By Beverly Sandlin
This is a continuation of my experimenting from last winter. I have two Deadwood Rocket Stoves which utilize twigs for fuel. Last winter I figured out how to use them with canistered Camp Heat and candles inside the house. I decided that I not only wanted to cook, but have an oven to bake in also – and yes I know you can use a Dutch oven, but I wanted one I could see into.
Toaster Oven Conversion
A non-working toaster oven is easy to come by – my sister gave me one. The first thing I did was square it up on the top of my Deadwood Stove and trace in black marker around the top to give me an approximate area of where the flame would concentrate. Then I drilled holes into the bottom. Since it was cold and raining outside, I started the experiment inside.
Inside Baking Oven
I put the Camp Heat in the stove right below the grate and only got about 150 degrees out of it on the oven thermometer I had stuck in the toaster oven. Not good enough. So I took a tin snips and cut out a larger hole and got it up to around 225 degrees in half an hour – adequate to do biscuits or muffins. Okay, so far I’m fairly happy because I now have a way to bake inside if something should happen to the power.
Outside Baking Oven
A couple of days later I cut the hole even larger, closer to the true diameter of the hole in the top of the Deadwood, and decided to test it outside. My back was hurting from too much compost carrying so I decided to set the Deadwood up on the patio table and put the oven on top of it to be easier to photograph. That put the oven about five and a half feet in the air on a 40 degree day with gusts of wind from 20 to 35 miles per hour – not an optimum setting!
It had been raining that morning so there were no dry sticks or leaves to be found. I used Instafire fire starter to get the stove going with damp twigs – it did a fabulous job! Within 10 minutes I was at 300 degrees in the stove and it maintained that heat for 15 minutes until the sticks started to burn down, I was very pleased!
One side of the stove was fine to touch, but the other was too hot to touch, so I used hot pads to bring it down from on top of the Deadwood. The smoke pattern told the story as to the wind and why one side was so hot.
I then played with it on the ground in a sheltered spot and got it to hold 425 degrees with no problem. No pictures here as I wasn’t willing to bend down far enough to take the pictures…
Note, I did get a bit of humidity starting it up with those damp twigs that clouded the glass for about 7 minutes, after that it cleared up and I could read the thermometer from the outside with no problem. I’m sure this could be replicated with any rocket stove or fire bricks setup in rocket stove fashion. These Deadwoods are basically miniature woodstoves, so your food will have a nice wood flavor to it as well.
With all the experimenting this winter, I am now feeling very confident that between my two Deadwood Stoves being able to use them both inside the house with Camp Heat or the equivalent, and outside with twig heat, the addition of an oven, and a thermal cooker – any cooler with Mylar will work for that – that I can cook if there is no power year around.
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