Category Archives: Cooking

The Ultimate Wood-fire Stove, Oven, Fireplace & Water Heater all in one!

This ones going to be a good one!

After building my cabin in the woods (on a friends property out in the country) it needed some sort of heater for those cold winter nights.  Not to dissapoint, I want to combine an open log fire with a stove and radiant-heat 2 shelf oven. Now on top  of all that, it wouldn’t be complete without a hot water heat exchanger for uninterrupted piping hot water for the outdoor shower and kitchen sink. All this free energy by simply keeping the fire going in the belly of the beast.

IMG_9291This project came to me after spotting this gem, alone and desolate on my wife’s parents property.

IMG_9290It doesn’t look like much now, but I have a keen eye for its hidden beauty and what it would later become. Saying that, Barry was happy for me to take it away.

IMG_9302It turns out to be an old vintage compressor and air cylinder used back in the old days to pressurize the house water system by purging compressed air into the water supply giving the facets and showers more water pressure.

IMG_9734IMG_9733Now back at the workshop, its time to Frankenstein this diamond in the rough and bring it back to life after years of neglect.

IMG_9743Door opening cut, top sliced level ready to attach the hot plate.

IMG_9740The old inspection hole had to be removed to take out the rubber gasket, then ground back to bare metal so I could weld her shut.

IMG_9899I decided to weld it on inside-out. It was far easier and you wont see it as i have made that the back.

2015-10-06 11.54.41_resultUsing the plasma cutter to cut out the hole for the flu/chimney.

2016-03-17 08.37.29_resultNext to start on was the heat exchanger. The circle represents the chamber diameter, so the principal behind it is the cold water will be in a tank higher than the fireplace,  the cold water will travel down the pipe with gravity, heat up in the coil and as hot water rises, will start to travel back out and up the pipe back into the bottom of the tank thus creating a gravity recirculating hot water heater!.

2016-03-17 18.45.27_resultI missed out a few photos here but here is the heat exchanger installed. The rest of the plumbing will probably be done in copper. You can also see i have started the doorway for the door and the grill.

2016-03-17 18.25.49_resultHere’s the grill.  Made from 19mm solid round bar, this thing is going to take a beating over its lifetime.  The shape has been made to match the inside of the fireplace but also fit out the door on the diagonal for when its time to clean out the ash.

2016-03-17 17.43.17_resultHere you can see the deflector plate installed to block the chimney. Getting a few tips of my mate who’s a fireplace installer, this is a necessary part of any fireplace. It basically stops the majority of the flame and more so the head flying straight out the chimney. Without it the chimney will cause a vacuum effect and be a terrible heater burning a lot of wood quickly. The plate is made from 12mm steel and allowing the flame to work its way around the plate and up the pipe.

2016-04-04 14.18.42_result2016-04-04 14.18.52_resultI had this made today, its a stainless flu adapter to go from the 139 x 6mm pipe I have coming out of the fireplace and adapting to 150mm for the stainless chimney. 150mm is a standard size in the fireplace business so making this made sense.

2016-04-04 11.36.10_resultNow on to the hot plate and side oven. The hot plate is 10mm plate, 400 wide x 1m long. The concept behind this is, when using the stove top just like at home using pots and pans, if its too hot in the centre, simply slide your cooking vessel to the right or left to the desired temperature.  Its a shit load easier that trying to control the heat/flame in the fire.  The oven is going to be run of radiant heat from the wall of the fire. It’ll have a mid shelf installed, and I plan on being able to use it for cooking roasts, stews, bread, baking bloody whatever!

Stay tuned for more progress to come!







Beer Keg BBQ / Grille

So I like making things from beer kegs. So what.

Their cheap (usually free), universal and made from stainless steel. A great platform for a cooking device. Very Australian and will last forever, never rust, nothing to break, easy to transport, the list goes on.

In this post I will be making a coal fueled bbq/grille from a brand spanking keg. Nothing special, just a reliable cool bbq / smoker built to last.

IMG_5514Here’s the keg. Brand spanking new, never used.  Time for the chop!

IMG_5527So I have cut it in half and fabricated some simple legs to keep it 50mm off the ground, stable and level.

IMG_5526 The rear of the legs will also act as a rest for the lid when open.

IMG_5528Using simple stainless door hinges I then cut them down and welded them on.

IMG_5525This is me making the grill from 8mm stainless round bar.

IMG_5608Clamping the grill to the table to keep it straight while welding.

IMG_5610As you can see, a lot of welding/heat.

IMG_5788Here’s the grill fully TIG welded and polished.  Ready for business.


IMG_5789The 2mm stainless coal tray done. Its sitting off the keg by around 30mm this will stop the outside getting hot and burning the deck or grass etc. Also allowing  a little air flow.

IMG_5790Here are the air flow control vents. You could say the bottom one lets the air in to fuel the coals and the top can be used to trap the heat or smoke if you are using it for smoking.

IMG_5785The finished product. Ready to go.



Thanks for reading.  I hope you enjoyed it.


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Beer Keg Roasting Oven

Cooking a good roast is probably my favourite meal to cook. There are a million ways to do it, like in the kitchen on gas/electricity to out in the bush in a camp oven over a fire.  Stainless beer kegs have long been known to be the platform for many cooking devices and contraptions,  there is something very Australian about it and is right up my alley.  I have made plenty of things from kegs and this is one of them.

I hope you enjoy the read and don’t forget to subscribe by pressing the follow button at the bottom right of this page!

P1010966There she is, doesn’t look like much from the outside.

P1010969The inside mechanics. Notice the sliding vents top and bottom used for controlling fresh air flow and heat retention.

P1010993 P1010992Another shot of the vents.

P1010973First, place the the perforated base in.  Obviously removable for easy cleaning.

P1010974Then add the optional fat trap. This is also used for indirect heat cooking which I will explain later.P1010976P1010978Here’s a shot with the grill inserted.  She’s a beauty. Every part custom made from stainless steel.

P1010987 P1010989Now the coal. In these two photo’s I am using the fat catcher, great for keeping the juices for making gravy aka ‘the jus’ haha.  For cleaning purposes I have found it easier to wrap it in foil before use.

P1010990 P1010991Or depending on what you’re cooking, leave it out.

P1010985Oh, thought id mention this beautiful handle for easy carrying. Special thanks to Mark for modelling this shoot. ta.

P1010996Ok, so she’s ready to light. How does one light the coals without any fuss? With the custom coal lighter of course! Just place 9 Jiffy lighters on something non-flammable,  fill the coal lighter with coal and place over the lit Jiffy lighters.

P1010997 P1010998 P1010999Give it about 2 beers and the coal will be ready.

P1020003The rosy coal ready and waiting – in a small, safe,  carry-able container to pour into the keg oven.

P1020007Mix with a few cold coals to add to the cooking time.

P1020009Today I’m cooking a juicy pork butterfly leg.  Now just close the lid.

P1020015 P10200141.5 hrs later and its ready to eat.  yum. There’s no limit to what you can cook in this keg. Pizza, bread, fish, veggies, meat whatever.

The beauty of this invention is the added function of being able to control the heat through the vents. The bottom on controls the air flow to the coals and the top vent controls the rate to which the heat escapes.


This blog post was picked up by an editor named Ildar Sadykov working for a Russian DIY magazine in Moscow called CAM – A DIY mag for home handyman and the like,  to which he asked if it could be featured in is next issue, needless to say I said yes.

A top bloke he is, even sent me a copy!! Many thanks Ildar. Ill pop over for a beer one day and bring it with me and we can cook up some shashlyik . 🙂

Have a read guys! just use your smartphone and the google translate app and hover the camera over the text for instant conversion to English.

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Engine Bay Pie Warmer

I have always wanted to try this theory of using your car engines heat to cook or warm food.  Recently i did a body-lift on my 4wd and as the engine is bolted to the chassis, the engine basically has dropped in my engine bay. After removing the plastic cover off the engine (which served no purpose) i had plenty of room and mounting points to bring this project to fruition.

I hope you enjoy the read and don’t forget to subscribe by pressing the follow button at the bottom right of this page!

Cardboard templateFirst i made a cardboard template to a size i thought fit best.

Cardboard template flatAfter some slight changes a more accurate one was made.

Sheet metal patternThen a stainless steel pattern was made off the cardboard one.

Folded trayAfter folding.

The lid on.Then the lid was made, and all corners TIG welded.

Copper heat exchangerAfter adding mounting spacers, and holes the copper heat exchanger was born. This will be used to carry hot water from the engines heater pipes and radiate through the base of the pie warmer.

Bottom coverThen a stainless steel cover plate was fitted to hold the heat exchanger tight against the base. This would also absorb more heat.

Fitting the pie warmerThen the completed unit was fitted into the engine bay and tested.


IMG_3726After a bit of playing around i added a filling point. This serves to fill the heat exchanger and coolant system from the vehicle and also, as it is above the radiator now, the highest point which also is used to release any air pockets in the system.

To date this unit works great. Not as hot as i first expected, i think its because my car is a fairly modern diesel engine and they run pretty efficiently not producing much heat to start with. (its a 2.5L Turbo Diesel Nissan Navara D40) The pie warmer runs at about 45C after about 30mins of driving.  Funnily enough when i turn the engine off the temp gets up to about 55C. Many times working on site we have put our lunch in there being leftovers from the night before for example and it perfect!

Thanks for reading!


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