I’d like to thank Tim Dresser and his Five Towns’ Adult Education Department for providing a means for 7 people to build their own multi-fuel backpacking stoves last night in Camden, Maine.
We reviewed the history of these types of stoves, flame path efficiency, relative merits of using wood, denatured alcohol, and solid fuel tablets, principles of baking on the stoves, and overall safety practices. The room was a science lab, with plenty of outlets for power tools, and large, well-lighted tables for working up the stoves.
I’ve been reading a great book this week, Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up. Little did I realize that a couple of the principles in the book would come into play last night. While working through the process, I left a box of the key part to the stoves at home- the custom-fabricated titanium fire bases were missing!
I didn’t know what to do, and told the class about the problem. While we were working on other aspects of the construction, one of the participants was quietly improvising a solution. He used a felt-tip Sharpie, a pair of my tin snips, and the metal bottom of a 1/2 pint paint can that we had already cut away to create an almost identical part that enabled us to finish the stove! Later, Arnold told us that he was a retired metal fabricator. Within minutes, the rest of the class helped each other out to create their own base plates, even experimenting with fewer or more fins that those on the original titanium bases. I plan to mail each participant their titanium bases today.
I ran a similar stove building course for 10 people on Saturday at Tangelewood 4-H Camp . I expect that at least one of the stoves from these two classes will be at work, perking morning coffee on this frosty Maine morning.