Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stove of the Week: The Borde Stove

Stove of the Week:  The Borde stove

I've been blogging about lightweight winter capable stoves for the last three weeks (the Coleman Xtreme, the MSR Simmerlite, and the MSR WindPro).  I'll conclude this series within a series on lightweight winter stoves with this week's post, but I'm going to continue to feature winter capable stoves for a few more weeks, but this is the last on lightweight ones. Next week will feature the MSR XGK II (pre shaker jet version).

So to conclude my mini-series on lightweight winter capable stoves, this week's stove is the Borde Stove, also called the Borde benzin brenner (Borde gasoline burner).  (ボルドーバーナー)  The Borde stove burns good and hot.  Note the color of the tips of the flame spreader in the below photo.  That stove is HOT!

The Borde stove is a diminutive cult classic with a very loyal following among mountaineers. It's compact and, at about 8.5 ounces (241g), relatively lightweight.

However, with respect to the stove's weight, two things should be noted:  1)  There is no integrated pot support and 2) the capacity of the fuel tank is perhaps only 250 ml -- if that.  As with most "white" gasoline type stoves, air space must be provided within the tank in order for the stove to work properly.

One should also note that there is no valve knob on this stove. How then is it controlled? The "star" burner itself is rotated with a control hook. Rotation to the left increases the flow of fuel, to the right decreases the flow. Unfortunately the original control hook for my stove has been lost somewhere along the way. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to make a new control hook from steel wire. Home made control hooks:

Rotating the "star" burner plate assembly with a control hook.

Here's a closer look at the "star" burner plate assembly. Note how the assembly is threaded and that the base of the assembly screws into a short tube directly attached to the coils. It is here, at the point where the assembly screws into the coils, that fuel is emitted.

OK, let's get started shall we? Now, since the Borde is a white gasoline type stove, we'll need to prime (pre-heat) the stove. The directions say that one should open the valve (by rotating the "star" burner plate assembly to the left), turn the stove upside down allowing a small amount of gasoline to come out, and ignite the gasoline while holding the stove in one's hands. Let's see, holding a lighted container of dripping gasoline in one's hands. Uh, is it just me or does this sound completely nuts? lol. There is a better way. First we'll need the following set up: a bottle of alcohol, a small pan, and of course our Borde stove:

Next, we'll undo the plug in the end of the stove and add white gasoline (Coleman type fuel). We'll then tighten the plug firmly using the flattened end of the wire stove holder.

Now, we'll place the little pan under the coils of the stove, fill the pan with alcohol, and ignite the alcohol. Since the pan is at an odd angle, it won't hold a lot of alcohol, so I went ahead and primed the stove twice (aka a double prime).

After double priming, I open up the burner just a bit allowing the now vaporized gasoline to flow out of the burner. Here, the Borde stove is just warming up:

The pot stand I'm using in the above photo is an aluminum US GI cup stand. It works, but I generally wouldn't recommend a GI cup stand for use with the Borde stove. The top of the burner plate should be about 3/4" (2 cm) from the bottom of pot you are heating. A GI cup stand is simply too short to provide the appropriate clearance.

Here, I'm heating water for my morning tea.
A word of caution:  Since the burner is directly attached to the fuel tank, the Borde stove gets hot.  Always pick up or move the stove by the wire holder.  It should be noted that the Borde stove has no safety devices of any kind whatsoever.  Overheat this stove, and it will explode.  Indeed, the nickname of this stove is the Borde Bomb, although some claim that the nickname derives more from the method of priming than the way in which the stove operates.  The plug at the base will sometimes fail first, but the plug failing first may not always happen.  In short, you are the safety device.  It is up to you to turn down the stove if it seems to be surging too powerfully.  You must be mindful at all times of how the stove is sounding and performing.

I'm not completely sure when the Borde stove was created.  I've seen several patents taken out by Josef Borde in the 1940's and 1950's.  Somewhere in that time frame the stove that we know today was developed.  There have been multiple variants of the stove, including versions where the burner is mounted on top of the tank rather than at the end, but generally all of the stoves are considered the Borde stove.  
My information is a little bit sketchy, but apparently the Borde stove went out of production some time in the mid 1960's until production was resumed some time later by Norbert Bader.  Alas, the most current information that I have is that the aging Mister Bader has discontinued production again, perhaps this time for good.

OK, let's finish up now with a couple of flame shots.

Thanks for joining me on another Adventure in Stoving!


The Borde Stove

What's good about it
Super high cool factor!  :)
Extremely simple
Relatively light

What's bad about it
Hard to find
No longer in production (parts hard to find, no factory repairs available)

Small capacity tank
No integrated pot support
No safety devices.


  1. Hi. Thanks for the review. Came across your blog while looking for alcohol stoves....I once made one which worked on the same principle as this, using copper tube soldered into a sealed tank. Dont know where I got the design from but it was about 40+years ago so wasn't the 'net! I want to attempt to fabricate another one for cycle-touring use. If you know of any DIY versions I'd be keen to know. Thanks.

  2. Hi, Velocette,

    I don't have a design for a coil type alcohol stove that I can immediately refer you to. What I would do is to do a Google search on "homemade coil stove" or something similar. You should find lots of examples.


  3. Yes, thanks, there are lots out there once you use the appropriate search terms, like everything on the 'net. Thanks again and keep up the good work!

  4. The lack of safety devices would be easy to solve with a pressure relief valve attatched to the filler cap-would also vent overpressure vapours AWAY from flame end

    1. I agree, but unfortunately the Borde stove is long out of production. It seems unlikely that anyone will be improving them.



My apologies to real people, but due to Spammers I have to moderate comments. I'll get to this as rapidly as possible but do understand that I like to hike and there's no internet in the wilderness. Take care and stove on!