Well it all started in 2009 when I found I needed two Honey Stoves next to each other to BBQ a trout!
First came the Stainless Steel versions and now comes the super lightweight Titanium!
I found that during the warmer days, which were few and far between, that the Honey Stoves out performed my big domestic BBQ set in efficiency and performance, so I thought it was about time that I designed a way to extend the cooking coverage to incorporate larger pots, bigger groups and a more social chilling around a contained fire.
The trick was to add two more panels to the Honey Stove, thus making it 8 sided and increase the base panel from 12cm to 18cm.
It sounds a simple task, however it has taken many samples with different breather holes in it, to get the correct air flow for a good contained fire. One which would burn efficiently, and not race through the fuel used.
The next issue was to get a custom made grill made which fitted the stove. Big enough, but too big, and of course being food grade was important.
The Pocket Stove The Honey Stove and The Hive Stove are all designed and made in the UK.
The Honey Stove Ti and The Hive Stove Ti are manufactured using .5mm Grade 2 Titanium which is considerably stronger than it looks.
The square, hexagonal and octagonal use of the material is exceedingly efficient at reflecting heat inwards and upwards.
At the same time allowing the correct amount of air draw for the different cookers or fuel used.
Once heat is applied to the metal base plate, it will warp slightly. This is normal and doesn’t affect the assembly process or life span of the product.
The square mesh grill is 1.5mm food grade Stainless Steel, therefore food can be placed directly on it and cooked over coals.
To start any fire you require tinder, which will catch the spark from a flint and steel, or other igniting tool.
Once tinder is burning, it will in turn ignite the kindle. Small dry pieces of wood, which will burn with a greater heat and light the thicker dry fuel.
Tinder can take many forms. You can also use bark peelings from a Birch tree, wire wool or feather sticks.
These are made by splitting a finger thick stick into quarters and running a sharp knife along the edge to ‘curl’ the dry core into fine slithers.
Cotton wool dipped in Vaseline is very efficient as is the commercially available Hammaro Tinder CardTM.
The stoves works more efficiently with small pieces of dried wood no thicker than a pencil. Thicker pieces take longer to ignite and are more cumbersome to collect and break. Two handfulls of these twigs will boil 500ml of water in approximately 8-10 minutes.
Never use green live wood, which will just smoke and not burn. Always look for air-dried wood caught in tree branches, as these catch and burn much more effectively.
Don’t overfill the base plate with fuel before lighting, as good combustion requires good airflow.
We’ve found using a small piece of Hammaro Tinder CardTM will ignite instantly from a flint and steel, and accelerates the lighting of dried kindle.
Once the fire is established and there is a good ‘heat’ at the base, add the thicker fuel on a regular basis, to maintain the desired cooking heat.
Cooking BBQ style is best done over ‘coals’ rather than ‘flames’, so once you have established a good bed of heat in the stove, use slightly larger pieces of wood (or BBQ fuel) and once they are burned through to a grey ash, there is less chance of dripping fat reigniting the flames.
All fuels give off noxious fumes and wood based stoves are no different. We would always advise you to light any fire in a well-ventilated area, with a good throughput of air, such as under a tarp.
NB: Remember modern artificial fabrics used in jackets, trousers, sleeping bags and tents ignite very easily. Another reason to never light a stove inside an enclosed area.
Leave No Trace
Where possible try to use some kind of ashtray beneath the stove to protect the ground.
The heat generated by any stove can damage or scar the organic matter beneath.
So where possible, try to ensure you place the stove over bare earth, sand, stone or use a protective matting or foil.
After use, you will see a fine ash beneath the stove gathered on the tray. Please let this cool and try to ‘leave no trace’ in your disposal.
On a stone or sandy beach, you may not need the ash tray at all, however always consider your environment and please dispose of the fine ash with appropriate and responsible care.
In use this stove will get very hot. No matter the type of fuel or heat source used within the square, hexagonal or octagonal combination.
Do not attempt to pick it up, move it or take it apart when fuel is burning. You will burn your hands!
Please allow enough ventilation around the stove and ensure that all the component parts are cool before packing.
Also ensure the ground under the stove is cool to the touch and not burned in any way. Use of petrol, or any other petroleum products in this stove may result in severe burns and/or death.
Burning wood efficiently is almost Carbon Neutral.
The efficient use of a small amount of organic matter is much more eco-friendly than the more convenient commercial fuels, such as petroleum based derivatives and natural gas (LPG).
LPG emits 15 times more CO2 (carbon dioxide) per kg than wood.
Petrol based fuels emit nearly 10 times as much. CO2 is the main source of global warming. (Source - Journey To Forever)
Which wood to burn? They use this old woodman's poem ….
Logs to burn! Logs to burn! Logs to save the coal a turn! Here's a word to make you wise When you hear the woodman's cries.
Beechwood fire burn bright and clear; Hornbeam blazes too, If logs are kept a year And seasoned through and through.
Oak logs will warm you well If they're old and dry, Larch logs of pinewood smell But the sparks will fly.
Pine is good and so is yew For warmth through winter days But poplar and willow, too Take long to dry and blaze.
Birch logs will burn too fast, Alder scarce at all. Chestnut logs are good to last If cut in the fall.
Holly logs will burn like wax, You should burn them green, Elm logs like smoldering flax, No flame is seen.
Pear logs and apple logs, They will scent your room. Cherry logs across the dogs Smell like flowers in bloom.
But ash logs, all smooth and grey, Burn them green or old, Buy up all that come your way, They're worth their weight in gold.
Hard woods for roasting Apple, Ash, Beech, Birch, Sweet Chestnut, Hazel, Holly, Hornbeam, Larch, Oak and Willow.
Ordered the titanium honey stove and the hive extension on Friday and it got delivered Saturday morning, in time for a family trip to the beach so I packed it up with some charcoal brickettes, fire lighters and a selection of BBQ treats and had a great time cooking our lunch. Size is spot on for 2 adults but maybe a push for more if you like to have all your food ready at once (we are happy just to eat as we cook so it doesn't bother me). One guy at the beach took a shine to it and even came over asking questions and went off to see about getting one!
First impressions are it is really lightweight and packs down really small. Glad i went for Ti over stainless steel as I intend to take it on holidays/backpacking/bike touring with me. It is well made and clearly a well thought out design, I love the versatility of it - being able to use it with my Edelrid multifuel stove as a windshield, trangia burner for meths and as a wood stove/camp fire/BBQ I can imagine this little fella will come everywhere with me. The bag is really good too - it would be nice if it had a little pocket for flint/paper etc too.
The only reason for 4 stars rather than 5 is the price - it was hard to justify the cost over the stainless steel version but given it should pretty much last forever, weighs next to nothing and it was a birthday treat for myself I could justify it. For those where weight isn't a concern the stainless steel one would be just as good I imagine.
I bought the stainless steel Honey and then decided to upgrade to titanium and also get the Hive. I am happy with the choice, it is great to own a flat-pack weightless stove/BBQ. Honey is nice for cooking and Hive adds that extra area for grilling. And the weight is ridiculously low.
As a BBQ Hive is a rather small setup, works best for 1-2 people. When filled to the brim with pinecones and lit, they burn down to a nice bed of coals that lasts long enough to cook a steak (dry pine cones are easy to find in most parts of Finland, were I am from). Packability is great, I took two friends for a walk in the forest and had the Honey/Hive and a small bag of coals. We roasted a pork tenderloin, with some bell peppers and corn, had to do that in shifts as everything would not fit on at the same time. Other accomplishments are: two steaks while potato wedges are being fried on one Trangia and creamy mushroom sauce is thickening on another, and today's pizza from scratch using Outback oven on top of Honey.
Some minor issues you should know: Putting this thing together takes a moment, as you try to connect the side bits (which are sooty) without dropping any parts of the previous assembly. It would be lovely to have a model where all the side plates are hinged together. Also there is no ash pan, meaning that this little monster drops embers underneath it. I have tried a pie tin and a piece of fire blanket, but have ended up with my personal piece of scorched earth every time.
Took this out for its first outing this weekend and had so much fun. My seven year old even managed to build it, light it and cook great bannock bread on it ( thanks for the recipe in the manual). Great for toasting marshmallows too.
Our sausages from the local sausage man came out better than I have ever managed by grilling, frying or putting in the oven.
I tried it in the Hive set up and the 4 sided set up and on first impressions found the bigger version far easier to cook with, I am guessing the extra space allows more air to get in perhaps? Yet to try it out in just the honey configuration.
The embers did not last for ever, but perhaps that is to do with the size of the wood I was using? So for the very thick sausages, I took them off midway, blasted some more wood on to produce some more embers but great result.
It is quite an absorbing stove, in that we spent a whole afternoon, just lying by it, and cooking things on it. Seems like you do need to give it constant attention as it burns so well that it will soon burn through if you left it for too long,.
Lots of fun, and even if I may be take along a gas stove for the convenience of an early morning cup of coffee without leaving the tent, this gives so much fun for its weight that it will definitely be coming along on most camping trips.