Well that was fun…
Made lunch. Tuna sandwich. Was thinking about how the Sterno Stove is just TOO underpowered to really boil water fast and how it was the size of the can top / opening. Had thought about using a can opener to remove the top at the outer edge. Was looking at the tuna can… Isn’t it just about the same diameter?…
Now the height is about 1/2 that of the 6 oz Sterno can, so would be lower from the pot, but the fuel in the Sterno can burns down that low too… And the test I did with Sterno spooned on top of an upside down can worked really well, but really too well in that the support wires got to glowing dull red… Maybe a bit further down would be better.
So I washed the Tuna can and removed the paper lable (Starkist brand – some cans are different and this one is all metal one piece on the bottom, no separate bottom lid with seal). Put “butt to butt” with the Sterno can, it’s just about identical diameter.
Put it in the bottom of the Sterno Stove (pot holder / pot support / windscreen thing) and added 2 tablespoons of roughly heaped methanol based cheap slow chaffing dish fuel as a worst case test. Lit it up with my tea kettle test of 8 ounces cold tap water in a standard home tea kettle of about 1.5 L capacity. Waited.
The prior Sterno tests are in comments here:
Along with a test where I ran 1/2 & 1/2 isopropanol / methanol in a Trangia stove and it worked well. So, after waiting.
At the 5 minute mark it was simmering and making steam, at the 6 minute mark (almost exactly) it began to whistle.
There was about 1/2 tablespoon of fuel left over. I used a meat cleaver to snuff it by laying the big flat metal surface on top (there not being a lid to snap in place … maybe something else needed when camping ;-)
So that’s roughly double the speed of the regular Sterno brand big cans of fuel; but using the cheap poor fuel crap. At no time did the stove over heat (no wires glowed red) and looking in through the vent holes it was a nice blue flame well distributed.
This Tuna Can Burner is now going to be a standard component of my Sterno Stove kit. Now I can choose a more normal full cooking / boiling rate using it, or a “simmer and don’t fry” speed using the regular fuel cans.
Only negatives I can see is that a bit of
soot formed inner liner inside the tuna can on the top 1/2 of the can darkened (though I didn’t see any soot on the tea kettle) and it isn’t as easy to snuff (doesn’t come with a properly sized cap for snuffing, so eat 2 tuna sandwiches 8-). Then you have to spoon fuel in / spoon left over fuel back out if it’s enough to save. Guessing how much fuel is “right” requires paying some attention over time. I’m not going to lose sleep over it.
So by having a Tuna Sandwich and washing the can, you can convert the normally anemic Sterno Stove into a nice large platform (easily supports several pot and cup sizes) stove that can cook fast or slow.
IMHO, it’s a very big improvement for almost free.