An Old-Fashioned Girl Scout "Buddy Burner"

by Donna
(Arizona)

My favorite home-made camp stove is a bright, if distant, memory. Way back in the last century, when I was a Girl Scout, we used to make our own "Buddy Burner" camp stoves for camp-outs or a burger cook-out at the beach.

It was simple enough for... well... a child to make (with a little explanation).

1. Take a clean large can, like a big coffee can and make a few triangular vent holes around the top edge with a can opener. Set aside.

2. Take a tuna or small cat food can and wash it well.

3. Cut up some strips of cardboard the same width as the height of the small can. Beginning at one end of the strip, coil it until you have a coil that completely fills the tuna can. Insert it.

4. Light a paraffin candle or carefully melt some chunks of paraffin like you buy in the canning supplies at the supermarket. Let the burning candle drip paraffin down into the cardboard or (easiest) pour the melted paraffin over the cardboard until it is completely saturated.

You now have all the elements. To use the stove, light the paraffin-soaked cardboard in the tuna can and get it burning well. Set the large can over it flat side up. The top of the large can soon will get quite hot. Plunk your hamburger patty (or whatever) on the can top and cook it (while your potato is baking in tinfoil in the coals of the campfire).

I do have to admit it has been more than 50 years since I actually did this, but the memory sparkles. I can't see why it wouldn't work as well today as it did then.

Donna

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Jan 14, 2014
Thanks a bunch!
by: Deb

Thank you so much for posting this! I remembered it from my Junior G.S. handbook (ALSO about 50 yrs ago!)& was searching all over for directions to share with my grandson. He said he had never seen a Buddy Burner. I hope it is something he can share as a project and use with his fellow Boy Scouts on one of their many camp-outs. The Pam spray is a great idea...I remember the messy job of greasing the top of the can with lard or solid shortening and then 'curing' it in the hot campfire ashes before using.

Jun 11, 2012
Buddy burner stove
by: Pamela

They work great! We travel by motorcycle now and they make good lightweight stoves. We put a piece of wick in the middle for easier lighting. Does anyone remember how to make the oven that goes with it?

Sep 12, 2011
Variation
by: Bob

In Scouts we bent the flap up on the outside. This made a great place to hold the bun while it toasted. And you didn't have to worry about the bun falling off in to the dirt. Pressing the bun to the side would stick it to the can to toast but they would fall off sometimes.

This was more a Cub Scout than Boy Scout thing. Works well.

Sep 12, 2011
Variation
by: Bob

In Scouts we bent the flap up on the outside. This made a great place to hold the bun while it toasted. And you didn't have to worry about the bun falling off in to the dirt. Pressing the bun to the side would stick it to the can to toast but they would fall off sometimes.

This was more a Cub Scout than Boy Scout thing. Works well.

Oct 21, 2010
Good points
by: David

I can see where that would be necessary! I'm glad you added that or we would be wondering why the fire kept going out.

May 13, 2010
Fond Memories
by: Amy

I made those in Girl Scouts, too! It worked great. For the outer, larger can, we used a can opener to punch two triangle openings on the sides at the top. This allows for some ventilation to let the smoke out. We also used a metal cutter to cut two slits on the bottom edge, about 1-1/2 inches deep and 3 inches apart, then carefully bent the piece inside and out of the way. This allowed oxygen in to feed the flame.

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