Archive for Downsizer For an ethical approach to consumption

       Downsizer Forum Index -> Land Management
wellington womble


I'd like to have a go at making charcoal. Any ideas where to look for resources/information/kit? Not for sale, just for us and extended family.

I've wondered about one of these for making small amounts for home use:

Ideally I'd like something a bit bigger but don't have time to start hacking away at an old oil drum.
wellington womble

I am falling over old oil drums, but lack the tools and expertise to do anything with them!

kit can be anything from a shovel to make a hole and/or cut turf through an oildrum rig to huge bits of metal.once you decide on size of burn and the style that suits it a visit to the scrappers might be the next move.

linky to a few methods

hint the retort methods are easiest to master for a decent yield but good results can be had with little more than a wood supply, axe and a shovel.

i found that my very simple wood burner could make decent charcoal with the correct feeding,getting the burn hot and then reducing the air to almost nothing.only a few kg at a time but ace for cooking breakfast.

Episode three of the Countryfile Summer Diaries which was on in the morning a couple of weeks age, Paul Martin (Flog It) has a lesson in making charcoal. Available on Iplayer

If you came to stay with us next weekend, we could all go to the Bulworthy Project BBQ thingy on the Saturday evening and you could ask Pete Smile

to remove top of oil drum

make sure bungs removed, leave on bonfire til smoke stops ( pre bonfire sniff for petrol /diesel etc if there is wash out with water and detergent and light bonfire from a safe distance as the right vapour /air mix can be a bit interesting )

either with an angle grinder cut off top under the rim or use a gas axe to remove a circle from the top (if you need a tub) or from base (so you have the bungholes for air in ) for a charcoal kiln.
you can use a sharp cold chisel but it takes a while,needs some work to smooth the edge a bit and is hellish noisy.

a metal sheet (or suitable bit of scrap) will make a lid.

iirc lloyd found buckshot was a quick way to make air holes in an oildrum Laughing
Mistress Rose

Treacodactyl, that looks good in principle, but not sure how many firings it would survive. It is a pretty basic retort kiln, but at that price can't be very thick, so may well burn out quite quickly.

I don't know if Bulworthy do oil drum charcoal, but if so they will know how to use one, and may well be able to run you through the process.
wellington womble

I expect they'd like me to go their course. Which is fine, in principle, but absolutely impractical. Will have a look at the links. As ever, I wish I was better at stuff with tools.
       Downsizer Forum Index -> Land Management
Page 1 of 1
Home Home Home Home Home