Love this blog post on how to build a pot belly stove heater for your man cave or shed.

I first came across it on the Woodwork Forums and so I asked the creator if I could repost their blog here which we have done so check it out below. I’d love to hear from people who have a similar experience repurposing gear for the sheds, workshops and garages. Send us a note in the comments section below about your projects. I’ve turned these images into a bit of a video at them end too.

brake drum pot belly heater

How to make a potbelly heater from old brake drums.
No welding to cast necessary.

Step 1: Finding Brake Drums

step 1 brake drum pot belly heater 2

Get 3 brake drums from your local truck depot or metal recyclers. If you can get them for free awesome otherwise they should only cost you between $15-$20 each.

Step 2: Cutting out the Ash Door

step 2 brake drum pot belly heater

Cut out a hole to remove the ash and charcoal from your heater.
The opening in this one is 120mm x 250mm.

Step 3: Weld Grate and Bolt Drums

step 3 home made pot belly heater

Bolt two bottom drums together and weld up a grate. I used some scrap square bar I had lying around.

Step 4: Bend up Bar for Mid Section Ring

step 4 brake drum home made pot belly stove

step 4 image 2 pot belly stove heater brake drums

Bend some flat bar for the mid section of the heater. I cut them into 3 pieces it was easier to bend with the shop press that way and I welded it together to make the ring. The flat bar size used was 10mm x 130mm.

Step 5: Ash Drawerstep 5 ash draw potbelly pot belly stove heater home made

Weld together a draw for the ash. I used some 5mm scrap checker plate and a chipping hammer as the handle.

Step 6: Cut out the Openings

step 6 cut openings homemade pot belly heater wood

Now cut out the opening for door and flue.
Grinder worked fine just takes a bit of finessing to get it how you want.

Step 7: Top Plate

step 7 homemade brake drum pot belly stove for shed

Cut top plate, using an oxy works best. Cut in half to desired size for door and flue.
I used 10mm scrap plate.

Step 8: Attach Door

step 8 attach door homemade pot belly shed heater

Cut the top off a 3/4” bolt and weld it underneath the plate to be bolted to the drum.

Step 9: Attach Flue & Door Handle

step 9 pot belly heater brake drum homemade shed heater

Weld flue to top plate and handle. Again used chipping hammer handle for door. I used some scrap 6-1/4” heavy walled pipe for the base of the flue.

Step 10: Flue Damper

step 10 flue damper pot belly shed heater

step 10 a flue damper 2 shed heater

Weld in flue damper. I used scrap 5mm checker plate. Run a 12mm round bar with a flanged end through and weld on disc. Also added a spring on one side to help keep tension when it’s under draft. Welded chipping hammer handle on also.

Step 11: Final Assembly

step 11 final assembly homemade pot belly stove shed heater

Assemble parts together and make sure your happy with everything. Check all parts that they function correctly. If any changes are to be made now is the time.

Step 12: Prep & Paint

step 12 prime and paint homemade pot belly stove wood heater for shed

Run over and remove any and all rust with a wire wheel. Wipe down with metho. I used VHT Flameproof Black says it’s good for 704-1093°C. Spray on and allow paint to dry.

1. Heat to 121°C for 30 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

2. Heat to 204°C for 30 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

3. Heat to 343°C for 30 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

As far as possible try to follow instructions closely for the best results.

Hope this helps, enjoy your heating! Cheers, Doily Grunge Blog