Off Topic: Making A Darth Vader Wood Burner

Welcome to my very first Off-Topic post. I’m an IT guy most of the time but when I get some spare time I love tinkering and building stuff in the garage.


Since I am very stupid and had a few bits of metal and an empty gas bottle I had a go at making a small wood burner for the garden 🙂

Emptying the gas bottle

The first task was to empty the gas bottle and remove the valve this proved to be very difficult! Over a few days i continued to depress the valve to release gas. Even after releasing gas one day when I returned the next a new blast of gas escaped proving that even if you think a cylinder is empty there is actually lots of residual gas inside.

After a few days when no more gas escaped I unscrewed the valve. This involved strapping the cylinder to a bench and getting the largest wrench I could find and hit it with a big mallet until finally the seal cracked.

Slowly unscrewing the valve and letting yet more gas escape I finally got it off!

Now inside gas cylinders is this smelly jelly stuff and it really does stink so I filled it up with water stirred it with a long stick and pored the water away. To be on the safe side I did this multiple times over the course of a few times and each time leaving the cylinder empty outside.

Finally it came to cutting the cylinder open and I really wasn’t looking forward to this! Because I had left it outside for a few days I was sure the very last residual gas had been removed but to be sure I filled up the cylinder with water, let a little bit out then bunged the whole.

With the cylinder filled mostly with water leaving a small air pocket at the top I cut out the eyes. The idea was that the water pushed out the air and any remaining gas residue making it safer to cut into. I still had to risk electrocution if the water sprayed over me but I left a good sized air bubble inside.

Phew! two eyes cut out and i’m still alive!

It’s a shame I don’t have any more pictures of the build but below you can see i cut out the eyes and an opening to fill it with wood. I used an old hinge and just drilled some holes and used nuts and bolts to hold it on.

At the top I had to cut a larger whole for the flume and I just ended up using a small cutting disk and grinder to open up the whole and welded on the flume metal tube.

I made a simple gate lock to keep the door closed out of some old metal bits and a nut and bolt.

I have the whole thing a couple of coats of high temp black spray paint. I think it turned out pretty good!

When we have visitors over they always comment and ask about my little Darth Vader wood burner.

I found I had to drill a number of air hols around the bottom section at the back to allow the air in. Once I did that it burned like a charm and is great to have on in the summer as the sun goes down 🙂

Author: Ian@SlashAdmin

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