Little Dandy Stove



Materials needed – One 8 ½ x 16 piece of sheet metal. Two standard aluminum tent stakes. One bread wrapper or Ziploc for storage sack.

Tools needed – Ruler (Straightedge), Scribe, Cold Chisel, Round Punch, Hammer, Tin Snips, Hacksaw, Bench/Angle/Disc Grinder, Bastard File, Softwood Block.

Construction – 1) Scribe all cuts on metal to dimensions shown. 2) Make outside cuts on all four pieces with snips. 3) With softwood block, hammer and cold chisel dimple all slot marks and vent lines to depth of one-eighth inch. 4) With bench/angle/disc grinder, grind away (from back) all grooves to create slots and vent openings.  Clean up all sharp edges with file. 5) With round punch  (or drill if you have one) create round holes in like manner as above. 6) With hacksaw, cut tent stakes to proper length and point off with file or grinder. 7) Tune up tabs, slots and holes for easy and quick assembly.

The beauty in “Nomad’s Little Dandy” is its sheer simplicity.  Construction is very easy using common, inexpensive materials.  The stove is lightweight, stores flat, requires virtually no pack space and is a snap to assemble and use. The floor is the secret to the stove’s functionality, for the floor gets the fire off the (usually wet) ground away from the fire-snuffing moisture.  Having an open end instead of a firepot (like most wood burning stoves) permits the use of much larger and longer limbs and sticks.  Once the fire is going the tinder is simply fed into the box as it burns.

Hint – if you burn off the condensed creosote from your pot after cooking, it will still be black…but not dirty!  A little practice and you’ll be boiling with the best in no time; you’ll be toting only four ounces and you won’t need to go to town to refill your bomb canister!

This stove was made in about 45 minutes in my shop with materials from spare gear (and scraps from under my workbench), and then carried and used for the entire 298 days and 4400 miles during “Odyssey ’98.”


The galvanization process coats steel with a thin layer of zinc metal as a way to reduce oxidation (rusting) of the steel. It should be noted that this zinc will be liberated from the steel surface when the stove is new, due to the heat of combustion, producing a toxic vapor. Welders are familiar with this phenomenon, known as ‘zinc vapors’.  Galvanized metal is not recommended, but if you do use it in your project, make sure to burn off all the zinc without inhaling the fumes before using it to cook with. Or better yet, stay away from galvanized metal altogether. You can get plain sheet metal at hardware stores very cheaply.


Below are the templates needed to make the stove. You will need to make 2 sides, a bottom and a back. (An optional front template is also included) You will need to enlarge the templates to the dimensions of each piece.

NOTE: To copy these images from the web page, place your cursor over each template image, right mouse click, then choose “Save Picture As…”. Once you have saved the images, you can then use a graphics program to enlarge them to the width and length stated on the template. It would then be helpful to make cardboard templates to use in cutting your metal.

** These templates are from, where the Nomad’s Little Dandy Stove is among many wood burning stoves they provide information and instructions for.

This video was created by Rick Brinkman of Coffee Creek, MT. After viewing the directions to make the Little Dandy wood stove (above), he decided to build one for himself. Following the templates, but not having any stainless steel, Rick built his out of Delta Rib. This video is his demonstration on the use of the Nomad‘s Little Dandy Wood Stove.

Thank you Rick, for sharing this with us!

Nomad’s Little Dandy

Use kerosene to heat your house,
Save alcohol to rub.
Pump gasoline for your machine,
Choose wood to cook your grub.

The “little dandy’s” cut from tin,
A stove quite well designed.
Tab “A” into slot “B” it goes,
No niftier you’ll find.

So on the trail you’ll want to pack,
This “little dandy” deal.
Six ounces flat, the total tote,
To boil your evening meal.

For armies movin’ in the field,
Bomb canisters are handy.
But for true hikers truckin’ trail—
It’s Nomad’s “little dandy.”

Nimblewill Nomad 2000

“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”

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