How to Make a Sawdust Stove

Updated March 23, 2017

You can fashion a homemade stove with simple materials. A homemade sawdust stove is a low-cost heating and cooking basic appliance. It burns fuel efficiently, provides heat over an extended time and is one way to be "off the grid." If the cost of heating and cooking are prohibitive, or if you want to live more rustically, a homemade sawdust stove may be for you.

Remove the lid from a large, clean paint can. Cut a 2-inch hole in the bottom of the can.

Place the can on three improvised fireproof legs. For example, use three cement blocks for stability and safety. At this point, the stove is finished.

Burn sawdust. Sawdust burns cleanly and for long periods of time without reloading. Insert a suitable length of water pipe up through the hole in the bottom of the can. Keep the stick vertical and resting on the fireproof bottom. Pour sawdust around the pipe in the can. Tamp the sawdust down as you load the fuel--the more compacted, the better for longer burning. Fill the stove nearly to the top. Add sand or ash over the sawdust.

Twist the pipe as you pull it upward out of the can. This leaves a perfect hole through the centre of the sawdust.

Fold a newspaper page into an accordion, pushing down through the hole until the paper sticks out from the bottom of the can. Light this end. You do not need to attend to the stove again until all fuel is burnt.


A 12-inch stove will burn for about 6 hours.


Always ventilate the room where the stove is located. Do not touch the stove while or after burning.

Things You'll Need

  • Large, clean paint can
  • Sawdust
  • Piece of water pipe
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About the Author

Alyson Paige has a master's degree in canon law and began writing professionally in 1998. Her articles specialize in culture, business and home and garden, among many other topics.