The Waste Oil Stove

A few years ago I read an article by an American guy about building a stove to use old waste engine oil.

At the time I was saving old oil to use with a chainsaw that I used to cut firewood and had rather a lot so I decided to build one of my own to use up some of this oil.

After re-reading the article I set about determining the requirements for the stove and acquiring bits.


I decided to make the body of the stove from an old propane tank. This would need a tank to hold the oil, a chimney and a blower fan to make starting easier and combustion more complete, although this is by no means essential.

The Build

The oil tank was connected by a pipe and valve into the top of the stove. The oil dripped out of the pipe and down onto a tray arrangement mounted at the bottom of the propane tank.

The tray arrangement had a small grid on top of a saucer shaped dish.

I cut an access door into the side of the propane tank.

The chimney was mounted near the top of the propane tan, using an elbow. This chimney was about 80mm diameter because that was the tube I had.

On the top of the propane tank I mounted a short duct to hold the fan. The fan was a single speed so I added a moveable restrictor to throttle airflow if needed.


I placed a small piece of combustible material onto the grid and added a small amount of spirit. I lit this and left it to burn for a few minutes.

When the grid and tray was warm enough to ignite the oil ( a matter of trial and error) I turned on the oil valve slightly ( fast drip). The oil ignited and burned. I switched on the fan with the restriction in place to give a bigger flame.

Once the flame was well established I removed the restrictor and re- adjusted the amount of oil dripping into the stove.

Oil usage was about half a ( UK) gallon per hour when fully firing, but no attempt at fine regulation was made.


This  was only ever a test stove but was a huge success and produced loads of heat.

The outside glowed nearly white after about an hour, indicating that either the heat needed to be less or the propane tank needed internal insulation. The above two photos show just after lighting and again after half an hour.

The stove was outside a 20 foot square garage, but the heat could be felt near the back when fully firing.

Future Mods

I would fit a smaller fan and add electronic speed control instead of the restriction.

The oil being dirty, tended to clog the valve so I would ad a filter, or pre- filter the oil.

The oil tank would be better with an oil level indicator.

The chimney was fine for testing but was only short. A longer chimney would probably need to be about 100mm diameter.

The access door was crude and had gaps, this could be a better fit.

The grid that the oil dripped onto could be smaller diameter bars, I used about 6mm.

Author: trebor

I am a retired engineer who likes to keep busy with various projects. I am married with two grown up children and live in Yorkshire the north of England and have lived in my present house since 1978.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *