Build a Recycled Water Heater Wood Stove

Build a recycled water heater wood stove from a used hot-water tank to heat your house.

| January/February 1978

You can build a recycled water heater wood stove for $35.00 or less.

You can build a recycled water heater wood stove for $35.00 or less.

Photo By Fotolia/JGima

Learn how this recycled water heater wood stove can heat your home while helping the planet.

Build a Recycled Water Heater Wood Stove

(Note: Since this article was published in 1978, building codes and homeowners insurance rules have changed, and federal rules governing wood stoves have been adopted. This stove design may not comply with various federal and local regulations. Readers are advised to check with appropriate officials before installing this stove in their homes. — MOTHER)

Most homebuilt wood-burning stoves are scabbed together from old 55-gallon drums. And they more or less do the job they're supposed to do . . . despite the fact that they're notoriously inefficient users of fuel, are difficult to regulate, rapidly burn through, and are so ugly that most people will only tolerate them out in the garage or workshop.

Perhaps the single really good thing that can be said for the majority of the 55-gallon-drum burners is that (usually) it doesn't cost very much to put one of them together or at least it didn't used to. Here lately, though, the steel barrels have become increasingly difficult to find . . . and, when you do locate one of the containers, it frequently has a seven dollar price tag at fixed to it.

There must be a better way to go about assembling a homemade wood-burning stove. And there is: As MOTHER was recently shown by Wilton, Iowa's Robert Wars (who, incidentally, just happens to be the brother of MOTHER researcher Emerson Smyers).

"Forget about messing around with old 55-gallon drums," Bob told us. "What you want to build your stove out of is a discarded electric water heater tank . . . for at least four good reasons:

11/29/2015 2:16:01 PM

Are there any detailed plans out there for this. I am a novice but have access to weld shop and would love to build one before winter truly hits in N.E. Ohio

8/29/2014 8:47:59 AM

Wow, 36 years after having built the first of three of these recycled water heater stoves, for which I give a great deal of credit for my survival in the winter of 1978-79, one of the worst in Wisconsin history (33 below zero one night). I made some slight modifications to the stove that have proven effective and substantially extended the life of this incredibly effective wood burning stove. I used the last one for over 20 years. As noted below by others, the input air tube needs 1/2 holes along the sides of the tube, and cleaning the tube is easily done by following Jerry10's instructions below. I cut a tin can lid in half. The biggest problem I had was warping the sides of the stove, it puts out a lot of heat when stoking. Solved that problem by lining it with refractory brick, making sure the holes in the air tube are clear of the brick. I can't say enough good things about the stove and how it literally saved my life almost 40 years ago. Thanks Mother Earth News.

11/30/2013 3:03:54 AM

I built several of these stoves (some modified with a front door instead of a top load) back in the late 70's. We got the plans from Mother Earth, and I can tell you that there is a key detail missing from the drawing shown here... The draft pipe on the bottom should have 4 rows of 15 holes (1/2" in diameter) on the top half of the air intake pipe to work well. This provides the "grate" effect which allows air to be evenly distributed underneath the wood for a good burn. The wood tends to burn up almost completely, and if you sneak a peek inside while the fire is burning, you can see that there is a blue coloured flame underneath the burning wood. These 60 x 1/2" holes really make the difference in a successful stove. One other note is that a front loading door made handling wood way easier to deal with.

2/9/2011 9:15:53 AM

I built this stove in the late 70's and used it as my only heat for two winters. Still have it in the barn and will use it again. Cleaning ashes is easy. Braze a half circle of tin to the end of a welding rod and drag them out into a metal pan. My fires would last six hours or more and coals would fire off with dry wood. I see a lot of negative comments here but if something works it works. If you get your draft going by stuffing newspaper under the stack you have no smoke out the top of the stove because air is actually going in not out. Common sense prevails, if you are handy enough to build your own stove you will figure out how to safely use it.

1/22/2011 10:38:00 PM

Comments, Progress & pictures Having sent out about 3 dozen plans & pictures, I would like to hear from some of you on your progress, any problems and a comment or 2. Stove #4 is progressing slowly as I got side tracked and am building a "log Splitter". More involved than the stoves and it requires some thinking. And boy does that hurt. #4 May be built as a cook stove as well as a heating stove. One other change is to add a window in the door. That will make monitoring the fire and adjustments a little simpler.

12/31/2010 3:07:30 PM

55 gal drum stove kits are still available, have seen them from several suppliers on the net. They even make a double barrel kit. The reason a hot water tank lasts longer is that it is a little thicker and most are glass coated on the inside. The glass remains mostly intact through all construction and holds up under burning conditions. Should you need or want a real good seal on the door or stove pipe, "Dap FB-136 is much better than the furnace sealers. It dries hard without getting brittle. Merry New Years.

Michael Thompson
12/29/2010 3:06:50 PM

I disagree with one thing. A water heater will not out last a 55gal drum. I have use the the same 55gal drum to heat my house in NE for over 20 years. Have you ever heard of or remember the stove kit made and sold by SOTZ Stoves of Sotz Ohio. This stove kit was discribed as the "The Ugly Duckling". It is about 98% efficient. Also if you do maintance on your wood burner it will last forever. In the spring you must remove all the ash from the stove and with an rag coat the inside of your stove will some 4 in 1 oil. This will keep your stove from rusting. Sotz Stove is no longer in business, what a shame. Toasty from NE.

Joyce Rapp
12/29/2010 8:35:37 AM

I'm curious as to why you wouldn't take the leftover parts to a recycler. Wouldn't that be more responsible?

12/21/2010 12:39:54 AM

Hi All, I think that I have sent instructions and pictures to all that requested them. If I missed you, bug me and I will try again. Happy Goddess, for some reason I can not get any text into your email. Tried it a couple of ways. A little side note. Using this type of stove is a little different than a regular old wood stove. "Air Tight" is not a correct label, "Smoke Tight" would be better. You can not build a fire without Air or keep one burning. More later if you like. Happy Christmas and merry new years. Crash (Jim)

12/19/2010 8:26:00 AM

Hi All, Sorry but the web site is no longer up and running. Send e-mail to < > and I will be happy to send plans and pictures. Hope to get a new site some time. One real change is that I have made the legs adjustable on the newer stoves. Makes it easy to level them. On the big stove (24" in dia.) with an 8" stove pipe, an inside baffle was added. The baffle directs the heat towards the front of the stove. It sure has been nice this fall. Some real "cool" mornings and the fire sure has been welcome. Some mornings I light the fire even when not really needed. Just so nice to sit there, feel the warmth. Good thing I have cut a lot of wood. Happy Christmas to all & Merry New years.

janet johnson
11/22/2010 10:52:01 PM

Crash - Your comments are greatly appreciated, thank you. Please check your website. Unable to access it. Says there's some sort of temporary issue for you to resolve.

9/23/2010 10:11:00 PM

Stoves #2 & #3 Under construction, Only about 10 or so people have seen my stove. ( Free Plans, instructions & pictures At 2 People have ordered stoves for them selves. One is replacing his pot belly, the other is replacing a fire place. No real changes other than they are a little larger than mine. One is to heat a home of about 2,000 Sq. Ft. Both will be installed before the cold weather sets in.

4/22/2010 5:01:47 PM

The #1 goal for this stove or any heating device is Safety. After that efficiency is real important, as in the most heat from the least amount of wood. These goals have been pretty well met with the KISS stove. Ease of construction is pretty high on the list of goals as well, so I kept the construction as easy and simple as consistent with goal #1. The stove is virtually air tight, with the air inlet and pipe dampers fully closed the stove will make charcoal. With them almost closed and a large load of hard wood, you can have a long burning low fire that puts out gentle heat for around 6 or so hours without any help from you. Now that I am a "naysayer" ( been called a lot of things, but this is a new one.) The Amazing Stove as shown and drawn is UN SAFE. If built and used as designed someone is going to get burned trying to add wood. Every time the top is opened fumes and smoke will come into your area. Next, the air inlet is wrong and will soon be covered with ashes and blocked. I guess almost every wood stove, Bar-B-Q or fire place ever built and sold wasted their time building grates since they are not needed. Not being a "precision metal worker", Having only spent over 30 years as a gold smith, teaching jewelry making, designing, diamond and gem setting, I may not understand how to work metal. Growing up totally dependent on wood stoves for heating and cooking, I may not understand how they work or should work. I didn't even cut wood until I was almost 4 years old. NO GRATE: Well you can build a fire in a hole, as in a pit Bra-B-Q, or a small hole that we used to cook beans in. Old time coffee cans were metal with a metal lid, build a fire, get coals, bury can with beans and late in the day they are done. The only reason for a grate is for good and complete combustion. If you have smoke going out your stove pipe, that is fuel that should have been burnt in the stove. Cutting your tank with a torch will not leave a nice smooth cut

3/13/2010 9:01:58 PM

Regarding the use of an old water tank for a wood stove, consider this...Old boilers, water storage tanks and especially propane tanks are also useful for this task. I have been working on a 77 gallon steel water storage/pressure tank that i have configured into a verticle wood stove with a water tank above the fire box with a "verticle Boiler" to heat water in for my floor heat. The use of a line voltage A/C thermostat with a small pump is useful and the use of 2" internal fire tubes pulls all the heat from combustion. Use of a ceramic paint keeps all the heat in the unit and will keep flu temeratures up to eliminate condensation and creosote. The hope is to provide enough hot water to heat the floor slab while lit and electric water heater as back up. Drawings in process now. Safety considerations being reviewed. Code and insurance not considered as this is for a 1,700 SF shop application. Kevin

2/17/2010 9:54:44 AM

I see several naysayers posts here and must take exception to several of those as well as some suggestions for easier fabrication. I have personally built 5 stoves of various designs utilizing these tanks and have 50 yrs experience in precision steel fabrication so I speak from experience. MOST hot water tanks are NOT galvanized. I have salvaged at least a dozen and they have all been black steel outside with a fused porcelain coating inside. If you do find a galvanized one, haul it to recycle and don't use it since cutting, welding and heating fumes will be hazardous and your cutting and welding will likely be of poor quality. I highly suggest not using a cutting torch for this work. The porcelain lining is difficult to cut cleanly with a torch and you'll likely have a very ragged edge to work with. Instead, drill starter holes at the corners of your cuts and use a jigsaw or sabresaw with a fine toothed blade of about 18 teeth per inch. Buy several blades because the porcelain will dull them pretty quickly. Your cuts will be much cleaner and welding quality much improved with a sawn edge. I do agree with some commenters on the negative aspects of the loading door location. I would highly recommend similar construction but with the door on the front and a raised flat cooking platform welded to the top. This also adds a bit more radiation surface for better heating. A front door also makes for easier ash removal. Grates are NOT necessary for a good burn.

2/10/2010 2:18:00 AM

Wish I had built the stove a lot sooner. It preforms much better than expected. Am still getting use to setting the air inlet damper and pipe damper. Using mesquite wood and the correct settings the stove only needs tending every 2 or 3 hours. It will hold a hot bed of coals for 6 or more hours. Open things up a little, let it burn and it can be cooked on and will boil water in just a few minuets. FUN = When first starting the fire, once it is burning well, open the door and it works like a fire place. Nice to sit in front of it, enjoy the heat and watch it burn. Soon you will be sitting about 6' away from it as it makes that much heat. Best of all it will keep most of the house between 72 & 74 degrees with the dampers almost closed and a very low fire. As in just hot coals glowing brightly. That was 2 nights with the temp down to freezing outside.

2/7/2010 2:29:00 PM

My stove is completed, in the house and at the moment has a fire going. I am going to make a couple of small changes, but it working real well. With a small fan blowing on it, more of the house gets heated than I thought it would. A small fire will burn for over an hour. ( Quite a bit of wood, damped down for a slow burn.) - Building the stove was fairly fast & easy. Cost was real close to $0.00 Almost everything that was usedI either had or a friend gave me. - Installing it was a whole different story. Lots of work and quite a few $$$, around $150 give or take a little. For pictures of the whole project visit < > There are other pictures of other projects there as well /smoker - /outdoorstove Plans and instructions are being drawn up and will also be posted as well. Have Fun Crash

1/15/2010 2:08:31 AM

2 Test fires! I have had 2 firers in the stove, #1 mostly to test for welds that were not fully sealed. Got lucky, no leaks, even when forced (Big fire, damped down with the stove pipe.) Minor leaks around the door. #2 To test how well the fire could be controlled with the air inlet and stove pipe damper. Very success full, in a short time the fire would settle down and quit smoking. I also set a bowl of water on it, the water soon boiled. -- The stove also seals up very tight and makes charcoal when fully shut down. Not tested, but with a very small fresh air opening it should stay hot for hours and ready to relight.

1/15/2010 1:48:58 AM

My hot water tank stove is complete. A couple of minor changes and it will be ready to set up and start using. - I tried to send pictures to the gallery, but it did not work. - You can find the pictures at < > - There are also pictures of my outdoor stove. It was made from the cast iron parts from and old burnt out cabin heater.

1/5/2010 3:40:00 AM

Bad Ideas or Mistakes on Amazing $35 Stove Only way to load wood is through the top. Bad idea, heat, smoke & ash will fill the house. If you are cooking or heating something, what do you do with it when the stove needs wood?? Rarely is a wood stove loaded from the top ( When loading the stove for a new fire.) and almost never while it is burning. Air inlet is at the very bottom of the stove. Very soon it will get blocked with ashes and not work. There is no good way to clean out the ashes. There is no fire grate to holed your fire up out of the burnt ashes. Why light a stove in 2 places. Just put the paper under the kindling, some small sticks on top of that and 1 or 2 large pieces on top of that. A well designed stove does not need a special fire to make it draw. The only amazing thing about this stove is that it was built and used.

1/3/2010 10:28:46 AM

The stove is pretty much done. There is a chance that I will make some minor changes in it. The damper is in the stove pipe and and the cap is made. Later I make make a new cap of a different design, but this type has worked on my outdoor stove for about 3 years. Keeps the rain out and rarely lets the wind blow into the stove. Pictures will be posted in the gallery when I can get it to work. A simple line art plan will be drawn, but not really needed.

1/3/2010 10:21:26 AM

"I live in The Bahamas and I am curious to see how it works, and would like to know what else I can do with a water heater." There are many uses for old hot water tanks. Here are just a few. The concave bottom can be cut off and used as a bird bath or feeder. Split length ways It can be used as a water trough, chicken feeder. I made a smoker out of a larger tank. Mine is a lay down that can also be used to barb-Q. More ideas later if you like.

1/1/2010 8:49:00 AM

My wood stove is close to completed. It has had its first test burn and that came out pretty well. With stove pipe fully damped down there was some minor leaks around the door. All else was sealed up tight. Yesterday I added a flat plate to the top, don't think it will get hot enough to cook on. But will keep a tea pot hot and add moisture to the house. Also have started on the "thimble", (Wall pass through.) it will be made of concrete. Almost everything has been salvaged or reclaimed. Have bought 1 stove pipe & elbow, 1 pipe plug and a can of sealer. Will have to buy more stove pipe and 5 sheets of "Du-Rock" cement board.

marc mckinney_1
12/21/2009 2:10:32 AM

I live in The Bahamas and I am curious to see how it works, and would like to know what else I can do with a water heater

12/15/2009 10:59:32 AM

I am currently building a wood stove out of a hot water heater. Pictures of construction and a simple drawing will be forth coming. It is fairly small and for a friend. In the future will build a larger one for myself. Last year I built a "smoker" out of an old hot water heater. It has been used a few dozen times. Very good to great results most of the time. Both items are quite simple and easy to make if you have a torch and welder. I do a lot of the metal cutting with a "Sazall" and bi-metal blade. Makes cleaner and straighter cut than the torch. Yes gas heaters will work fine, just a little more work. Do not worry about the glass lined tanks, it does not hurt a thing.

9/13/2009 5:25:24 PM

In my world, none of the things that people find "everywhere" are anywhere, at least not for free. I just paid a bunch of money at my local recycling center (they sell metal for $$$$) for a water heater that weighed 75 pounds (at .20 per pound). I dropped some stuff off at the local dump the other day. I spied a bunch of windows and asked if I could take them. They said that surveillance cameras precluded the workers themselves from taking anything. In my area, at least, the dumps are HOSTILE toward re-purposing discarded goods.

matt mcdonald
3/8/2009 9:57:22 AM

ihi i was looking at building one of these hot water tank wood heaters and i was wondering how i can get the plans? thanks for your time guys matt

Bill Mumford
2/7/2009 5:47:40 PM

I purchased plans approx. 30 years ago and had a welder make me a stove from a 30 gallon drum. We successfully heated our 820 Sqft Idaho home at least 80% of the time using only this great stove!

Marvin Watts
2/1/2009 12:03:45 AM

This is a reply to Smith's comment that you could burn your house down with this stove. Of course you could... if you didn't build it correctly. Most heat stoves are NOT cast iron as it is cost prohibitive and heavy as hell. Most stoves are welded sheet steel these days. I have friends who have used a steel barrel stove for years and it is MUCH thinner than the water tank suggested here. Inspect the steel often for pin holes and burn throughs. Small pin holes can be welded closed. My grand father had an old pot belly cast iron job that had cracked from 60 years of use. It cast lovely light in the dark but never posed a fire hazzard. Bottom line, all wood stoves can burn your house down if you don't know what you are doing and this stove is as safe as any commercial stove if built properly in my opinion.

1/30/2009 1:19:28 AM

yes i think if you open a New Bitmap Image on your desktop you can then highlight the drawings 1 and 2 of the water heater wood stove and right click and copy then right click the New Bitmap Image and click edit then paste the copy and rename it and then you can open it and zoom as close as you would like and still see the image clearly i hope it works as good for you as it worked for me

Thomas Schildman_2
1/29/2009 9:58:38 AM

How do you remove the ash?

Thomas Schildman_1
1/29/2009 9:58:08 AM

How do you remove the ash?

1/28/2009 9:42:20 AM

the pipe has 1/2 inch hole in it and the front apears to be a slider draft but if I remember the plans called for a screw type draft, just a plate with a 1/2 inch bolt inside a 3-4 inch well casing

1/27/2009 3:07:28 PM

I am a retired eng. tech., machinest, welder, pipe fitter and I was unable to figure out the bottom thing that looks like a pipe??? It was blurry and I could not clear it up. It seems that with so many comments that ME would think about making the plans available again to it's members. Rnnie

1/26/2009 2:29:26 PM

Bought the Plan for this in the 70s and built it as per plan. Didn,t care for the top loader so cut the front sean and made a door if you weld a peice around one side of your cut you will still be as airtight never did wear it out

Richard Dean
1/23/2009 5:12:18 PM

the drawings are blured but there in last photo of photo shop if you send them to your pictures then when you view it it will blow them up but there blurry as the devil

1/18/2009 5:23:20 PM

This is awsome! I just had a water heater removal, its sitting outside my garage. Would love to build but I can barly read the blue prints supplied. Any way to blow this up? or make it more legible? Thanks James

1/14/2009 10:00:20 PM

The article on how to build a$500.00 wood stove they weren't any drawing plans with the article to show you how to build. THank you Arless

1/13/2009 9:04:05 AM

Does anyone have more detailed drawings for this project?

1/12/2009 7:49:55 AM

I wish there was an abundance of these. I've been looking for one in Michigan for a year now, no luck. I even have a $20 finders fee for these with some local contractors. :(

The Pagan Pixie
1/6/2009 4:54:00 PM

I really love this site Thanks for the artical about the wood burning stove. Now do you have any advice about how to help me get my husband motivated? The Pagan Pixie

1/5/2009 9:10:22 AM

This Is not a thing you can use in your home if you do it may burn your home down.The heat will brake the steel down and burn a hole threw it that is why thay make wood heaters out of cast iorn...

Sarah _1
1/3/2009 6:27:49 PM

Question: How does one clean the ashes out of Dennis Burke-holders $35 wood stove after you assemble it? Also how is it possible that the air vents do not become clogged with ash build up according to the diagram shown??

Floyd Oathout
1/1/2009 6:44:59 PM

Does anyone know if there is a higher resolution image available of the plans for this stove? (or reproductions/plans available for purchase? I am very interested in building one but can't see the dimensions of the hopper on top etc.

12/31/2008 12:11:15 PM

I built one before I read this article.Does great heats a 30 by 40 garage.I used 3 water heaters and purchased a barrel kit from Tractor Supply,used the door out of the kit.

Veronica Lattin
12/22/2008 1:40:56 PM

Back in the 70's we sent for the parts to make a barrel heater from a company called Sotz. The kit included an airtight door, legs, and a collor for the smoke pipe. We ordered the double barrel kit that had the parts to stack a barrel above the fire barrel to reclaim heat that would go up the chimney. We used this 2 barrel assembly in our basement for 20 years to heat our entire 2 story house with the original barrels that never burned out. The beauty of it was that it controlled how hot the fire got. Wouldn't let it get over 800 degrees. If it did the barrel would burn out. We only stopped using it because our boys grew up and left home and we both worked and couldn't cut enough wood to heat the home. Now that we are retired and the fill-up of our heating oil cost us $1800 last August we are making plans to use it again.

Terry Wilson_1
12/18/2008 6:17:19 AM

This is an excellent use of an old water heater. But if you want to get even more heat from your wood, build a heat exchanger / smoke tank just above the stove. It need only consist of a horizontal tank with a baffle laying parallel to the top, midway up. I designed one for my neighbor, and he says he uses about 1/3 the wood and his heat output has increased dramatically. He no longer has problems heating his older two storey home, with just one stove.

12/15/2008 11:41:40 AM

Could I get a clear set of plans for the "hot water" stove. I can't make out the numbers in the one in this article. Thank you

Mark Thorne
12/7/2008 11:04:23 PM

Where can I purchace the plans for the water heater wood stove?. Thanks, Mark

12/5/2008 10:46:56 PM

I tried to print drawing and the dimensions are unreadable. Any chance to get a better jpg somewhere?

Deborah Dunne
12/4/2008 9:59:34 PM

Just got an old water heater and would like to see if there are any comments from other folks

12/1/2008 10:13:49 PM

I don't understand the "draft control". Can someone please explain?

11/27/2008 7:33:55 AM

I am very interested in building on of Bob Smyers' woodburning stoves but am confused with his directions. Could you send me more complete info especially about the draft. Sounds like the perfect heat source! Love your magazine. Sue

bill robey
11/24/2008 3:11:32 PM

There was no drawing of the wood stove made from a water.I'm intersted in seeing it. thanks,bill robey

11/11/2008 11:22:14 PM

Water heater tank are galvanized. These stoves are toxic at the temperatures created by a wood fire. I have made several water tank stoves and every one of them was fired outdoors several times to fully melt off the zinc. This is important unless you are interested in heavy metal poisoning. I am not certain but it may be illegal to make these stoves due to environmental regulations.

11/11/2008 6:43:15 PM

I actually bought the plans from mother earth news for one of these stoves and built it in 1978. It worked great and was the only means of heat I used in the farm house I was living in at the time. I was quite surprised to see this article and will say it is a great project that can also be very beneficial.

dick hauser
11/3/2008 10:00:49 AM

i was an avid mother reader back in the 70's and 80's and saved most of my issues and will be going back thru them. i wish i had signed up for the lifetime sub-scription back then (oh well). i had to drop out for awhile. about 10 years ago i loaned my nephew my back issues and now he loans me his. back in the 70's i bought plans for mothers pig and had it built for me. the material was free,(my water heater tank), my dad supplied the misc. steel, and the welding cost me $85. this wood burner easily heated an 800 sq ft area on week ends and sometimes for two or three weeks at a time in some realy cold illinois winters with minimal amount of ash. we even cooked on it and roasted marshmellows. the pig is only used occasionally now but is still in great shape. we are looking for a buyer for it. it wants a new home.

Dakota Woman
11/1/2008 12:59:00 PM

Although there are now federal laws about the amount of pollutants a wood stove emits, they can be 'gotten around' if you can demonstrate low smoke and ash production by your unit to any local health department official who complains or comes to check out the unit. How do I know this? I've built a different plan (my own) for over 20 years & have yet to have a complaint hold up. Come to think of it, I don't recall that anyone I made one of these stoves for had any complaints lodged against them for having a wood stove, either. Hopefully, this continues 'forever'.. In any case, the only people who have ever raised even one eyebrow about a woodburner for house heat have been insurers, and their questions have all been about distance to nearest combustible materials, kind of chimney installation...

10/30/2008 9:07:34 AM

There are no separate plans for this stove. The construction illustrations are in the Image Gallery at the top of the article.

10/29/2008 6:24:27 PM

Where can I get plans for this Water Heater Stove? I live in Texas and our last months electric bill was over $600 (actually LOW for our area) due to heating costs. I NEED PLANS FOR THIS STOVE! :)

10/28/2008 7:01:45 AM

where can you get a copy of the plans for the water heater stove? Thanks!!

Brad Emde
10/26/2008 8:03:24 PM

I would like to get the plans for the stove or how to get them. Thanks

10/24/2008 4:50:23 PM

these are great stoves. i've had one since 82. used it as my only heat source for 8 yrs, then as suplemental heat. they're quite simple to build. the legs don't matter, 3 work better to keep from wobbling. pipe, angle, rebar;doesn't matter. drill a series of 6 to 10- 1/2" holes down both sides of the pipe. cap the end. to clean out the ash, get a stick, a can and a screw. if you can't figure out how to put the ash thingy together, don't bother with the stove. to make them last forever, put an inch layer of mortar on the bottom. if it smokes when you open the door, cut a piece of sheetmetal to cover 1/4 of the opening when the door is open. experiment, it's not brain surgery

10/17/2008 8:03:10 AM

Wow! Finally a woodstove that makes sense. Please send drawings on how to make the water heater woodstove. Also I would like to subscribe. Thank You, Mike

John W_1
10/15/2008 1:32:55 PM

Is the bottom 8" draft pipe continuous or perferated? This very necessary detail is not at all clear from the internet plans. Will someone please clarify. That pipe dimensions appear 30" to just under the chimney pipe... open? Closed?

10/14/2008 7:21:33 AM

Wow! Finally a woodstove that makes sense. Please send drawings on how to make the water heater woodstove. Also I would like to subscribe. Thank You, Mike

10/7/2008 11:59:30 PM

Can I get the information on how to build these it sounds like a nice easy way to biuld a wood stove and would be great on my porch.

Bill Boehm_1
9/21/2008 11:37:01 AM

We would like to get the plans for the stove or how we can get them. Thanks

8/10/2008 10:45:21 AM

just click on images

8/9/2008 8:40:21 PM

Sorry, this is a rather poor design for a wood burner for several reasons. Cleaning out the ash for one thing, as well as no smoke trap. When reloading with wood the house will get a lot of smoke in it. There is a very large amount of improvement needed, and several other better designs.

8/8/2008 4:23:07 PM

Hello everyone. You will find the plans on page 5 of the Image Gallery. God Bless.

John Soules_2
8/5/2008 11:02:53 PM

Just trying to find the plans that are mentioned in the article

7/29/2008 1:58:46 PM

I do see the plans....but, they're darn near impossible to read. I just replaced my water heater. Before I haul it to the curb (something I'm quite apprehensive about doing), I think I might give this a try! Could make for a neat outdoor firepit.

1/22/2008 2:55:22 PM

I would also like to obtain a detailed (legible) drawing of the hot water heater heater stove. I guess my eaysight is not what it used to be.

1/18/2008 10:58:50 AM

How do I get these plans for the woodburner??

1/6/2008 6:00:27 PM

That would be the top right corner NOT left. My margins on my computer are off.

1/6/2008 5:51:22 PM


1/6/2008 12:33:51 AM


1/4/2008 5:19:17 PM

need plans on your $35.00 WOOD BURBER...drawings and instruction also, please

1/4/2008 5:15:00 PM

interested in your WOOD BURNER for $35.00...where can I get copy of PRINTS & DRAWINGS and detail instruction?????

1/4/2008 12:32:06 PM

where are the drawings sick of electric heat and on tight budget, would love to see how u did it Adam

1/4/2008 10:41:03 AM

This is a very interesting concept for the do-it-yourselfer, although it appears that this design may be a rather high maintenance approach. The vent holes in the tube may become blocked as a fire consumes the wood and creates ashes. Daily or bi-daily cleaning appears quite likely. I have considered some simple changes to the design that may make it a really great stove for my work shop...

1/1/2008 9:16:43 AM

Happy New Year , Stove Builders , "2008" I came across the stove article like most of you while, "Surfing". I have most of my material, and will be checking evening welding classes at the local college for the assembly. I can build the stove with the three view plan. What intrests me more is that,these plans pre-date secondary air , internal dampers , down draft top loading , fire brick ,grating , and so on. So.... Research. Oh, did I mention, I don't need a stove ? Jim , Peachtree City , Ga.

12/29/2007 4:27:59 PM

I live near Wilton IA and would love to purchase a stove like this from the Smyers. Mother, Bob or Emerson, if you are reading this, I would love to get contact info. Thanks a bunch. Sharon

12/28/2007 5:59:07 PM

total cost: $315. i do not have welding materials or skills. i could not install completed unit until zoning codes were satisfied. with all the labor and extra materials required, it was a cash price of $295 ($20 tip to installer).

12/28/2007 5:50:48 PM

Please send me the drawings for this neat wood stove. Thanks Jim

12/27/2007 7:52:19 PM

please send me a drawing of this heater.thank you for your time. jeff

12/24/2007 4:12:48 AM

i grabbed an oil hot water heater from craigslist and want to heat my swimming pool with it. I'd like to plumb it soas to minimize iron introduction to the pool. perhaps i need to add a heat exchanger. would i need to torch open the top and slide one in, or is there an easyier way to do this ?

Heidi Hunt_2
12/21/2007 1:59:32 PM

I am sorry, we no longer have the plans for this stove.

12/21/2007 1:57:19 PM


12/17/2007 6:59:37 AM

I think your cad drawing is very sufficient to build the burner but how do you clean out the ashes?

12/16/2007 11:19:23 AM

I think that no additional drawings are needed to build this stove. Look at the view in the bottom right hand corner containing the 'cam shape' at the bottom of the circle, with the dimensions 1" R and 2"R. I suspect that the view containing the 'cam shape' should be to the left of the drawing that contains the text that begins "Best Way to Light a Stove". If that view is moved to the left side, then the plans become much clearer. That view shows the 2 inch radius tube running along the entire length of the bottom of the stove. I am guessing that it is through that tube the outside air enters. In the side-view (containing the text), that tube is clearly shown to have many holes running along its length. Then, the outside air from the 2 inch radius tube must leak through these holes into the stove. Then,any burning firelog above this tube will get its air supply from under it. It is good for wood to get its combustion air supply from beneath. I suspect that the 'cam shape' on one end of the 2 inch radius tube is just a handle that can be used to pull that tube out of the stove. If I understood the plans right (as described above), then no additional drawings are needed.

12/16/2007 10:22:53 AM

can i please have a copy of the plans and drawings, those provided do not have enough information thanks

12/16/2007 4:56:16 AM

The newer hot water tanks have a glass coated tank. Does this matter? If so, how do you remove this coating? Thx

12/15/2007 10:59:17 AM

greenarrow: Don't use the aluminum pole. It is possible to get a hot enough fire to melt it. In addition, 4" is not a sufficient size. Use steel. To the rest of you, those plans in the image gallery are sufficient. Using Firefox, zoom the plans image on the last page to 125%. it is readable. Anyway it wouldn't take much imagination to fill in the blanks on this project, it's meant to be customizable.

12/15/2007 1:55:18 AM

Nice site

12/14/2007 9:27:15 AM

Could I please have a copy of the plans and drawings? The image is too small for me to make out. Thank you

12/12/2007 4:22:44 PM

Nice site

12/10/2007 1:56:56 AM

Could you please send me a copy plans and/ or drawings? I can't make out some of the measurements? Thx

12/9/2007 6:30:24 AM

I've just been given an aluminum pole that used to hold a 30mph sign. It's only about 4" in diameter but could it be used as a flue for a small wood burner?

12/8/2007 11:09:21 PM

can i please have a copy of the plans and drawings, those provided do not have enough information thanks

12/6/2007 7:13:22 PM

would you send me the drawings and plans for the stove. Thank You

12/6/2007 10:17:03 AM

very interesting, i'd like to see a drawing, and instructions for the stove, thx

12/6/2007 10:14:57 AM

interesting idea. i'd like to see the drawing of it. thx

11/29/2007 9:41:49 PM

Can you please send me drawings for the fabrcation ofthe wood burning stove! Thank-You very much! Pete

11/20/2007 9:52:53 PM

A friend and I bought the plans and built one of these when this article first came out.He had found some sort of tank shorter and squater than a HW heater tank. It had about a 3/8th in wall thickness! It worked like a charm. We had it in the basement. It burned very slowly. I've only recently moved to an area where almost everyone has a woodstove. Most of them seem to be 'wood burners' compared to the one I describe above. I think I will go look for a HW heater tank and someone with some welding equipment.

Heidi Hunt_2
11/19/2007 9:21:34 AM

The drawings are in the Image Gallery at the top right of the article.

11/17/2007 4:47:57 PM

Please send me the drawings for ther fabrication of the wood burning stove. Thanks you Jeff

11/14/2007 10:02:23 AM

Greg, I'm assuming that the tank should be from an electric heater because the gas models have an exhaust pipe running the length of the tank to vent exhaust gases up and into the vent pipe. Seems to me that, with a little skill, one could overcome the problem, assuming that you have a gas model at hand.

11/5/2007 5:50:27 PM

Can someone tell me why the wood burning stove should be made out of an electric water heater as opposed to a gas water heater? thanks.

11/4/2007 6:14:38 PM

please send me the drawings for the fabrication of the wood burning water heater stove thank you

Heidi Hunt_2
10/18/2007 2:28:04 PM

We do not have any further information or illustrations for this project.

10/18/2007 1:31:59 PM

I am looking for more DETAILED "step by step" instructions on how to build the Water Heater Wood Stove. The drawing alone doesn't provide enough info. Are there written instructions available? Thank you!

10/15/2007 1:26:11 PM

I am looking for more DETAILED "step by step" instructions on how to build the Water Heater Wood Stove. The drawing alone doesn't provide enough info. Are there written instructions available? Thank you!

10/9/2007 3:24:58 AM

Do you buy or build the hopper door? if you buy it where? Thanks

Heidi Hunt_2
10/4/2007 2:47:03 PM

The illustrations and photos are in the Image Gallery at the top right of the article.

10/4/2007 2:15:10 PM

cant find pics for water heater wood burning stove please let me know thanks Jake

9/26/2007 3:11:19 PM

thanx for the article appreciate it now to get started building the wood stove will post photo once it is done

9/4/2007 12:08:01 PM

I cannot find the drawings for the amazing 500.00$ wood burning stove if you can please help me. Thank you in advance. Sergio

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