Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Let's Make A Buddy Burner

Buddy burner, hobo stove, pocket heater, giant candle, these things are known by all kinds of names.  They are easy to make and they are quite effective at providing light, heat, and a cheerful atmosphere around your camp.  I don't know if you can use them at campgrounds where there are no open flames allowed, but they're very useful for warming up a can of beans or boiling a pan of water without having to build a fire.  Here's how you make one.

Procure a can.  A fairly short can will work the best, we used a can of crushed pineapple.

Step two.  Empty your can.  I hope that this is pretty self explanatory.

Step three.  Cut some cardboard strips that are pretty much the same height as your can.  We used the lid of a cardboard box to cut our strips from and we needed three strips.

Here you can see our can, the two strips that have already been cut and rolled up inside the can, and the third strip that is in the process of being rolled up and will be inserted directly into the middle of the can.  When we finished, it was a fairly tight fit.

Step four.  Roll your cardboard strips up tightly and place them in the can.  If you still have room in the can, cut some more strips or partial strips and cram them in wherever possible.

See?  I told you it was a pretty tight fit.

Step five.  Melt wax.  We used a heat gun and a small aluminum foil pan.  And wax.

Step six.  Pour wax into can, all the way to the top.  It will soak into the cardboard, surround the cardboard and then you have basically a giant candle.

Your wax will shrink some as it cools down.  You may have to add some more.

Step seven.  Wait.  Then wait some more.  The idea is to wait until all of the wax has solidified and the outside of the can has cooled down.

Step eight.  Since you're probably the impatient type and you have picked up the can while the wax is still hot and the outside of the can is still hot, you probably dropped it and made a gigantic mess all over the floor.  The rest of step eight will consist of doing your best to clean up your mess before your mother or your wife gets home and sees it.  I thought I told you to wait.

Step nine.  If you're still alive after your mother or your wife has seen the mess you created, then this would be the perfect time to show her the masterpiece you created so that she can reform her opinion of you.  Light up your creation and stand back and watch as a look of amazement and astonishment crosses her face.  You may have to hold it up kind of sideways to light it and keep holding it that way until it gets going good.
Here it is in action, outside, on a fairly windy day.

Step ten. Cook something. Get a couple of rocks and put on each side of your can, put some type of rack over it, or figure out some other way to hold a pan just a little bit higher than your buddy burner.  If you set a pan down onto it, then it will simply smother the flames.  Insert your ingredients into your pan, warm them up, and you're good to go.  Warm up some beans, boil some water to make coffee or ramen noodles or cook up some crystal meth or whatever.  When you're done you can either blow it out or you could step across the top of it and smother the flames.

One of my nephews made one with the pineapple can.  My smaller nephew wanted one also, so he cut off the bottom of a Dr. Pepper can and used it.  It boiled a cup of water in about 4 minutes.

I have no idea how long one of these will burn.  If you know the answer, then please let me know.

This is an easy, 10 minute job that anyone should be able to do.  Even you.



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