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Charcoal Paulownia

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#1 Rmholbert

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 09:00 AM

  Hello! My name is Michael and I along with the help of several others have started a small website www.FireworkCharcoal.com that is dedicated to providing an assortment of charcoals to our community. Most notably, we are excited to announce that we offer Paulownia charcoal for purchase. Paulownia is truly a top performer when it comes to producing fast burning black powder and like all of our charcoals we offer is grown and processed here in the USA. If the fastest burning black powder is not your goal, then we also carry excellent charcoals for whatever your application may be.

 

  Pyrotechnics has been a strong passion of mine for many years and I’m very excited to finally provide a service to hopefully advance and help others with their hobby. Hopefully you will give us the chance to earn your business and we look forward to the great things to come!

 

Thank you,

 

Michael Holbert

FireworkCharcoal.com

 

Launch%20Day-01%281%29.png


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#2 ronmoper76

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 03:00 PM

hey thanks for the link man. i will definitely make a order soon. Not many good charcoal suppliers ot there



#3 Richtee

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 03:38 PM

Good Luck! I have made the stuff several times, and frankly, it’s a friggin’ mess :D But if yer set up for it, that helps. Were I still “practicing” I’d be buying it.


I like smoke! On food or in the air equally well.

#4 justvisiting

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 04:45 PM

I'd be interested to know:

 

1) By what process is the charcoal made?

2) How is the charcoal reduced in particle size? Is any of it ball-milled?

3) Does "70 mesh" mean average particle size, sits on 70, or passes 70?

4) Are the fines removed from the coarser grades?

 

Just looking over your website, I see that you have a very low amount of product available, but seem to operate a 9 to 5 business with no phone number. You were right when you stated that low / unpredictable / no availability is a big problem with charcoal, and you are starting out almost out of product.

 

I mention these things because I want to see you do well for yourself. Take my comments as suggestions, and observations from the customer's viewpoint, not as negativity. We really need a consistent supply of this critical item. Good luck!



#5 SharkWhisperer

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 07:49 PM

I'd be interested to know:

 

1) By what process is the charcoal made?

2) How is the charcoal reduced in particle size? Is any of it ball-milled?

3) Does "70 mesh" mean average particle size, sits on 70, or passes 70?

4) Are the fines removed from the coarser grades?

 

Just looking over your website, I see that you have a very low amount of product available, but seem to operate a 9 to 5 business with no phone number. You were right when you stated that low / unpredictable / no availability is a big problem with charcoal, and you are starting out almost out of product.

 

I mention these things because I want to see you do well for yourself. Take my comments as suggestions, and observations from the customer's viewpoint, not as negativity. We really need a consistent supply of this critical item. Good luck!

Same questions to the OP as JV. If you are able to reliably maintain and deliver adequate stocks of quality product, you will do well for yourself. There is a lasting need for reliable sources of hot charcoals and sparky charcoals at fair prices. Sometimes we're (well, I am) too damned busy or just plain lazy to want to go retort a batch... Providing a pre-milled/airfloat option would be a bonus. Looking forward to seeing how things work out (I hope well) and hearing/providing initial customer feedback. Very interested in how your paulownia stacks up against some of my hotter charcoals! A suggestion for your website is that it would be highly appreciated to be able to calculate shipping costs for a cart using just a zip code instead of needing to enter full address/contact information.


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#6 Rmholbert

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Posted 02 March 2021 - 09:09 AM

I'd be interested to know:

 

1) By what process is the charcoal made?

2) How is the charcoal reduced in particle size? Is any of it ball-milled?

3) Does "70 mesh" mean average particle size, sits on 70, or passes 70?

4) Are the fines removed from the coarser grades?

 

Just looking over your website, I see that you have a very low amount of product available, but seem to operate a 9 to 5 business with no phone number. You were right when you stated that low / unpredictable / no availability is a big problem with charcoal, and you are starting out almost out of product.

 

I mention these things because I want to see you do well for yourself. Take my comments as suggestions, and observations from the customer's viewpoint, not as negativity. We really need a consistent supply of this critical item. Good luck!

 

 

 

 

Thank you for your interest in learning more about our charcoal and our process! Feedback is always welcomed and incredibly helpfully right now as we are working to create a better experience for everyone. I truly believe you raise several very valid points and I’ll try to address them the best I can!

 

  1. Our charcoal is produced using several large TLUD retorts.
  2. Reducing the lump charcoal down to a useable size is accomplished with a commercial grade grinder. For our SYP and Hardwood options, the charcoal is then separated by mesh size and packaged accordingly. For our Paulownia and ERC options, the charcoal is screened down to -30 mesh and packaged.  The charcoal which does not pass the 30 mesh screen is then ball-milled and re-screened through a 100 mesh screen. Any particles not passing are then discarded. But why would we not just ball mill everything coming out of the grinder? Simply, time. We know that 99% of the time our Paulownia and ERC charcoal will be used by the buyer to create fast burning black powder that will need to be ball-milled regardless. Keep and eye open in the future for this process to be better documented on our website as we continue to fine tune and grow.
  3. In the case of our 70 mesh charcoal option, this would consist of particles that have passed through the next size up (50 mesh) screen and are retained on a 70 mesh screen. (-50+70). I think you bring up an excellent point and this certainly could have been explained better in our description.
  4. Yes, with the exception of a few lingerers our coarser options should consists of the labeled size. If a wider range of mesh sizes is desired, there’s always the option to purchase additional mesh sizes and combine. Perhaps in the future a “mixed mesh” option could be added to our inventory.

 

I understand your concern about product availability. It’s something that has probably haunted us all at some point or another and is the main reason for our endeavor.  Yesterday was quite an exciting day and exceeded our wildest expectations in both support from the community and with online purchases. Currently, our main focus is on our Paulownia charcoal, which we have more of that is currently waiting to be packaged in the shop and will have prepared for purchase shortly.  While also important, we will work to continue to build our inventory for the other charcoal options as we move forward. As far as the business phone number that is another very valid suggestion and one, I will be looking into.

 

Again thank you for your feedback! I believe this will help us in our continual efforts to improve our customer experience.



#7 justvisiting

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Posted 02 March 2021 - 01:29 PM

Rmholbert, thanks for such a detailed reply. I have a suggestion. I'm an advocate of making screen-mixed black powder. It's a great place to start in pyro, and screen-mixed powder can rival ball-milled powder. Good screen-mixed powder requires the use of a very well-milled hot charcoal, like paulownia or especially ERC. If you made small amounts of this available at a higher price, folks without ball mills could still make some pyro. Skylighter sold BP kits, but apparently the charcoal they included was commercial airfloat! A good kit with good charcoal might be another thing for you to consider.



#8 Richtee

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Posted 02 March 2021 - 03:32 PM

Skylighter sold BP kits, but apparently the charcoal they included was commercial airfloat! 

I bought a bag of that airfloat a while back for screened lift. It SUCKED.

 

Works OK for benzolift tho.


I like smoke! On food or in the air equally well.

#9 SharkWhisperer

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Posted 02 March 2021 - 08:33 PM

Rmholbert, thanks for such a detailed reply. I have a suggestion. I'm an advocate of making screen-mixed black powder. It's a great place to start in pyro, and screen-mixed powder can rival ball-milled powder. Good screen-mixed powder requires the use of a very well-milled hot charcoal, like paulownia or especially ERC. If you made small amounts of this available at a higher price, folks without ball mills could still make some pyro. Skylighter sold BP kits, but apparently the charcoal they included was commercial airfloat! A good kit with good charcoal might be another thing for you to consider.

For pure hobbyists that use limited quantities, you could probably open a niche market if your stuff is quality (I'll report back--I have an order being processed) for sub-pound quantities or even "combo packs" of an ounce or two of several different charcoals packaged together. You'd earn a premium, hopefully fairly priced, and new folks or skeptical folks could compare several of your products side-by-side at reasonable cost. Might be win-win? And like JV said, though it's messy business, you might strongly  consider providing "airfloat" or -100 mesh guarantees on select products for the screen sifting crews. Of course you can't do it all instantly, but a diversified charcoal supplier has endless opportunities. Lastly, measuring (not expensive or hard) ash content and posting it, would be reassuring. I've bought pyro charcoal that was variably burnt to worthless ash on occasion, and that's an important parameter to be confident in. Also, if you can give more specific background (not vendors) of your wood sources, that might help to enhance customer confidence. Saying Paulownia could mean Walmart ERC bedding we're passing off as Paulownia. Not suggesting, but it's not unthinkable. We all know the few sources of large quantity Paulownia wood scraps in the nation (GA and the northeast farms), but it's widespread in it's from home nations (doubt it). Just some ideas. Again, I hope you do well. You're bringing an important product that, if quality and fairly priced, saves a lot of time for many that make their own charcoal, though that is still an art and hobby in itself. Best wishes for a smooth launch!



#10 yardarmwheeze

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Posted 02 March 2021 - 10:29 PM

  Hello! My name is Michael and I along with the help of several others have started a small website www.FireworkCharcoal.com that is dedicated to providing an assortment of charcoals to our community. Most notably, we are excited to announce that we offer Paulownia charcoal for purchase. Paulownia is truly a top performer when it comes to producing fast burning black powder and like all of our charcoals we offer is grown and processed here in the USA. If the fastest burning black powder is not your goal, then we also carry excellent charcoals for whatever your application may be.

 

  Pyrotechnics has been a strong passion of mine for many years and I’m very excited to finally provide a service to hopefully advance and help others with their hobby. Hopefully you will give us the chance to earn your business and we look forward to the great things to come!

 

Thank you,

 

Michael Holbert

FireworkCharcoal.com

 

Launch%20Day-01%281%29.png

AWESOME!! This is great man I will surely check this out and perhaps purchase. I will give feedback as well for improvement! I am definitely sick of buying willow sticks on Etsy for sure and in South Texas there are zero common softwoods other that juniper which the smoke when burnt is very toxic. This helps immensely!



#11 SharkWhisperer

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Posted 03 March 2021 - 12:02 AM

AWESOME!! This is great man I will surely check this out and perhaps purchase. I will give feedback as well for improvement! I am definitely sick of buying willow sticks on Etsy for sure and in South Texas there are zero common softwoods other that juniper which the smoke when burnt is very toxic. This helps immensely!

Amigo, there are several widespread woods in Texas that make outstanding charcoal for BP!!!  For free, likely. But although making charcoal is messy business, it is rewarding sometimes. But often I'd rather just pay the price for somebody else to do the dirty work for me!

 

Nonetheless, I think it would be a very useful experience for you to make at least one or two batches of your very own pyro charcoal, from start to finish. You might impress yourself! Plus, it's basic pyro knowledge...

 

Other Texans have used peach and pecan. I'd avoid juniper and mesquite. If any willow family members grow nearby (they do) investigate that perhaps. In general, fast-growing trees, typically by water, are highlighted as best possibilities. This is a lot of tree types! I have a pile of weeping willow (there are apparently many, many willow species that I can't identify yet), that burns faster than anything I've known, and far faster than commercial BP. Hardwood/softwood is not a clear-cut dichotomy. There are many fast growing "hardwoods" that are not "hard" to the axe.

 

Experiment. Read a bit. Oh my. Willow sticks on Etsy? So so so overpriced for uncertain woods. Yipes. You will easily appreciate the difference between BP made from hot charcoal and BP made from Skylighter airfloat (basically, the leftovers from the crappy Kingsford Briquette manufacturing process, along with all of the additives...). Think: "Mixed hardwood airfloat charcoal". That's the trash leftover after making crappy grill briquettes. Where else would it come from? Certainly not "custom" manufactured, hah ha! That said, you can get utility out of milled lump charcoal like Cowboy brand, although their actual wood types,sources, and countries of origin vary frequently without explanation. For generic airfloat for primes and ground fireworks (gerbs). Pick the lightweight/less dense pieces and grind 'em up.


Edited by SharkWhisperer, 03 March 2021 - 12:12 AM.

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#12 dlking59

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Posted 03 March 2021 - 12:07 AM

This will be a great service if everything works out for you. So hard to find good charcoal for us people that don't make our own for whatever reason. Best of luck.


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#13 yardarmwheeze

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Posted 03 March 2021 - 08:42 AM

Amigo, there are several widespread woods in Texas that make outstanding charcoal for BP!!!  For free, likely. But although making charcoal is messy business, it is rewarding sometimes. But often I'd rather just pay the price for somebody else to do the dirty work for me!

 

Nonetheless, I think it would be a very useful experience for you to make at least one or two batches of your very own pyro charcoal, from start to finish. You might impress yourself! Plus, it's basic pyro knowledge...

 

Other Texans have used peach and pecan. I'd avoid juniper and mesquite. If any willow family members grow nearby (they do) investigate that perhaps. In general, fast-growing trees, typically by water, are highlighted as best possibilities. This is a lot of tree types! I have a pile of weeping willow (there are apparently many, many willow species that I can't identify yet), that burns faster than anything I've known, and far faster than commercial BP. Hardwood/softwood is not a clear-cut dichotomy. There are many fast growing "hardwoods" that are not "hard" to the axe.

 

Experiment. Read a bit. Oh my. Willow sticks on Etsy? So so so overpriced for uncertain woods. Yipes. You will easily appreciate the difference between BP made from hot charcoal and BP made from Skylighter airfloat (basically, the leftovers from the crappy Kingsford Briquette manufacturing process, along with all of the additives...). Think: "Mixed hardwood airfloat charcoal". That's the trash leftover after making crappy grill briquettes. Where else would it come from? Certainly not "custom" manufactured, hah ha! That said, you can get utility out of milled lump charcoal like Cowboy brand, although their actual wood types,sources, and countries of origin vary frequently without explanation. For generic airfloat for primes and ground fireworks (gerbs). Pick the lightweight/less dense pieces and grind 'em up.

Yes, I have been using pyrochemsource air-float mostly. It is four bucks a bag but the quality is meh. I had no idea that pecan would make a good bp wood. I live in San Antonio and literally there is not a single softwood (until you leave city limits) but there is a CRAP ton of pecan. Back when I was really into bushcraft and I got this axe for my birthday I would try to split different woods. Pecan was incredibly hard to split and the wood was like iron hard. The reason why I didn't look into pecan was because starting pyrotechnics you always hear people say "no hardwoods only softwoods like pine, spruce and willow". Because of that I never looked at any hardwoods, but that is very relieving to hear that pecan is a good option. I would agree with juniper and mesquite, Ashe Juniper smoke is one of the worst wood smokes to breath in, mesquite is a pretty nice firewood but I have heard a lot about it sucking bad for black powder. There was a reason why I edited my post to use the word common, I do know some potentially great woods to use (I have never seen any comments about them on any forums, only briefly mentioned once on a thread about willow replacements) but they are only by water and they are kinda hard to find and they aren't exactly common in San Antonio so I never got around to getting some. These woods are bald and montazuma cypress, I don't know if they are any good, but they are a softwood and they are a river tree. I used to be a volunteer for Botanical Gardens back when I was studying biology and I learned a lot about the native San Antonian trees. There was one time before I was getting into pyro where they made me dispose of a ton of bald cypress branches into the wood chipper then into the compost and I am pissed I didn't take a few (they wouldn't have been mad if I took some dead branches home). Also they grow slow which means I would only get small amount of dead branches at a time and I have no clue if it's any good (since you said look at fast growing river trees). I might sign up for some more volunteer work (I need to anyway since it looks good for a transfer to another college) and ask for some dead branches to keep.

 

https://www.nwf.org/...gi/Bald-Cypress

 

here's some info on them. If you have weeping willow you probably have experience with bald cypress. If you have let me know if you know if its any good


Edited by yardarmwheeze, 03 March 2021 - 09:11 AM.


#14 Richtee

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Posted 03 March 2021 - 08:46 AM

Pecan for charcoal? Blasphemy! :D

 

Such a great wood for BBQ! Mmm. Wish it grew up here in MI. I pay thru the nose for it.


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I like smoke! On food or in the air equally well.

#15 yardarmwheeze

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Posted 03 March 2021 - 08:48 AM

Pecan for charcoal? Blasphemy! :D

 

Such a great wood for BBQ! Mmm. Wish it grew up here in MI. I pay thru the nose for it.

Yeah we have so much of it here and the taste never grows old!



#16 justvisiting

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Posted 03 March 2021 - 12:50 PM

I would not write off mesquite as a BP charcoal if your choices are limited. I did some experiments with a new BP method to see if mesquite could be used for lift BP. With my hot water method, and altering the formula to 70-20-10, I was able to get an average baseball flight time of 8 seconds, using 14 grams of my screen-mixed, hot water-granulated BP. 75-15-10 did not perform as well. Altering the formula to increase the charcoal percentage is a handy trick I read about in AFN.

 

The mesquite was purchased barbecue charcoal. It was the hardest charcoal I've encountered so far, and I thought it might break my Waste King garbage disposer (excellent for reducing charcoal, BTW).



#17 SharkWhisperer

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Posted 03 March 2021 - 01:59 PM

Yes, I have been using pyrochemsource air-float mostly. It is four bucks a bag but the quality is meh. I had no idea that pecan would make a good bp wood. I live in San Antonio and literally there is not a single softwood (until you leave city limits) but there is a CRAP ton of pecan. Back when I was really into bushcraft and I got this axe for my birthday I would try to split different woods. Pecan was incredibly hard to split and the wood was like iron hard. The reason why I didn't look into pecan was because starting pyrotechnics you always hear people say "no hardwoods only softwoods like pine, spruce and willow". Because of that I never looked at any hardwoods, but that is very relieving to hear that pecan is a good option. I would agree with juniper and mesquite, Ashe Juniper smoke is one of the worst wood smokes to breath in, mesquite is a pretty nice firewood but I have heard a lot about it sucking bad for black powder. There was a reason why I edited my post to use the word common, I do know some potentially great woods to use (I have never seen any comments about them on any forums, only briefly mentioned once on a thread about willow replacements) but they are only by water and they are kinda hard to find and they aren't exactly common in San Antonio so I never got around to getting some. These woods are bald and montazuma cypress, I don't know if they are any good, but they are a softwood and they are a river tree. I used to be a volunteer for Botanical Gardens back when I was studying biology and I learned a lot about the native San Antonian trees. There was one time before I was getting into pyro where they made me dispose of a ton of bald cypress branches into the wood chipper then into the compost and I am pissed I didn't take a few (they wouldn't have been mad if I took some dead branches home). Also they grow slow which means I would only get small amount of dead branches at a time and I have no clue if it's any good (since you said look at fast growing river trees). I might sign up for some more volunteer work (I need to anyway since it looks good for a transfer to another college) and ask for some dead branches to keep.

 

https://www.nwf.org/...gi/Bald-Cypress

 

here's some info on them. If you have weeping willow you probably have experience with bald cypress. If you have let me know if you know if its any good

I was surprised, too, that pecan would work well. I expected it wouldn't. But there's a semi-recent thread from oldfella or similar who was new here a little over a month or two ago, who showed convincing video of relatively hot BP made from pecan (with the bark left on, too!). Not the fastest ever, but functional. I was surprised, but trees will surprise you in their charcoal utility sometimes.

 

Never tried or hear of Bald Cypress used for BP, but we always want to learn about the potential utility of "new" woods. I'm not much of an arborist, but would guess it's utility would depend on its wood structure, and any genetic relationship to known pyro woods. So why not try out some bald cypress and report back! Just "growing near water" is probably not a satisfactory criterion or a guarantee that the wood makes decent charcoal for pyro. And though willow often grows by water, the weeping willow stocks I have (large; makes nice n hot powder) came from somebody's back yard far far from any water source. What you might consider is calling up a tree trimming company and asking them if they have any willow (or other woods) on their project list. They just might allow you to help them get rid of a little tree-trimming waste...


Edited by SharkWhisperer, 03 March 2021 - 02:06 PM.

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#18 yardarmwheeze

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Posted 03 March 2021 - 04:19 PM

I was surprised, too, that pecan would work well. I expected it wouldn't. But there's a semi-recent thread from oldfella or similar who was new here a little over a month or two ago, who showed convincing video of relatively hot BP made from pecan (with the bark left on, too!). Not the fastest ever, but functional. I was surprised, but trees will surprise you in their charcoal utility sometimes.

 

Never tried or hear of Bald Cypress used for BP, but we always want to learn about the potential utility of "new" woods. I'm not much of an arborist, but would guess it's utility would depend on its wood structure, and any genetic relationship to known pyro woods. So why not try out some bald cypress and report back! Just "growing near water" is probably not a satisfactory criterion or a guarantee that the wood makes decent charcoal for pyro. And though willow often grows by water, the weeping willow stocks I have (large; makes nice n hot powder) came from somebody's back yard far far from any water source. What you might consider is calling up a tree trimming company and asking them if they have any willow (or other woods) on their project list. They just might allow you to help them get rid of a little tree-trimming waste...

For sure, I have family friend who builds houses on lots then sells them. He often trims trees and we got like 4 cords of oak and birch (edit- beech not birch) from him this year. I might ask him for some willow (there are desert willows where I am at, they are pretty small though), pecan, or any other functional softwood. As for the cypress I might go back to Botanical Gardens and volunteer to get some dead branches. I forgot I had some pinyon pine that I can use for charcoal, and I have not heard any feedback on pinyon pine and black powder, I might source some weeping willow and compare to bald cypress, pinyon pine and pecan.


Edited by yardarmwheeze, 03 March 2021 - 05:30 PM.


#19 Mumbles

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Posted 03 March 2021 - 05:04 PM

The birch you have will also probably be decent for BP. 


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#20 yardarmwheeze

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Posted 03 March 2021 - 05:28 PM

The birch you have will also probably be decent for BP. 

Oh crap sorry, I meant to say beech. Beech probably doesn't make good bp, its way too hard most likely, and we already burned it all up. But yes I have been wanting to get birch for the longest time. The bark makes excellent firestarter and there are flammable oils inside of the wood which aid in burning and maybe in blackpowder.







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