charcoal kiln

Primitive Technology: He Made a Reusable Charcoal Kiln from Mud

Our man in the jungle needed charcoal, a very useful item with many applications. So, he built a charcoal kiln and used the same mound again.

Charcoal is a valuable commodity if you're doing a lot of furnace or forging projects. It burns at a higher temperature than the wood from which it was produced. Our man in the jungle has made charcoal before but he need more, and so this time he tried to make a reusable charcoal kiln to produce it.

The results of his experiment were a little mixed, but he was successful.

After his first attempt to make charcoal in this mound, which was very successful, he kept the dome kiln intact and stacked the wood horizontally rather than vertically, and lit it again.

This burn produced charcoal, but not to the degree that his first firing did.

He credits this to some of the wood being green, but mostly to the differences in his stacking method.

For the first firing you can see that he stacked the wood vertically, in a cone-like configuration. For the second firing he stacked it horizontally, which he believes allowed for greater oxygen consumption (a no-no when making charcoal). Also, he determined that the manner in which the logs burned made a difference in charcoal produced.

Logs laid vertically tended to burn down once lit from the top, all in one smooth motion, so to speak. Logs laid horizontally, on the other hand, tended to burn in layers, with the top layer needing to set the layer below alight, and so on. This required more oxygen and was not as efficient as the vertical stacking method.

These experiments he conducts are fantastic, and he learns and shares that knowledge with each and every one.

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.

NEXT: Primitive Technology: Man Builds Tile-Roofed Hut Entirely by Hand, Deep in the Forest