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build a small charcoal kiln (by courtesy of
These small kilns may not process much
wood in one go but are quick and easy to
build, transport and use. They can be
used to make both artists and BBQ
You will need
An old oil drum or metal dustbin.
Three or four bricks
Something to use as a lid.
How to build it
1. If you are using a
drum, one end needs to be removed. If
the top has not been removed, cut the
top out using a chisel or an angle
2. Cut some holes in the base of the
drum or bin. About a dozen openings of
an inch or two should be fine.
3. Place the drum or bin, with its open
end up, on bricks to enable air to flow
through the holes you have cut in the
4. You will need a lid - perhaps a metal
dustbin lid or something similar.
How you use it
1. Start a fire in a bottom of the kiln
using paper, cardboard and larger
2. Once you have a strong fire, load
your branch wood randomly into the kiln
leaving air gaps.
3. When the fire is burning really well,
restrict the air intake by banking earth
around the base but leave a small (4
inch) gap. Place the lid partially on so
that smoke can still escape.
4. Thick white steamy smoke is created
during the charring process. Bang or
shake the kiln to settle the contents
and create more smoke when the process
seems to have slowed.
5. When the smoke changes to thin blue
smoke the water has been driven off and
the charcoal is burning. Close off all
the air intakes at the base with more
earth and close the lid fully. Make it
as air tight as possible.
6. The burn will continue for three to
four hours and should then be left to
cool for another 24 hours before the
kiln is tipped over and emptied of the
charcoal you have produced.
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