One part of practising survival and preparedness skills is being resourceful and adapting every-day items into something for a completely different purpose.
Many of you may have seen various so-called ‘hobo stoves’: at the lower end, made from tin cans, all the way up to sturdy ammo box or steel wheel hub examples. However it is done, the idea is to produce a useful outdoor stove, suited to your needs and on a budget. If you’re not such a DIY enthusiast, there are of course a wealth of off-the-shelf options available for portable wood stoves.
Someone, somewhere walked into an Ikea store and spotted the ORDNING cutlery stand, spun and pressed in nothing less than stainless steel, and costing a mere £1.50 (as of 10/06/2016). Their cutlery stand was never to hold a single spoon; instead it was converted into a lightweight wood burning hobo stove. With a much longer life than a tin can (steel) thanks to the stainless steel body and pre-punched ventilation and support wire holes, it was perfect for the job. Since then, the same idea has been repeated many times. A Google search for ‘Ikea Stove’ will bring up many interesting ideas. We simply had to make one during the course of a few lunch breaks…
I started with the shorter 13.5cm ORDNING, I believe the taller 18cm one would prove too tall to be stable.
It seems there are endless ways of converting the ORDNING into a stove; some are very simple. We wanted to create a version that was capable of holding larger pots and pans and also stand well off the ground so as not to scorch it, as Polymath Products strongly believes in the ‘leave no trace’ ethic.
The structure of the ORDNING is strong, but like a car body if you make too may cuts into it, you will significantly weaken the structure. Taking this into mind we wanted to do as little cutting as possible, but the top of the ORDNING as standard wouldn’t allow flame to pass onto the pot very easily. Rising flame is like water; it will follow the easiest path, and so you need a fair gap between the rim of the stove and the pan.
I wanted to add 3 pieces that would act both as legs, to raise the stove from the floor, and as risers, to keep the pot an inch or so above the top of the stove. You could simply bend wire or metal bar and attach but this would leave you with a difficult to pack stove. By allowing the leg/riser pieces to fold away it will allow for a much more pack-friendly and quick-to-deploy stove with no bits to come off and get lost. To achieve this I cut three 7” long pieces of 8mm dia. 316 stainless steel pipe, to form the ‘hinge tubes’. I then attached those to the stove using large stainless steel jubilee clips, normally used for securing ventilation work. Done up tightly these would actually be okay to be left and used on the stove as is.
I wanted a neater looking job however, so I got the welder out…
Using an arc welder with some stainless steel electrodes and on as low a setting as possible (due to the thin metal) you can tack weld from the inside onto the pipes. My welding ability is limited to say the least, and given the thin material it won’t be the strongest weld but hey, it works and it is a ‘hobo stove’ after all!
The next step is to add the fold out feet and pot stand parts. These are simply three 15” lengths of 4mm stainless steel wire/bar. Each has a 90 degree bend performed in a vice with a hammer, 4 inches from one end.
These are then inserted into the 8mm tubes of the stove and another 90 degree bend is performed on the other end (making it into a ‘C’ shape). This permanently locks the wires into place and creates folding legs and pot stands; neat work here will ensure the stove is stable and level. These ‘C’ shapes can freely rotate and turn inwards for storage and turn outwards for creating a very stable stove.
All that is left to do is cut out a fuel feeding port. Using a rotary tool, with the pre-existing holes to reduce your workload, you can cut out a fuel feeding port to a size to suit your needs, but remember: the more you cut away the weaker the stove will be. Important: de-burr any cut metal edges with a file otherwise your fingers might leak.
All in all it only took a couple of relaxed hours to build. The finished stove is the best of both worlds; stable enough when deployed for a large frying pan, but still compact enough when folded down to fit into a rocket pouch on a Bergen.
We’d be very interested in seeing other ‘Ikea stoves’ that you may have made. After using the stove during some forest camping, we might make a few more.