Penny stoves are usually built from two soda cans and they look like this,

Penny Stove

Image source

with some variations between the builder and so on. The basic idea is you have the bottoms of two soda cans stuck together with one inside the other.

The problem I have always had is that when I go to put the cans together, it is hard to do so without having one of them split and then you have to start over.

When building a penny stove, how can I keep the cans from splitting?

  • It would be easier to find two slightly different size soup cans. Why use soda cans instead of soup cans? Jun 26, 2018 at 15:26
  • @JamesJenkins For a penny stove you need a tight fit, with the penny to act as the pressure regulator. That would be hard to do with soup cans Jun 26, 2018 at 15:36
  • Maybe we need more info on TGO about them, this is the only other thing I found Jun 26, 2018 at 15:52
  • Charlie: I added the link JJ found -- I think it provides needed motivation for your Q. My initial reaction was "who cares"? With the link, I can see why someone would care. +1. Of course, remove my edit if you want.
    – ab2
    Jun 26, 2018 at 16:13

1 Answer 1


From http://www.instructables.com/id/Alcohol-Can-penny-stove/

We now need to crimp the edge of the base can so it fits inside the top can, with your pliers go around the edge of the can, grip about 5mm of the can in the pliers and twist to pull the edge in, complete this every 5mm or so all the way round.

crimping edges of lower penny stove can

I tried something like this years ago. I seem to recall having similar problem to yours, breaking the cans and being frustrated. I think I did something similar to the above, bending the can. I also tried cutting a slit along the side of the can so that I could sort of "fold" it in slightly, though that could make it difficult to keep it sealed. I don't remember for sure what I went with in the end, but if I were to do it again I would follow the above.

  • this. If you use round-nose pliers the crimps have less sharp corners which also makes life easier. I've made many penny stoves with (UK) 330ml aluminium drinks cans and never had one split. You can crimp the base much further in than this as well - a quarter of an inch works fine. csun.edu/~mjurey/pennyFAQ.html
    – aucuparia
    Jun 17, 2019 at 9:06
  • unfortunately both Bill Waites' and Mark Jurey's excellend pages seem to have disappeared but the latter can be found here: web.archive.org/web/20161222173315/http://www.jureystudio.com/…
    – aucuparia
    Jun 17, 2019 at 9:11

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