t weigh more than 15 or 16 gr (less than 5/8oz).
I’m hoping to make enough holes in the grips, like in the next drawing, to get it under 14gr (1/2oz).
Tenazas 4
Once I’ve made the pot lifter, I’ll post some pictures here.

David Hunter
titanium pot lifter on 04/04/2013 17:30:13 MDT Print View

I own a Vargo pot lifter, but it is too long and WIDE. If someone can make me one like these drawings, I want to buy one. Someone give me a reason to spend a few dollars!

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Pot Lifter - MYOG on 04/04/2013 20:30:58 MDT Print View


You have come up with a nice "machine age" design.

But I like the sleek, aerodynamic "Rhosgobel Rabbit" speed and magic design of my Pot Lifter.

If you aren't sure what a Rhosgobel Rabbit is check out this link.

Rhosgobel Rabbit

Edited by bfornshell on 04/04/2013 20:40:50 MDT.

Henk Smees
(theflyingdutchman) - MLife

Locale: Spanish Mountains
New "machine age" design :) on 04/05/2013 08:23:28 MDT Print View

Hi Bill,
Although I’d never, ever, heard about the Rhosgobel Rabbit :(, I absolutely LOVE your design. I honestly think it’s beautiful but...... it’s far too large and I want it to be sturdy and light at the same time; that’s the reason (1) I want to make it from Stainless Steel -don't have thick enough titanium- and (2) I had to make my own drawings (design). When I started the first drawings, I got carried away and already made 5. The last one, which at the moment is the lightest (in theory - probably less than 10gr = 0.35oz.), is this:
Tenazas 5
PS - I did read the link you added and the first thing that draw my attention was the “Schipperke”; it’s a very long time ago I saw this breed, native from Holland/Belgium (well, in reality, it’s Vlaanderen - the Flemish region of both countries) for the last time. I left my country 30 years ago and have not been back often.

I don’t think anyone can make a custom-made pot lifter (or anything else) without having the pot as well. At least if you want it to be of “perfect fit”, which is what I would demand.
As I wrote before, once I’ve made my version I’ll post some pictures. If you really like it, you might want to send me an email and I’ll see what I can do for you.

David Hunter
pot lifter on 04/05/2013 08:30:08 MDT Print View

I realize it wouldn't be a perfect fit. I'm using a Foster's can over a windscreen enclosed fire, and I need a way to get the can off of the fire without burning my fingers. The Vargo lifter works well, but it is over an inch wide.

David Hunter
Vargo pot lifter on 04/05/2013 08:33:01 MDT Print View

The cargo pot lifter-

Henk Smees
(theflyingdutchman) - MLife

Locale: Spanish Mountains
One of my first iterations on 04/05/2013 09:27:39 MDT Print View

Now I understand why you want to have a new pot lifter :) - apart from the Vargo being an inch wide, it’s heavy as well (0.8oz). Made out of Titanium??? Must be really BIG. Mine would be much smaller; as I said before, I want it to fit inside my BPL 550SUL Firelite Cookpot - therefore it can’t be longer than ≈ 8cms (just over 3”).

This was one of my first iterations; would that appeal more to you???? :) :)
Tenazas 2
The problem is the weight; the total superficial area would be about 2400mm2, which would mean over 11gr where the last version would be about 2050mm2: "only" 9,5gr :). The holes inside "save" about 0,7gr which isn't much, so I don't know whether it's worthwhile.

Edited by theflyingdutchman on 04/05/2013 09:34:56 MDT.

David Hunter
pot lifter on 04/05/2013 09:34:01 MDT Print View

Looks Good!! How heavy?

Henk Smees
(theflyingdutchman) - MLife

Locale: Spanish Mountains
Weights on 04/05/2013 12:39:23 MDT Print View

At the same time (09:34) you posted the question about the weight, I edited my previous post and added these. The only thing that’s not taken into consideration is the 0,?? gram for the “rivet”. Once I’ve finished mine, I’ll have exact figures, but I wouldn’t like to keep using Bill’s post for “private” conversations. BTW- I will post the pictures ,as promised, once mine is finished.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: pot lifter on 04/05/2013 12:51:01 MDT Print View

"I'm using a Foster's can over a windscreen enclosed fire, and I need a way to get the can off of the fire without burning my fingers."

Stainless steel wire bail, about 6-8 inches long.

Newton suggests titanium fishing wire.


Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Re: Re: pot lifter on 04/05/2013 15:16:47 MDT Print View

Hi Henk and others,

I don't mind you posting about your Pot Lifter on this thread. I think this is a good place for it.

When I made that Pot Lifter it was for the big red Trangia Pot that is shown in the first group of pictures at the beginning of the thread. The Pot is somewhere between 1.5 and 1.75 liters. It is used as my snow melting Pot and gets heavy at times.

The Pot Lifter might be large for a smaller Pot but still only weighs 13.3 grams or 0.47 ounces. I have some 0.016" titanium that might make a Pot Lifter like this one weigh about half that of the aluminum one.

The nice thing about being able to "Make Your Own Gear" is making things to "just" the size necessary for what it is used for. Lager Pot Lifter for a larger Pot or a smaller Pot Lifter for a smaller Pot. I have a bunch of different size Pot Lifters.

Henk, I like your newest design but I also liked your first one. When I was playing with my paper patterns I noticed a resemblance to a rabbit profile. I liked that so much I just never changed it.

It makes me smile every time I look at it.

Henk Smees
(theflyingdutchman) - MLife

Locale: Spanish Mountains
Latest version on 04/05/2013 15:41:20 MDT Print View

Hi Bill,

Tenazas 6a

This is my latest design; I think it’s going to stay like this. Having said so, once I leave theory and start with practice, I never know what I end up with :(
After some minor “shavings” and “drilling” the holes in the previous design, the superficial area becomes 2117mm2 so the theoretical weight would be 9,84gr. Adding the “rivet” makes it around 10 gram (0.35oz).

Edited by theflyingdutchman on 04/12/2013 03:47:26 MDT.

Henk Smees
(theflyingdutchman) - MLife

Locale: Spanish Mountains
@ David - PM on 04/10/2013 05:29:17 MDT Print View

Hi David,

I tried to send you a message but I can’t because you haven’t enabled an email address. Please send me a PM - you can find the address in my profile.

Best regards,

Henk (TFD)

Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 04/10/2013 20:47:20 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/10/2013 09:24:11 MDT.

Henk Smees
(theflyingdutchman) - MLife

Locale: Spanish Mountains
The TFD Pot Lifter on 05/15/2013 13:47:55 MDT Print View

With Bill's permission, here's my version of his design:
My TFD pot grip

Another picture with the length (it's really small):
TFD Grip dimensions

The pot grip "in action":
TFD Pot Grip in action

The TFD pot lifter together with the rest of my "kitchen system" (for reference - the spork is a Lite My Fire Little):
TFD Pot Lifter with the rest of my kitchen system

As I said, it's really small and that makes it very light as well: 7,9gr (0.12oz) (Edit: WRONG - as I explain in the next post, 7.9gr = 0.28oz NOT 0.12oz). It does a good job at lifting my small pot (BPL SUL 550 Ti) with half a liter of water, but a larger pot with more water would be a different matter.

Hope you like it.

Edited by theflyingdutchman on 05/16/2013 01:31:21 MDT.

David Hunter
The flyingdutchman pot lifter - super light! on 05/15/2013 14:23:13 MDT Print View

That looks outstanding! When can I buy one?

Henk Smees
(theflyingdutchman) - MLife

Locale: Spanish Mountains
Confusion on 05/15/2013 16:35:34 MDT Print View

I made a mistake with the weights I mentioned earlier in my post. Being Dutch, although living in Spain, I think in grams and when I converted these in ounces I trusted my memory - bad thing when one gets old :(. The weight of my TFD Pot Lifter is indeed 7,9 grams, but that is NOT 0.12oz. It's 0.28oz.

The reason I made this mistake was because I'd calculated how much a titanium version of my prototype with a thickness of 0.4mm (0,0157") would be.

A) The weight of my lifter -without the rivet- is 7.9-0.1=7.8gr and the weight of the material I used being 37.7201gr/100cm2, makes the superficial area of the lifter: 7.8/37.7201=20.678cm2.

B) The specific weight of titanium is 4,507 kg/m3 (= 4.507 g/cm3), thus...... a titanium version (at a thickness of 0,4mm) would have a volume of 20.678x0.04=0.827cm3, which would give me a weight of 4.507x0.827= 3.7278grams. Adding the rivet back makes a total of ≈3.83gr and that works out to be the ≈0.12oz I mentioned earlier.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Re: The TFD Pot Lifter on 05/15/2013 18:12:37 MDT Print View


You did a great job on your Pot Lifter.

This demonstrates how being able to make some of your own gear helps lower your pack weight and now you have a tool made for the job it is being used for.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: The TFD Pot Lifter on 05/15/2013 20:09:26 MDT Print View

Yeah, I agree with Bill - you have something YOU made that works great for YOU!

Feels good to do that.

I have to give it a go.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Newton suggests titanium fishing wire. on 05/15/2013 22:38:46 MDT Print View


"Newton suggests titanium fishing wire."

I used stainless steel leader wire...

Bail wire

...for my bail.

Bail on Fosters 2 cup flat bottom cook pot

I sourced the wire from Academy's fishing "department".


I'm partial to rabbits and I really like the look of yours. ;-)

Excellent workmanship!

Party On,


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Newton suggests titanium fishing wire. on 05/16/2013 16:36:52 MDT Print View

I doubt that Ti is available as a 'fishing wire'. Try Ti welding wire instead - that is available. Also SS welding wire is very available. (Yes, I use both.)

Pot lifters: remember that Al is about 1/2 the density of Ti. This means you can use Al sheet twice as thick as the Ti for the same weight. What is not expected is that it may well prove stiffer (more stiff) than the thinner Ti. This is because the thickness of the metal turns out to be extremely significant.