(NaturalNews) After a disaster when power is out, the two most important things people yearn for are heat and food. A rocket stove is a useful survival tool because it produces a very hot flame and needs very little fuel. These stoves are highly efficient?woodstoves, which can also burn coal or other biofuels. They are simple to construct, making sustainable cooking stations that can also be used as heating units at campsites and in your own backyard. Rocket stoves are inexpensive to build, and can be quickly erected from bricks, blocks or stones around your yard. Because they use such a small amount of fuel, they're down right cheap to maintain and can be augmented with solar panels and other modifications to provide a wide range of heating and cooking facilities. If building one for use indoors, remember it needs to be vented.
It's best to build your rocket stove ahead of time, so you have the opportunity to purchase any necessary items; or at least purchase what you'll need and stash the parts somewhere safe for later. Please refer to the links in the Resources section for videos and other photos.
Building a simple DIY rocket stove
1. Clear an area in your yard from grass and debris. Allow enough distance for safety from the house, shed or other structure.
2. Dig a hole deep enough to lay a base with thinner concrete blocks or bricks, laying them flat in the hole. If you have a driveway or patio space, build your rocket stove on the surface to save time and effort.
3. Assuming you're building your rocket stove by digging a hole first -- level the bricks or blocks in the hole, fill part way with gravel or other small loose rock, then top off with a layer of sand. This creates stability. If you don't have gravel or sand, use whatever you have on hand to create a stable base that's as level as possible.
4. Using metal snips and wearing heavy work gloves, cut a hole in the bottom of a #10 steel can to fit around a 4" or 6" wood stovepipe elbow. Slide the elbow into the hole; it should be a snug fit. Remove the top of the can around the can's edge and safely discard the top.
5. Stack the cinder blocks around the edge of the base in a square or rectangular shape to a height of about 18 inches. Height is adjustable. You might need to blow air into the stove to get the fire started, so the final height should be convenient to reach when bending.
6. Lay the can on its side in the center of the base with the elbow pointing upwards.
7. Place blocks, bricks or rocks around the can and pack into place with earth or mortar. Fill in spaces around between the outside of the can and the stones with wood ash, dirt or sand to insulate. If you're using cinder blocks, fill holes with dirt, mortar or sand.
8. Attach a piece of stovepipe to the upward-pointing end of the elbow so that it extends straight up. Stovepipe and elbow should fit snug.
9. Stack additional blocks or rocks around the perimeter of the stovepipe, mortaring into place until you reach the top. Then add one more layer of brick or block around the top edge for clearance from the top of the pipe and the open flame.
10. Fill the block column with dirt, wood ash or sand to insulate the piping.
11. Place a barbeque grill, large cast iron trivet, or a metal tire iron on top of the blocks to finish your rocket stove.
JB Bardot is an herbalist and a classical homeopath, and has a post graduate degree in holistic nutrition. Bardot cares for both people and animals, using alternative approaches to health care and lifestyle. She writes about wellness, green living, alternative medicine, holistic nutrition, homeopathy, herbs and naturopathic medicine. You can find her at The JB Bardot Archives at www.jbbardot.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jbbardot23 or on Twitter at jbbardot23 or https://twitter.com/jbbardot23