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Charcoal making

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Charcoal making

Postby Andy & Heather » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:25 pm

Having finished felling at the end of February, we've been busy processing wood and making charcoal to prepare for a busy summer of selling charcoal


Is that wood that you have felled this winter that you are making into charcoal? We have no experience of charcoal making but were under the impression that it needed to dry out a bit. We want to try and use some of the overgrown willow that we have coppiced this winter to make charcoal. We are only going to be using an oil drum (well 'honey drum' in our case), not the proper kit.

Anyone else had success with the oil drum method?
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Re: Charcoal making

Postby The Barrowers » Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:42 pm

Hello

Yes, Some success with off cut etc, Also some fun. End result, some charcoal and some brown ends that we use to light the camp fire. Just use a 50 gallon oil drum with hole cut in top. Lots of info about on Coppice sites etc. Patience is of the essence. I need to learn some!!

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Re: Charcoal making

Postby Bulworthy Project » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:00 pm

We season our wood for a minimum of 6 months. We started felling in September and we are just moving on to that wood now.

We have used an oil drum. They have there limitations but are cheap. The trick is to have the inlet and outlet at the bottom so that the drum is full of smoke rather than air and the wood cooks without igniting.
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Re: Charcoal making

Postby Rankinswood » Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:37 pm

Hi,

Do you have a photo of your 50 gallon charcoal oil drum set up ?

Is the oil drum used with the fully "open end" facing down with a small hole in the bottom facing up ?

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Re: Charcoal making

Postby Bulworthy Project » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:10 pm

We don't have an oil drum as we use a small ring kiln for demo burns and a full sized kiln for commercial production. The oil drum set up that we have used has one end fully opened facing down with a channel dug into the ground below it to allow the air in at one side and the smoke out at the other. if you have a hole -even a small hole- in the top it allows some of the oxygen to get into the top part of the drum thereby allowing the wood to ignite throughout the kiln.
Bulworthy Project is an experiment in low-impact living and working.
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Re: Charcoal making

Postby The Barrowers » Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:35 pm

In our case as you suggest, open at bottom, which we wedge open to allow air and close with sand /dirt and a cut out hole at the top with a metal lid to cover with soft wet sand to seal when we think the smoke has changed

Very un professional but it pleases us

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Re: Charcoal making

Postby Rich » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:11 pm

I'm thinking of making a retort which differs from the ring kiln method as it uses an inner ' chamber' the oil drum and an outer chamber or kiln to light a fire and cook the wood. When it reached a certain temp. wood gas is given off which sustains the burn, that's the theory

I'll let you know how I get on.


http://greenyourhead.typepad.com/files/ ... ctions.pdf
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Re: Charcoal making

Postby mikepepler » Thu May 09, 2013 2:39 pm

There's another way of doing it with an oil drum:
- cut the top off
- make holes round the edge at the bottom
- fill a smaller drum with wood, and put it upside down in the middle of the oil drum
- make a fire in the oil drum, around the small drum, burn for a few hours
- cool and empty

It doesn't make a huge amount, but it is very little effort and requires no monitoring other than adding fuel to the fire occasionally during the burn phase. You acn use your nice wood in the small drum and scrap wood for the burn. I've made a video showing it in action here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwdoQxPY39U
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Re: Charcoal making

Postby The Barrowers » Thu May 09, 2013 4:52 pm

Mike

The link shows the mallet making

Could it be my PC???
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Re: Charcoal making

Postby Rich » Thu May 09, 2013 5:11 pm

Nah, I think it's Mike ...he's gone a bit off topic! :lol:
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