Life Hacks

Sawdust Stoves – How To Use Abacha Stove

Sawdust can be used for cooking, only that it is in very small pieces which burn away too quickly, with the heat dissipated into the air. If the tiny pieces can be packed tightly together in a confined space the heat can be harnessed for cooking quite efficiently.

Sawdust Stoves do exactly that; compress the sawdust so that it burns in unison, producing heat which is efficiently cooks meals.

For some this is a novelty, while for others sawdust stoves are a lifesaver – without which families would not be able to cook their food.

How To Make A Saw Dust Stove

A sawdust stove can be made using a metal bucket or a disused metal can. The body needs to be cylindrical in form, and the best height is around 1foot or 1.5 feet. The top needs to be around 20-30 cm in diameter, or something that your two fists can neatly enter into.

At the base, you would then need to make an opening, just like common wood stoves have, and the same can be found in some furnaces.

On top of the stove you will have to fabricate grates, or you can put the one you use with your kerosene or gas stove.

A final touch (which is optional) is to coat the metal with cement. If you do this, it will make the stove much more durable, and will extend its lifespan. Most people forgo this, even my mother didn’t use one covered with cement because cement was too expensive.

Having followed the steps outlined above you have a sawdust stove. However, you still need to know how to use it.

How To Use A Sawdust Stove

The first thing to do is to put a bottle in the center of the stove. The purpose will be explained later but ensure that the bottle is in the center; that it does not touch the inner walls of the stove.

Fill the stove with dry sawdust. Push it down until it is well compressed – until it cannot be pushed down any further.

Gently remove the sawdust at the bottom opening of the stove until the bottle is visible.

Now gently remove the bottle. This must be done gently, otherwise the sawdust will scatter, and the whole process may have to be repeated.

When the bottle is removed, you should be able to see the light coming from the bottom opening. That is how the air will pass through the bottom opening, so as to light the fire at the top.

You will then put a few pieces of wood at that bottom opening; it must be just a few pieces, otherwise it will not work because the stove needs air.

It may need something to help it burn; kerosene, petrol, candle-wax, a bit of nylon or even vegetable oil. However, once it starts burning, this is a very effective alternative, and can cook foods very quickly.

When the wood at the bottom burns out, be sure to replace it immediately.

When using a sawdust stove, it is often best to prepare all the ingredients before starting the fire; this is because the stove burns quite hot, and it usually needs some fanning. It is possible to track of the cooking process and the food can get burnt.

Disadvantages Of Sawdust Stoves

The sawdust stove is rarely the first choice of any people because of the following:

Produces Smoke

The stove is not smokeless at all. It is not something for the urban kitchen, and although it has come to the rescue of populations when the regular cooking fuel is unavailable, it is often used outside the house where the smoke can easily dissipate.

Requires Fanning

This is not a stress-free cooking stove; it often needs fanning by the user. Without that the fire soon dies out.

Can Be Quite Messy

Storage of the fuel is the main issue; it has to be kept dry, and away from the breeze. It scatters around the environment quite easily when there is breeze. Furthermore, the fuel doesn’t burn completely and so there is plenty of residue to throw away.

Further Reading:

Sawdust Stoves have saved the lives of literally millions of people. Though they are considered unconventional, they have proved to be an important alternative whenever the popular methods or fuels are unavailable. This technology must not be forgotten – it may still save lives in the future.

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