There’s nothing like creating your own heat to warm your home. It’s virtually free (with the exception of the time it takes to gather and prepare your wood). Traditional homes can be heated by wood but take much more resources to heat. Wood stoves are ideal for tiny and small homes because they can be heated quickly and don’t take an excessive amount of wood to do so.

For a small home only a small wood stove is needed to heat it. There are many small wood stoves available built by manufacturers. These are a great idea if you have budgeted for such an expense. If you haven’t, or would prefer to build one yourself, here are a couple of alternative traditional wood stove ideas. Enjoy.

Mailbox wood stove

Believe it or not you can use a mailbox to create a wood stove. While I’m not sure how big of an area it can heat, it’s certainly a low cost alternative to buying a traditional wood stove. Naturally the paint that comes with the mailbox is going to burn away after it’s first use since your mailbox wasn’t intended to keep you warm. Give it a solid coat of high-heat paint to keep it pretty and to prevent rust. Cut a 4″ hole on the back to accommodate the stove pipe fittings. A rack can be mounted above the woodstove for cooking, heating water, etc.

Another method is to mount the mailbox sideways to have the flat surface facing upwards for cooking and the front lid to swivel sideways like a traditional woodstove. Holes can be drilled on the side to allow for good airflow. Be sure to drill them near the bottom and not the top to avoid allowing smoke to pour out. Give the back a slight tilt to allow smoke to escape more easily. For mounting the legs, you can get creative as you like. Square tubing is an option, but anything else you can get your hands on that you feel looks nice and will be long-lasting is a good idea. Lastly, be sure not to use a galvanized mailbox. The zinc fumes are toxic when heated.

Propane tank wood stove
Have an old propane tank lying around that could be put to goo use? Turn it into a wood stove! First of all, using a propane tank to create something that will have fire in it can be dangerous. Be sure there is absolutely zero propane remaining in the tank before you even consider using the tank as a wood stove.

I have seen many different styles of propane tank to wood stove conversions. All involve cutting metal so you’ll need the tools to do so. You can mount the propane stove vertically with a door cut and hinged on the side. This method is good if you’d like to place the stove on bricks or something similar because no legs are required. Others cut the end of the bottle off and then reattached with hinged and mount it horizontally. My favorite is the style shown in the video below. The tank is mounted sideways with a door cut along the length. This allows the wood stove to be mounted close to the wall to save space and also the curvature of the tank is above the door so smoke can continue to draw upwards while the door is open.

Ammo box wood stove

An ammunition box can make an excellent DIY woodstove. The H83 style ammo box is a good choice because it is air tight and has thicker metal to put off more heat. Any larger ammo box will probably work. A small grate can be added inside to keep the wood off the bottom and allow air to flow through. Legs can be bolted or welded onto the box. The pipe fitting can be mounted to the back of the box or the top which requires less room for the stove inside your home.

Please note these above ideas are just that, ideas. Use these suggestions at your own risk. If you have built a homemade wood stove or have ideas not mentioned here, please share your story in the comments below.

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