Homemade Coal

Discuss non-crawler related issues here (keep it sane, please)
Post Reply
User avatar
1010 crawler
1010 crawler
Posts: 420
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:13 pm
Location: Maine

Homemade Coal

Post by CuttingEdge » Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:42 pm

As you guys know, I have been clearing forest into farmland here at a slow, but steady pace. I have been employing the skidder and bulldozer in that endeavor, but there is a lot of left over wood. Logs that do not make the grade for the commercial sawmills, tops, limbs and of course those species of wood that just have no market anymore.

Well it will probably surprise people, but although I have quite a few acres, and cut hundreds of cords of wood per year, I actually burn coal. I like it. I love the heat, love the convenience, love not having to worry about the house burning down from a chimney fire...but I do not have a coal mine; anthracite or bituminous...no surprise since I live in Maine.

So I was thinking...a dangerous proposition for sure; what if I gathered up the waste wood I have kicking around, put it into a pile, covered it with dirt from my bulldozer, and made charcoal just like they did back in the old days? From what I can gather, every ten cords of wood would equal to about 4 tons of charcoal; about what it would take to heat my home per year. Maybe I could sell the rest as charcoal for others, or as biochar?
I have no intention of traveling to my grave in a well manicured body; instead I am going to slide into heaven with a big power turn, totally wore out with busted knuckles, jump off my dozer loudly yelling, Woo Hoo, another Shepard has just arrived!

User avatar
pop pop
1010 crawler
1010 crawler
Posts: 469
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:07 am
Location: chandler, arizona

Re: Homemade Coal

Post by pop pop » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:48 am

:shock: out here in the southwest we make charcoal out of hardwood using barrels and tight fitting lids,
and keep the wood clean for cooking purposes.(mesquite grilled roadrunners taste pretty good) :lol:
heating is not a big concern around here.
i dont think you can achieve the same results with your plan.
even at that your going to have dirt in it :( .
better off to just bury it and be done.
or put it in a big pile and let some wildlife live in it.
or put it in a pile for awhile then bring in a pelletizer rig.
all the extra work still yields the same result. :wink:
440icd/602,,, 440icd/831/ripper, misc. 440 parts

2010 crawler
2010 crawler
Posts: 554
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:54 am
Location: akron, ohio

Re: Homemade Coal

Post by dtoots1 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:26 am

ok i will bite......just what makes all this wood turn into charcoal if you have it inside tight fitting drums??? are you putting the drums in a fire???
same question when buried???

User avatar
Stan Disbrow
350 crawler
350 crawler
Posts: 2578
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 3:13 pm
Location: Raleigh, NC

Re: Homemade Coal

Post by Stan Disbrow » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:00 am


Wood breaks down into charcoal when heated without air. Hence the sealed drum. Lets no air in, but has a vent to let released vapors out.

If you condense the vapors out of the vent, you get creosote. Run the creosote in a still, and one of the products is methanol.

Anyway, the idea here is to get the part of the wood needed to burn slowly for a long time without the creosote winding up coating the inside of the chimney.

There's No Such Thing As A Cheap Crawler!

Have: '58 JD 420c 5-roller w/62 inside manual blade
Have: '78 JD350C w/6310 outside manual blade
Useta Have: '68 JD350, '51 Terratrac GT-25
Also Have: 1950 M, 2005 x495, 2008 5103 (now known as 5045D)

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests