Kurokubi

What's your set-up for cutting charcoal?

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I've always just kind of had a tarp and two by six on the ground for cutting my charcoal. I set the 2x6 on its side and cut the charcoal over the edge of it. It's not the most convenient or effective but it worked. Now I know I can just make or use a table and bucket but I wanna know what you guys do for reference.

Thanks

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Kurokubi, good question as I have pondered a better way to do this for a while as I often have large lumps as thick as a forearm. 

I take an old cardboard box that is wider than it is deep or at least roughly square (heavier cardboard is better) and cut a U shape in 1 of the 4 sides.  The bottom of the U goes  about about 2 to 3 inches from the bottom of the box.  The purpose of the U is a slot for whatever striking tool you choose to use.  Then I set it on a stump and just break it up with an axe or hammer  and all the pieces are usually contained in the box.  

It's so simple to make another I usually don't bother to reinforce it but I have used duct tape to make it more durable and reinforce the bottom.   

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If you build an efficient retort for charcoal making, theres no need to cut it. I can break my charcoal apart with one hand. 

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On 11/22/2017 at 4:28 PM, bengriswold said:

I take an old cardboard box

Thanks bengriswold for this description. I used a variation of it to cut up a bunch of coke. I put a plate in the bottom of a shallow 4 sided box that was sitting on my anvil and used a cold chisel. The coke I was cutting is like rock.

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keep my charcoal in a 10 gallon metal paint bucket and smash it with the pointy end of a sheet metal hammer. I tend to shake my charcoal into the forge from the bucket so the large pieces rise to the top. Between forging pieces I go after the larger pieces and never seem to have too much mess to clean up since it's all contained. 

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I bust big pieces up with a piece of leaf spring about ten inches long and fist size pieces I put in a cut off 55gal plastic drum and break with a hammer. I've been thinking about putting them in a sack and whacking it but I think this may make a lot of fines and dust. I might try it later today as I have about twenty pounds that needs broken up.

Pnut

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When I was forging with charcoal, I found the vast majority of larger pieces could be broken easiest with a twisting motion. That generally made the piece break up into a load of smaller pieces. Each time I added fuel from the bag to the forge, I placed it next to the fire, twisted/broke the larger bits, before raking it into the fire.

If a stubborn piece would break, it went onto the fire whole and eventually it would break with a light tap of my rake.

I've since switch to coke though and I really cant recommend it enough.... infinitely easier IMO and less time managing the fire is more time forging.

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A big problem is distances; all of the UK would be considered close to it's  industrial areas  where coke was made/used.  The state I live in is 25000 sq miles larger than the entire UK, (93628 vs 121697 sq miles) so if I need to source something generally found in Chicago area it's 1338 miles.  

The World Wide Web is amazing that we can easily chat about such things together; but we need to remember the differences too. (I was once in a pub in the UK talking with some folks who did metal detecting and were quite chuffed about finding a set of Civil War spurs.  Well I come from an area where several major battles of the American Civil War were fought and it's fairly common to find such things in one's attic and so was not as impressed till suddenly I realized---ENGLISH CIVIL WAR---circa 200 years earlier!)

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