A solid fuel stove from a gas bottle?

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ploughman | 22:48 Wed 21st Dec 2005 | Home & Garden
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I am considering converting a 16kg gas bottle to a solid fuel stove to burn wood or smokeless fuel. Apparently some canal boat owners employ these, as do several shed owners. Also, there is a company that markets them to sell at �200+, so the idea is not as barmy as it sounds. If anyone has tried this, Id be very interested in plans or tips. Obviously a rudimentary knowledge of basic engineering practice is required.


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Hi ploughman when you say convert what do you mean ?
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By convert I mean to use the bottle as a stove instead of a gas bottle. This would mean a) finding a way of completely emptying the bottle of gas for obvious safety reasons. b) cutting apertures in the bottle for the fire door, flue and air intake. c) welding together and fixing the various parts. d) fitting a grate for coal burning. This has all been done before so its not a ground breaking project. Very satisfying though as proprietary stoves are very expensive. Try this link and you will get the idea &option=Prod_detail
Saw this on the web somewhere but if you have the skills and equipment to convert a bottle then you could just as easily make a complete stove from scratch and incorporate fire bricks for solid fuel. I've made stoves from 45 gallon oil drums, they do have a limited life but the oil pressure jet version heated a 1500 square foot building. Make sure you follow building regs when installing.
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Yes Ive thought of starting from scratch, but the only materials to hand would have to be mild steel sheet and angle bar. This would tend to warp under intense heat, whereas the gas bottle is a very strong robust self contained rigid structure with no corners. Also as I could get one from a scrap yard it would be very cheap. Stove manufacturers such as Villager and Valor employ pressed steel for the stove body, so cast iron is not mandatory. Building regs are a concern, but as the stove is only for my garage, I would simply dismantle it if I received complaints.Can you enlighten me on builing regs Stanleyman?
Ploughman, what a cracking idea for a unique woodburning/coal fire!.Weve got a narrowboat and are looking for a small fire for the back cabin.These can be made to measure as well,Thanks for the link, trish
Question Author
Yes I agree Patricia!! I thought of it myself but a lot of others beat me to it. The following is a post on Readersheds, which is running a long thread on the subject. I can post the link if you are interested. Years ago, I lived on the canals. My boat had a proper woodburner (they also burn coal), but my mate's Narrowboat had a modified calorgas bottle. It put out incredible heat, as did mine, but it had no form of damping/regulation. As a result, after a few hours, it would begin to glow cherry-red, & we had to throw buckets of water on it (wooden boat).

The only heat in my house is a multi-fuel cast iron fire, & I have worked out how it's regulated, so I'm now in the process of modifying my own (or Calor's) gas bottle for the shed. I've already cut the doors in it & am about to continue with regulator, feet, grate & chimney, hopefully in time for winter.

As this project proceeds, I'll post some specifications & pictures. Being a bit of an engineer, & not particularly stupid, I KNOW this will work, & above all, be safe.

Keep me informed on it all ploughman, thanks-il keep watching!
Hi there Ploughman,
I built one of these several years ago for a friend ,to plans that they supplied. It worked excollently,by the way!) I would now like to build one for myself,but no longer have the plans and don't have the resourses to do trial-and-error runs. Could you help with any plans/info,ect?
many thanks,Hitchawk
Hi Ploughman

I am the owner of the company with your link, and just wanted to say to anyone about to cut into a gas bottle that you really should make sure you have thoroughly cleaned the cylinder of gas first. Take the top off carefully and fill with water, leave for a week, empty and repeat the process twice more before taking any cutting tool to it. Also bottles remain the property of the gas companies, so only use old bottles from defunct companies.

To get the best from your stove, fit a baffle inside, a really good air inlet control device and make sure the door fits well so it doesnt leak air. If you can, its worth fitting a damper to give total burn control.

There are some good plans available from the Centre for Alternative Technology website.

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