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homemade pyrotechnic charcoal


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#21 Uarbor

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 11:07 PM

I have a lot of access to pine and spruce trees where I live. I've heard pine is pretty good. Any idea how spruce compares?

so did you try the spruce? Did it work out? I have a ton of Blue Spruce that's already seasoned

#22 deepakpyro

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 08:34 AM

As a newbie, Word of caution here for home made charcoal here. These paint cans are made up of steel/iron, based on where you located. If you are using iron can, it will start peeling like flakes soon after two or three yields due to high temperature involved in the process same as flakes during forging process. Use magnet to remove any iron flakes before Milling as a caution.. this is what i experienced during making charcoal of mine.

#23 Uarbor

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 09:38 AM

As a newbie, Word of caution here for home made charcoal here. These paint cans are made up of steel/iron, based on where you located. If you are using iron can, it will start peeling like flakes soon after two or three yields due to high temperature involved in the process same as flakes during forging process. Use magnet to remove any iron flakes before Milling as a caution.. this is what i experienced during making charcoal of mine.

good point. That's why I started using a cast iron Dutch oven from the flea market

#24 Guest

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Posted 21 September 2021 - 08:34 PM

I realize this is a sort of old thread, but was getting to make another run of willow and had an idea.

 

I noticed the scaling issue too, and have accumulated almost a pound of black Iron oxide from my cans so far, but really don't want to burn my cans out yet.  I also don't like being restricted to whole wood chunks just so I can sort out the scale easier...and still not know how contaminated it really is.  Iron oxide is DENSE compared to airfloat charcoal, so it's gotta be throwing off my ratio.

 

The problem is the high-temp oxidation.  Like delamination in forging due to the oxygen atmosphere, and is the main reason flux is used.  Since oxygen is the problem, could it be consumed the same way we do with making magnalium?

 

Has anyone tried or had any experience with some sacrificial charcoal loaded into the cans with the uncooked wood to consume the oxygen before the scaling can occur?  I thought about charcoal coating the inside of the cans, and throwing in some extra airfloat of whatever type of charcoal I'm cooking (purist...)


Edited by Guest, 21 September 2021 - 08:35 PM.


#25 Uarbor

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Posted 21 September 2021 - 09:30 PM

I realize this is a sort of old thread, but was getting to make another run of willow and had an idea.
 
I noticed the scaling issue too, and have accumulated almost a pound of black Iron oxide from my cans so far, but really don't want to burn my cans out yet.  I also don't like being restricted to whole wood chunks just so I can sort out the scale easier...and still not know how contaminated it really is.  Iron oxide is DENSE compared to airfloat charcoal, so it's gotta be throwing off my ratio.
 
The problem is the high-temp oxidation.  Like delamination in forging due to the oxygen atmosphere, and is the main reason flux is used.  Since oxygen is the problem, could it be consumed the same way we do with making magnalium?
 
Has anyone tried or had any experience with some sacrificial charcoal loaded into the cans with the uncooked wood to consume the oxygen before the scaling can occur?  I thought about charcoal coating the inside of the cans, and throwing in some extra airfloat of whatever type of charcoal I'm cooking (purist...)

I have a lot of experience with this sort of problem because I am a blacksmith. The scale gets all over my work piece to the point where it has to be wire brushed before I can even whack it with a hammer or the scale will fly all over and land on my face. Flux would likely contaminate the charcoal it degrades everything it touches. The best way to avoid and this would be don't use that type of metal for your retort. Use stainless if you can find it. Or like me go to Walmart or in my case the flea market and get a cast iron Dutch oven and drill a quarter inch hole in the lid and call it a day. All my problems went away after I started using cast iron. Plus the heating is more even. And you don't have to worry about popping the lid if there's too much moisture or resin or whatever. Plus cast iron sheds zero scale at temperatures appropriate for making good charcoal.

https://youtu.be/sp4KQkBxHyc

Edited by Uarbor, 21 September 2021 - 09:33 PM.


#26 Guest

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 07:54 PM

I don't mean add flux to the charcoal or retort, or even use flux at all!  I was meaning whether a little charcoal added in from the start would help prevent scaling and even reduce some of the ash content?

 

I'm going to give it a try very soon, and will report back.

 

The cast iron sounds great, but I need to make a lot fast, so I can move onto other things, and I don't have a crane to handle one the size I need.  I want one huge batch that I can homogenize for consistency, as well as efficiency.  Cost is a factor, and if I can get the same results as stainless for the price of some free charcoal and cheap steel, that's awhat I'm agonna do.  Thanks for your reply Uarbor, I've read a lot of your posts and they have helped a lot.  I'm going to try to give back some.   (still got my eye out for free/cheap stainless, though...)



#27 Uarbor

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 04:35 AM

I don't mean add flux to the charcoal or retort, or even use flux at all!  I was meaning whether a little charcoal added in from the start would help prevent scaling and even reduce some of the ash content?
 
I'm going to give it a try very soon, and will report back.
 
The cast iron sounds great, but I need to make a lot fast, so I can move onto other things, and I don't have a crane to handle one the size I need.  I want one huge batch that I can homogenize for consistency, as well as efficiency.  Cost is a factor, and if I can get the same results as stainless for the price of some free charcoal and cheap steel, that's awhat I'm agonna do.  Thanks for your reply Uarbor, I've read a lot of your posts and they have helped a lot.  I'm going to try to give back some.   (still got my eye out for free/cheap stainless, though...)

I see what your real question is now. You want to get the oxygen out of the can. And it sounds like you are using a barrel? Have you seen the science magic trick where someone Heats a barrel with a half cup of water in the bottom puts on the lid and the can is crushed by atmospheric pressure because the steam pushed all the air out of the can? Check it out maybe a little bit of water could be your solution.

Edited by Uarbor, 23 September 2021 - 04:38 AM.


#28 Guest

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 07:17 PM

I'm not on the barrel scale yet, but getting there fast!  No pun intended...

 

I finally burned out my paint cans today though, so while on the hunt for anything stainless that could be used in a fire I came across a used stainless steel double sink for dirt cheap.  Trouble is, it would fit exactly in the spot for our current sink!  We've been wanting a new kitchen sink for awhile as the one we currently have is enameled cast iron by Kohler, but has seen better days.  Maybe the boss will want an upgrade.

 

So, it's either going to be a stainless steel retort or cast iron.  IDK.  My plan is to cut the sink in half, drill some holes for bolts and bolt the two halves together.   Load er up like a giant square stainless steel mortar shell.  :blink:   Might need to use some fiberglass or ceramic rope to fill in any gaps that warpage will cause.  I like the square design, because it will fit well in my square rocket-style stove so I can conserve fuel.  Plus it has drain holes for all kinds of cool woodgas experiments.  I'd love to have a cast iron suitcase retort!   Or, maybe I could leave it whole, use a heavy plate steel lid and build a huge fire all around and on top.   But, I imagine it won't be very fuel efficient that way.

 

Speaking of water...I was initially turned off by the cast iron designs because of the long run-up and cool-down times, and couldn't see a way to get a large amount done quick this way.(...plus the additional fuel expenditure.)   Do you have any experience with water-quenching your charcoal so it can be removed from the dutch oven sooner, and re-loaded hot?  I'm always having to oven-dry my charcoal before I use it anyway :angry:



#29 Guest

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Posted 13 November 2021 - 12:30 AM

Does this picture post full-size?  I'm having trouble uploading images.   Sorry if the photo is massive. just opened

 


Edited by Guest, 13 November 2021 - 12:33 AM.





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