#17377
Malgus
Malgus
Survivalist
member8

Robin,

I’ve only ever made charcoal – and charcloth – small scale. But I don’t see why you can’t scale up the operation to get the amount you need.

Since I don’t know how much “a LOT” is, you might want to be a bit more specific.

In the old days, they would dig a big freakin’ hole or trench, fill it with hardwood, light a gawdawful big fire, then bury the whole mess. Leave it sit for a few days, then come back and dig up your charcoal.

However, if you could come up with a clean 55 gallon drum – empty – with a lid, you could spare yourself the digging part. Fill the 55 gallon drum with hardwood chunks – no softwood. Punch a hole in the lid somewhere in the center, then put it on the drum. Make sure it seals up good around the edges. The hole is for the smoke and volatiles to escape and burn off. No air will get in (hopefully) going the other way. Stack more wood around the drum teepee fashion and light it.

The wood in the drum should char, the volatiles and smoke should vent/burn off and when the smoke stops issuing out the hole, the wood should be done charring. DON’T OPEN THE DRUM TILL EVERYTHING COOLS DOWN. If you open the drum while everything is hot, it will combust. So, don’t do that.

I would go through the new charcoal and pick out the bits that are not totally charred. Put those bits in the second run.

Or, and I don’t know why you don’t do this, just go to a Big Box store and buy a couple dozen bags of hardwood charcoal… same result, less effort. Maybe lay in a supply of that bagged stuff and keep back your charcoal making drum until you need it. Run it once – a shakedown run – for proof of concept and to work out the bugs.

The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1