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Things you never knew about charcoal?


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#1 PTsideshow

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 06:07 AM

Here is an interesting site, for those that my be interested in charcoal use and types for the forge. It was originally intended for the BBQ/Pit/Smoker crowd. As some claim as with a fine wine, they can tell what brand it is by the smell. [Peace} Anyway here is the link for the reviews test results and links along with other stuff that might prove useful. Ash content, how hot it gets etc. its all there. Along with color photo's of the packaging, contact info or where to buy it. If you use charcoal you might be able to get it by the pallet or truck load.

Lump Charcoal Database, who woulda thunk!

Here is a thread on using charcoal, in a forge

[Worthy]
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All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

#2 Gene Chapman

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 08:37 PM

That makes me want to bar-be-cue.
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#3 Frosty

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 03:48 PM

I've been trying to think of a snappy comeback since you posted the link Glen but darned if I can think of anything to say that's anywhere as silly as a lump charcoal data base. I mean . . . REALLY!
Frosty
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#4 PTsideshow

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 04:02 PM

[Welcome] More like boggles the mind,I under stand I was sort of over whelmed when I seen it, if you really want to see some over the top posts on BBQ so much that it has a glossary for the subjects describe check out this site
bbq brethren site
they have one thread on building uds ugly drum smokers that runs almost 500 pages
[Welcome]
glen

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"I am not ashamed to admit, that I am ignorant of the things I do not know"!

Cicero

I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!

All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

#5 Frosty

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 04:10 PM

Uh . . . No thanks Glen, the last time I looked at a link you posted has had me despairing for our specie's future prospects for almost a month!
Frosty.
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#6 PTsideshow

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 04:22 PM

[Welcome][OMG][Welcome]
[Welcome]
glen

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"I am not ashamed to admit, that I am ignorant of the things I do not know"!

Cicero

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All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

#7 Frosty

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 04:47 PM

[Welcome]
Frosty
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#8 Gene Olson

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 01:06 PM

Ok,
How about charcoal as a soil additive to improve tillability, water and nutrient holding capacity and slowly add carbon back into the cycle instead of rapidly decomposing back to CO2. (BioChar)
Terra preta (Wikipedia), charcoal and bone additive used to augment the infertile Amazonian soil.
It is kind of funny.
Now they tell us that the Native Americans were incredible savants that created the rich black top soil in the Amazon basin by adding charcoal and small amounts of bone to the soil.
There seems to be a total disconnect between the text I read in school which reported that the natives practiced slash and burn agriculture, which was sneered at by the Europeans. That in a wet climate would not have burnt to ash but would often have been extinguished by rain and yielded a lot of charcoal, the fires would have caught up a lot of small animals hence the bones. No incredible savants necessary, but same effect over a long period of time with repeated fires, cultivation and charcoal deposits. In the 60s we called it rotating your crops, and letting land lie fallow, or in hay/pasture to rest. between cash crops. The only difference was the fallow period was measured in decades.

(of course, that doesn't make nearly as good a research paper title.)
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#9 Frosty

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 03:10 PM

Maybe it'd be beneficial to the entire human race to add such info to the charcoal data base? Seriously, I didn't see one word about the right kind of charcoal for roasting jungle varmits.

Okay, my head's spinning again thank you very much Gene.[Welcome]
Jer
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#10 FTurley

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 07:27 AM

In the long ago days before the Internet, I was wondering about the use of charcoal. I found one book that had a diagram of the collier's mound-of-wood method of charcoal making: "Frontier Iron." I had a smithing class in the 1970's where one student was majoring in "Early Technology." This gent urged the others to approach me about making charcoal. We did have some billets of wood split and not over 18" long. We attempted to follow the book's methods with a couple of exceptions. Our mound was small by comparison, and we used softer woods because we were in New Mexico. We also covered our mound with adobe, because we had no damp humus in New Mexico.

We temporarily planted a 8"D x 9' pole vertically and began to stack the billets around it, sunburst pattern. As we proceeded, the stack began to take the appearance of a mound. We backed up the ole pickup and standing on the tailgate, wiggled the post out, leaving a cavity for fire building. We had made about eight 4"D portholes around the circumference a foot above the ground. The holes could be stuffed closed on the windward side if the charring process got too hot. We lit the fire with newspaper and kindling dropped down the central hole. Once the central fire was going, we stopped down the top hole about 90%. We allowed the porthole/tuyeres to do their job.

Two of my students volunteered to camp overnight in their sleeping bags in order to keep an eye of the mound. We did have a little collapse on one side, which they repaired with more adobe. A wind came up, so they plugged the tuyeres on that side.

About 10:00AM the next morning, we broke open the mound to find that we had about an 80% success rate. We found that soft wood charcoal works well in the forge, although one might not get as large a yield as using hard wood. Also, when forging, soft wood may give off a few more "fleas" (flying bits of hot ash) than hard wood.

In 2004, I gave a workshop in Costa Rica, and we used charcoal made by a professional collier (carbonero), simply because they have no mineral coal down there. That charcoal gave off quite a few fleas, so we wore long sleeved, cotton shirts.

When I gave a workshop in Australia near Brisbane, my host, Alan Ball, had a steel chest with hinged lid, about 3' x 3' x 4'. He started a fire in the bottom of the chest in the evening and after it was going pretty well, added a bunch of Eucalyptus logs and closed the lid. The next morning, we had charcoal.

#11 Gene Olson

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 04:21 PM

My first adventure in charcoal making was as a bystander.
Chrissy made her famous charcoal boiled potatoes.
That is she forgot them on the stove, and when we came back home we found a delaminated revereware stainless/copper kettle with the cutest colloction of potato briquettes at the bottom. Perfect potatoes, with eyes, surface texture, . . . but about the size of small eggs.

A number of years later we were called upon to provide pine/fir charcoal for the Bill Fiorini led Japanese steel making demo at the LaCrosse Conference. I made a batch, but another guy made most of it. The way we did it was with a 30 gal. drum with 4 holes punched at the bottom, a tight fitting lid to extinguish it, paper and kindling by the holes and then scrap lumber tossed in till full. The fire was lit and watched. when the flames ceased at the barrel top and the fire dropped down into the barrel, the lid was put on yielding a barrel of charcoal. 55 gal drums were too big, they developed convection currents inside and the center of the drum quickly burned to ash followed by the rest if you weren't carefull.

It was cool because all the wood just shrank, like the potatoes had done. Once the guy had accidentally dropped a book of matches into the barrel when he lit it. It bounced down to the bottom and you see it from one of the holes but not reach it. He lit it with the torch and when he unloaded the barrel there amongst all the charcoal was this cool little miniature charcoal book of matches with the top open and a couple bent up.

Charcoal is all that Tom Latané normally uses.
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