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Tractorholic
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been making my own lump charcoal for cooking with. Its a neat process. I use a method called the retort method.
here are some pictures:
this is the charcoal maker, Its a 55 gallon drum with a recirculating pipe. the wood that will converted to charcoal goes in it and get the lid placed on it.

here it is loaded with wood.

you then build a fire around the drum to cook the wood

As the wood gets heated it releases the gases thst buring wood release which are collected and fed into the fire by the recircuating pipe. This sounds like a blow torch or furnace. this is a close up of the gases coming out of the pipe buring.

here are some shots of the final product.


here are some video of the charcoal maker in action.
YouTube - Making charcoal
YouTube - Making Oak Charcoal
YouTube - Making charocal at ngiht
 

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That is pretty neat seeing how it is made. How much wood do you have to burn to turn the other wood into charcoal? How long does a batch take?

Just a side note you might want to drop the size of the pics down a little bit or attach them full size and let the site software resize them, some people with older smaller monitors will have the tables breaking and scrolling. I wouldn't worry about it on the pics you already posted but maybe for future reference.
 

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Tractorholic
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
NUTNDUN said:
Just a side note you might want to drop the size of the pics down a little bit or attach them full size and let the site software resize them, some people with older smaller monitors will have the tables breaking and scrolling. I wouldn't worry about it on the pics you already posted but maybe for future reference.
I have photbucket set to resize my pictures now as i upload. These were uploaded before I started doing that.
 

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Tractorholic
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
NUTNDUN said:
That is pretty neat seeing how it is made. How much wood do you have to burn to turn the other wood into charcoal? How long does a batch take?
I typically burn pallets and scraps, and the nasty chunks that wont split. I probably burn more than a barrel full, but the price is good. A batch takes about 4-6 hours, but I always wait a day to let it all cool off. If you opened the barrel when it was hot, the charcoal inside would ignite due to the increase in oxygen.
 

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Chuck_050382 said:
I typically burn pallets and scraps, and the nasty chunks that wont split. I probably burn more than a barrel full, but the price is good. A batch takes about 4-6 hours, but I always wait a day to let it all cool off. If you opened the barrel when it was hot, the charcoal inside would ignite due to the increase in oxygen.
That is good info. With the charcoal you make then how long does it burn for when you are cooking? Do you have to add a lot as you are cooking or is it just enough to keep it going at temperature?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Lump charcoal (what i make) burn hotter than regular briquetes. I also burns with very little ash. And depending on the cooker can burn for a long time. I have cooked on my charcoal bullet smoker (weber WSM) for 12 hours on a load of lump charcoal. It may hold about 12 lbs of fuel.

I use this in my charcoal smoker and to grill. I use wood in my big cooker.
 

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Don't mean to ask so many questions but I find this intriguing and I know nothing about it. Now does the lump charcoal give more of a wood flavor to the food or is it more of the briquette charcoal flavor? I am guessing it would still give the wood flavor?

I really want to build a smoker once we move, I would have a lot of fun cooking on it and not to mention all the great tasting food.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I posted this here so it could be discussed so dont worry about a lot of questions.

I think lump gives a better flavor. I do use regular briquettes as well. They seem to have a more chemically smell when burned compaired to lump.

lump charcoal is available commercially. Look for Royal Oak (available at walmart around here).

But Please remember. Friends dont let friends use lighter fluid. invest in a charcoal chimney.
 

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Alright, now ya gotta explain the charcoal chimney to me. I am one that would spray a bunch of lighter fluid on it just to watch the inferno LOL
 

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I have made a rig for making charcoal, made a few batches, and love it. I do have to get a new barrel, the one i have now i made out of a couple 6.5 gal pails welded together, but the metal is thin and warping already. Chuck how do you secure your lid? I put some latches on my first attempt but am thinking trying something different. I will attach some pics of my rig tonight when i get home from work.

This has become my new time filler. Works out great for me, because my brother works for a mill work dept and brings loads of wood for coal, and the burning fuel, in exchange for some of the finished product. Still charring the oak hand rail he sent my way!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
jj69chev said:
I have made a rig for making charcoal, made a few batches, and love it. I do have to get a new barrel, the one i have now i made out of a couple 6.5 gal pails together, but the metal is thin and warping already. Chuck how do you secure your lid? I put some latches on my first attempt but am thinking trying something diffrent. I wll attach some pics of my rig tonight when i get home from work.

This has become my new time filler. Works out great for me, because my brother works for a millwork dept and brings loads of wood for coal, and the burning fuel, in exchange for some of the finished product. Still charing the oak hand rail the sent my way!
My lid is held on with a clamp that came with one of the 55 gallon drums.

I burnt through the inner barrel and haven't fixed it. I was splitting wood by hand down to small enough pieces to carbonize and messed up my shoulder. No more splitting mass quantities of wood by hand for me.
 

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as promised... pics
Oak handrail before.. Automotive tire Wood Automotive wheel system Gas Tire

This is after the 1st burn Charcoal Plant Automotive tire Asphalt Coal

These are the latches I used Wood Gas Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive wheel system
this on has 3, i think the next one will get 4. Just noticed today that the last batch burned through the barrel.
 

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