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Kangarhcuse

pine as a charoal or such

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With coal and propane being a fossil fuel. What if all the left over pine Christmas trees be stripped and have a way to bake out the moisture. I live between 5 large Developments all of the people barely get there trees to the curb. Does anyone have ideas the best way to cure and how hard it may be to char the main tree stalk. Example they be cut to 4 or 6 inch logs then split .. plus i believe my lean too will store this pine poles untill spring..

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There are many ways to go about making charcoal,  several guys have posted retorts  the they are really happy with.  Do a google search that includes making charcoal and Iforgeiron,  you might be surprised at all your options.

 

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You can make charcoal from most any wood but it's not something to just dive into and pine can be pretty pitchy so it can be like gasoline on a stick. Besides, most farmed Christmas trees sold in the US aren't "pine" Fir is (I THINK) more popular for a number of reasons.

Regardless the type of wood you use is less important than most think old pallets make excellent charcoal and any outfit building houses has dumpster loads of scrap. What's more important than available wood is safety and legality. You really need to do some research and determine fire codes, legal liability, insurance, etc.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Ok so a pile of pallot slacks saved would work faster or complete the job.i just have an odd forge i should get pics soon depending on snow fall.  Also from what was mentioned xmas trees are not pine. So  it would be better off leaving this wood for fires or mulch.:(

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Ok my friend, the "stalks" are called trunks. If you would like to use these for charcoal you will want them cut into lenghts you can split if using any of the more conventional charcoal making methods. Drying out time is not completly nessesary, it will just mean more fuel used, more of everything that is bad about charcoal making. Hardwood ( most pallets) will make better charcoal than pine and (if its a soft wood) fir. Charcoal can be made in the forge.

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What's faster about using pallets is prep time, it's already planked and dry so all you need do is make it small enough to fit the retort. Using green wood, especially fast growing evergreens like Christmas trees you need to cut it, split it and dry it. Even then it's pitchy wood so it's trickier to coal.

Soft wood makes fine forge fuel it's just not as dense as hardwoods. That means it's more porous so there is less fuel energy per volume, say BTUs per CU/FT. Being more porous means there is more surface available for chemistry like oxidization. It burns faster releasing heat faster. This means the absolute temp in the fire is higher.

Hardwood charcoal is called better because it's denser or heaver per cubic foot and pure carbon is pure carbon. With less surface available for chemistry it burns slower and at a little less absolute temperature. It lasts longer though. Is it better? Depends on how you measure better.

Back in the day when iron production depended on charcoal from start to finish and you had to ship charcoal in to buy it you wanted the most for your money. Well, wagons, barges, sacks, etc. of charcoal aren't all that heavy so volume is the limiting factor shipping. A barge only has so many cubic feet available for cargo so the denser charcoal is BETTER. A barge or wagon of hardwood charcoal contains more BTUs of energy and that's better.

There are other factors that make denser charcoal better, it's stronger so will support ore weight in a cupola melter or smelter but those are things that don't really apply.

My point here is about hobby or other small scale blacksmithing operations, the difference in density between hard or soft wood charcoal isn't that great. Hard doesn't last enough longer to make much difference and soft isn't enough hotter to make much difference welding. It's a wash as far as I can tell.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Get the Christmas trees, cut/split them into small chunks, and let them dry over the summer. The branches make great kindling to get the fire started. If you know anyone with goats, they love to munch on the needles. I wouldn't even bother turning them into charcoal first. When I get low on coal I just toss chunks of wood on the forge, and let it turn to coals as it burns down. It will smoke a bit more, but as long as you have the blower going it won't be that bad, and when it is off it will be like a very small campfire. Speaking of fire, the dry needles are extremely flammable, so be careful storing / leaving any quantity of them near any ignition source. Better to treat some goats to a tasty snack.

Hit up construction sites, truss manufacturers, cabinet shops, school wood shops, etc for their scraps. Most will be cut in little bits already, so all you have to do is haul, and use it. Plus some cabinet shops toss some nice wood that can be used for things like knife handles, and other projects.

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Crush strength did make a big difference in a smelter when you might have a tall stack of fuel and ore; short piles in a forge not so much...(Note that in western europe charcoal was still the fuel for smelting centuries after smiths had started using coal in forging.  Abraham Darby is credited with the first *commercial* use of coked coal for smelting in the 1700's where coal started being used for smithijg in the high to late middle ages ("Cathedral Forge and Waterwheel", Gies & Gies)

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softer wood (not just that from soft wood trees) contain less silica, and there for less ash. Pine, Fir and Adler have been used for smithing in Northern Europe for centuries. Christmas trees, soft wood pallets and construction waste (2x off cuts) all work well, either converted to charcoal or burned to embers 

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Virtually any wood will make usable charcoal even MDF.  a word of caution though. In many places commercial 'Christmas trees ' are sprayed with insecticides and/or fire retardants it might be worth checking out.

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