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I Forge Iron

I've made my first batch of charcoal.

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It took e about 1 hour. I took a old metal chimney tube, cut it down to abut 6ft, put a blow drier on each end, then put tons of logs of wood in it, then tons of sticks, then tons of paper, and then i threw gas in it, then ignited, and turn driers on, then i occasionally added paper and sticks to keep charing the wood, not the best, but the charcoal will burn good enough, nned to get better at it.

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M Brothers,I saw in your post that you 'threw some gas in it'.

Your safety is your own business of course, but please be careful!

Throwing gas,diesel, or any other petroleum product on a fire or something you intend to burn can be very dangerous!

To be totally honest, when I was younger, I used to do stuff like that too......but I was lucky I guess.

Other people I've known were not so lucky.

One guy I know tried to refill the gas tank on an old farm tractor........with the engine running...........spilled some on his t-shirt and some on the engine.The spilled gas ignited.
His stomach, chest, and neck are one massive scar.

An older guy in the community took a can of gas to burn a brush pile......they found him later with burns over 85% of his body. He never regained conscienceless, but died a few weeks later.

My buddy who has worked in a body-shop for 20 years,spilled some gas on his flannel shirt one morning and made the mistake of lighting his A/O torch.
That one resulted in skin grafts and months of agonizing pain.

So.....I don't use gasoline to start fires. I didn't mean to come down so heavy on you.



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M- There are better ways to make charcoal.

What you're doing is called the direct method and you'd be farther ahead to just fish the burning coals out of a campfire and douse them, your hair driers are wasting quite a bit.

The indirect method is easy to do and is the most efficient for the backyard collier.

Find a 5gl steel bucket with a removable lid, the kind that clamps on with the metal tabs. Pack it as tightly as you can with split dry wood no thicker than 3". It can be the full length of the interior of the bucket. Remove the cap or make a hole about 1" in dia. in the lid to vent smoke and hot gasses.

Dig a pit a little larger than the bucket laying on it's side, build a fire and lay the bucket in the fire. Keep an eye on it and when it stops smoking fish it out of the fire and block the vent hole with a wad of fiberglass insulation or similar non-flamable, non-melting material. You need to block the air but not seal the bucket. If you seal the bucket the vacuum formed as it cools will crush it. Another method is to stand the bucket vent side down in dry sand.

Once the bucket is cool to the touch, NOT warm, COOL, open it up and remove your charcoal. Don't worry if a little is uncharred, it can go into the next batch.

This method scales up to 55gl. drums and larger quite easily though it will take all day or longer rather than a few hours. If you graduate to larger batches you'll want to pipe the vented gasses into the combustion chamber and save on wood.

The gasses released charcoaling are flamable, largely wood alcohol, creosote and other various hydrocarbons are a shame to waste. Plumbing them back under the retort (55gl. drum, bucket or RR car) to finish burning makes for a self supporting process for the best efficiency. For a backyard operation anyway.

No accelerants, gas, kerosene, etc. If you can't build a fire without them take up something safer. :cool:


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You're using the direct method of making charcoal, the easiest if least efficient.

Yes, you certainly can run an engine from wood smoke. The Japanese were doing just that towards the end of WWII when they couldn't get gasoline. In the south pacific they used coconut shells.


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Pretty much, how much wood is used to the amount of charcoal made or the amount of ash produced. The less efficient the method is, the more wood you have to chop and the more burns, and time, you have to make a certain amount of charcoal.

IMO it comes down to what you want. I have an over-abundant supply of wood on the farm and a wood burning stove that I use all winter when I'm in there. For me to waste the valuable time I get on the farm during school isn't worth me making a more efficient method when I'm already having to find new storage methods for the charcoal I make during the winter.

On the other hand, if I didn't have that and was scrounging for wood or having to pay for it, I would be more interested in efficiency.

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