Step by Step Construction Guide

For making a Smokeless Chulha out of clay donuts


Recipe for the Clay

  1. Find local clay and break into powder, especially any big lumps (4 parts)

  2. Add approx 1-2 parts dry cut grass (about 3 inches long) to make the clay hold together easily

  3. Add 1-2 parts puffed rice (or other puffed grain)

  4. Mix in water until feels like chapati dough

  5. Make a mold to hold the shape of the clay

  6. Watch the Video for full explanation: (opens in new Tab)ย https://himalayanrocketstove.com/video-scr/


Step 1

Make a 5 donuts out of clay (using the recipe provided):

  • hole 5 inches across (125mm)

  • wall 3 inches thick (75mm)

  • donut 5 inches high (125mm) – Add extra 1 inch height when wet to allow for shrinkage when drying

Step 2

Sketch 3 parallel lines into the clay:

  • 1 on each side of the hole

  • 1 in the centre of the hole

Step 3

Using an old saw or any kind of sharp edge (scrap metal) cut the clay while it is still a bit soft but not too wet.

A: First cut a slot from one side to the centre of the hole as shown left

B: Cut the diagonal from inside centre hole to the outside edge as shown right


Step 4

You should have one donut that now looks like this, where the slot to the inside of the donut is about half the width of the donut hole itself


Step 5

Get one of the whole donuts and place it on top of the slotted donut


Step 6

Stack 3 or 4 donuts high to get your riser height and to make sure all your donuts fit nicely. In real life these will be rough on the outside so its more important to make sure the hole lines up on the inside. The outside can be smoothed off later.


Step 7

Here we are now extending the base with either bricks or more clay.

We have taken the donuts off just to show how it looks but you can leave them on.


Step 8

Now fill in the gaps on either side of the slotted donut so that the 2 rows of clay are joined to the base donut with no gaps.

On the right you can see how it should look with all the donuts stacked up.


Step 9

Place your last donut on top of the base section as close to the burn tube riser as you can. This helps the fire suck air better if its close.

Then fill in the gaps between the 2 donuts using clay.

Step 10

Add 3 lumps of clay (or 3 stones) to the top donut about 1 inch high to hold your pot on top.

Also, find a brick or piece of metal or tile that will block off the end of the ash clean-out section. This should be able to be moved away so don’t make it stick to the clay.

One Pot Burning Position

With the ash clean out section closed, you can feed wood down into the lower donut hole with one pot on the high section.

Two Pot Burning Position

With the ash clean out section OPEN, you can feed wood in sideways with one pot on the low riser and one pot on the high riser.

Note that the high riser MUST have 3 pot stones and the low riser must NOT have any pot stones. The low pot must seal off the opening for the chulha to work properly.

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