Hank Roberts & Gerry Stove Adapters

Hi BernieDawg
I have a Gerry and a Hank Roberts mini-stove and I want to adapt them to use todays fuel canisters. Do you have and sell a conversion kit or can you refer me to someone who does? Should you have one, how can I order it and how much does it cost? Thanks for your help.
Gerry Guy

Hi Gerry Guy
Thanks for your question. I’m going to tell you the honest truth. It may not be what you want to hear. I hope you won’t be mad.

As you know, the cartridge style used for Hank Roberts, Gerry and similar stoves has been out of production for many years now. The Hank Roberts and Gerry branded stoves have gone the way of 8-track tape players, Sony Betamax VCRs, and crystal radio sets – they are outmoded and obsolete, having been replaced by much better modern alternatives. On the other hand, I do understand that some people enjoy collecting these old dinosaurs. Heck, I have a few of them myself!

I did a small run of custom-machined adapters for Hank Roberts conversions back in 2010 for some fans of this budget-priced stove of yore. I no longer have any in stock. The machined brass adapter connects the Hank Roberts/Gerry 7/16 x 20 stove thread to the Chinese M6 x 0.75 threaded hose/valve set.

HR adapter HR adapter burn

If you’d like me to custom-machine a brass adapter on my precision mini-lathe it’d cost you $45 plus shipping (about $3 in the USA). You can buy the Chinese-made valve/hose set shown in the photo for about $12 on eBay. If you think I’m out of line on the cost of that custom machining, you can give the thread data and show the photos above to your local machinist and see what he’d quote you.

There is no one anywhere else in the world that I know of that does any sort of conversions for these. So, there is no need to knock yourself out searching the web further.

All this said… most people (including me!) don’t think converting a Hank Roberts/Gerry is worth it. You can get most modern brand name isobutane stoves new at under $50-60. That’s what I would encourage you to do. Why? Well…

Modern lightweight backpacking stoves are designed to specifically burn the gas mixtures in present day isobutane cartridges. Hank Roberts and Gerrys, on the other hand, were designed to burn straight butane. Isobutane works much better in cold conditions and comes in canisters you can find all over. The Hank Roberts/Gerrys simply aren’t designed or jetted to work as well as a modern stove with isobutane canisters. They are cute “collector item” stoves, but they are not serious outdoor stoves compared to modern alternatives. (Sorry if this isn’t what you wanted to hear.)

Here are a few name brand modern stove candidates you can Google that would make good replacements for your Hank Roberts/Gerrys:
Snow Peak Gig, manual – $39.95 msrp
MSR Pocket Rocket – $39.95 msrp
MSR Micro Rocket – $59.95 msrp
Kovea Tornado – about $41 with shipping via eBay
Optimus Crux – $59.95 msrp
Optimus Crux Lite – $39.95 msrp
Primus Classic Trail – $25 msrp

And… if you are looking for even cheaper, but still usable stove alternatives, there are many, many imported isobutane stoves coming out of China and Korea that are really quite good. You can find them on sale on eBay for under $20 with the shipping included in that price. Here are three I’ve purchased that I found work just fine and all for under $20 shipped:

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 8.47.28 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 8.47.54 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 8.48.17 AM

You can curb recycle your old Hank Roberts/Gerry stoves as aluminum in many communities in the USA. Or, you can try to sell it on eBay, though most people have figured out they are pretty much useless now that cartridges for them have been gone for 10+ years. Or, you can make a nice display of vintage backpacking gear in your home to remember those great old times on the trail. (I still have my old 1977 Kelty frame pack hanging on my wall!)

Happy Camping!

Silent Burner Spindle Nut Leak

Hi BernieDawg, 
 What would cause a flame to emerge right out of the connection where the spindle enters the burner on my Force 10 boat heater? Is it an o-ring/seal gone bad or? I can blow the flame out, but it wants to come back occasionally. I’m leaning towards the burner not being pre-warmed enough as it also wants to flame more than the nice red/blue I should be getting at the burner.
Thank you!
“Leaky Flame”

Hi “Leaky Flame”
You need to tighten up the spindle nut. Provided there’s still enough graphite packing around the spindle, a slight tighten should reseal the spindle packing around the spindle. I often do this “on the fly”, ie: with the burner running. I carefully snug up the spindle nut with a 10mm open end wrench until the little flame just goes out.
Here’s a cut away view photo that a guy on the internet made. He made it wrong. The graphite spindle packing and the spindle ring should be swapped in position as I’ve indicated in the photo. The little brass spindle ring has a flat side and a cupped side. The cupped side should be facing toward the spindle nut and touching the graphite packing. The flat side of the brass spindle ring should face toward the jet and be touching the large threads on the shaft of the spindle.
  Reg Burner Cut Away <— click me to enlarge
And, you can see an online repair manual for your burner/heater at this link:
Here’s a copy of that webpage as a PDF file you can store on your computer/tablet/phone for reference when you are working in your boat:
Good luck!

111 Spirit Pan Removal

Dear BernieDawg,
I have (another) stove question for you – at the risk of asking you to divulge all your professional secrets:
One of my 111 burners has a spirit cup held onto the screw post with a round nut… How on earth do you remove that ‘nut’ ( ? )
“Pan Guy”

Hi Pan-Guy

On the 111 spirit pan… I’m thinking from your description that you just have the standard spirit pan on there.

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 8.04.09 AMScreen Shot 2015-10-01 at 8.02.30 AM
These have a threaded rivet “thingy” that’s been pressed into the center of the pan. (I’m sorry, but my coffee hasn’t kicked in yet this morning and I’m really drawing a blank on what to call that fitting other than a “thingy” so please bear with me on that.) Anyway, there’s no slot or anything on that center fitting thingy to remove it. (Kinda dumb of the makers, actually.) When they were new and fresh the spirit pan is gripped tightly by the rivet fitting thingy and you can just install or remove the pan by spinning the pan on or off.

But after many cycles of heating and cooling and generally being bashed about, the center threaded rivet thingy loses it’s grip on the pan part and the pan will spin freely so you can’t get the thingy to unthread. When this happens, you are sorta screwed. It’s not really the best design. This has happened to me a lot. I try things like levering the pan part while spinning it counter-clockwise to remove it – that can sometimes get you a better grip in the thingy-to-pan connection. I have a pair of pliers that I filed the teeth off of in the jaws so the teeth won’t mar stuff. I sometimes get in there on the thingy with those pliers, sometimes I use some rubber inner tubing or some masking tape to pad the jaws even a bit more so I don’t do damage. ‘Course you already know you can add some penetrating oil to the threaded part of the fitting to help it break loose.

But, sad to say, that’s about all I’ve got for you on this. It’s just a pain in the butt – bad design, like I say. If you totally screw up the pan getting it off, and that happens sometimes, you can still get a new one from Shirlene at A&H.

Oh! One other thing. A lot of folks don’t realize there is supposed to be a little heat-proof washer installed on the pan where it contacts the burner. It keeps the preheat fuel from leaking out through the threads of the “thingy” and under the spirit pan and into the stove case. Leaky spirit pans are a big reason why so many 111s have burnt paint on the bottom half of the case. They might possibly still have those at Base-Camp in England. You can see that pictured in this diagram I swiped from their website. But, no part number is given. You might have to ask after it, or, you can make one yourself from some auto engine head gasket material you can get from an auto parts place.
Optimus 111 Exploded View  <— click me for large version

No “professional secrets” here. I’m always happy to share as long as I’ve got the time to do so.