Sunday, December 12, 2010

Homemade Sterno Can, Portable stove burner.

Growing up I always liked candles. They provided light and warmth, although very minimal, lasted a long time, and were great for days I wanted to go through pounds and pounds of fire crackers, but not a lot of lighter fluid in my lighters.

Well lady's and gents, behold the candle on steroids!

This has no wick, but rather burns the entire exposed surface area of the wax, so depending on the size of container holding it, this can be a great way to keep a tin of casserole warm, just like a sterno can, or create just enough light for a romantic dinner with only one of these rather than 5 or 6 individual candles, I did this last night, and let me tell you, rather than holding back faces of disgust from my bad cooing, my date spent most the time really enjoying the atmosphere.

The greatest of all uses though is the ability to ready while camping, with the light emitted from this.

I get so tired of keeping a roaring fire stoked to allow me to read while I camp. Now I'll just bring one of these.

There are a few ways to make them. The supplies are as follows:

  • Paraffin wax
  • Bean or soda can, or if you really want to impress a #10 can!
  • Dryer lint, cotton, news paper, or cardboard
You want to start with your can, I prefer an empty bean can. It is a good size and does not include intricate cutting like the soda can.

The next step will be determined by what you use as the foundation, meaning the item in supplies #3.

For dryer lint and cotton: You will want to stuff as much as you can fit in your can. Start to melt your wax, and once liquidy, pour over the cotton or dryer lint. The cotton or lint will soak up the wax, and allow you more room to add additional cotton/lint. Add more, and pour most wax on top. Set in freezer to cool.

For news paper and cardboard: Roll up your material like you're going to swat a fly with it. Insert the roll in your can. Melt your wax and pour over the material, filling all the voids and empty space. Set in freezer to cool.

You can see in this picture the soda can has rolled up cardboard, while the bean can has lint.

Like stated before, these give off massive amounts of light, are easy to make, and last for hours and hours. they are also waterproof if rained on or dropped in water.

Some simple tips:

Buy paraffin wax in 10 Lbs or more slabs. Its cheapest this way. I've seen wax at Hobby Lobby, Micheal's, Joannas fabric, and a few other craft places

Most of my blogs include the need for a sharp knife. This project is the exception. A knife will get you little progress and much frustration. Use a hammer. Wax is like chocolate, it melts best in a double boiler. If you do not have access to one, be patient and just use low heat. Wax melts at very lows temps.

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