QuietStove.com

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Stove of the Week: Hank Roberts Mini Stove, Mark III

I happen to like my old Hank Roberts stove, a stove that dates back to the 1960's. It's in very nice condition. I have the Mark III version.

So compact! And inside, the original accoutrements that came with the package.

Unfortunately, it's been some years since either the stove or its proprietary fuel canisters have been produced (see The Hank Roberts Stove -- With a Proper Canister for information on and photos of the original canister type).  Therefore, to the original contents, I add a few "essentials," all of which are easily contained within the outer shell of the stove.
Now, you probably recognize the Bic type lighter, but what of the other items?

Well, let's take a look.

The silver colored cylinder is an adapter made by Henrik from Denmark who I met on an internet forum.  Unfortunately, I've lost touch with Henrik.  :(

The hose is a spare gas hose to a Chinese made stove that I bought on eBay. The hose screws into the threaded end of the adapter, like so:

Now, let's take a look at the stove itself. That little discus you saw earlier? Here's what it looks like assembled. Pure genius.

Here's the valve assembly.
Do you see that brass "needle" to the right? That needle fits into a "rosebud" on a proprietary canister. Such canisters are alas no longer made.

Here's where Henrik's adapter comes in.
 The adapter slips over the needle.

And voila! here we are ready to cook.

Did someone say "cook?" Now, where would we be without some flame shots?

A very nice, efficient blue flame.

The Hank Roberts Mini Stove (Mark III) really has a good strong flame.

The original proprietary canisters contained a wick. The wick conducted liquefied gas into the burner. Liquid did you say? Why then we ought to be able to invert the canister and be able to run the stove in liquid feed mode. Indeed, we can do just that.

Be sure to let the stove warm up before inverting the canister. If you don't let the stove warm up a bit first, the stove will flare.  Running a gas stove in liquid feed mode allows one to operate a gas stove in much colder temperatures than in conventional upright (vapor feed) mode.

As they say, "the proof of the pudding is in the eating," so it's time for the "tea test."  Handily passed.

And if tea test, then tea.
Delicious, I assure you.

I thank you all for joining me on another Adventure In Stoving,

HJ

The Hank Roberts Mini Stove (Mark III version)
What's good about it?
Compact
Capable of operation in colder weather than conventional (upright) gas stoves
Highly adjustable flame
Good, strong flame
Stable because of nice wide base
Good pot stability because of well designed windscreen/pot support
Some wind protection from windscreen (it really needs a separate windscreen in a stronger wind)

What's bad about it?
Canisters are no longer available (but can be operated with an adapter, if you can get one)
A little heavy (about 8 oz) by modern gas stove standards
No longer available in stores (but available on eBay and such)

Hank Roberts Mini Stove:  Highly Recommended (considering its era).


Hank Roberts Stove -- Related Blog Posts

57 comments:

  1. Nice! This was the stove I learned to cook top ramen on while by dad dragged me along the dreaded southern sections of the PCT... Fond memories actually. Cool adapter too. Thanks Jim!

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  2. You bet, Andy. Nothing like an old camp stove to bring out the nostalgia, eh? And actually, the Hank Roberts is a pretty good little stove.

    HJ

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  3. A very nice looking stove, very innovative packaging. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Cook stove. Never saw anything like that!

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  5. Just got one of these stoves in a package deal.
    What do I have to do to get one of those adapters from you.
    Can you make me one? Of course I'll pay.
    Thanks Chip

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  6. Hi, Philip,

    Isn't that a cool little stove? They've got a very devoted following. Much to my surprise, this post is one of my most popular ever.

    The really interesting thing is that this stove came out 30+ years ago! It was really advanced for its day.

    HJ

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  7. Chip,

    I got my adapter from a guy in Denmark who I met on the web. I've lost touch with him. There's guy in Oregon who does stuff like this. I'll touch base with him and post here if he's willing to make some.

    HJ

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  8. Thanks, it looks like a nice stove. I sure want to fire it up and see what
    it will do.

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  9. It's a really nice stove. It's probably my favorite old gas stove. It was really advanced for it's day and still compares favorably with the gas stoves of today. I'll let you know about an adapter.

    If you can send me a photo of your stove where it would connect to a canister (a long needle like protuberance), that would be helpful. Send it to hikin dot jim2 at gmail dot com

    HJ

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  10. I know Colon Fletcher liked this stove. I think the high priced canister stoves of today lack some of the unique features of the Hank Roberts Mini. Why doesn't someone re-manufacture it with modern fittings for a remote canister?

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  11. I've read Colin Flether's Complete Walker books. He mentions exactly that -- that he liked this stove. He even says he didn't think he'd like it but that the stove "converted" him.

    I have to say this is my favorite old gas stove. It's design is from the 1960's but compares favorably with the stoves of today, and it's cold weather capabilities will beat most modern stoves.

    I can't say why the stove hasn't been converted to modern canisters and produced for sale. Perhaps someone who owns the patent is holding out for more? Or perhaps it's been forgotten? It's "clamshell" design is really quite compact. It literally fits in a shirt pocket.

    HJ

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  12. This is one terrific little stove! I found mine today in a drawer in the basement, along with 3 full fuel canisters. Obviously, it's been a while since I've used it.
    When our girls were small we traveled to CO and used this stove. We'd stop at a rest area, fire up the stove, open up a can of ravioli and have a hot meal in a jiffy. After our meal we'd wipe out the teflon skillet with a paper towel, throw the paper plates in the trash, pack up the little stove and be on our way.
    I sure would like a set up like you show in the pics!

    Earl in VA

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  13. Hi, Earl,

    Thanks for your comments, and yes, they are fantastic little stoves. This is my absolute favorite old gas stove.

    If I find someone willing to produce the little adapter I have on a larger scale, I will announce it on my blog. I've gotten a lot of inquiries.

    HJ

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  14. Does the canister use white gas like a coleman lantern or does it use alcohol. Did you ever find someone who can/will make the adapters? I so will you email me @ Jeffdhs76@sbcglobal.net. Thanks!

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  15. The canister contains liquified butane, isobutane, or propane gas or some combination of those three.

    I will email you if I find a provider of adapters.

    HJ

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  16. I have one of these as well, for the last 30 years or so, and you can put me down for an adapter when/if they become available!

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  17. Ivan,

    I will post something on the blog if and when they become available.

    HJ

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  18. Here is a link to a modification of the Hank Roberts stove:

    http://www.spiritburner.com/fusion/showtopic.php?tid/1589/

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  19. Hi, Bill,

    Interesting. There are a lot of people who have modified the HR stove. You wouldn't believe how many inquiries I've gotten for it about an adapter. There are a lot of loyal fans even after so many years.

    HJ

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  20. Here is the link to Henrik's original nondestructive adapter:

    http://www.spiritburner.com/fusion/showtopic.php?tid/17866/post/157453/hl//fromsearch/1/

    It's not complicated and could possibly be made from some small compression fittings. The tricky part is the connection to the gas line. There is no standard gas line connector and it would probably have to be made to suit the gas line at hand.

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  21. Hi, Bill,

    The adapter I have is indeed from Henrik although mine must be a later, more sophisticated model than the one shown in the thread which was perhaps his first attempt. I have several adapters from Henrik. He made good stuff. It's a shame that he has dropped out of sight. I hope he's OK.

    HJ

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  22. I still have my Hank Roberts. The ones made towards the end of the production run (under Liberty Mountaineering) used a flexible hose and worked with any standard canister on the market. I never had to mess with the special canisters. Never knew about the liquid feed capability.

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  23. You've got a nice one (and relatively rare I think). Hold on to it!

    HJ

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  24. Ok. So I have two Hank Roberts, Inc. Mark II Mini Stoves and I wish to use them again. Both are in almost new condition. I used them in the boy scouts briefly. Any word on where to get these conversion kits or how to make them? Any help would be greatly appreciated it. Please e-mail me at condoris@comcast.net if you have any info for me. Thanks!

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  25. I'll post here if anything develops. They're great stoves that are worth keeping running.

    HJ

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  26. Well, I've got an operational Hank Roberts Mini Stove Mark II. I lucked into one of the gas valve and hose assembly, like the one that you show here. I think that it's from a TK800 Stove and I see them at plus2city.com, but they are out of stock. I made a 6mm threaded adapter to connect the stove inlet to the hose and Loctited it to the stove. Loctite will work, but I probably won't leave it this way permanently. I wanted to see how the stove worked before I made a permanent mod. I have a couple of small leaks in the threads on the inlet and on the coupler. I'm going to try to fix the coupler leak with an O-Ring and then look at the inlet threads. I can use some low strength Loctite or some anti-sieze on those threads, but I want to be able to get the fittings apart.

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  27. Hi, Bill,

    Definitely get those leaks corrected. You definitely don't want leaks in a gas system.

    Take a look on CCS. I've seen some pretty sophisticated rigs. If you have a lathe, you should be able to make most anything.

    HJ

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  28. I'm planning to make an adapter like Henrik's original permanent adapter, which should solve the leak problems. I could make one like yours, but I don't like having all of that weight suspended on the little needle of the Hank Roberts stove. I'll use an O-Ring on each side. I don't like to permanently alter the parts of an old stove, if I don't have to. In this case Henrik has posted all of the information necessary to manufacture an adapter. The critical thing for making more than one is the availability of the same gas hose valve assembly that most every one has used.

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  29. Bill,

    I'm sure you can find one, but if you get really stuck, send me an email, and I'm sure we can work something out.

    HJ

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  30. I made a new adapter tonight that replaces the original brass inlet fitting that came with the stove. Mine is threaded to fit the stove on one side and the gas hose on the other. Both sides seal with O-Rings, so there are no leaks and hand tight is enough. I used hex brass stock, like the original, but I will probably use round stock and knurl it, if I make another. With the O-Ring seal, it doesn't need wrench flats. I fired it up and checked for leaks. As expected, there were none. The only thing that my adapter doesn't have is the fritted brass filter. I'm not certain that having the filter is actually a good thing, in the field. I should have some spare parts soon and might just carry a extra jet.

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  31. Hi, Bill, good work! That's actually a better adapter for the particular version of the Hank Roberts that you have. The adapter I have will fit onto more stoves, but your type is more secure if you have the type of stove where the needle unscrews.

    I think those filters were put there for a purpose, but most modern stoves don't have them, so maybe it's OK to remove them. I know I heard something about this issue, but I can't remember. I'll let you know if I think of it. Try searching on CCS.

    HJ

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  32. I haven't had the jet off, yet, but I think that it also has a fritted filter. I made the adapter pretty much to the original dimensions, so it should be possible to retrofit a filter. Rather than a fritted filter, I might just stuff the fitting with glass wool. This is removable, should it plug. I have a Mark II, which is the one that I am using, and a Mark III, which has a broken knob. I am waiting for a couple more to be used as parts stoves and I should be able to fix the Mark III. When I get time, I'll try to get some pictures. I'll try to include the MSR GK.

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  33. One thought that I had: the fritted brass filters might play some part in vaporizing the liquid fuel. They have good heat conductivity and high contact area. I might try one with and one without, to see if it changes the behavior of the stove on liquid feed.

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  34. Interesting thought. What you're saying makes sense. I believe some of the early models did not have that filter. Perhaps the filter was added to not only filter but also to improve function.

    Let me know how it runs with and with out the filters.

    HJ

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  35. Oh, and yes, I believe there are two filters on an HR stove. One at the "needle" and one under the jet.

    I look forward to seeing the GK photos.

    HJ

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  36. Just thought I'd mention since your site came up in doing research for this stove, I'm selling mine plus 9 cans of the original gas. Never really used it as I didn't go camping as much as I would have liked. :(
    http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/spo/2928104977.html

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    1. Good luck with your sale. Nine canisters is pretty sweet.

      HJ

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  37. If the Giles adaptor becomes available at a reasonable price, I'm interested in buying one.

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  38. Jim, I can't wait to modify my old HR stove. I had two problems with it years ago: Sometimes the rubber seal on the fuel canister (rose bud) would fail to close up when I pulled it off the stove. I carried a small nail to push into the rose bud to stop the leak.

    The other problem was not having enough pressure to keep the burner going. I thought the sintered (fritted) filter was becoming plugged up. I would remove the canister and unscrew the tube. I would scrape some of the filter out, and the stove would resume cooking. Now I know that I was letting some time pass and the cold butane would warm up. I was probably not using HR canisters with the wick.

    Why not clamp fuel tubing directly to the HR stove? That should be easy. The threaded canister end is the tricky part. Do I have to buy a stove to get it?

    Mike Fry, Poway.

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  39. Hi, Mike,

    The tube that I'm using in these photos was purchased on eBay. It's a spare fuel tube for a Chinese S-9 stove. One end has a valve and a threaded fitting that connects to a modern threaded canister (MSR, Snow Peak, etc.). The other end is also threaded and connects to the adapter shown in the photos in this post. There are a number of ways you could connect the tube to the HR stove. The adapter shown in my post is just one way to do it. The one shown in my post does work fairly well.

    HJ

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  40. This was the first stove I ever owned and I bought it in college in 1989. It's still one of my favorites.
    There was a company called CampPro who briefly made an "upgrade kit" for the Mark III stove from around 2000-2004, but I think they have since gone out of business. I managed to pick one up from them. The kit had a standard lindal valve hose, burner and body. You only reused the base and pot support.
    I picked up a second stove on ebay and modified it to run on standard 1Lb propane bottles.

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  41. I found my Camp Pro Mark III today and started searching the Internet for fuel, then ran across this site. From what I gather, I won't be able to use mine after the fuel is exhausted. Is that correct?

    http://www.pbase.com/smokedaddy/image/147733214
    http://www.pbase.com/smokedaddy/image/147733129
    http://www.pbase.com/smokedaddy/image/147733130

    -JW:

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    1. If those are your photos, then you're lucky. Your version of the stove has a modern, threaded connector, and you should be fine.

      HJ

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    2. Yes, I just took those photos. Great news, so fuel is available then? I bought this particular model in 1998. It was used on a 3 month motorcycle trip up to Canada from Arizona.

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    3. You can use any brand of canister gas for backpacking stoves with a threaded connector and a Lindal valve. Generally MSR, Coleman, Snow Peak, Brunton, Optimus, Primus, and Jetboil should work as well as any other canister with the same connector. Do *not* get Camping Gaz brand which has a different type of connector.

      HJ

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  42. On another note, I also just found this Peak inside one of my old camping foldup pans. I assume fuel is available for this as well?

    http://www.pbase.com/smokedaddy/image/147734018
    http://www.pbase.com/smokedaddy/image/147734019
    http://www.pbase.com/smokedaddy/image/147734020

    Regards,
    -JW:

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    1. It's a little hard to see in the photos, but it looks like a threaded connector as well and should use the same fuel canisters as your Camp Pro Mark III. The limitation of this Peak I stove is of course cold. As temperatures approach 40 Fahrenheit, it will struggle (except with a brand new canister) with extended use.

      HJ

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    2. ... same thread 1/2" x 20. Thanks for the help too.

      -JW:

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  43. Stopped off at a yard sale this morn and scooped up an "Olicamp" cookset all nestled together. Got to work and unpakced it all, inside.....a HR stove! Made my day. I'll adapt it to something..
    Keith

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  44. Went to a hobby shop that deals in those cool motorized airplanes and buggies, they had some line that slipped snugly over that nipple on the stove. I took a piece of it and laid it on the vent of a burning lantern for a good half-hour, didn't faze it. Sat it on the rim of a burning 502 stove for 10 minutes, just barely damaged the end closest to flame. Tough stuff. Just slip it over nipple, got a lindal valve from something else, it too had a nipple on the end, slipped hose over, running my HR on a Coleman canister, and YES once warm you can do liquid fuel. And now that I'm so inspired, I can run a lot more of my "stuff" that uses those disconntinued canisters!
    Keith

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  45. I have a mark III in good condition (no dents, small amount of discoloration), still has all the parts and I also have three bottles of butane (one almost empty). I would like to sell/trade for a white gas stove. Anyone interested? email me at masoncleveland.nexus@gmail.com.

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  46. Do you by any chance have the lantern that goes with it? and if so I am looking for a mantle for mine..
    I would also be interested in an connector, if you ever came by some.
    TMAC
    tmacinsocal@aol.com

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  47. I just unpacked my camping stuff (stored away for 25 or so years) and lo and behold, there was my HR Mark II stove, still in great shape. Has there been any progress on a conversion kit that is available to buy? or is everyone still making their own conversion kit? Thanks. If there is one available for sale, please let me know at rts8@bellsouth.net.

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  48. looking for an adapter for mark III ... anyone got one for sale?

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  49. I also had one of the originals many years back, however the threads for the burner got stripped somehow. I was at a loss until I read Colin Fletcher's "The Complete Waller IV." He had his co-author, Chip Rawlins, track down the Hank Roberts Mini Stove because he really liked it. The company had been sold and the new model came with a conversion similar to the one sold here. It now fitted fuel canisters with the Lindol valve. I called the company and told the lady, Carol Allen, about the review in the book. She sent me a free stove to show her appreciation and went on a marketing crusade. I stopped hearing from her several years ago and now find that that company is kaput as well! If anybody else decided to take up production of the stove again I have no knowledge of that and would love to hear from anybody having information regarding same.

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