Posts Tagged ‘44 gallon drum’

44 Gallon drum stove and woodpile update

June 10, 2011

The 44 gallon drum stove has been doing sterling service as a pizza oven. At least every second weekend the family feasts on homemade, gluten free pizzas and keeps warm from the winter evening by sitting around the fire.

The process has been systemised and made easier by the inclusion of a thermometer. It started out with it’s probe down through the top, but is now positioned for easy viewing in the side, with the probe supported by a bolt through the top.

Thermometer makes pizza cooking more predictable.

8-10 minutes @ 230 degrees C makes for a perfect pizza, hot melted topping and crispy base! The trick is to build up a good base of coals and keep the fire burning strongly. Some fire bricks for thermal mass would help, I think.

To keep all this activity going we have grown the woodpile capacity too. Now several meters longer and with quite a few large logs waiting for splitting. All the wood is sourced from free supplies left on the roadside for general collection by tree fellers, council workers, fire department and householders. The freshly felled timber is tough work to split and will need to age for a year or two before burning. I figure we have a few years supply now. And the pile is nearing capacity in any case.

Longer woodpile, several years supply?

Ethan helps by chopping any errant wood chips for kindling.

Lumberjack Ethan

Other projects related to the fire and wood collection include a smaller fire drum for general warmth and fun, as well as burning “sticky” garden rubbish. I trialled a “bio-char” burn the other day which I read about on another blog. Filling the drum and lighting it from the top creates a fast and clean burning fire with the ash left for the compost heap.

Small fire drum

Small fire drum

I’ve also flashed up the fire poker stick, a piece of “reo” steel, by fitting a turned pick handle piece to the end and flattening the other end a little. The original wooden handle I made split when forging the flat end by hammering the red hot reo steel.

Turned pick handle for poker stick

Winter is a good time to test out wood fired stoves and pizza recipes, source firewood and make stuff for the fire.


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44 Gallon Drum Stove, now a pizza oven!

February 22, 2011

First pizzas from the drum oven this weekend!

The pizza bread is made from home bake, gluten free mix and needed to be toasted lightly on top to allow the toppings to be spread on.

still a bit smokey

I re-sealed the flue with more fire cement where the first attempt had failed due to getting too wet before curing, then oven was lit and the fire let burn for a short time. Once it was steady, but still a little smokey, the first pizza went in. Garlic and cheese thick base.

It came out perfectly! Yum.

Cheese & Garlic, the first pizza

The next two worked well, although I nearly burnt the bottom of the big one. Would a pizza stone or fire brick help to distribute the direct heat from the fire box? Probably.

Ready to eat?

Good fun and tasty pizzas.

family feast!

Then a big log on the fire and sit down to watch the bush telly.

big log makes good viewing


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44 Gallon Drum Wood Stove – Oven Sealed!

February 9, 2011

More news on the drum stove, now with working oven!

The fire cement arrived and I just had to test it out and seal up the oven space on the 44 gallon drum stove. I sealed the flue and the floor of the oven. I also fixed a fibreglass rope around the oven door to stop smoke getting in there.

It rained that evening before firing the stove and the sealant went all runny. Seems it is water soluble before curing!

Once it had dried out I added a few extra beads in strategic places and set a fire to do the curing.

burning with little smoke

A bit of smoke was created on initial lighting, but the stove quickly settled down and I had a steady flame going in the fire box and just a small amount of smoke coming out the flue!

first test of the oven – toast! (the burnt edge shows strength of direct heat)

No pizza’s prepared but I did manage to find some flat bread to toast as a test. A couple of minutes on a baking tray and it was done, yummy!

over ambitious fire?

If I got too ambitious and loaded the fire box up with wood it got a bit out of balance and pumped out too much smoke. A bit of practice and I should be able to make some tasty pizza’s.

oops! too much smoke

Next job? Source some pizza trays and make up the gluten free pizza bases for Ethan and Sheryl. A thermometer would be nice too. Ebay for that one I think.

steady flames make good oven cooking

burning nicelyStay tuned, Brian.

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44 Gallon drum stove & Fire wood update

February 3, 2011

Just a quick post to keep up to date with this project.

The 44 gallon drum stove is progressing following testing late last year on a cooler evening. (hard to imagine using the stove at the moment, the temperature has been over 30’c for the past week or more)

The cute little chinamans hat has been fixed with rivets instead of solder to hold it all together.

Stove with more inlet holes and repaired flue hat

I have also drilled many extra holes in the door panels which will aide air flow. I also plan to make the flue entry hole in the firebox a little larger, and open up the top of the flue by removing the small holes and making a single large exit port, under the repaired hat.

A source for high temperature specialized fire sealant has been found ( and ordered, so this should allow for the stove to be sealed from the firebox and made into a pizza oven! (sealant tested to 1400’c!)

The firewood pile has also grown in both capacity and actual holdings. It is nearing capacity again, so another extension may be called for?

Woodpile grows

Woodpile nearly full

More later… Brian.

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Wood burner stove from 44 Gallon Drum – Test Day!

November 12, 2010

The First lighting of a test fire in the 44 Gallon drum stove was eagerly awaited. What would happen? How would it burn? Would the oven be smoke proof?

Some success, but several issues too, were to follow…

Ethan lights the first fire

This was the easy part.

Smokey start!

Air flow through the flue didn’t seem to be sufficient. The doors sealed better than I’d imagined. Issue 1 – more airflow needed. Holes in doors?

Green flame on copper flue

With the door open, the fire burned well, and hot. The green flames around the copper flue looked interesting.

Fire burning strongly with door open

Bigger logs got the fire burning hot.

Ooops! Solder gives way at top of flue, too hot!

Too hot it seemed for the soft solder holding the chinamans hat top for the flue together. Issue 2 – higher temp solder or mechanical joints?

It's getting hot in there!

So we enjoyed the fire into the evening…

Ethan likes to stoke the flames

Sitting around the open door of the fire was a nice warm way to spend the evening.

Next day issue 3 became clear. The high temp putty used to seal the flue failed, too hot! This means the oven isn’t smoke tight yet.

So there’s a chinamans hat to fix, holes to drill in doors and a sealing method for the oven to be devised. All good fun to fill the summer before we get to next winter. Should allow for some wood collection in the meantime.


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Stove from 44 Gallon Drum #6

October 3, 2010

Small finishing tasks now left to do on the stove project.

grate in place and ashpan supports visible

The cross pieces are in place for the grate and ashpan, and the door latches have been installed with the doors.

door latches and handles

I turned up some wooden handles from an old pick handle and tapped them to receive a brass screw through the door latch.

door latch detail

Jobs left to do are to cut and paint side pieces for the grate, notch the flue to sit securely on the grate and seal the flue into place at the firebox roof/oven floor.

looking mostly finished from the outside now

I’ll then run a test fire to see how things work and to burn off any paint in heat sensitive areas before a final coat of pot belly black to make it all look nice!

More soon…


Stove from 44 Gallon Drum #5

September 27, 2010

A long weekend and some more to report.

Doors are going on now. I had some trouble getting them to sit flush, so I may not need the vents I anticipated. Some tests will see.

doors on!

The latches worked well however!

I used bolts scored from a builder neighbor several years ago. I have hundreds of them, just had to buy a box of nuts to suit.

grate and ash pan supported in place

The grate sits on the reo bars which are supported through the drum wall with bolts. Similarly for the ash pan, although the supports here are flat sided square sections which will allow sliding of the tray.

reo cross supports for grate, ash pan supports run the other way

Happy to have made this much progress. Just some smaller finishing touches to go now.

doors still with some paint to be burnt off


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Stove from 44 Gallon Drum #4

September 21, 2010

Progress is good lately! More to report and another pic.

The fire worked to burn off or loosen the paint and I gave it a good wire brushing using a brush on the angle grinder. I even cleaned out the inside where the oven space will be.

This meant I could paint in  here as well as the outside with Pot Belly black spray paint. Heat resistant they claim.

painted and grate cut to size

I also found a cheap BBQ grill at Bunnings and only had to cut off a little at each corner to make it a perfect fit and a very pro looking fire grate! I’ll put a couple of reo bars through the drum for the grate to sit on and some sheet metal pieces to fill in the small spaces around it.

Doors will probably be next.


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Drum Stove from 44 gallon drum #3

September 20, 2010

Time to burn off the paint with a fire.

All seemed to go well, apart from the rather obvious problem. I’d already installed the floor for the oven space. So the fire only took off the lower 2 thirds of the paint!

opps! Obvious problem here.

Another fire in the top section, with the doors placed in there once the sides had burnt off solved the issue.

We burned some old garden rubbish which still hadn’t broken down after two years in the compost. The resultant ash will be used on the tomatoes and other compost piles. Our compensation for the paint fumes into the atmosphere!

Next, a tidy up and some paint. Then doors and other furniture.


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Wood Burning Stove from 44 Gallon Drum #2

September 12, 2010

Some more progress to report on this project.

The chimney flue has been largely completed. I found these copper canisters at the local scrap metal merchant, where I pay by the kilo for copper, brass etc… so the price was pretty good. They have close fitting caps which I made into a sleeve to join them and also the base for the chinamans hat top. Being copper, it means I can add to them with brass and solder the lot together. Heat shouldn’t be too intense at the chimney top so a soft solder was also possible there.

Chinamans hat top to flue

The base was then slid up inside the drum to form the oven floor. Bolts through the side hold it in position. As this was formally the base of the drum, it is an interference fit into the drum, hopefully meaning the oven will be smoke proof. We’ll see how it works in practice!

Oven base rests on bolts with flue thru

The chimney is fitted through the oven base and drum top. Some filler will be needed to seal these through joins. Not sure yet what that will be. Clearly it will need to be heat resistant at the lower point.

Beginning to look like a burner!

Things are starting to look a bit more like I intended now, which gives me some motivation to get the rest finished. Stay tuned.


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