Buddy Burner

  Buddy Burner

Buddy Burner

I haven't made a buddy burner in a long time. In-fact the last time I made one I didn't even realize it had a proper name. The principle is extremely simple, it is a paraffin wax fueled burner with a large cardboard wick. I used to make mine in an old Kiwi Shoe Polish tin but any small metal can will do. I recently picked up a copy of "Roughing It Easy" by Dian Thomas, which jogged my memory about these great burners. She has excellent instructions for making your own.

  Roughing It Easy

Roughing It Easy

Thomas suggests a tuna tin, her instructions are:

Cut a long strip of corrugated cardboard (across the corrugation so that its holes show) into strips which are the same width as the height of the tuna can. Roll the cardboard and place it in the can, then pour melted wax over the cardboard. Heat the wax in a double boiler because if it is overheated, it will burst into flames. The cardboard in the buddy burner serves as a wick, and the wax serves as a candle to provide the heat for the stove. A small wick can be in the corrugated cardboard for fast and easy lighting. It is also helpful to turn the can on its side so that the flame can spread along the cardboard more easily. Filled with wax it will burn for 1½-2 hours. To lengthen the time of the buddy burners use, place a chunk of wax on top of the corrugation while it is burning.
— Dian Thomas - Roughing It Easy, 1974

Thomas also constructs a stove from an upturned number-ten can; she places the burner inside it, punches smoke holes around the top edge and a door in the side to control the burner. The bottom of the can (now the upturned top) can then be used as a cooking surface. She also advises making a damper from the lid of the can attached to a coat hanger.

  Buddy Burner

Buddy Burner

I made my stove as per her tuna tin instructions and used it with a Snow Peak titanium mug. The burner lit very easily and boiled 2 cups of water in about 15 minutes. I propped the mug on rocks and used aluminium foil as a wind shield. The burner worked well and it was cheap and easy to make. I have to admit it smelt odd and it sooted my cup to all hell, if I had the choice I would probably choose an alcohol or haxamine (ezbit) stove, but for a cheap, reliable alternative the buddy burner does fine.

If you come across "Roughing It Easy" pick it up. It's not too hard to come by and there is a lot of good stuff inside.

Posted on November 4, 2012 and filed under Classic Kit.