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Old 09-09-2012
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Re: Alcohol stoves in use?

I saw a house that blew up from a propane leak. Actually, there was nothing to see but a foundation and a bit of rubble. I don't know where the rest of it landed, it seemed to have vaporized.

I was extremely impressed, I had no idea propane, which I always took for granted, could do that.

Since a boat is essentially (one hopes) a water and gas tight container - at least on the bottom, the odds of blowing one up with propane are much better. You could not pay me enough to use propane on a boat. It's not like you could walk away from an explosion, even if you survived.

Alcohol is expensive, and contains a lot less heat per unit than most other fuels. But, it won't explode, and water will mix with it instead of floating it. I don't find it hard to wait one extra minute for my coffee water to boil, and my wife is happy cooking with it. I also keep the fuel in the vented fuel locker, but don't consider it necessary.

I like the peace of mind that comes with using alcohol for fuel. I do however make sure to have some ventilation when cooking, I hate that they poison the alcohol and am not sure that the fumes are safe. I'd prefer grain alcohol, but that is really expensive. However, in an emergency, I could drink it!

My worst problem is that if the control knob is not shut tight, the fuel evaporates. Nothing evaporates as fast as alcohol, which is why I like a cover on my drinks. I find that I do have great control over the flame size, much better control than on camping type propane stoves we have used during power outages.

We use copper bottomed Revere ware, but cast iron would be good, if a bit heavy. I stopped using aluminum to eat off of, I don't think aluminum is good for you. Cast iron is good for you, it improves the flavor of meat and adds iron to your blood. When traveling light I use titanium, which distributes heat poorly, but does not add any taste to the food.
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