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Making charcoal from hardwood scrap?


#1

To All,

Does anybody in Orchid know how to make high quality jewelry-type
charcoal from hardwood scrap? If so, please reply. I had thought
that maybe grilling the wood wrapped in charcoal to prevent oxygen
getting to the wood. I had also thought of using a kiln, but
wouldn’t the carbonization of the wood give off explosive and noxious
gases? Thanks!!


#2
     that maybe grilling the wood wrapped in charcoal to prevent
oxygen getting to the wood.  I had also thought of using a kiln,
but wouldn't the carbonization of the wood give off explosive and
noxious gases? 

You need to exclude oxygen from the wood being heated, driving off
the flammable gasses (best by burning them separately). Not all hard
wood will make equally good charcoal! The open grained woods are
poor, woods like purple heart & teak produce toxic gasses. Maple
seemed to work best for me. I used an old pressure cooker drilling a
hole in the top & tapping it for 3/8 inch pipe. Heated on a
electric hot plate outside.


#3

Gavin,

I have experimented with a simple way to produce charcoal. I never
could make anything like what’s in the catalogs, but did make a few
pieces good enough to solder small items and make silver balls…

Here’s my method. Charcoal, as you know is wood that has been
roasted in the absence of air.

Take a one pound metal coffee can and fill it tightly with dry
hardwood. invert the can and place it inside a three pound metal
coffee can this will be the roaster. Build a nice fire outside and
put the charcoal roaster in the fire after it has burned down to a
good bed of coals.Cover the roaster with coals. Remove the roaster
when the fire has burned out.

Inverting the one can inside the other keeps most of the air out
while letting the volatiles in the wood escape as the wood is
cooked.

This is cheap and low tech enough to play with and who knows maybe
the wood you choose will produce some good charcoal.

Let me know what happens.

Marc
marczyla@charter.net


#4

Hi there,

A few years ago I had a go at making charcoal for drawing. I used a
similar method to Mark but on a smaller scale.

I found that green (ie freshly cut) willow made good charcoal but
that it shrank in size far more than I expected. A 3cm diameter
stick of green willow produced a 1cm diameter stick of charcoal!

I’ll be interested to hear how you go as I’ve been meaning to have a
try at making charcoal on a larger size.

Goodluck!
Hannah