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Making Charcoal


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#1 Chuck_050382 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 06, 2010 - 10:40 AM

I have been making my own lump charcoal for cooking with. Its a neat process. I use a method called the retort method.
here are some pictures:
this is the charcoal maker, Its a 55 gallon drum with a recirculating pipe. the wood that will converted to charcoal goes in it and get the lid placed on it.
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here it is loaded with wood.
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you then build a fire around the drum to cook the wood
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As the wood gets heated it releases the gases thst buring wood release which are collected and fed into the fire by the recircuating pipe. This sounds like a blow torch or furnace. this is a close up of the gases coming out of the pipe buring.
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here are some shots of the final product.
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here are some video of the charcoal maker in action.
YouTube - Making charcoal
YouTube - Making Oak Charcoal
YouTube - Making charocal at ngiht
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#2 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted April 06, 2010 - 11:03 AM

That is pretty neat seeing how it is made. How much wood do you have to burn to turn the other wood into charcoal? How long does a batch take?

Just a side note you might want to drop the size of the pics down a little bit or attach them full size and let the site software resize them, some people with older smaller monitors will have the tables breaking and scrolling. I wouldn't worry about it on the pics you already posted but maybe for future reference.

#3 Chuck_050382 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 06, 2010 - 11:33 AM

Just a side note you might want to drop the size of the pics down a little bit or attach them full size and let the site software resize them, some people with older smaller monitors will have the tables breaking and scrolling. I wouldn't worry about it on the pics you already posted but maybe for future reference.


I have photbucket set to resize my pictures now as i upload. These were uploaded before I started doing that.

#4 Chuck_050382 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 06, 2010 - 11:37 AM

That is pretty neat seeing how it is made. How much wood do you have to burn to turn the other wood into charcoal? How long does a batch take?


I typically burn pallets and scraps, and the nasty chunks that wont split. I probably burn more than a barrel full, but the price is good. A batch takes about 4-6 hours, but I always wait a day to let it all cool off. If you opened the barrel when it was hot, the charcoal inside would ignite due to the increase in oxygen.

#5 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted April 06, 2010 - 11:48 AM

I have photbucket set to resize my pictures now as i upload. These were uploaded before I started doing that.


Good deal, thanks :D

#6 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted April 06, 2010 - 11:50 AM

I typically burn pallets and scraps, and the nasty chunks that wont split. I probably burn more than a barrel full, but the price is good. A batch takes about 4-6 hours, but I always wait a day to let it all cool off. If you opened the barrel when it was hot, the charcoal inside would ignite due to the increase in oxygen.


That is good info. With the charcoal you make then how long does it burn for when you are cooking? Do you have to add a lot as you are cooking or is it just enough to keep it going at temperature?

#7 Chuck_050382 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 06, 2010 - 11:54 AM

Lump charcoal (what i make) burn hotter than regular briquetes. I also burns with very little ash. And depending on the cooker can burn for a long time. I have cooked on my charcoal bullet smoker (weber WSM) for 12 hours on a load of lump charcoal. It may hold about 12 lbs of fuel.

I use this in my charcoal smoker and to grill. I use wood in my big cooker.

#8 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted April 06, 2010 - 12:04 PM

Don't mean to ask so many questions but I find this intriguing and I know nothing about it. Now does the lump charcoal give more of a wood flavor to the food or is it more of the briquette charcoal flavor? I am guessing it would still give the wood flavor?

I really want to build a smoker once we move, I would have a lot of fun cooking on it and not to mention all the great tasting food.

#9 Chuck_050382 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 06, 2010 - 12:16 PM

I posted this here so it could be discussed so dont worry about a lot of questions.

I think lump gives a better flavor. I do use regular briquettes as well. They seem to have a more chemically smell when burned compaired to lump.

lump charcoal is available commercially. Look for Royal Oak (available at walmart around here).

But Please remember. Friends dont let friends use lighter fluid. invest in a charcoal chimney.

#10 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted April 06, 2010 - 12:24 PM

Alright, now ya gotta explain the charcoal chimney to me. I am one that would spray a bunch of lighter fluid on it just to watch the inferno LOL

#11 Chuck_050382 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 06, 2010 - 01:23 PM

You use either news paper, or (my favorite) a propane burner to start the charcoal using no lighter fluid.

Shop Weber Charcoal Chimney Starter at Lowes.com

They work well.

#12 IamSherwood OFFLINE  

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Posted April 05, 2011 - 06:39 PM

What did you use as the burning chamber?

#13 Chuck_050382 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 06, 2011 - 07:44 AM

A old fuel oil tank that I found behind the barn at my old house.

#14 IamSherwood OFFLINE  

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Posted April 06, 2011 - 08:06 AM

I guess a trip to the scrap yard is in order.

#15 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted April 06, 2011 - 08:16 AM

I'm going to have tell my archaeologist friend about this. He's been talking about smelting his own metal for years. What he wants to do is try to make his own iron age weapons from scratch, so he needs to make his own charcoal too.




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