Butterfly 2412 Kerosene Stove Review

This is a review of the Butteryfly Kerosene Pressure Stove #2412 that I recently bought. It is a “Primus Type” stove in the pattern of the original designed in about 1892.

There’s a wiki about the original:


That has a pretty good image of “the original” that my stove does as a “knock off”.

Primus Type Stove

Primus Type Stove

The Butterfly makes a couple of improvements on this basic design, but is basically true to the original design. First off, the burner assembly screws on / off of the tank. There is a nut supplied that closes off the fuel tank when the burner assembly is removed. When in use, they thoughtfully provided a set of threads on the pump handle. The nut screws onto that for ‘safe keeping’ and becomes a nice pump knob.

This makes the butterfly ‘portable’ and also means you can fully seal the fuel tank. The original was always open to the burner, so if transported, it could leak. If the fuel tank vent was closed, changes of temperature would pressurize the tank and cause kerosene to leak out of the burner. The Butterfly lets you seal the tank completely. Nice.

All this makes it sound like a small backpack stove. While it can fit in a pack, it isn’t small. Here is a picture of the stove with a large pot, about 8 inch diameter, on it. The pot bottom says it is a 3 quart pot. In frame are some other objects for comparison. A 1 cup measuring cup (showing the 250 ml side) in the foreground. A one pint Guinness glass and 325 ml MSR red fuel bottle to the other side. Toaster in the background. This is serous stove and can handle a real pot. Not just a dinky ‘trail cup’.

Butterfly Stove side view, with 8 inch pot.

Butterfly Stove side view, with 8 inch pot.

It also came with little rubber feet so is kind to counter top surfaces. It isn’t clear if the Original ever had feet. They would likely have decayed by now, if any kind of rubber.

I ordered the stove directly from the vendor. It is also sold through Amazon, but didn’t see why giving them a ‘cut’ of the action was of benefit.


Since it said “Ships from and sold by St. Paul Mercantile. ” A couple of online reviews said St. Paul Mercantile were good folks with good service, so I decided to just order direct. The product arrived 8 days later, per the order date and UPS notification of delivery. The online order was simple and easy and about the same as Amazon.


When the package arrived, it was the original box inside a shipping carton that was an exact fit. All parts were present and everything looked fine. I assembled the stove and did a test burn. Assembly was easy and everything worked ‘first time’. One small issue was that the included wrench didn’t fit [ See the Update. It fits, but the next nut higher up between burner head and riser tube, not where you would expect.] but just putting the burner assembly on ‘finger tight’ was fine. ( I have strong fingers ;-)

UPDATE #2 on 11 March 2013

Down in comments, John, from St. Paul Mercantile, explains that the burner assembly is to be installed without a wrench. The burner head (or just ‘burner’) joins to the stem pipe with the nut that this wrench fits. The wrench is not for installing the burner assembly (of burner head and stem) to the stove; only for tightening the burner head to the pipe stem. (I presume you find your own wrench for the other nut when doing that tightening).

So, as I speculated in my first update (down below), it is a “feature” in that it discourages using the wrench to install the burner assembly. ( I have also added the word “assembly” in some key places to help make clear that the “burner” isn’t the “burner assembly” that comes already assembled in the box and ready to screw onto the stove by hand.)

That all makes the following picture an amusing testimonial to my ability to “leap to conclusions” and “not follow directions well”, more than any “issue” with the stove or tool. With that, back to the original posting:

Butterfly Wrench vs Nut non-fit

Butterfly Wrench vs Nut non-fit

Not a big deal. I did a ‘test fit’ with a couple of metric wrenches. A 17 mm is too small and a 19 fits, but is a bit loose. Either the nut is an 18 mm (the 19 mm did not feel that loose) or it is something “English” from the original design why back when and the wrench is a metric “almost right”. When I can find my English / SAE wrenches I’ll see if one of them is the right size. As it stands, it looks like the nut size may be a bit off. What is clear is that the stamped steel wrench is useless. (No, the wrench is right for the intended use. I was just trying to put it on the wrong nut. It goes on the burner head where it joins to the riser stem, not to the bolt at the bottom of the burner assembly.)

UPDATE 10 March 2013

I thought about it and realized there is a second ‘nut’ on the burner, just above the “spirit cup”. The wrench does fit that nut. Why the other nut is “almost the same but not quite” is an interesting question, but at least the wrench can be used at that point on the stove.

Frankly, I’d much rather do the “on and off” at the nut closest to the tank (not sending torque through the burner head /stem joint and risking removing the burner head from the stem). In reality, best would be to do “on” at the ‘burner above the stem” nut and “off” at the “nut nearest the tank” (always tightening the burner head / stem joint) but the two nuts are not the same size.

I suppose this might be seen as some kind of “feature”, but I can’t figure out how. (Update2: “How” is that it prevents applying the wrench to that nut to install the burner assembly to the tank; when the wrench is for doing maintenance on the burner head to stem joint. i.e. tightening it if it gets loose.)

At any rate, that answers the question about the ‘nut vs wrench’. As it fits the upper nut, the wrench is sized correctly for some size nut. So it is a non-match between the two nuts that is the source of the “issue”. Left open is the question of “is this a ‘feature’ that is poorly documented in the instructions, or is it a non-spec nut at the bottom of the stem?” (Update2: It is a poorly documented ‘feature’ – or I’m just not good at paying attention to “burner” vs “burner assembly” in directions.)

Back At The Stove

Note that the original stove is called a ‘spirit’ burner. I just ran mine on “Odorless Mineral Spirits” that in the USA are a kind of light kerosene. I suspect it would run on most anything from gasoline to Diesel (as another site claims) but that using gasoline is a bit risky… The tank warms in use and you reduce power by opening a vent to vent vapor / pressure from the fuel tank. Not risky with kerosene; but on gasoline? I’d only try it if in a genuine emergency. There are online sites that state they have run the stove on Diesel and other fuels. The manufacturer says Kerosene. My evaluation is that it would likely work well on other oil like fuels, and even some more exotic fuels like alcohols or naphtha, but with potential risks for the high volatility fuels that are unwarranted unless in a real emergency.

The stove works fine with very little odor at all. I don’t know if it will have more smell on ‘real kerosene’, but I don’t expect much. The way the burner works, at relatively low pressure, and with no valve, means that you shut it off by releasing the air pressure in the tank. Any fuel in the “stem” drains back to the tank and what is left in the burner evaporates and burns, then the flame goes out.

During the assembly, I had run the burner first, then decided to put the pot stand in place. I did this while the stove was running. That was a mistake. While it looked “easy” and just “drop the legs into the bottom pipes”, there was some kind of small burr either on the ends of the legs or inside the holes they entered. The legs slightly ‘hung up’ on insertion. It took some pressure to get them to seat. Then, when time to take the stove apart, it took a bit of ‘persuasion’ to get them back out again. A ‘test fit’ with each leg, twisting with a ‘reaming’ motion, would have removed the burr and made the whole process easier. There is also a slight “splaying” force on the legs when installed. I take this to be a ‘feature’ as it helps keep the burner in place. It would have been nice to discover that without the flame running. So “My bad”. After the first assembly, subsequent assembly was much easier. (Whatever bit of metal was ‘tight’ has been worked down enough to be ‘snug’ instead.)

OK, there was only one issue that was significant.

The Burner Flame is Off Center

There is a defect in the burner assembly. It is designed such that a jet of kerosene vapor squirts toward the bottom side of the end of the burner, that then spreads it out sideways (while warming the fresh kerosene inside that burner head). If the vapor jet squirts slightly off to the side, the whole flame is off to the side. Here’s a picture of the flame, straight down from above.

Butterfly Stove - flame from above.

Butterfly Stove – flame from above.

That flame is OK in an ’emergency stove’, for ‘just need something to cook, anything will do’; but it is not going to give even cooking. Here’s a picture of an 8 inch pot showing that the water is boiling right over the large flame spot, but not evenly around the pot.

8 inch pot 'at the boil' on Butterfly Stove

8 inch pot ‘at the boil’ on Butterfly Stove

To the credit of this stove, it could get that water to the boil without a lid on the pot. Some camp stoves I’ve tested can’t do that in a pot with that much open surface area. A lot of water evaporates as steam taking heat with it. The stove was not pumped up to full power, either. It was at ‘pretty good’. Sound level was about the same as an old Coleman 2 burner gasoline stove on high. Maybe a bit louder. The Coleman single burner 533 Dual Fuel is significantly quieter. In my test boil of 1 pint of water, the 533 Dual Fuel boiled in under 4 minutes, this Butterfly stove in about 10 (but I think much of that was due to the off center flame on the small 1 pint pot not evenly heating all sides).

I intend to buy the “Quiet Burner”, but it isn’t really needed unless you will use this stove as a regular kitchen appliance. I had wanted to order the “Quiet Burner” option, but could not find it on their web site. I was going to order the stove, and that burner as a ‘spare’ and maybe a parts / repair / emergency kit; but being unable to find that “Quiet Burner” listed, decided to just see if I could order the ‘full parts kit’ with that burner via a phone call to the order desk. Now that this burner is defective, all that goes “on hold” while I figure out what to do and contact customer service… The “full spares kit” has a second regular burner in it and comes with washers, gaskets, pump parts the works. It’s about $32 and a “spare burner” alone is about $20, so I presume the “Quiet Burner” is similar. All up that’s over $50 and getting close to the price of a whole stove. I don’t know if the “spare parts kit” can be ordered with the “Quiet Burner” as an option, or if I end up buying 2 burners. Then there’s the risk that this is part of a batch of ‘bad burners’, so not wanting to double my money “in” to get 2 more that are ‘not quite right’… It’s easier to just say ‘OK, it’s not a daily use stove, it goes to the “hell, it’s an emergency… anything that makes fire is welcome” kit/pile’. But we will see what happens after “Adventures In Customer Service Land”. When I get a good burner for it, this may well become a ‘daily driver’ of a stove.

OK, a couple of more quick pictures. Here’s the pot ring shown from below. You can see two things here. First off, it is a bit of stamped sheet metal. The original looks a bit more like a casting. So this is lighter, but seemed to work OK. Second, you can see how the ‘off center flame’ has caused off center heat / scorch marks. Don’t know if that’s a bad thing, or not. It’s not very cosmetic, but I don’t know if sending more heat to one side overheats (and weakens?) that side.

Butterfly Stove pot support ring, bottom view

Butterfly Stove pot support ring, bottom view

If you look at the 2 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 11 o’clock (more or less) positions, you will see the little bent over tabs that the ends of the legs go into. The “L” end goes into those from the outside, then the long leg goes into the little pipes on the side of the fuel tank. Not hard, really, once the long leg ends have had a trial fit / polish.

I love the brass finish of the stove, BTW. The general “fit and finish” of the fuel tank and pump is great. I get the impression that the “new guy” is assigned the legs and such. Inspection of the burner assembly looks like heavy duty copper / bronze and not something where I can just bend the jet into alignment. It looks like the jet screws into a threaded section that is braised / welded onto the center pipe and that the joint there is slightly out of alignment. Attempting to ‘realign’ that by bending is likely to break the weld joint.

I’m not real proud of this next picture. I had to apply extra side light and used my Maglight with the LED bulb. It has a slightly blue light, so we have some blue mixed with incandescent overall lighting. I also could not get my small camera to focus well in this shot. If needed, I can do a ‘re-shoot’ under daylight with the big camera, but I think this shows what is needed. OK, it’s not a Rembrandt… Here we are looking at the bottom side of the burner head. You can see from the soot pattern that the jet of kerosene gas is hitting well off center. (The jet is that blurry dangly bit in the middle of the inner top arch) One side has lots of soot, the other nearly none. The jet ought to be hitting near dead center with more or less symmetrical soot.

Butterfly Burner from Below against paper background

Butterfly Burner from Below against paper background

In Conclusion

The stove is made in Indonesia, but a bit of searching showed the parent company Distributor is in Singapore. It’s a Chinese run company, near as I can tell. In general, the build quality is good. Yet marred by cutting just one or two corners too many. That is a common theme from Chinese companies. Sigh. I wish they would learn that with just a tiny bit more effort on quality inspection and systems (and caring about quality, really) they could make consistently great products with not a significant cost increase.

Looking around, I found several makers in India that produce a similar stove. None imported to the USA near as I can tell. With “per piece” prices of around $10 to $20 (for various stoves like this one, and even some not like this one) I’m tempted to go into the import business… but with the minimum order typically being “one shipping container”, I’d need to find about $50,000 just to place an opening ante. (Wonder if the wife would let me put a second mortgage on the house? ;-) For that, one needs to know what the quality is before making the order. Yet in India, these are the typical “big purchase” for poor rural folks. Not something where they will spend a couple of weeks wages and accept “not quite right”, I suspect. They also have 4 different sizes. But a canvass of local Indian stores showed none for sale here, and an online search showed only one vendor of this kind of stoves. It’s pretty much “Butterfly or nothing” for a “Primus Type” stove in the USA. At least for new ones.

(A bit more searching showed at least one company that will sell as low as 50 units leaving me to wonder just how hard it is to get things from India through customs…)

I’m hopeful that this is just a ‘one bad burner’ issue and that “Customer Service” will make it right. Every product has a few that don’t arrive right, so I’d not hold that against them. A visual inspection of the burner would be hard pressed to find that alignment issue. (A ‘test jig’ would). Yet that does not lend confidence. IFF their QA process can’t catch a bad burner alignment, what’s to say one station doesn’t have a ‘bad jig’ and just keeps turning them out forever? Or that “the new guy” will be making bad ones for a few months while he learns? So I’m not looking forward to playing “Burner Roulette” and finding out how many burners in a row can show up ‘not quite right’. Also not looking forward to “who knows how much time” at the UPS store doing “Ping Pong Shipping”… a series of “ship that one back and we’ll send another” gets old fast. Oh Well. “It is what it is”.

That aside: I generally like this stove more than my Coleman Dual Fuel. The size is too large for light backpacking, but a very nice size for kitchen use. The largest pot I typically use (unless making a major pot of chili…) fits just fine, and I suspect the Major Chili pot would fit too. It would be fine for “car camping”, IMHO. The brass is a joy to look at. The thing is easy to use. Priming is simple (pour methanol into cup. Light.) At about 80% gone, close the vent on the fuel cap, and slowly start to pump. When the kerosene starts to burn, stop pumping until all the methanol is gone. Then pump to whatever power you need. It takes far less pumping than the Coleman and it is just more gentle about it. The needle valve that vents air from the tank to drop power works very nicely. Fine control is possible. The sound level at modest power settings is about like an old Coleman gas stove on high. If really pumped up, it makes a bit more noise, but quite livable. I think with the “Quiet Burner” option it would be easy to live with on a day to day basis.

It heated water for tea nicely, even in a very broad and uncovered pot. With a lid and at power, I think it would be quite fast.

All in all, I like the stove. I’d likely buy another one if I thought it was going to arrive in good order and with all parts working right. As it stands, I’m pondering what other options might exist. As an “emergency stove” it is fine. As a ‘daily driver’, I’d want a proper burner, and likely the “Quiet Burner”. Once done with “Customer Service”, I may yet buy the parts kit and the “Quiet Burner” as an upgrade. For now, I’m making my daily tea on an alcohol stove instead. Not as much fun as this one (no moving parts, and no whooshing sound of power ;-) Also a bit slow… but that’s alcohol for you ;-) In a few weeks, assuming I get an even burner, I’m going to try doing some frying and even a largish pot of beans on it. Two things that are hard to do on smaller stoves. Frying needs even heat, and a pot of beans needs long duration heat after a high power start. Neither usually goes well on small stoves. Somehow I think this stove is ‘up to it’

Oh, and one “hint”: I was resenting a little bit all the fuel value being burned up in the alcohol cup just to warm up the stove. Then I realized (in a “Doh! Moment”) that nothing at all prevented me from setting a pot on top of the stove while the preheat was happening. Heck, it would even help trap the heat near the burner. Also, I filled the cup to the top. At about 3/4 burned, decided to test the kerosene so closed the vent and Very Slowly started to pump just a little. The kerosene vapor started adding to flame immediately, but was a bit ‘billowy’ from the methanol flame disrupting air flow. It looks like you don’t need a full cup of pre-heat when starting from room temperature. I’m going to try 3/4 full next time, then iterate which ever way is needed. In short, the stove warms fast and you don’t need a full cup of preheat fuel; even with that, the ‘start to cook’ can be as soon as you light the alcohol on fire…

Finally: The stove just looks nice. It has writing on it in English that says Butterfly and another script that is a bit exotic. It might be Arabic or it might be something Indonesian. It is highly stylized to hard to say for a non-speaker of whatever it is. But in any case it has an esthetic to it that just oozes “expedition to exotic places”. It’s pretty, and reminiscent of “other times” and “far away lands” in a way that just doesn’t exist anymore in most products. Frankly, I just like the darned thing. In a world of stamped steel and plastic knobs with tiny stoves on hoses to aluminum fuel bottles advertizing some name in bold paint, it is just kind of elegant. I like that.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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33 Responses to Butterfly 2412 Kerosene Stove Review

  1. j ferguson says:

    I wonder if this is the device for which the 18 mm wrenches which seem to come in open-end and box wrench sets is intended. They have never been needed yet by anything I was running. 19 and 17 are frequent but until your stove, nothing 18. forgive the rant, but missing the 13/16 wrench in a multi-wrench set starting at 1/4 and running up to an inch seems amazing given that it is a frequently encountered size. I have both box and open-end sets which denied me a 13/16. Maybe they think you will have sockets for the most frequent use of this size – spark plugs. Or maybe as someone opined on an old airplane thread, the kids don’t buy tools (do you ever see any at harbor freight) but the kids spec the tool sets for Sears.

    I note the Guinness glass in the background – bless you.

  2. j ferguson says:

    I think I’ve just amply demonstrated what an unthinking selfish creep I am, having advertised that I have all these 18mm wrenches and not a nut to use them on, where our hero has an 18 mm nut and no 18mm wrench.

    ah well…

  3. adolfogiurfa says:

    The old good things of life ….when they were produced in the USA, making a real backbone to economy and thus making people live worth full lives.
    In times of a virtual economy and virtual money, where the real value of the Dollar only worths 0.02 of a “Bitcoin”:

  4. Petrossa says:

    Those things burn like nothing else, except where they should :( Had one as young camper.

  5. Crashex says:

    A common component of the backpacking stoves I have used is an extra-heavy aluminum foil/thin sheet heat reflector disc that gets installed below the spirit cup. It reflects the heat from the base of the burner back up toward the pot where it can do some good. For your stove it would also provide a radiant heat shield between the burner and the fuel tank and limit any fuel tank heat rise issues. A fairly simple efficiency enhancement.

  6. John Robertson says:

    18mm & 15mm are cropping up all over, Ford truck are full of them, I think they are conspiring with the tool set makers as none of my old socket sets and wrench sets had 18mm included.
    And of course no cross over to 11/16 or 3/4.
    Its a conspiracy to sell more tools to the few who still fix things.
    Obvious marketing as the number of people willing to get greasy or skin a knuckle shrink.
    We had to fix the junk we drove, where does an 15-18 year old get forced learning today?
    You might find well crafted lamps and stoves in junk stores, but of course the polished brass antique collectors have been there first.
    Most of the retired primus and coleman stoves and lanterns have rotted seals or broken glass.

  7. j ferguson says:

    John Robertson
    I have yet to see my first 18mm hex. My metric tools were bought in 1963 to work on VWs no 18mm, nor 16mm either. I suspect there were none on the 240D, either. My little marine genset is the only metric device now under my care and there are no 18mm hexes on it either. I commented elsewhere that i never see kids at Harbor Freight (less than 50 years old), at least here in Florida. I was corrected that the kids (less than 50 year olds) buying tools tended to be Hispanic and they are there. I love it. more power to them. tools and scars on your hands are a certain sign of character.

    I don’t think there were any 15mm on the VWs I worked on, but plenty of 13’s and 14’s.

    18mm – a sure sign of our intellectual decay.

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve added an “update”. Seems that the stamped steel “wrench” fits the nut just above the “spirit cup”. This would mean that in ‘unscrewing’ you risk removing the burner head from the tank stem; but it does mean the wrench fits SOME nut. That leads me to think the lower stem nut is slightly oversized. Not a big deal.

    @J. Ferguson:

    Guinness, what’s not to love? ;-)

    Per 18 mm wrenches. I have one in my “truck tool box” (that lives buried in the garage since I sold the truck long long ago…) I had a 1987 Ford F-350 truck built in Canada. For reasons known only to FORD, various parts were SAE – English and other assemblies were Metric. IIRC it took an 18 mm for something or other in changing the brake shoes?…

    Just not sure exactly where it is now…


    I suspect the “goal’ is “income equality” via making the “west” as poor as everyone else. Standard Socialist Goal – make everyone “equal” that can only happen via bringing the best down to the level of the worst…


    So far, no “issues’. I think the “trick” is to just make sure it is very well warmed up prior to sending ANY kerosene up the stem. Pre-heat in a breezy area would likely make that ‘hard to do’ so I’d expect “outdoors” use to benefit from a wind screen at at start up.


    THE things that do the most for stoves outdoors are a lid on the pot and a wind screen / pot shroud. (That’s why I test stoves without them ;-)

    Since I mostly use things in wind sheltered areas (like the kitchen) it isn’t much of an issue for most things. When I actually get to go camping or traveling, I look for wind free areas / opportunities, or apply a wind screen of some kind.

    It really is very important. I’d leave one of the pots home before I’d not have a wind screen / pot surround.

    The idea of a reflective disk below the burner is interesting. In this case, the base doesn’t get all that hot and most of that is conduction down the metal stem. Warming kerosene a bit when in freezing temps is likely a good thing. There is a ‘burn ring’ below the flame that blocks a lot of the flame radiant heat, but the ring and the burner head below it are hot so likely doing IR.

    Whenever I get a proper burner, I’ll run a timed boil test with and without aluminum foil shield and see what I get. Nice idea. Thanks!

    @John Robertson:

    Bingo! Ford trucks…

    My kid learned to “fix things” by building guitars… Wood working, screws and bolts, a bit of finishing, some electronics… Plays a good guitar and likes to customize pickups and such. I think folks “mechanically inclined” will find a way…

    IIRC, my standard VW set was a 10 mm, and a 13 mm ( worn 1/2 inch) . With those, and a screwdriver & pliers you could fix most of it.

    The Honda I got used some odd size, 15 mm? I learned that the German idea was largely one set of sizes and the Japanese was a different set. Then we got the “English converting to metric” in Canada and I think they just rounded up to the next metric size and things like the 18 came into existence.

    Then the wrench sets were made in low cost places and packaged as a ‘set’ where cost was an issue, so “something was left out”. Exactly what was left out tended to vary… but NO set has all wrenches by 1 mm steps as that is too many so too expensive for the “cheap bin”…

    In short, if you are selling a “9 wrench set”, from 10 mm to 19 m inclusive… one of them has to be left out… Need the 10 mm for the large number of things that use it. Need the 19 mm for the “Big Bolts”. so what gets left out?….

    At any rate, I bought the missing wrenches over the years… in the “big truck tool box”… in the garage…

  9. j ferguson says:

    Well E.M.
    have you ever seen anything with 16mm?

    the killer car was the Volvo P1800 which had metric, Whitworth, and imperial all in one car. Body was Jensen which is where the Whitworth got into it. I don’t know where the imperial came from.

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    @J Ferguson:

    Whitworth, eh?


    well, learn something every day…

    I was very surprised, some long time ago, to find just how many things in a thread can vary. Pitch, threads / length, metric / english (SAE), diameter (both of the shaft and of the threads / depth) profile (square vs triangular vs round vs…) and the specific shape / angle of those; even how many threads are happening at one time. Usually we see bolts with one thread, but look at some jars and you will find 2, 4, all sorts of multiples. Mostly for ‘fast on / off’ applications. I’m sure I’m leaving some bits out… You could spend a long time just getting agreement on a standard thread type / profile / pitch / … (And that doesn’t even mention “pipe threads” where they slowly get larger over the length so it ‘snugs up and seals’… )

    16 mm…. hmmm… 16 mm …. Nope. Then again, I’d not seen 18 until I got my Ford, and I’ve not seen a lot of 17 mm. Nor 11mm come to think of it. What you see tends to depend on what you buy. It was very enlightening to me to own German then Japanese. Clearly different ideas as to “what is right”. (Though neither used much in 9mm IIRC). Yet I’ve run into strange things from time to time. The guys who make the electrical bits liked different sizes from the mechanical guys, so I think I hit every single mm from 4 to 8 on electrical stuff.

    But “the problem” IMHO is just that. The “wrench set makers” want to advertize the most range for the least money. You get that by leaving some sizes out. If the guy making the decision has a Japanese car vs a German car (vs a Canadian / American mutt vs Chinese vs Korean vs…) they leave out what THEY don’t need. Essentially, once you are in the “high and low with least cost damn the middle” game, somebody somewhere someday comes up a wrench short.

    The engineers at that car makers have a full set of everything as they just put in a P.O. for what they want, so don’t think about it so much. (The old air cooled VW was clearly designed in ‘other times’ when money was dear and tools scarce. I think all told I used 4 or 5 wrenches on the whole thing. 10 mm, 13mm, a couple of odd 14mm, and either a 17 mm or 19mm – I forget. The main axle nut was a 36 mm and I bought a socket for that. )

    Frankly, I liked the SAE / English system better. By 1/4 for rough stuff, then by 1/8 for most things. Only a few by 1/16 needed most of the time. You could start off with all the regular 1/4 and 1/8 sizes easily, and add a 1/16 or two and be good to go. Then, someday, get the rest of the 1/16 wrenches when you had a bit of money to spare or Christmas came ;-) (On one occasion I got some 1/32 wrenches, just to show off ;-)

    Ah well… Other times…

  11. Wayne Job says:

    On the sizes nuts and bolts, the old English cars used some Whitworth for body bolts and SAE for the engine running gear. The English bolts did not have the real standards of the American bolts.
    The Europeans decided in their wisdom as export was the game to use metric sizes that allowed the use of American spanners i.e. 11mm – 7/16 13mm -1/2″ 19mm- 3/4″.

    Us idiots here in Australia converted to metric and made 18mm headed bolts standard for a 12mm bolt with 18mm plain nuts and 19mm for self locking nuts. Metric bolts are rated less than SAE bolts and if high grades are needed the cost is huge. I manufacture machinery and have taken the English line of cheap metric bolts for things that do not matter and high grade American standard bolts for every thing else that does matter. Metric is a lowest common denominator pain.

  12. j ferguson says:

    Another bizarre bit was German thread practice in WW1. They used metric diameters on the bolts but English pitches, ie. 19mm diameter with 14 threads/inch (example). Shop I worked at in 1959 was asked to rebuild a Mercedes D3 (6 cylinder aircraft engine). Boss was completely unnerved by the thread specs – was sure they must be wrong, and refused to do the job without some sort of documentation.

  13. John F. Hultquist says:

    Not about stoves, but others brought up pitch, threads, depth —
    The long skinny bolt broke that holds the handles (inside/outside) on my sliding glass patio door. The house was built in 1982 so the need is for a 30+ year old item. I found something that “started” – and that is all I found. Thus, I applied all the torque I could manage and the handles are now on, using that term (on) loosely.

    Another issue is the lack of tapered shank bits for an old style brace. Most of the youngsters clerking at so called hardware stores haven’t a clue. Maybe this has something to do with living in a rural area and the big city is 2 hours away. Or maybe I’m just too old.

  14. Sera says:

    The wrench looks pinched inward a little- maybe it’s just the photograph. Maybe you could pound it/spread it ’til it fits?

  15. E.M.Smith says:


    As noted in the update: The wrench DOES fit the nut above the spirit cup. That means, IMHO, that it is either a ‘too fat lower nut’ (as that is the nut you ought to be using to put the whole burner assembly on / off of the stove) or it is a ‘feature’ to prevent folks from using that nut for reasons that are not made clear anywhere…

    At some point I’ll measure both nuts and find out what’s what…

  16. Jason Calley says:

    Top nut OK, but bottom nut too big? On the bottom nut, just grind one flat down a bit till it fits, then you have one wrench that fits either nut.

  17. Bloke down the pub says:

    Prompted by your recent postings on off grid cookers, I followed a couple of links and found a site showing how to make a home-made sterno cell. I made one from a tin that had once held Old Holborne tobacco which my father used to smoke (I still keep my stock of screws and nails in them). The tin was packed with strips of corrugated cardboard on end and then filled with molten candle wax. To support the kettle or can, the tin is placed on the ground and three metal tent pegs pushed into the ground at an angle around it to form the hob. When I tried it out this morning for my elevenses mug of coffee, it took about a minute for the fuel cell to be fully lit and about 4-5 minutes to bring the water to the boil. For a cheap cooker that fits into your pocket, I was well chuffed with how well it worked.

  18. John Squires says:

    I am the importer/seller. A wrench is not required, nor desired, to fasten the burner to the base. The burner has a compressible washer in the base that allows the base to simply be hand-tightened. Cranking the burner down with a wrench will lead to early washer demise. The manufacturer does not offer this specialized washer for sale – it only comes with the burner, so it is a good idea to try to make it last.

    The burner is attached to the riser tube (with aluminum washers and spirit cup in between) very tightly, and this connection must be tightened with a wrench to prevent leakage at the joint. Hence the included wrench. I offer special, flexible and reusable high-temp washers on my website to replace the aluminum washers for those who want to be able to disassemble the burner assembly without the need of a wrench.

    The company that manufactures Butterfly is headquarted in Indonesia, not run from China. The Distributor who has the rights to sell to the USA has his office in Singapore.

    John Squires
    St. Paul Mercantile

  19. John Squires says:

    One other comment about those Indian families. Yes, they do indeed spend 2 weeks income to buy a stove like this in India. But they do NOT expect higher quality. The Indian people are very resourceful. If the burner on their stove is bent, they bend it back, or take it to a street vendor who will fix it for a few pennies. Scratches, dents, poor packaging – these are the norm in third world countries. It’s unfortunate for us, perhaps, because we want every product we buy to be perfect, well packaged, shiny and clean. I’ve asked for many improvements in various kerosene products I purchase, but the USA market represents less than 1/2 of 1% of their business, so ‘world standards’ triumph over ‘USA/European standards’.

  20. E.M.Smith says:

    @John Squires:

    Why I’m not in the import / export business… just trying to figure out who made what where and finding someone ‘responsible’ is a days work or two… Glad someone else does it. ( I trust you picked up the humor in ‘maybe the spouse will let me take out a mortgage’ ;-)

    Just discovered you folks have a blog, too:


    I’ll have to ‘check it out’.

    From here:


    In the product description of the stove, you have this text:

    Included with your brass stove are 3 removable stove supports, 3 pick tools for cleaning, a wrench to remove/tighten the burner, and a brass cap that seals the tank when the burner assembly is removed.

    The difference between “remove/tighten the burner” and “when the burner assembly is removed” is subtle… but I do recognize it was “my bad” to conjoin those two. OK, the burner assembly is not what is being removed when one uses the wrench to remove the burner…

    You might want to clarify that text… Perhaps something like:

    “a wrench to remove / tighten the burner head to the stem (not frequently needed)” and “when the burner assembly (burner head and stem) is removed. The burner assembly is installed without the use of tools in normal use.”

    Thank you for your participation here.

    You might find this point interesting:

    I was testing a Coleman Dual Fuel stove on Coleman Lantern Fuel. I’d filled it ‘to the top’ but not over. So I ran it a while. Made a cup of tea. Timed the burn. Then let it cool a bit. I was going to put it away, so wanted to depresurize the tank. Just slightly loosened the cap. It spits about a spoon of fuel onto the counter.

    OK, that alone is more annoying than I like (and much more ‘ill mannered’ than the Butteryfly) but the “kicker” is the spousal response.

    The “day before” I’d run the Butterfly. Including fueling it up, and even spilled a bit in the process (my fumble fingers from the can to the measuring cup, not from the funnel / stove). The spouse didn’t notice a thing, nor say anything. After the Coleman Fuel spill? “What’s that smell!?” and would not even stay in the room for 24 hours. It would seem that her nose is much more “offended” by the naphtha smell than by kerosene.

    One of my goals in swapping to kerosene as my ‘post quake / emergency fuel of choice’ is better esthetics along with better storage properties. It looks like “keep spouse happy” needs to be added to the list of “properties” where kerosene wins… ;-)

    FWIW, I’m also looking at your non-presurized kerosene stoves. (Especially given the spousal ‘nose’ behaviour…) I’m looking at the ones called “wickless”


    And noticing that the ‘grill’ has corners that stick up. Not a problem with small pots, and I think it is what holds the oven in place.(?) But just wondering: Do they get in the way of larger frying pans? What size “works”? 8 inch? 10?

    Or would it be better to buy one of the the “multi-wick” stoves like:


    That just looks like a heck of a deal at $65 for a two burner (and with flatter burners too).

    While I’d rather not have to “fuss with” 20 wicks; the reality is that I’ve never used either kind of stove, so have no clue what is hard / easy; or ‘an issue’ / ‘not a problem’.

    So might I ask you to take just a moment to say “What kind of person buys which stove” and “What works best with each”? If I’m a “quake preparedness guy”, which works best as a “store it” or if I’m a “daily breakfast on the patio guy” which works better? Given your fast response here, I’m pretty much certain I’ll be buying one or the other. (Or a second pressurized stove – still pondering which.)

    You have already answered on the web site “What’s is best for canning”:


    $75, and 14,000 BTUs

    About the same as 2 of my large burners on my electric stove (one burner of which is OK but not great for canning). IF I ever get the patio kitchen done, I intend to add a ‘canning station’ and likely some ‘big burner’ like that one. 14,000 BTU/hr is about 4100 Watts. That’s a lot of power and would heat a canner fast.

    So if you would like to do a bit of “sales pitch”, feel free ;-)

  21. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve added an “update 2” to the article to reflect John’s input, and I’ve added “assembly” after the word “burner” in the right places to reflect that distinction.

    It also looks very much like the web sites that said St. Paul Mercantile has good customer service were correct. I had included a pointer to this writeup / pictures in my email to the vendor contact (listed on the purchase receipt) and said there were photos here if my explanation was not clear. I’d not expected a visit / comments. So kudos for responsiveness. Time measured in hours, not days (and most of that being ‘sleep time’ in both locations – theirs and mine.)

    Frankly, I can’t respond to folks that fast.

    At this point we’re basically left with “burner that heats one side of the pot”. (On high, even more ‘fire’ goes to the one side and the other stays small. I think it ends up with an air entrainment effect blowing more out the one side). Once that’s is resolved, I’ll be posting another update.

    (Then I’ll go back to pondering what stove to buy next. Fire, gotta love it! ;-)

  22. John Squires says:

    Types of kerosene stoves:
    1. Pressurized stove – already discussed in great detail above. Advantages: can be completely sealed for leak-proof transporting. No wicks required. Efficient. Disadvantages: only 7k btus (same as a lot of smaller wick stoves), requires denatured alcohol to start, rather small, so not suitable for very large pots or canners.

    2. The 24xx series single/double/triple burner stoves. Includes 2413, 2418, 2419, 2415, 2417. Popular stoves overseas. These are not wickless. They use woven flat fiberglass wicks (about 3/4″ by 10″ long). The wicks are bent into a bracelet shape, then pushed down into the slotted burner. The flame burns off the top edge of the bracelet. Advantages: come in single, double or triple burner sizes. Double and triple are offered with or without legs. Work well with the #2421 oven. Have a removable glass fuel bottle with cap with auto-off fuel flow, so you can remove the bottle and refill it while using the stove.
    Disadvantages: only 7k btus per burner. Burners are pretty much on or off – there are knobs to control the amount of fuel that gets to the wicks, but it takes a long time for the flame to respond to changes in fuel flow. Stoves are not intended to be moved, as fuel spillage will result.

    3. Multi-wick stoves. These stoves all use multiple strands of cotton rope (like a cotton floor mop). More ropes (wicks) means more btus. The wicks are arranged in a circle within the burner and the burner control knob makes all the wicks go up/down at the same time. Advantages: heat output is completely adjustable; stoves come with 10, 16 or 22 wicks, so you can choose the size stove and amount of heat you need (7k, 10k, 14k btus). Most of the multi-wick stoves have the grate that works well with the oven (the prongs stick up inside the oven to hold it in place). The smallest stove (#2641 10-wick) is too small to safely use with the oven. All other stoves have the special oven grate, except for the #2698 22-wick canning stove. The #2698 is intended to be used with very large pans, pots and canners. While it does not have the special grate that fits up inside the oven, its surface is about 14″ in diameter so the oven sits nicely on top of it. The only disadvantage of the multi-wick stoves that I can think of is that if you move them, the fuel will slosh out and leak.

    Note that the metal grates (similar style on all 24xx models plus #2648 double burner 10-wick, 2487 16-wick, A822 22-wick) are reversible. As pictured, they are best suited for small pots and pans. Turn them upside down and there will be 4 posts that are more widely spaced for use with larger pots and pans.

  23. E.M.Smith says:

    @John Squires:

    Thank you for the overview.

    I probably ought to have made it clear that your site does not call them “wickless”, since they do in fact use a ring wick on edge; but that historically that is what that style was called. (For reasons only someone else could explain…)


    Covers it pretty well:


    The Butterfly #2413, #2416, #2417 and #2418 models are extremely unique, using a sturdy wick standing on it’s edge, with gravity flow from a glass reservoir flowing through a simple cone shaped shut off valve to control the amount of fuel flowing to the wick. These are the same style of stoves in widespread use in rural American before WW II, then called “wickless” stoves. Wicks last years, but you should have spares. The Butterfly multi-strand stoves use what is essentially a cotton mop strand as a wick, the number of wicks being used depending on the heat output. When the top of the wicks becomes cakes with carbon, it is easy to pull them up a little, snip off the top edge with scissors, and you have a brand new burning surface.

    BTW, those folks also like your store and service.

    “Butterfly” brand kerosene stoves are available from http://www.StPaulMercantile.com. St Paul Mercantile is highly recommended. Their prices are low and service is high – a great combination!

    I ran into another site with similar things to say, but have lost the link to them now. At any rate, I was able to find this one again.

    As I’m a bit of a ‘foody’ and having good heat control is important to me, looks like the “wickless” (with edge standing wick) is “not me” and the more adjustable “multi-wick” suits me more. Thanks.

  24. John Squires says:

    The “wickless” stoves sold in America for many decades (and by me up until about 10 years ago) came with asbestos wicks, so care should be taken to not over-handle dry asbestos wicks. When I learned this, I switched over to woven fiberglass wicks, which I have specially manufactured just for my stoves. Asbestos wicks are superior and last longer, but due to potential danger from asbestos dust, I remove them and put in fiberglass wicks before shipping stoves. If someone specifically requests asbestos wicks, I am able to provide them.

    The fiberglass wicks still last a year or more, but stove enthusiasts might prefer the original wicks, even though they contain asbestos.

  25. E.M.Smith says:

    @John Squires:

    Well, your time here today was not wasted… I just placed an order for:


    The sixteen wick stove. As the “difficulty” of use was not significantly different (near as I can tell and from your description) and as I like better heat control; that put me in the “multi-wick” type.

    My “Patio space” is almost big enough for the 2 burner 10 wick and it was very hard for me to walk away from “two burners for only $15 more”, but I really need to use a smaller one burner. At least, if I’m going to put the rest of the stuff in the cooking area that I intend to set up. So instead of 22 inches wide and two burners, each medium speed, I’m going for one faster burner in a bit over 1 foot ( 12 3/8 inches). I can always set up the pressure stove if I need a second burner.

  26. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith & John Squires; thank you for the conversation and links on kerosene stoves. As I am setting up for canning and using my modest electric stove top is just barely acceptable. Being able to setup a burner at the concrete counter top of the outside cook area would be great. I had considered a propane unit but now I have more to think about. :-) reduction of 4 gallons of tomatoes to sauce takes a long time. Not something to do inside. Canning 12 pounds of beets or carrots takes several hours of stove time. 18-20 quart cook pots or large canner requires a fair size fire. pg

  27. E.M.Smith says:

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    Well, my latest order ought to arrive in about a week, given past performance. When it gets here, I’ll put my canner on it and see how it does. Probably run it at 15 psi (as that’s the ‘rocker’ I’ve got for it) for about 1 hour (as that’s where I can stew ;-) and see how much fuel it uses, how stable, etc.

    As I usually do this on the 2.2 kW AEK burner, this (roughly) 3 kW burner ought to be an improvement (if it works ‘as advertized’) ( about 3xxx BTU/hr / kW …something like 3100 IIRC).

    I’d usually run on high about 20 minutes to get things to speed, then cut it way back to ‘cruise’, so mostly this ought to show up in shorter ‘heat up’ times.

    Be nice to be canning on the patio instead of inside…

    So “about 2 weeks” to full review.

  28. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve been told by John Squires that a new burner head is on it’s way to me. So their reputation for service looks deserved. He also suggested that I try bending the loop of the burner to align things a bit better (on the old one). I’ll give that a try, too, at some point. Right now I’m worried that trying to do that; I’m likely to damage something (and I’d rather not try to explain why I want compensation / returns on a thing I just broke…) I’m more willing to do that with “doesn’t work right old spare” burner head. If I break it, so what…

    When the new burner head gets here, I’ll give an updated report on the stove / burners and maybe even on any attempted ‘repair’ of the old burner. I also need to figure out what kind of ‘bend’ is most likely to work and in what direction? Bend at the join to the flat top? Bend via rotation of the bottom segment? (Unlikely, as torque bending pipes in rotation about their center line is hard…) “Bend” the jet join via a press? (risks breaking the weld).

    At any rate, I’m willing to try that kind of stuff when breaking the pipe doesn’t leave me with a broken stove…

    So with that, I’m happy with the service and happy with the stove. Further updates will likely come in a week or two and maybe in another posting then.

  29. Pingback: Butterfly Brand Oven – First Fire | Musings from the Chiefio

  30. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve installed the replacement burner (picture in the “oven” link above), and the burner is now pretty much symmetrical. Heated a pot of water faster, even pattern of bubbles on the inside of the pot. All is good.

    Looks like the bad burner was a ‘one off’ problem. Comparing it to the new one, it looks a little bent. The new one is fine, though.

  31. Connor says:

    E.M. …
    I, like you, have been looking at the double burner vs. the smaller hotter single burner. Being that I will probably only use this when the power is down instead of canning, I’m looking more toward the double burner. I am sure the double burner would be quicker to fix meals for 3 or 4 people over the single burner. This would be set up on the electric stove top as the electric stove would be useless anyway with power down, saving what small counter space we have. Our stove is 30″ wide but with a 1″ raised rim around the perrimeter leaving only 28″ of flat surface. It looks like the double burner, even thou it’s stated at 30″ wide, will still work IF the 30″ width is the top surface and not the width of the feet of the unit. Looking at the photo of the double burner, it looks like the feet/legs would be about 26-27 inches wide, so should work in my situation.

    I’m very familiar with using kerosene heaters and filling them with fuel. I prefer the models with a removable fuel container instead of having to carry the heater outside to refuel, and think the butterfly two burner with such a removable fuel container would be to my liking.

    John says about the two burner… “Burners are pretty much on or off – there are knobs to control the amount of fuel that gets to the wicks, but it takes a long time for the flame to respond to changes in fuel flow.” I don’t mind not having instant changes in heat regulation, but wonder if John is saying that the regulation is not very good at all. I’ve read some comments that the regulation works but takes 30 seconds or so before you see a difference due to the burner having to use up the fuel already in the wick. Maybe he will respond and clarify this a little.

    How is your single burner doing? Do you find the refueling any different that one would go through to refuel a regular kero heater w/o removable fuel container? I can see that if the cooker was used outdoors all the time that it would make little difference, but using indoors for any length of time could make one desire the removable fuel container.



  32. John Squires says:

    This is John from http://www.stpaulmercantile.com
    The basis of your question seems to be whether the amount of time for the flame to respond to an increase or decrease in the amount of fuel is 30 second or 1-2 minutes. It was Miles Stair who said 30 seconds. Miles has been using one of the double burner stoves for decades and I rarely use any of the 24xx series stoves. You can read his review of the stove here:
    http://www.milesstair.com/BF_2418.html Note that Miles wrote that review before I sent him the #2487 16-wick stove and #2698 22-wick stove. I don’t think he still has the opinion that the #2418 is the best stove he has ever used.

    What I was trying to do with my description was to steer the instant gratification crowd away from the 24xx series stoves (the ones with the removable fuel bottle). People in the US, Canada and Europe are accustomed to things working the way they should work, i.e., if you turn down the fuel, the flame should likewise go down. It does, eventually. But even 30 seconds is a long time. Then you might discover that you turned it down too far, so you adjust it up a bit and wait another 30 seconds.

    Everybody else in the world just moves the skillet/pot to the side if the flame is too hot.

    The advantages of the 24xx series stove are:

    1. People like the way they look – reminds them of something their grandmother might have had. These stoves were used in rural America up until the early 1950s when most of the rural/farm areas had been electrified. They were sold by Sears and Montgomery Ward. I don’t think it was the Butterfly brand, but the stoves looked the same and operated the same.

    2. Removable fuel bottle – ability to refill the bottle outside while using the stove inside.

    3. Available in single burner, double burner, double with legs, triple burner and triple with legs. Double burner models available with fuel bottle in the middle or on the side.

    4. Wicks last a long time. Asbestos wicks come with the stove (I remove them and substitute fiberglass wicks so my customers don’t die and I don’t get sued) will last a couple years if cared for properly. Multi-wick stoves require frequent trimming and last only about 6 months.

    1. Lower heat output compared to newer stoves. 7k per burner vs 10k to 14k with the newer design multi-wick stoves.
    2. Flame adjustment – as described above.

    Personally, I believe most people would be better off with two of the #2487 16-wick stoves ($90 for two if purchased together), or one #2487 and one #2698 14k btu canning stove (this combination would cost $125). Both of these stoves adjust instantly and both can attain higher cooking and baking temperatures than any of the #24xx stoves. Not having a removable fuel container is the main disadvantage of this route, but let’s not over-estimate the inconvenience, as most people are only going to have to refuel about once a week. And, if you want something with legs, your only choice is the #24xx series.

    The stoves remain popular, and my profit margin is the same across all the stoves, so I do not have any monetary interest in steering people one way or the other. I just think the advantages of the multi-wick stoves outweigh the disadvantages for most people. They just don’t look as cool.

  33. Connor says:

    Thanks for your input on the benifits of the two burners. I can see that the higher output of the multi-wick burners would be desirable, and was one of the things that made my decision harder. I have a large single burner propane unit that looks like a small stainless bar-b-que cooker for canning, so I let that persuade me to try the lower btu double burner with removable fuel container. I’ve ordered one from you and will give it a try when it shows up. The wife thought she would like the removable fuel container unit also, so this way I get to please her also :-) I’ll try to remember to do a write up on it either here or my web site, or maybe both. I’m glad you sell several types of these cookers as they’re not found just everywhere, and for the prices, it one doesn’t work as hoped one can always give it to the family as a gift and try another!

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