Jim Wood's
SUPER CAT Alcohol Stove

Selected Emails

Received: Jan 30, 2005


Thank you very much for posting the super cat stove plans. I have been fiddling with pop can stoves unsuccessfully for a few days, and finally saw your post. I followed your plans exactly, and was very happy with the results. I also constructed a small simmer ring of aluminum from a pop can, that covers the bottom set of holes. This works great also. Thanks again!

Scott Rose

Emails from Zen Seeker, an authority on all kinds of backpacking stoves, can be found here.

Received: Feb 1, 2005

I saw your alcohol stove posted on tonight and would like to link to it on my webpage if that's ok with you. Great Job!

Reggie Duke

Received: Feb 5, 2005

I can't believe I lucked out and came across your stove on backpackinglight. I became interested in alcohol stoves last year and bought one that I saw on the web. While I loved the lightness, I was disappointed in the stability. The stove and pot tipped too easily. But it didn't put me off alcohol stoves. I figured I just wait around for another design.

AND I can't believe I found one that I could actually make. I'm a 44 year-old-mom who is so not-handy with tools. I barely use scissors! Your directions explained everything, but the pictures of the pot and tools are what did it for me.

I immediately went to the store and bought 3 cans of cat food. I thought I'd screw up the first 2 and have a chance of getting it right on the third try. But I got it right the first time around because your directions were so precise.

You were right. It took me all of 15 minutes and now I have this cool little lightweight stove.

Now, if someone can figure out a way to use this stove for simmering, I'll be a happy little camper (pardon my cliché). I do have an ultralite backbackers grill. I can use that to hold the pot over the stove at the right height to simmer and change out stoves since I made 2 so far. I guess its my turn to experiment. Anyway, thanks!

Tracy Novak

Received: Feb 13, 2005


I found an improvement that helps speed up the preheat time. I made a ring out of aluminum flashing 2 7/16s outside diameter with a 1" hole in the middle. It does help, and is easy to make.

TurkeyBacon suggested using a pop can end with a hole in it, I just thought flashing was easier!

In some of the hiking forums, I have come across folks trying to make stoves, and I suggest yours!


Received: Feb 13, 2005


You actually place it into the top, it sets on the small lip that is left from the old top, and leave it in. As for stability, other than JB Welding a base off a bigger aluminum cat food can, that would serve as a base and for dribbling a few drops of fuel on to help speed up preheat.

Have you bought a punch from Harbor Freight yet?


----- Original Message -----

From: "Jim Wood" 
To: "'Bruce Strickling'" 
Sent: Sunday, February 13, 2005 3:55 PM
Subject: RE: SuperCat

> Bruce -

> I assume you place the new piece over the top of the stove, then leave it in
> place when the pot is applied? I'll have to give it a try myself. By the
> way, probably the most asked for enhancement, at least according to some
> the email I've received, is to find a way to make the stove a little more
> stable on uneven ground. Any ideas?

> Thanks very much for your feedback...

> Best regards,
> Jim Wood.

Received: Feb 13, 2005


"Super Base"

Here is my suggestion, use 1/2" and push it over the bottom. I rolled the inner edge over, toward the open end, so the inner will slide all the way thru. Or leave the lip from the lid and use it as a stop.

You may want to use less than 1/2", as it is very tight. Anyway this will give you another option!


Received: Feb 13, 2005


I like the brunton outfit, it looks like it might work with the wide base!


----- Original Message -----

From: "Jim Wood"
To: "'Bruce Strickling'" 
Sent: Sunday, February 13, 2005 8:33 PM
Subject: RE: SuperCat, SuperBase

Bruce -

Very nice and thanks for the picture.

An approach I was considering was to use a hose clamp around the bottom of
the can to secure 3 feet that could serve as a tripod. I sometimes use tripod feet on my canister stove ( and it makes a big difference in stability on uneven ground.

BTW, I haven't had a chance to order the Harbor Freight punch yet, but I expect to get to it tomorrow. Great price and sure makes nice holes.

Thanks again,

Received: Feb 14, 2005


I put 4, 1/8" holes in the base, use 2 lengths of coat hanger and you will have more stabilization. You could also use nails or wire and "toe nail" the base to the ground!

Just some ideas,

Response to email received Feb 15, 2005

Subject: Re: Super Cat stove efficiency
To: Alex Lee
Alex -
The amount of fuel (as well as time) required to bring
two cups of water to a boil depends on a lot of
variables such as:
 1. Starting temperature of the water
 2. Altitude (higher means faster boil times)
 3. Wind
 4. Type of fuel used (denatured, methanol, ethanol,
 isopropyl, etc).
 5. Pot diameter (larger is better, to a point)
 6. Lid or no lid on the pot (lids reduce boil times)
 etc, etc.
On average, I find that at approx sea level, using
denatured alcohol, a 5.5" diameter titanium pot, no
wind, 60F water temp, and no lid, it requires around
0.75 fluid oz of fuel to bring two cups of water to a
rolling boil. If the water's colder, I normally use
slightly more (maybe 1 fl oz), which causes the stove
to burn 7-8 minutes.
Hope this helps...
Best regards,
Jim Wood.


Original message from Alex Lee:
I was looking at your design for the Super Cat stove. I really like
the simplicity of it, but how is the fuel use efficiency? How much
does it take to bring 2 cups to a boil? That kind of information
doesn't seem to be on your website.
Thank you!

Received: Feb 20, 2005


I think this is what you are trying to make.......I just bent this one up sort of fast like to show you what I was talking about.......I made this one out of some .012 thick flashing..............The hobby store has some .020 thick, that should work for the bigger bases.

The .012 might work for one just the size for the can to set on. Once you bend it, it adds a lot of rigidity.


Received: Feb 26, 2005

Hi Jim,

FYI, Found this on the web about making alcohol stoves able to simmer.


Tracy Novak

Received: Feb 26, 2005

Found it. This stove really works well. I got the Roper Whitney Jr. No 5 punch they were talking about on backpacking light to make it and it is amazing. Lightweight and works like a charm. Cooked lunch on it.

I tried it using 8 x 1/4" holes and 16 x 1/4" holes above them in a row. Thinking it would be easier to make by eyeballing it like this. But it did not work as well as the attached one with 10 x 1/4" and 20 x 3/16". Check this out if you have not. It is nicely done. I was thinking of trying it on a herdez salsa can, similar in size to a small can of tomato sauce. Same diameter as the cat food can but twice as deep. May take longer to boil the alcohol but it should run long enough to perk a pot of coffee. What do you think?


Received: Feb 26, 2005

Like your stove. Works better with the cat food can than the comparable tuna can. Size matters. The brasslite turbo II f, which I also have, is a little faster, but heavier and not as reliable or as cheap. The Super Cat takes a while to boil the alcohol to push the flames out., longer with the tuna can. The brasslite is an open design and produces a bigger flame ball. Super Cat always gets a boil.. Brasslite is faster but may blow out or burn out before getting to a boil. All in all, I think yours is very cool and a great project for my Boy Scout troop.

Thanks for making at available.