The blizzard that hit the northeast states recently left many without power, running water, or heat. I was one of the many who found myself in this predicament, envying those neighbors of mine with generators. Luckily, my homemade wood gasification stove, fashioned from tin cans, saw me through the worst parts. One of these is super easy to make, and I was inspired by this simple instructional video:
When my wife and I awoke the first morning after the storm hit and were still without electricity, I loaded the stove up with scrapwood, grabbed the grill from our toaster oven, and brewed some espresso in the Moka Pot.
Then Melody started work on breakfast - scrambled eggs and toast! We cooked it up on the living room floor, just making sure to keep the stove on top of a few ceramic plates for heat dissipation. Be sure you're adequately ventilated when using one of these stoves- these gasses are not so safe to breathe in large quantities.
After nightfall the house would get really chilly so we curled up and played some scrabble or listened to the radio, generating heat with the stove one batch at a time. By breaking up the combustion process into discrete parts, this stove generates an even, virtually smokeless heat. All that's left at the end is a small pile of ash. All you need is a squirt of lighter fluid or rubbing alcohol to get it started. If you have trees nearby you'll be with heat for a long time. This thing can run on twigs!
The next plan is to build an even bigger one with a longer burn time. It was a drag to have to reload the little guy- introducing fresh wood to a live batch seems to disturb the gasification process and generates smoke. A coffee can sized stove would burn for quite a while.