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
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.