Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Simplest Type of "Stove".

Today in the News:  I've got gear!  Almost everything that I ordered with the bushcraft budget that Mrs. Hotel gave me for Christmas has arrived.  Stay tuned and tell all your friends - we'll be doing a giveaway for some cool stuff really soon.

**** I have an opportunity to observe a buffalo being harvested this Saturday.  I'd like to document it here on the blog, but I'm not sure if that would turn people off.  If you are a regular reader or follower, please drop me a note if you'd be interested in this subject - or if you're strongly opposed to the idea.  It will follow the process of shooting the animal and field dressing the it.  I also have an opportunity to have the tongue for meat.  I haven't decided on it yet, but I hear it is good. At least that's what Rooster Cogburn says. Please send your thoughts to house.of.howes@hotmail.com . Unless I get an overwhelming response of "no" to this article, I plan on posting it sometime next week.****

Link of the Day: Ross at the woodtrekker blog posted more great videos from the USFS today.  I really like these videos.  I think I missed my calling - I should have worked for the USFS.....or maybe been a fur trapper.  Or a Registered Maine Guide........or maybe just what I am today. :)  A boy can dream, right?

The Simplest Type of "Stove"

This stove is really almost as simple as you can get.  I'm not going to lie, I stole this from Ray Mears in Sweden (one of my favorites).  When I saw it, my mind was blown because of the simplicity of it.  Am I a moron?  Why don't I think of this stuff?  I blame the very internet which I'm using right now.  Who needs a brain when you have google? 

The issue I had with Mears' stove and every one of these stoves that I've seen since is that the cuts in the log were made with a chainsaw.  Pooey.  I live at 8,600 feet above sea level and chainsaws suck wind here unless you bring it down the street to the small engine mechanic who has ripped me and my B.I.L. several times.  I'm not saying I don't use a chainsaw - I'm just saying that we're doing this for bushcraft purposes - leave the chainsaw out of it.  Actually, I get a warm, testosterone high when I use a chainsaw, but we won't get into that.

So, it is as simple as this:

Take a log cut to firewood length.  This one happens to be an old piece and fairly punky.


Take your saw and start cutting down through.  This didn't take very long.  Soft wood, like I said, punky.

(Begin Rant)
Until my piece-of-crap saw decided to break.  Coleman.  I'll say it right here.  Coleman.  Send me a new saw, Coleman!  You ripped me off! I used this twice before it broke!  Then I put a new bolt in it and guess what?!?!  It broke again! The Ozark Trail Wal-Mart ( I even said WAL-MART on my blog - I didn't even say CHINA-MART!) version of a saw is better and sharper than this one! 
(End Rant)

The saw-which-we-no-longer-speak-of.

So I called L.J., who no longer wants to be called "Ox", by the way.  He prefers L.J., the Ghost Photographer.  I'm going to have to shorten that to L.J.G.P., Esq.  I asked him to bring over his Ozark Trail saw, which I bought for him last year.  I had one and lost it.  For $7.00, it was a fine saw.  Sharp as anything, but cheaply made.  Stayed sharp, too.  Then Wal-Mart started selling the saws-which-we-will-no longer-speak-of. (If you don't get it, see the above paragraph.)

L.J.G.P., Esq. took most of the following pictures.  Just so you know.

So as I took over with L.J.'s saw, things moved along quickly.  I noticed something in a hole.

You know what they say, "Eat corn today, see corn tomorrow in your wood pile!"


I noticed that the gaps where I had sawed filled with sawdust.  I don't want sawdust.  I'll tell you why in a minute.

So, basically, your goal is a giant X that goes down through the log.  Don't complete the cut to the bottom.  You want the log to hold together as one piece.

Then I took my Snow and Nealley and cleared off some bark so you guys could see how far down I went.  You could go further if you wanted.

I then turned the log upside down.  I stuck my saw into what was the bottom of the cut and worked my way in reverse clearing out the sawdust from the cuts.

Cuts cleared.  Now I can explain.

Now, I'll give a disclaimer that this is just how I think it works.  I'm a moron when it comes to science and, in general.  My wife likes to ask me, "How many times did you take biology in high school?"  My answer:  4.  "How many times did you pass?"  None.  Shaddup.  I'm not intelligent, I'm inuitive.  I can't add 2+2, but I can smell a lie like a fart in a car.

I believe this works much like a chimney - you need air flow.  That's why I cleared out all of the sawdust.  I could be wrong, but ultimately, you want the log to burn from the inside out.  That's the opposite of normal.  If I had to guess, I'd say the air sucks from the bottom, feeding the fire to the top.  Correct me if I'm wrong.

This is getting long, so we're going to split this into two parts.  Stay tuned tomorrow!

Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum,

Mike, Oscar, Hotel.....out. 


  1. I have never commented, but I've read for awhile. I'm not sure anyone actually involved in survival would have a problem with the buffalo. Most, including me, would enjoy the hell out of it. Let's face it: in a long term survival OR a life wherein we intentionally depend as much as possible on nature for sustainment...there will be big game involved, and lots of it. Dressin' a buffalo is far different than a deer, than a rabbit. I say go for it; I will definitely read it.

  2. That's what I was thinking, Hutch. I know it is going to be graphic, but I think it is a good lesson. Where I grew up, it was a way of life. We butchered all of our own meat. Our thought was, if you got a deer or moose for the price of the hunting tag, that was sometimes over 100 lbs of meat for $25.00 (depending on the animal). If we paid someone to butcher it, that price per pound went out the door. Thanks for posting!