COOKING: Build a better, improved concrete block rocket stove from recycled or salvaged materials


  • By: Leon Pantenburg
  • Posted on: April 30th, 2014


In the aftermath of a disaster, such as a tornado, purifying drinking water may be a priority. The quickest, safest method could be boiling. Here’s how to make an effective stove out of salvaged materials.

A tornado could destroy roads and bridges and strand people on the disaster scene.

The tornado (or some other natural disaster) passed, and you’re thankful to be alive. But because the bridges are out or the highways are clogged with debris, immediate help may not be possible. Water sources would probably be unsafe, and  people need to stay hydrated.

Recently, I posted a video showing how to make a biomass stove four concrete blocks, a tin can with both ends cut out and a gas stove eyelet top. The completed stove is sturdy enough to hold a several-gallon container of water, stew or a heavy cast iron Dutch oven.

But a couple readers/viewers commented they had trouble making or finding a three-sided block. I bought mine from the local masonry store, and getting one was not a problem.

But suppose the only materials available must be salvaged from a damaged building? How will you come up with that three-sided block configuration? What if there isn’t such a block in the wall?

I been experimenting with different configurations of this stove, and here’s what I came up with. To make this “new and improved” block rocket stove, here’s what you need:

  • Three single cavity blocks. It doesn’t matter what size they are, as long as they’re uniform. 

    Recently, I posted a video showing how to make a biomass stove out of four concrete blocks. The completed stove was intended to be an emergency item for boiling water that anyone coud make. It worked really well - here is is how to improve on that design for more efficiency.

  • Nine standard-sized bricks.
  • Gas stove eyelet grill.
  • One 2-1/2 size tin can. A tall can, such as the type used for juice, works great.

If you have to buy these materials at Lowes in Central Oregon, the bricks will cost 58 cents each, the blocks go for about $1 each, and the eyelet and can could be salvaged. Total cost would be under $9. If you can salvage the materials, there is no cost.

This stove is designed to get you through an emergency. Concrete blocks are not the best material for a stove, but they will work on a short term basis. If you want to make a permanent stove using this pattern, use fired clay field tiles or chimney flue. Another good idea might be to bury the completed stove in dirt for added insulation and convenience.


p style=”color: #1e1e1e;”>Survival knowledge and practical skills don’t weight anything and you can take them anywhere. Learn this simple stove design and technique, and you may have increased your survival chances dramatically!

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Updated: May 7, 2014 — 1:09 am

The Author


Leon Pantenburg is a wilderness enthusiast, who doesn’t claim expertise as a survivalist. As a newpaperman for three decades, covering search and rescue, sheriff’s departments and outdoor emergencies, Leon learned many people died unnecessarily or escaped miraculously from outdoor emergency situations when simple, common sense may have changed the outcome. Leon now teaches common sense survival techniques to the average person in order to avert potential disasters.

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