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  • Chemical Stoves

    I now see that only liquid, gaseous, or jellied chemicals are "chemicals" for purposes of G2SS. So the common practice -- in one place at one time -- of using C4 for fuel would be as off-topic for the G2SS prohibition as paraffin, "heat tabs," or wood.

    But might the B.S.A. share with us the reasoning that brought it to prohibit DIY "chemical stoves" while allowing, but not recommending, non-homemade alcohol stoves?

    Are DIY stoves more dangerous in experience? (More dangerous than axes?) Or are they, rather, less dangerous than purchased chemical stoves?

    The alcohol stove that I purchased several years ago was made of aluminum beverage cans, as were those I made myself. Only the purchased stove pressurizes itself -- something I could not seem to accomplish myself. It works more efficiently than the stoves that I made, but is it less dangerous or more?

    I would no more want such a purchased alcohol stove tipped on me than I would a buddy burner, wood stove, my favorite Coleman burning appliance, or, as otherwise suggested, the hot water that might be found on top of any of these tools.

    In forty-one years in the program, I have seen far more burns from open fires than all the various stoves combined.

    In stovedom, the biggest risk during those years was from the original Coleman Peak 1 stove, the one with the brown fuel tank that regularly spouted orange flames ten feet in the air, over-pressurized, leaked fuel all over the table through the "safety valve," and then ignited THAT fuel. Impressive sight on a Winter's night. See "Vesuvius Effect."

    Is it the Scout burned to death with the rubbing alcohol? That seems somewhat unrelated to stoves.

    Is it the visibility of flames issue? Surely not. The flames are as visible - or not - in a "store-bought" stove as a home-made one.

    As we are told this decision resulted from a disciplined and formalized analysis, reason(s) for the new distinctions was/were identified. Could you share?

    (And when will that disciplined process focus on the several years-old unfortunate information on purification of water and "safe" dish-washing found in B.S.A. literature on sale tomorrow in Scout Shops all over the country - the literature that contradicts the G2SS?)

  • #2
    Ya know there are other more important things to get all wound up about.

    While making the stoves are fun and have a cool gas stove is faster and more efficient....

    I get all wound up about program or the lack of.....I get wound up about people short cutting requirements......I get wound up about helicopter parents, scouters or youth leaders.

    Alcohol stove or not I am still going to make sure the boys get into the backcountry.


    • #3
      This is but one issue, of many, where "safety" is invoked. (Think of mandatory adult "presence" and the downplaying of patrol over-nighters.)

      This is one issue, of many, where pronouncements come down that appear, at least on first examination, to be less than completely thought through OR clearly expressed. (Think of soccer as equivalent in utility to the Outdoor Program.)

      This is one issue, of many, where the corporation makes decisions that are not well-received by its "sales force." (Think of . . . ; oh, never mind.)

      Questionable (Literally - simply subject to being questioned.)decision-making processes and practices often start with "unimportant" issues and proceed from there. Any single decision is usually not worth getting "wound up" about. The sum total? Think "New Scouting Program."


      • #4
        Ya know I will solider on and make my units program a success despite the roadblock thrown up by those higher on the food chain than me.....

        I am not going to dwell on what I can't change???


        • #5

          While I understand where you are comign from, if you don't put your foot down now and question someof the idiocy coming from national, it will only get worse.

          IMHO, when scouts can't use square and shear lashings to build a signal tower or a monkey bridge over 5 feet, that's a program problem. I didn't complain and let my voice be heard back in the day, and now we got these stupid bans on carts, pick axes, etc.

          Don't stop it now, it WILL get worse. (emphasis, not... aw heck you know me )


          • #6
            No one at National is listening too us.....

            RichardB cruises this board and occasionally posts....But is he listening.


            • #7
              If our opinions have no weight ("can't change"), why express them?

              We had an opinion about The New Scouting Program.

              Change happens.(This message has been edited by TAHAWK)


              • #8
                "'Oh, good. So I can still cook things with my block of magnesium!


                How do you light and contain it? What size Class D Fire Extinguisher do you pack in with it?

                Richard [B]

                PS: Thermite welding was part of my former life. Amazing process.

                PSS: Et al, sorry I won't meet your expectations on specifics. I did offer "Some hypothetical illustrations and hopefully they will help expand the "I do not see how that's dangerous" box several are trapped in.

                I would suggest google is your friend and to go a little farther down the rabbit trail here is one of my favorites from the search: (and yes, admittedly not scouting centric)
                admin | IP: Logged"


                • #9
                  Richard, a B.S.A. Hot Spark will ignite finely-divided magnesium-aluminum shaved from the blocks sold by Scout Shops nationally. The magnesium-aluminum block sold by B.S.A. (AKA "Doan Tool") even comes with a ferrocerium rod in its side for ignition.

                  Tinder is, naturally, meant to be highly flammable. No B.S.A. literature suggests that a fire-extinguisher be on hand beyond the "fire bucket."

                  The Wilderness Survival Merit Badge pamphlet does, however, warn that dryer lint (used as tinder) is highly flammable. 0___0

                  As to the topic of the thread, the article you cite gives conclusions about the danger of liquid alcohol as a fuel ("But the use of liquid alcohol as a fuel is very dangerous.") without giving any reasons for that conclusion.

                  Because all fuels present risks (Beaver's MSDS for a brick), it's the relative danger (calculus of utility) that counts. Given no hint as to the other fuels he concludes should be used, there is no way to judge the validity of his conclusion that liquid alcohol chaffing dish stoves should be banned in China.

                  I do find it interesting that "Most flame burn injuries of this type were caused by misuse of the alcohol-burning stove." ("Most cases occurred when 95% liquid alcohol was added to an alcohol-burning chafing-dish stove when the temperature of the stove was high enough to ignite the alcohol, causing burns in people in the immediate vicinity of the stove.") I think you would find that adding naphtha (Coleman Fuel) to a stove hot enough to cause ignition would also produce even more dramatic results and that the risks do not vary if the stove is home-made vs. not home-made.

                  You might wish to review this article that concludes that alcohol is significantly safer as a fuel than gasoline or kerosene

                  Naptha (Coleman Fuel) is, of course, even more flammable.

                  One might conclude from the literature, including MSDS's, that favoring far more flammable fuels over alcohol is questionable. So we question.


                  • #10
                    I can see the the prohibition on alcohol stoves--I find it very annoying. But I have seen a lot of near accidents with Propane and canister stoves. I see little emphasis on wood gas stoves. I was surprised to see the Esbit tab stove in Scouter as I thought the gas was bad to breath.


                    • #11
                      Let them make rules......all of this is local decisions.

                      When it becomes too much.....quit and join the BPSA. No idiocy there yet.

                      Unlike most of you here my adult scouting career has been anything but roses.....from local created rules, money grubbing DE's, Districts and councils that don't hold up their end of the bargain.

                      So rules made up in a committee will have little bearing on my program.

                      So my boys want to backpack......i view aky stoves as an unreasonable risk for a 12 year old....we will use iso biggy. They ban backpacking I will offer it outside of scouting to the youth I serve.

                      Scouting offers the frame work.....the program is yours.


                      • #12
                        More evidence that the lawyers and courts rule the world.