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Old 04-03-2010, 02:45   #1
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Stoves

Personally, I don't like gas. Not only is it hard to obtain in unusual places, it's also darned dangerous unless you're prepared to turn it on and off at source. And that could mean going outside on a cold winter's night. Yuk. I hate the cold. :--))

So I've been looking around for alternatives and found something elegant. A denatured alcohol stove, made in Sweden.

Just two burners comprising tins filled with some absorbent fabric. Fill them up and the fabric absorbs the fluid. Turn the tins upside down and nothing leaks out.

Now then, I have had this stove on test, at home. I cook every night, plus I boil the billy for coffee at least six times a day.

So far, nine days have passed and neither 'element' is showing signs of expiring. I use the right element far more than the left, so the right element should run out far sooner than the left. When it does I shall shift all cooking and coffee making to the left, till it runs out.

The way things are going, it seems to me that just 2 litres of denatured alcohol will last me for well into three weeks of normal cooking and boiling.

One litre costs just NZ$6-00. The stove takes two litres. So NZ$12 for at least three weeks has to be pretty good.

But, there's no spill. No gas. No danger of hidden fumes.

Damned good stove; which seems to be about 85% efficient of a standard electric stove. And it boils water, in the kettle, at about 20% slower than gas.

It brings my pressure cooker up to steam at about the same rate as my home stove.
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Old 04-03-2010, 03:33   #2
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I am also facing the decision of having a full gas installation or simple meth stove. The big origos even have an oven.

I have used both extensively and I do find alcohol to be rather energy inefficient, i.e. it doesn't get heat up particularly quickly. It may be worth paying the small price considering the expense and dangers involved in a gas installation.
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Old 04-03-2010, 05:14   #3
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Also worth checking out availability. Some cruising friends have complained of variable stocks which make it hard to rely on, or you have to carry a lot.
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Old 04-03-2010, 05:35   #4
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Personally, I don't gas or meths. but I do like my kero stove. Safe, hot and easy to use (once one understands exactly how they work). Fuel fairly easy to get and very easy to store. I have had meths and gas and wouldn't go back to either if I had a choice.

However I am happy that your stove is working out for you.
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Old 04-03-2010, 13:49   #5
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WE have an origo stove ( uses denatured alcohol) with two burners and an oven. We love it, if we are having trouble obtaining proper denatured alcohol we have used methyl hydrate, 151 rum and once in a real pinch rubbing alcohol. The quality of the alcohol makes a huge difference to the heat, but other than that we are thrilled with the stove. This is NOT a pressurized stove but passive.
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Old 04-03-2010, 15:04   #6
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I never met a chef that would cook on anything but a gas stove, and propane is a lot better than natural gas. Yes you do have to store it outside and turn it off when not in use, but if you screw up, it's quick and painless.
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Old 04-03-2010, 15:57   #7
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Bingo! Gas - wife cooks. Kero - I cook.

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I never met a chef that would cook on anything but a gas stove, and propane is a lot better than natural gas. Yes you do have to store it outside and turn it off when not in use, but if you screw up, it's quick and painless.
And how tough is it to push a button for a fail-closed solenoid? More to the point, if it's really cold, the gas heater's running anyway.

Hell, I'ld go out in any blizzard to get my wife's cooking.
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Old 04-03-2010, 18:34   #8
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If there's a blizard then the diesel stoves are great (Dickinson, Sigma). They have to be thought of a bit like a wood cook stove and take some getting used to. They take a while to get up to temp but when it's not tropical they can be left on keeping the boat warm and the kettle hot. With a water loop you have hot water also. They burn very little fuel and you ussually have lots of it. The other pluss is that they are vented and with no open flame inside the boat, the CO threat is minimal. But having an alcohol burner for the quick heat is good for the warm climates, Don't forget the charcoal stove on the rail. It's probably the most used...
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Old 04-03-2010, 19:03   #9
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"Personally, I don't like gas. Not only is it hard to obtain in unusual places,"

G'Day dpex,

Cooking prowess aside, if you think that LPG is hard to get in out of the way places (which in our 24 years of cruising it ain't), denatured alcohol is virtually impossible to find in most third world ports. And while stories of using o/p rum as a substitute are cute, it is not a good substitute. First of all, at 155 proof, it is roughly 23% water, and while it will in fact burn, the heat output is markedly reduced. Secondly, there is residual sugar in many rums, and caramalized sugar isn't what you want in your burners!

And finally, I think that a dispassionate look at safety issues should show that while LPG is certainly a POTENTIAL hazard, there are many tens of thousands of LPG equipped yachts bobbing about the seas, and very few seem to have the dreaded explosion. The very fact that insurance companies don't worry too much about properly installed LPG systems should reassure you that the danger is minimal... those buggers are very risk conscious!

All that said, if you are happy with your alky stove, why are you posting here?

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Church Point, NSW, Oz
(complete with about 15 kg of LPG, so beware of us)
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Old 08-03-2010, 12:18   #10
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lorenzo b I have to tell you my husband is a chef...and he does most of the cooking on our boat cause he likes cooking more than I do. Boat is NOT the same as work in his opinion and mine as well. We are cruising right now and have thus far been able to find our fuel easily. Propane here would however be difficult.
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Old 17-04-2010, 07:08   #11
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Fuels

I circumnavigated and went to 26 countries and never had a problem getting Propane, cheap. Can it be dangerous? yes, but so can any other fuel. Alcohol and kerosene are almost impossible to find and when you can, they are very expensive.
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Old 17-04-2010, 10:12   #12
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I circumnavigated and went to 26 countries and never had a problem getting Propane, cheap.
How did you deal with the different hose/tank fittings, the different tank inspection requirements, propane vs. butane markets, and re-fill versus canister exchange cultures ?

That is not a rhetorical question, I've run into all those problems just between the US and the Scandinavian countries.


-Sven

(I'll stay out of the rest of the discussion since I already made my points in the Can an Alcohol Stove Boil Water ? thread )
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Old 17-04-2010, 13:10   #13
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How did you deal with the different hose/tank fittings, the different tank inspection requirements, propane vs. butane markets, and re-fill versus canister exchange cultures ?
No probelm from us. Propane and butane are interchangable. Its available in all 3rd world countries because thats what they cook with. The drink alcohol (even the Muslims!).

in some places Europeas, or now we are in Europe, have difficulties with the fittngs. Just buy the new fitting and decant a local bottle into your own. Not hard get with another cruiser and share a 12 kg bottle and save big bucks


And safe! the only fire on a boat I have ever been on was with an alcohol stove. Mum nearly blew us up but dad and me saved the day! We squirted the crap outta the galley with extinguishers! It didn't put the fire out but was great fun Mum used a fire blanket to put it out. It took the old [[[Edited out "Bitch" and replaced with "Great Ol Duck"]]] (See post Below) months to get the white powder from the fire extinguishers out of the Galley. All the food tasted weird for ages...
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Old 17-04-2010, 13:28   #14
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Origo YEA!

Love my alchohol stove.

I can't believe someone would refer to a Mother in those terms you might want to edit that.
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Old 17-04-2010, 13:35   #15
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I can't believe someone would refer to a Mother in those terms you might want to edit that.

Changes made. Thanks for the heads up. there may still be slight chance of some inheritance....
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