Making your own charcoal.

Discussion in 'All Resources About Fire' started by lucidcuber, Jun 13, 2016.

Making your own charcoal. 5 5 1votes
5/5, 1 vote

  1. lucidcuber

    lucidcuber New Member
      8/23

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    How do people do this on a domestic scale? I very rarely use firewood, but due to a tree collapse in my garden I have quite a lot of wood, however when I did try to burn it straight away it wouldn't stay alight, then I realise it has to be dried first, which I assume is basically the same process as charcoal.

    I've seen how industrial charcoal production works but surely I could do it in my garden too?
     
  2. tb65

    tb65 Active Member
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    Yeah you can make your own charcoal. I saw a youtube video about it. You have to burn the wood until it turns to coals it's that simple. Getting it lit might not be as hard as you think, I saw someone make charcoal and used paper that he set on fire to lite it.
     
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  3. John Snort

    John Snort Well-Known Member
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    You could try this. I haven't tried it but I've heard it works. That's if you have a metal drum. Chop up the tree and pack it into the drum. Make sure that it's filled to the top. Then slam a fire proof lid onto it.

    Now find a spot where you can light a huge bonfire. Cover the drum with wood and light it [the wood, that is]. Keep the huge fire going for no less than three hours.

    When the fire has burned out, the drum cooled down, you'll have charcoal inside.
     
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  4. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    [​IMG]
    Dried wood in the wood shed.

    1) Dried wood & charcoal are two different things.
    2) Wet wood will not burn well because the wetness prevents the wood from getting hot enough to burn.
    3) Green wood is wet wood, because it has not been dried. Dry wood can also get wet.
    4) Burning wet wood creates creosote in the chimney, & this is what causes chimney fires.
    5) If you have green wood or wet wood, cut it & stack it to dry. Wet wood will dry quicker when split, but green wood can be difficult to split.
    6) It takes some experience to tell dry wood from unseasoned wood. For instance, just because wood splits easily, does not mean that it is completely dry. I can tell not only by looking at the wood, but also by the feel & by how much it weighs. How heavy it feels depends on (A) size, & (B) the type of wood it is.

    Depending on the size of your tree, I suggest you cut it into the sizes you need to fit your fire, then stack it & leave it for at least 2 years. If you see the wood splitting before this time, then it may be a sign that it has dried out. Drying time can be hastened by stacking in the sun outside in summer, even if it rains & the wood gets wet, this stack will eventually season (lose it's greenness ) & dry enough to be moved inside. Once split you can also stack pieces in front of your fire, or under the wood burning stove.
    Keith.
    [​IMG]
    Wood stacked outside for drying.
     
  5. remnant

    remnant Expert Member
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    It isn't hard for one to make their own charcoal. The principle involves burning wood under conditions of depleted oxygen. However, doing it the traditional way requires experience, at least some. An easy way to make charcoal is to douse some pieces of firewood with paraffin in a drum and then setting the alight. Put the lid on and wait for the wood to be burnt in these oxygen depleted conditions. After about one day, you should have enough charcoal. This method is both cheap and easy.
     
  6. lucidcuber

    lucidcuber New Member
      8/23

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    Keith that was very informative. What is the practical uses for dry wood vs charcoal? I've never understood the difference because they are essentially both wood based fuel sources, both dried. One just look black and one a normal wood colour. Why would people use one or the other?
     
  7. SirJoe

    SirJoe Expert Member
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    To make charcoal you have to place the wood in a container were it doesn't get a direct flame. An oil barrel or if you want to start small a tin container will do. Make a hole on the top for the steam to escape and place it in the fire. Just remember charcoal making uses a lot of wood. This is one method but I'm sure there are others.
     
  8. RichE8475

    RichE8475 New Member
      3/23

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    My parents have taught my brothers and I to make our own charcoal since we were kids. They would just put wood into the wood burner and light it on fire. It is important to make sure that it is really well lit. After you put the lid on the container you want to plug up any holes that may be letting smoke out. You can seal these areas using potting soil. All you have to do now is let the wood burn down, and when the container has cooled you remove the charcoal you just made for later use. We like to do this so that when we cookout we can add flavors such as; mesquite, apple, or whatever type wood you had turned into coals.
     
  9. Corzhens

    Corzhens Master Survivalist
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    Our housemaid used to make charcoal that they sell. The wood come from dead trees that they cut for firewood. She said that dried firewood is placed in a pit on the ground and then kerosene is poured on the pile of firewood. Pouring should be equal on the surface so all the wood will ignite when lit. The pit will then be covered by soil and a wick is placed for lighting that would eventually send the fire to the firewood under the soil. When the smoke is visible, that is the start of the process of making charcoal.

    PS. I have to admit that I have no knowledge on this, just a knowledge passed on by our housemaid based on her experience.
     
  10. chelsknits

    chelsknits New Member
      8/23

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    I've actually never heard of making your own charcoal. The ways listed in this thread are really interesting and educational! It definitely seems like good information to have, even if you don't ever use it.
     
  11. ZipMedia

    ZipMedia New Member
      3/23

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    It's fairly simple, and it can be done from scratch with some dirt on your hands.
     
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  12. GrecianShamrock

    GrecianShamrock New Member
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    That's really cool. My husband laughed at me when I told him about it because he already knew how to make it. Apparently he has done it in the past, I just never knew it.
     
  13. hades_leae

    hades_leae Active Member
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    That's an interesting method but I burn wood all the time, and it never turns into charcoal. It literally turns into ash, I don't understand the concept, what exactly needs to be done to make the wood turn in to those square bricks that you find in the stores for Barbeque? I never learned how those thing works.
     
  14. tb65

    tb65 Active Member
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    The square bricks you find in the stores are processed to look that way. Most of the time when people make there own charcoal it's lump charcoal.
    Sometimes you can burn wood in a barrel with a lid, this gets all the impurities out of the wood without actually burning the coals. Keeping your lid open just enough to let a little smoke out is what you have to do.
     
  15. Rere

    Rere New Member
      8/25

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    My parents have taught my brothers and I to make our own charcoal since we were kids. They would just put wood into the wood burner and light it on fire. It is important to make sure that it is really well lit. After you put the lid on the container you want to plug up any holes that may be letting smoke out. You can seal these areas using potting soil. All you have to do now is let the wood burn down, and when the container has cooled you remove the charcoal you just made for later use. We like to do this so that when we cookout we can add flavors such as; mesquite, apple, or whatever type wood you had turned into coals.
     
  16. Birla Andrei Marian

    Birla Andrei Marian New Member
      3/25

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    Hi, I live on a small farm in South Africa. I am going to produce my own charcoal.

    Not for grilling, but to make a charcoal fridge.

    This room will become my Wine Fridge. About 6 cubic metres. So the type of

    wood that I use will not be to important. What I would like to know. Did you punch any holes into the base of your draw in order to draw air to start the small fire?

    Sincerely, Allan Dawson
     
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