How to Make a Barrel Wood Stove

Updated February 21, 2017

Do-it-yourselfers can build a wood burning stove from a spare barrel and a few fittings. Commercial kits gather all the necessary parts and make the task easier. However, the parts can be gathered individually and installed by craftsmen with the proper tools. Make sure the barrel selected for the project is clean and free of contaminants that are flammable or reactive to heat or flames. Components are available for both 35- and 55-gallon drums or barrels.

Place the barrel on its side on the supports included in the barrel stove kit. These supports keep the barrel off the floor and provide air space beneath the barrel to prevent damage to the floor. Drill holes through the barrel at the points of the supports. Insert bolts from the inside, then fasten each bolt with a washer and nut on the outside.

Cut an opening in the end of the barrel that will be positioned towards the room. This opening will be used for adding wood to the fire. Size the opening to correspond to the cast iron fire door purchased as part of the stove kit, or separately. Drill holes at the corners of the area to be cut and use a manual hacksaw or reciprocating saw with a metal cutting blade to cut between the corners.

Install the door unit by drilling holes through the barrel to correspond to the holes in the door frame. Insert bolts from the outside of the barrel and fasten with washers and nuts on the inside.

Cut the opening for the flue or stove pipe vent at top of the barrel, on the opposite end from the stove door opening. Mark the opening and drill a hole along one edge. Use a manual hacksaw or reciprocating saw with a metal cutting blade to cut the rest of the flue hole.

Install the flue unit--a collar that accepts the stove pipe--by drilling holes in the barrel to match the holes in the flue unit collar. Insert bolts from the outside and fasten with washers and nuts on the inside of the barrel.

Things You'll Need

  • Barrel, 55- or 35-gallon
  • Barrel stove kit (base supports, cast iron door and frame, and cast iron flue vent)
  • Stove pipe (same diameter as cast iron flue vent)
  • Power drill
  • Hacksaw
  • Bolts
  • Washers
  • Nuts
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About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.