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Thread: Resurrecting Jamesí How to Build a Gimbaled Stove Thread

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    Default Resurrecting Jamesí How to Build a Gimbaled Stove Thread

    On another thread, a couple of people asked whatever happened to the thread mentioned in the title. I asked myself the same question. Imagine my surprise, when, looking for something else on my hard drive, I found that I had saved a copy of the thread.

    So, in the spirit of public service, I am re-posting the how-to parts of that thread. I won't bother re-posting all the discussion and comment that came after, as those will likely spontaneously regenerate.


    Build your own gimballed boat stove -- step-by-step, by James McMullen

    A steaming mug of piping hot tea or coffee or soup is often all that stands between abject wretchedness and a brisk but exhilarating sail this time of year. But the trick of cooking aboard a little boat while underweigh requires a stove that is gimballed and will keep the kettle in its place no matter how much the boat heels or pitches. I got a nifty new little backpacker's kettle from REI this x-mas that just needs a stove to fit it and I'll be all set.

    I used to have a commercial version of this kind of gimballed boat stove called the SeaCook, but I sold it along with the boat it was in a couple of years ago, and when I went to look into a replacement to put aboard Phoebe, I experienced some horrible sticker shock. These things were ex-pen-sive! Well phooey on that! My shop gets lonely and misses me if I'm away for longer than 24 hours in a row anyways, so I went in today and made one out of a simple Coleman camping stove I already owned for the cost of just a couple of used sauce pans from the local thrift store.

    Here's a step-by-step guide for any of you others who need to make one for your own boat.

    Start by heading to the local Goodwill or garage sales or equivalent and get a couple of cheap saucepans to use for materials. You can use steel or aluminum pans, but aluminum is easier to cut and drill with basic shop tools. These heavy-wall aluminum pans I got cost me all of nine bucks for the pair of them. You'll want a pair with straight walls that nest, and make sure that the smaller one is big enough that the pots or kettles that you plan to cook with will be able to fit down inside it as well.

    The pots:


    The single-burner Coleman stove designed to screw onto a standard propane bottle (I've had this thing for years):


    And that sexy new GSI camp kettle--which almost certainly cost more than the entire stove, actually:
    Last edited by AJZimm; 02-12-2018 at 01:26 PM.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

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    Default Re: Resurrecting Jamesí How to Build a Gimbaled Stove Thread

    Great news! Thanks!

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    Default Re: Resurrecting Jamesí How to Build a Gimbaled Stove Thread

    Build your own gimballed boat stove -- step-by-step, by James McMullen

    We'll cut up the larger saucepan to make the rings for the two-axis gimbals. Scribe a line around the base of the pot just above the curve into the bottom by resting your scribe on a spacer block of an appropriate height. . . .



    And then scribe another line 3/4 of an inch higher. This marks the top and bottom of the first ring you'll cut out.



    Now cut that out! If you don't have a metal-cutting bandsaw at your disposal, then just use a hacksaw or a sawzall or something. Aluminum cuts pretty easily after all.



    Of course, if you were a real bad-ass Master Carpenter, then you'd skip all that sissy measuring and scribing nonsense and just cut 'em by eye with a wormdrive!



    Next, remove the handle from the smaller, inner pan by drilling out or filing off the rivets that held it on. Here's the stack of parts after cutting. I've left the top section of the large pan thicker and kept the handle attached to make the outermost gimbal frame from. Use files or sandpaper to remove any burrs and smooth and round over the edges of everything to make it friendly to handle. I suppose you could even make that cut-off pot bottom into a camping plate or something if you really wanted to. . . . .
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

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    Default Re: Resurrecting Jamesí How to Build a Gimbaled Stove Thread

    Build your own gimballed boat stove -- step-by-step, by James McMullen

    Now I busted off the plastic handle to expose the metal tang (by giving it a hearty smack with the sledge--flew to pieces in one go), and bent the tang around into a "U" shape. This tang will fit into a hardwood mounting block to support the stove from the galley counter edge aboard the boat when it's in use.




    Now we will start making the pivots. I am using simple 1/4" stainless machine screws for the pivot bolts, so I measure for and drill a pair of 1/4" holes 180 degrees from each other in the rim of the inner pot, just below the rim. These two holes ought to be made to line up pretty accurately right through the center of the pot. The
    bolts are put through, and a nut tightened down to pin them good in place.

    The first ring is drilled with a pair of holes to match and fit over these protruding bolts, and then carefully measured to lay out a second pair of holes and bolts at 90 degrees to that first set. The outer frame will need to be cut and bent outwards to fit concentrically around the inner ring. Be sure that you leave swinging room for the outside nuts when you lay out for these last pivot holes.

    Last edited by AJZimm; 02-12-2018 at 03:03 PM. Reason: fixed incorrect image references
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

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    Default Re: Resurrecting Jamesí How to Build a Gimbaled Stove Thread

    Build your own gimballed boat stove -- step-by-step, by James McMullen

    You'll want to test the gimballing to make sure that everything can swing freely enough. I used cap-nuts for the outer nuts, partially to make it fancy, but even more to make it so that I could cinch down the nut tight while still leaving slack so it would swing. Here's a trick to find out how long to cut a bolt off to leave this slack: put on a regular nut over washer(s) of the right thickness so that when the bolt is cut off flush with the nut, when the washer's removed it leaves just enough slack when the cap-nut's cranked tight. (You might have to trial and error this first depending on your brand of fastener.)




    Now that the gimbals are complete, we move to fitting the burner itself into the assembly. I wanted to make sure that the stove could be easily unplugged from the gimbal assembly so that it could still be used ashore when required, so I made it as a simple drop-in mounting.

    Place the burner on top of the inner pot to mark how much needs to be removed, cut it off with the hacksaw, and file the sharp edges smooth. You want it to fit fairly tightly in the pot so it can't slosh around too much.




    The bottom cutout needs to be big enough to not obstruct the air intake vents. On this pot, the size matched the flat part of the bottom almost perfectly.

    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

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    Default Re: Resurrecting Jamesí How to Build a Gimbaled Stove Thread

    Build your own gimballed boat stove -- step-by-step, by James McMullen


    So we chuck up a metal-cutting blade in the jigsaw, drill a pilot hole to start, and cut it out. After filing the burrs off, we check for fit. . . .perfect!




    And the view from the inside:



    Now let's put it all together and check that everything works. I'll just hook that u-shaped tang over the edge of my vise since I haven't made that mounting block quite yet. There's a shorter, stubbier kind of propane bottle that they sell for camping, but I didn't have one of those at the shop. No matter, it uses the exact same threaded fitting as a standard propane torch bottle, so we can use one of those just as easily. The burner is threaded onto the bottle and then dropped into the gimbals.



    There's plenty of free-swinging motion available, and the weight of the fuel bottle down low coupled with the high-up pivot points give it a very comfortingly low center of gravity. I don't think I'll have any fear of it throwing my kettle out on the floor.



    Got a match? Now let 'er rip! Burn, baby, burn!
    Last edited by AJZimm; 02-12-2018 at 01:19 PM. Reason: added missing image
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

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    Default Re: Resurrecting Jamesí How to Build a Gimbaled Stove Thread

    Build your own gimballed boat stove -- step-by-step, by James McMullen


    Gee, after all that hard work, I could really go for a cup of tea right now.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

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    Default Re: Resurrecting Jamesí How to Build a Gimbaled Stove Thread

    Apologies for the typo in the thread title. There doesn't seem to be any way to edit it.

    Here endeth the public service announcement.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

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    Default Re: Resurrecting Jamesí How to Build a Gimbaled Stove Thread

    You rock!

    Scott should give you a free pass for one otherwise ban-able offense.

    Thanks again.

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    Default Re: Resurrecting Jamesí How to Build a Gimbaled Stove Thread

    You'll want to test the gimballing to make sure that everything can swing freely enough. I used cap-nuts for the outer nuts, partially to make it fancy, but even more to make it so that I could cinch down the nut tight while still leaving slack so it would swing. Here's a trick to find out how long to cut a bolt off to leave this slack: put on a regular nut over washer(s) of the right thickness so that when the bolt is cut off flush with the nut, when the washer's removed it leaves just enough slack when the cap-nut's cranked tight. (You might have to trial and error this first depending on your brand of fastener.)
    I wish I had know that trick before I started cutting and filing bolts for my stove.

    Thanks for posting this, Alex.

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    Default Re: Resurrecting Jamesí How to Build a Gimbaled Stove Thread

    Thanks for reposting, Alex! Iím not sure why it keeps vanishing off to become an internet ghost, but Iím glad this thread is back. Itís probably just because it was written so long ago, and the internet is fundamentally somewhat ephemeral. Anyways, Iím delighted if it can be of use to anyone who wants to bash up their own gimballed stove. It was a fun project!

    Phoebe, for whom that stove was made, has a new owner and lives in Seattle now.
    Last edited by James McMullen; 02-12-2018 at 05:38 PM.

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    Default Re: Resurrecting Jamesí How to Build a Gimbaled Stove Thread

    AJ, let me add my thanks for bringing this back . . . .



    Rick

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    Default Re: Resurrecting Jamesí How to Build a Gimbaled Stove Thread

    I'll add my thanks to Alex. And to James.... wherever he is.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Resurrecting Jamesí How to Build a Gimbaled Stove Thread

    Thanks for that. I guess many folks will find this very helpful.
    I build a quite similar gimbaled stove after reading James thread some time ago.
    Iīm very happy with it.
    Cooking espresso while sailing rocks!


    P1040935 by capitan Max, on Flickr

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    Default Re: Resurrecting Jamesí How to Build a Gimbaled Stove Thread

    Wow, I think this is the second time this fantastic how-to has been "resurrected"... and I'm very thankful that you could do so, Alex! (I've still not built mine, but it just got bumped another notch higher on the to-do-list.)

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    Default Re: Resurrecting Jamesí How to Build a Gimbaled Stove Thread

    A trip to the junk store might yield some Stainless pots and pans, which may be an upgrade (albeit more work) to a most excellent inspiration.
    Thanks for bringing it back!

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    Default Re: Resurrecting Jamesí How to Build a Gimbaled Stove Thread

    Gimbaled aluminum canoe & boat stove.... Not for use on wooden craft...

    Last edited by DeniseO30; 02-13-2018 at 11:50 AM.
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

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    Default Re: Resurrecting Jamesí How to Build a Gimbaled Stove Thread

    Its good to see this posted again, there are fewer and fewer really cookers available that are suitable for small boat cruisers, or even small cabin yachts. I built my own, a non gimballed one, from pots from a "Goodwill" type store. The pots act as both the frame and the windshield, I got a billy, a pot and a kettle that fitted perfectly from the same place. They're not "marine" so in 10 years or so they'll be throwout material but in 10 years, I'll have a lot of good memories of hot meals in adventurous places.

    Something that I'd like to add, is that its helpful to locate your stove as close to the boats axis of roll and pitch as possible. Out near the gunwale the stove will be moving up and down as the boat rolls, if its too high it will be moving from side to side, same applies lengthwise. In my current small cabin sloop I have the cooker about 200mm above waterline, 2/3 the way back from the bow, and very close to the centreline. I don't need it to be gimballed there, even when the boats rolling about as the movement there is very gentle.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

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