Charcoal

This is a listing of the various charcoal making testing and methods I have used to date.

Charcoal Testing

This was a series of small scale tests to get some idea of the effects of time and temperature. They were very informative. All future builds where based off information obtained form these tests as well as from a wealth of literature available on charcoal making.

31 Photos

55 Gallon Drum Retort

This is my original charcoal making setup. It works great if you are making biochar, but not so good for bladesmithing and smelting. I have moved to other methods but there is room for improvement here. Let me know if you modify it to get better quantity charcoal.

16 Photos

55 Gallon Drum Direct Burn

This is direct burn in a 55 gallon drum. Remember in a direct burn part of the product is burned for fuel. This is a modification of Lee Sauder's method at http://iron.wlu.edu/reports/CharcoalBarrel.htm.

11 Photos

4' Japanese Kiln

This is a 4' diameter steel kiln patterned after Japanese charcoal kilns. It utilizes the hot flue gases from an external fire to char the wood. It can be built from commonly available materials.

18 Photos

47 Responses to “Charcoal”

  1. Thom Foote says:

    Take a look on Youtube for a video by Amy Smith of MIT about making charcoal briquets using a method she brought back from Haiti. It involves an upright 55 gallon drum with holes IN THE BOTTOM and a loading hole in the top with a metal plate to seal this top hole. I have tried this several times and it takes 1 hour, so far, to produce charcoal from pine branches. 1/2 hour to load the barrel and 1/2 hour to process the pine into charcoal. I then crushed it a bit and put into my compost pile for use this spring as biochar. Incredibly easy and somehow enabling.

    • Dan O'Connor says:

      Thom,

      Great video. It is pretty cool how the process can be controlled well enough to produce the properties you need .For me this charcoal would be too soft and crumbly to use making blades. And vice versa my more solid charcoal would be almost useless in making preformed briquettes.

      Thanks

  2. Fredrik D says:

    how long did it take to make charcoal in the paint can ?

  3. Vincent says:

    how did the Japanese kiln do i am interested in process a similar size (1 or 2 of these) as i would prefer to make larger quantities as to cut out multipe smaller i have a plentiful source of Pine, How much charcoal would this create at a time?
    space isnt a real issue for me so any suggestions would be great.
    Thank you

  4. kailash limbu says:

    i am going to start charcoal charcoal business i needed some idea please can you mail me some making methods?

  5. SAAM MAAS says:

    THANKS ALOT FOR I N F

  6. This is a fantastic have always wondered how charcoal was made very comprehensive and some great photos……..thanks heaps

  7. Rusty Craig says:

    Cool photos. I've never seen charcoal making in person but these photos make me feel like I've experienced it first hand.

  8. In mozambique they manufacture charcoal in shacks constructed out of clay.

  9. nice info about charcoal thanks

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