How to build yourself a Wood Gasifier [Picture Guide]

Build your own smoke-free wood gasifier. Using pictures, you will learn how to build your own wood gasifier quickly and inexpensively.

from Martin Gebhardt | Bushcraft | reading time 1 Min
Updated on 07 June 2023 54.612 views 98% found this guide helpful
How to build yourself a Wood Gasifier [Picture Guide]

Martin Gebhardt

From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.

👉 The key facts from this guide

  • A wood gasifier is an efficient cooking device based on the principle of wood gasification. It consists of two combustion chambers, in which the wood is burned, and the wood gas is used for a second combustion.
  • The advantages of a wood gasifier are its efficiency, as almost all the wood is burned, and the low smoke emission, making it almost invisible in your bushcraft camp.
  • To build a wood gasifier, you need two cans, one small and one large, a tool for drilling air holes, and metal scissors. The small can is inserted into the large can after air holes have been drilled into both containers.
  • It is important that no gaps are created between the cans, as otherwise the wood gas-oxygen mixture will escape. The cans should be fitted together tightly.
  • After assembly, you can test your wood gasifier. Be sure to use a secure base and attach legs to ensure optimal air supply.
  • A wood gasifier can be used not only in the forest, but also on the balcony or as an emergency heater.

A wood gasifier doesn't produce smoke and generates high heat.

Additionally, it fits in every backpack. And you can use it to prepare your food and water in your bushcraft camp.

Today, I will show you how to build your own wood gasifier quickly and inexpensively using pictures.

It's effortless. Let's get started.

What is a wood gasifier?

You're probably familiar with a hobo stove. If not, I recommend reading my article, "What is a Hobo? [Construction, Function, Advantages and Disadvantages]".

These evolved hobos are based on the simple principle of wood gasification.

The first combustion chamber, inside the stove, contains wood as fuel.

In the outer space of the double wall, oxygen rises and a secondary combustion of the wood gases (or smoke) occurs at the outlet of the air holes.

This results in a complete combustion through the double wall. This means that a wood gasifier works very efficiently and almost all the wood is burned up.

A huge advantage of the secondary combustion is that there is almost no smoke production. Because there is no smoke, the wood gasifier is almost invisible in your bushcraft camp.

I have created a graphic for you here that illustrates the principle and operation:

Wood gasifier functioning
Wood gasifier functioning

Instructions for building a wood gasifier

Now that you know how it works, let's get into building it.

You will need:

  • two cans, one small and one large
  • tools like a drill or a knife for the air holes
  • a metal shear (a garden shear also works)

1. Cut an opening in the large can. In the picture below, you can see what I mean. The small can must fit EXACTLY into it.

2. Drill all air holes as shown in the diagram below.

Large can: Drill many air holes about 1 cm from the bottom.

Small can: Here, drill the air holes into the bottom and the sides, top and bottom.

holzgas-air holes
holzgas-air holes

I used a metal drill for drilling the air holes.

drilling holes
drilling holes

It is better to file the drilled air holes smooth afterward. There is a high risk of injuring yourself on the sharp metal edges.

filing holes
filing holes

Then, insert the small can into the large can. If you have work gloves, it is better to wear them.

fitting cans together
fitting cans together

It is best if no gaps are left between the cans. Otherwise, the wood gas-oxygen mixture will escape later on.

In the picture below, you can see the two cans fitted together. The wood gas generator is now ready.

top view
top view

The wood gasifier from below. Here you can see all the air holes again.

View from below
View from below

Afterward, it's best to test your wood gasifier right away.

As demonstrated by the picture below, it's best to find a secure surface.

In addition, I've added stands to ensure optimal air supply. This creates a great chimney effect.

Wood gasifier burning
Wood gasifier burning

The great thing is that you can use such a burner not only in the woods, but also in case you need to cook in an emergency on your balcony. If it's large enough, it will surely work as an emergency heating system as well.

The wood gasifier in action

The video shows the self-built wood gasifier in action. You can see the flames from the combustion of the wood gas-oxygen mixture particularly well at second 0:43.

What do you think of the instructions? Were they understandable?

Will you also build a wood gasifier?

Write your impressions in the comments!

Take care, Martin
Martin Gebhardt

Martin Gebhardt

Hey, I'm Martin. On my blog, you will learn the basics and numerous details about living in the wild. I think survival, bushcraft and the good life in nature are the keys to happiness. Find me here on Instagram or on YouTube. You can find more about my mission on the About Me page.

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