Home made charcoal experiment
« on: May 11, 2020, 10:34:06 AM »
In the course of clearing an area in the front garden I'd started to burn off lots of wind fallen branches and others I trimmed from the lower sections of large Douglas fir trees.
I ended up with the metal oil tank around half full with ash , but hidden beneath was loads of charcoal embers ,still red hot. In the end I made up a metal grate which fitted onto an old wheelbarrow. That  allowed me to seperate the ash from the embers very effectively . I tipped all the still glowing embers into a galvanised dustbin , I then added a few liters of water just to help cool things . I fitted the metal lid and used strong kitchen tin foil to seal out the air as best I could . Around 24 hours later everything had cooled . I now have enough quick lighting charcoal to do me a whole season of barbeques. It was a little smokey at times and I ended up black as a chimney sweep from a Dickens novel while seperating the stuff out , all the ash is gone back to refertilise the ground Ive cleared .
Of course in terms of time and effort Ive probably ended up with around 50 euros worth of charcoal for my trouble and maybe pissed off a few of the neighbours with the smell ,never the less a valuable lesson in self suficiency learned .

(My metal dustbin was old and had some rust holes in the sides that allowed in air ,in order to patch them I made up a sticky bread dough with flour and water and applied blobs of it as required and stuck a piece of foil over it )


JohnRoberts

Re: Home made charcoal experiment
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2020, 12:45:18 PM »
I burn lots of trees/tree limbs and find growth suppressed around the burn pile. I think ash can be acidic, but you can neutralize that with lime(?).

I have a persistent dead patch around one old burn pile, and bountiful grass recovery around another so may depend upon the local soil chemistry.

JR
Don't only half-ass tune your drums. Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.

Gold

Re: Home made charcoal experiment
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2020, 12:51:07 PM »
Making charcoal is quite a procedure if you want big chunks. I looked into it and I would need a town burn permit to do it.

When acid rain killed all the lakes in the Adirondacks the main remedy was dumping many tons of lime into the lakes to lower the pH.

Re: Home made charcoal experiment
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2020, 02:11:18 PM »
I'm quite happy with the smaller pieces , its a relatively fast growing softwood species and branches I used were only up to a few inches in diameter. I did a little test earlier , just holding a wind proof gas lighter against a piece for a few seconds and it readily caught alight . I might try some lamb kebabs later with flatbreads, salad and couscous .


Re: Home made charcoal experiment
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2020, 06:13:47 PM »
Well it worked , lights really quickly  , burns hot due to all the extra surface area , doesnt last as long as hardwood charcoal, still long enough to do the job though,
and the taste ...... superb . The great thing is its a very plentifull timber here ,so never going to be a supply issue .

JohnRoberts

Re: Home made charcoal experiment
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2020, 07:42:10 PM »
I have a smoker and DIY charcoal may add a little extra something something...

JR
Don't only half-ass tune your drums. Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.


 

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