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British sustainable charcoal
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Treacodactyl
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 24870
Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 11 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Well I picked up a bag of UK charcoal from a service station I was visiting. The bag is stamped with a "The Coppice Association" mark but I cannot find any details about them and there's no producer details on the bag, which is a shame. Anyone know anything about them?

The charcoal is very good and a little lasts a long time. It's also ideal as it literally only takes a couple of minutes before I can cook over it.

Hopefully when I need some more I can pick it up from Bulworthy next time.

bulworthy project



Joined: 27 Jun 2011
Posts: 167
Location: Rackenford, Devon
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 11 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The Coppice Association no longer exists, but the bags are still for sale. This is useful for small scale charcoal producers who do not want to invest in the 5000 bags that you need to buy to get your own design printed. (You can get 2500 printed at a time, but the process used cannot be relied on to get the print in the right place).
The trouble is that unless the producer puts their name on the bag, it could be made by anyone, so you buy a good bag of charcoal one time and then another bag of poor quality charcoal in the same bag.
It is a shame that whoever made your bag of charcoal did not put their name on it as they make good charcoal and it would be good for people to know who they are.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 3864

PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 11 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thanks for the plug TG.

If you want charcoal in Surrey, try Surrey and Sussex Coppice Craftsmens Group. http://coppicegroup.wordpress.com/

Some of them might sell through larger shops, but most of their charcoal producers will sell through local shops and garden centres.

The Coppice Association is sadly defunct, but there are moves afoot to try to launch a National Coppice Federation. As coppice workers tend to be rather independantly minded, this is taking some time.

sean
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 39935
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 11 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Tried some of bulworthy project's charcoal yesterday. Excellent quality, thoroughly recommended.

Hairyloon



Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 11418
Location: Today I are mostly being in Yorkshire.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 11 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Can you make charcoal out of rhodedendron and if not, why not?
It seems to me to be a pretty big problem in a lot of places, and this may help towards a solution.

bulworthy project



Joined: 27 Jun 2011
Posts: 167
Location: Rackenford, Devon
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 11 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I have never heard of anyone making charcoal out of rhododendron and don't know what the end result would be like, but the smoke is toxic and monitoring the kiln would require serious breathing apparatus.

Hairyloon



Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 11418
Location: Today I are mostly being in Yorkshire.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 11 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

bulworthy project wrote:
I have never heard of anyone making charcoal out of rhododendron and don't know what the end result would be like, but the smoke is toxic and monitoring the kiln would require serious breathing apparatus.

All smoke is toxic. It is the biggest killer in domestic fires.

oldish chris



Joined: 14 Jun 2006
Posts: 3901
Location: Comfortably Wet Southport
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 11 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hairyloon wrote:
bulworthy project wrote:
I have never heard of anyone making charcoal out of rhododendron and don't know what the end result would be like, but the smoke is toxic and monitoring the kiln would require serious breathing apparatus.

All smoke is toxic. It is the biggest killer in domestic fires.
As my old grandma used to say "you can't do right for doing wrong". The problem with charcoal production is the smoke produced. Soot is a major contributor to global warming: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110831205919.htm

Hairyloon



Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 11418
Location: Today I are mostly being in Yorkshire.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 11 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Easy enough: just put a condenser on the chimney.

Hairyloon



Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 11418
Location: Today I are mostly being in Yorkshire.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 11 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Easy enough: just put a condenser on the chimney.

bulworthy project



Joined: 27 Jun 2011
Posts: 167
Location: Rackenford, Devon
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 11 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

oldish chris wrote:
Hairyloon wrote:
bulworthy project wrote:
I have never heard of anyone making charcoal out of rhododendron and don't know what the end result would be like, but the smoke is toxic and monitoring the kiln would require serious breathing apparatus.

All smoke is toxic. It is the biggest killer in domestic fires.
As my old grandma used to say "you can't do right for doing wrong". The problem with charcoal production is the smoke produced. Soot is a major contributor to global warming: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110831205919.htm


The vast majority of the clouds of smoke produced when making charcoal is steam that is driven off the wood before carbonisation. Although there are some particulates and volotile chemicals released much of the particulate contents of the smoke condenses on the side of the kiln during the burn and solidifies. However even a small amount of rhodedendron smoke is highly toxic.

oldish chris



Joined: 14 Jun 2006
Posts: 3901
Location: Comfortably Wet Southport
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 11 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'm the curious type. Just googled "rhododendron smoke". Found "Report of the rhododendron feasibility study" by the School of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor. Toxicity gets a mention right up the front in the executive summary:
Quote:
However, the amounts found suggest that it is highly unlikely that any grayanotoxin will be found in charcoal so it can be considered as safe as any other charcoal for food preparation.


www.wildresources.co.uk/reports/rhodo_eng.pdf

Hairyloon



Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 11418
Location: Today I are mostly being in Yorkshire.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 11 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Small world. I studied there.

bulworthy project



Joined: 27 Jun 2011
Posts: 167
Location: Rackenford, Devon
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 11 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

From what I have read in a brief scan of the report, it does seem that the charcoal would be relatively safe to make and use. However they do say that further tests are needed and I think that we'll stick to the tried and tested hardwoods. If anyone else made and used rhodedendron charcoal, I'd be interested in what they thought of it.

oldish chris



Joined: 14 Jun 2006
Posts: 3901
Location: Comfortably Wet Southport
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 11 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

bulworthy project wrote:
From what I have read in a brief scan of the report, it does seem that the charcoal would be relatively safe to make and use. However they do say that further tests are needed and I think that we'll stick to the tried and tested hardwoods. If anyone else made and used rhodedendron charcoal, I'd be interested in what they thought of it.
My immediate reaction to the comment about the toxicity of rhododendron smoke was "what's so special about a rhododendron?". Quite a few (most?) plants contain toxins, usually to discourage insects,
Quote:
In considering the differences between softwoods, hardwoods and exotics, sawdust from hardwoods, especially from the exotic species, are sensitizers and can cause allergic skin reactions, eye inflammation, hay fever, asthma, coughing and respiratory diseases. Highly toxic species include the giant sequoia, hemlock, yews, cypress, cork oak and other oaks, beech, rosewoods, some maples, redwoods and western red cedar.
according to http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base/Danger_in_the_Woods.html . Wood turners should take precautions, but, at a guess, the biggest danger to charcoal users would be the smoke generated during charcoal manufacture. Pound to a penny it contains: hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and on a bad day, dioxins.

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