I Need a New Toy- Introduction

Howdy and thanks for providing a great place with bunches of great info.
I’m Allan, I work for a large ranch in Montana, have a never ending desire to learn new things AND winter is coming. I generally buy a new toy every winter to learn or help out for when I quit working for others. (Bandsaw mill, CNC router, 3D printer and tools. You can never have enough tools!)
I’ve been interested in wood gasification for a good while now and have finally decided to learn what it’s all about and have been reading a bit. I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel (just yet, LOL), although I would like to build a gasifier big enough to run a generator or riding mower, with bigger ideas in the future.
I’ve been reading a little on the Imbert unit and like what I see as a good starter project. What’s your recommendations on where a guy with no experience should start?

Question for the big cheese…Do you guys take paypal for membership/book orders and if so can you message me the info please.
Thank you all very much.


OOPS! I forgot to show off my prizes I got today from The Hillside Market ( the dump).
It should be a good start.


Welcome Allan, First you have to decide exactly what you want to do with wood gas(run a vehicle, or small engines) it will make a big difference in how you build. If a vehicle is your goal, join here by buying the book with access to premium side. You will never regret it, more info here than any where else, and every one is more than willing to help you through a build.


What Al said! , And I’m more than a little jealous of your “Market”


Thanks guys,
I want to start out with something simple that will run a generator or riding mower. Mainly to get a hands on feel for what I’m doing and better understand what’s going on.
The reason that I’m looking at the Imbert unit is it “LOOKS” fairly simple and from what I can see it runs off of wood, please correct me if I’m wrong though.
If all goes well I do plan to eventually build some kind of unit for a truck, so I figure a smart guy would go ahead and get the book and the membership together right from the start.


Hi Allen welcome, if you want to run a lawnmower use a charcoal gasifier system. Look it up the search under, Simple Fire Gasifier. A lot of the members use this system to run small engines. No tar problems when using charcoal.

Thanks Bob.
I had initially looked at the Simple Fire, but thought it was only for doing a flare, I did not realize that it was big enough to run an engine.

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Hi Allan,
Some of us, on the “dark side” , do run some great stuf :grin:
anyhow, welcome in paradise… the place to be if you want to DO.


Thanks Koen.
I read every bit of your build pages and thoroughly enjoyed it all. You’ve done some great stuff for the folks in Thailand.
I’ve always had an interest in things like this and since I quit drinking about 5 years ago I have lots more time to do stuff, rather than just thinking on it.
Winter time in Montana means I work 7 days a week, but only long enough to feed the cows and break the ice for them to drink. Other than that I generally have plenty of time to play in the shop.


:+1: then lets start do building :grin:
i am curious how much you have learned so far.
The good thing for you to know: 1 it will work, 2 plenty folks around here to help you out


I’m still at the stage of trying to figure out what would be best to start with and lots of reading just to get a better grasp of what’s the best plan of attack.
The quick plan is to build something simple to get more of an idea of the reality of what I need and the long plan (dream) is to eventually build a truck.


Do as i did, started with a kind of simple fire, ( Gilmore style) , learn on the go how important the fuel is, improve your knowledgebase and sharpen your skills…
At the end you can toggle the big challenge… building a full fledged WK gasifier…

But i am pretty sure you’ll find some own “experiences” that will lead you thru your quest… its the travel/journey that satisfies most, not the destiny…

To say it with some famous words from a fellow here on DOW; “gasifying is blowing smoke thru a pile of glowing char…”

if you see nothing else coming out then pure clean gas, then you’r doing it right… :grin:

feel free to ask, we are all happy to answer…


Hi Allan!

If l may add my 2c, l wuld start with a Simple fire charcoal gasifier. Once you get some practice with gasification, go to a lmbert wood gasifier. Its fairly simple and fast to make, and once you get good at raw wood gasificetion hasitate not in building a WK gasifier for your truck.


I’m out riding through the cows and hunting right now, but plan to possibly start on one today, depending on my honey-do list.


Hi Allen
I enjoyed a cold 3 months in Colstrip about 15 years ago.
Repaired the lining in the ash disposal pond NW of town
Interesting place, 1 of everything, 1gas station, 1 pizza joint, 1car wash (essential to melt the glaciation out of your car wheel wells).

For uptown entertainment the local flyers would go 90 miles South to Sheridan Wyo. lunch at the motel and go SHOPPING at Walmart!

I have many fond memories.

Welcome and definitely get the book but read about the upgrades on the website


Thanks Michael,
The town is getting smaller due to the big fight against coal, but short of winning the lottery it’s where I’ll be. I love Sheridan and it’s where my girlfriends family lives, so I see it a few times a year.
The settling ponds that you worked on border a part of the ranch that isn’t connected to the rest of it. I’ve rode pretty much every inch of that area and have come up with some interesting finds. Thanks for reminding me of the ponds, there is a huge boneyard of use pipes, containers and whatnot that they conveniently have on our property…HHMMMM!
I live out by the airport and smack dab in the middle of the coal mine, just a bit off the main part of the ranch. Due to me “tolerating” the noise and inconvenience at times, I’m sure some of my friends at the mine would help me out with parts if I need them. Now I just need to jump in and figure out what this is all about.
Have a great day.


I will also give a welcome to the Drive(Power) On Wood site Allen.
For your site beginning first small system first be sure and read trough the topics on the Small Engines section.
Access this clicking on the top tool bar three horizontal lines papers stack.

You are in Montana. From your pictures and descriptions the eastern very little wood part of Montana.
I will a bit contrary advise from what has been given to you so far.
For DYI power it is all about your energy/fuel source. NOT your needs. NOT your fabrication abilities. Not even about your desires.
Winter time now wood fuel heat at least one building ALL WINTER exclusively.
If you can prove to your self you can do this then you would have enough wood-fuel-source; the physical stamina to wood-sweat the fuel-wood prepping you would need for operating a small home/farm wood(or charcoal)gas fueled generator system.

Again eastern Montana is BIG, with long driving distances. Once you would vehicle woodgasify can you then supply at least 1x more wood than you will use with combined single building winter wood heating, and wood-fueled electrical generating?

The actual Rural living USofA using driving vehicle woodgasser call thier’s “wood-hogs” for reasons.

And charcoal-teering does not change this can-you-get-it/can-you-work-it-down-to-size/ can-you-dry-dehumidify-it/and-then-dry store-it in the use wood for real-use power equation.
Real use wood stoveing proves/teaches all of this.

tree-farmer Steve unruh


Thanks for the great response Steve and also for a blunt, true to life opinion.
I’m mainly looking into wood gasification as an interest and something new to me to learn. Although I hope to never have to rely on this as a way of life any time soon, I think it’s some great stuff to know and could prove to be very beneficial.
I will certainly agree with you that “feeding” one of these would be more than a project than building one. Although I use gas heat at the ranch house supplied by my employer, I own a house in town that my girlfriend lives in and we burn wood for heat, my shop is heated with wood and up until a couple years ago I was selling 15-20 cords of firewood a year for extra cash, so the ability is covered if I had to. LOL
Although a lot of eastern Montana is pretty slight on the amount of trees to be had, where I’m located there are an abundance of trees to be had. The ranch that I work for is situated on one end of the Little Wolf Mountain Range and there is plenty of trees to be had, whether I worked here or cut wood on state land.
One of my wood sources is from fires that we have every year. In 2012 just the ranch that I work for lost 34,000 acres to the big fires that we had up here. That was the year that I bought my first bandsaw mill. I’ve since bought a bigger mill and just using it when I’m done with my ranch chores, my mill has easily paid for itself, supplied me with more lumber than I need and bought me plenty of new toys. My mill is one of the reasons that I’ve thought about wood gasification, that thing makes bunches of scrap.
The bottom line for me is that I’m interested in it and want to build a couple of them, if for no other reason, just to have the knowledge.


Bad picture, but it shows the base of the mountain

Another part of one of my pastures and with my cooking we should be able to make an elk gasifier

Looking down from near the top of the mountain at the far side of the ranch. You can see some of the burned area from one of the big fires

Me and my mill with a huge burl

When I mentioned that I lived in the middle of a coal mine, I was serious!


Hello Allan ,

Thanks for the pictures and welcome to the DOW.

If you have and use a small sawmill you will have plenty wood ( motor fuel ) :grinning:

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