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  1. Re: My Favorite Method

    I did a search for John Dinsley, Charcoal House and found the website but no info on how to make charcoal.

    If you have sealed with sand the open bottom of the barrel, how do you light the tinder in the bottom of the barrel after you’ve loaded it with wood?

    After you’ve burned off the water, do you back-fill sand up to the level of the 1/8″ holes, or do they remain open?

    A pic or two would be helpful.


    1. Start the fire between the bricks that support the barrel and then after the smoke dies down cover the space between the bricks with the sand, sealing off the air flow at the bottom of the barrel.

  2. Figuring out what you want to manufacture after a collapse takes some time. I’m guessing that sand bag construction projects like shelter, walls, cisterns might be a solution. That or rammed earth (CINVA RAM) is another possiblity, but that requires soil hardeners like cement or lime.

    Building these items on site, vs. tearing down existing and moving them to your location takes A LOT OF WORK to accomplish.

  3. I found this to be very good info (even if too short) on Food, Water and Shelter. I don’t think these can be over-emphasized in your prepper plans.

    Making charcoal WILL be a major part of a rebuild effort in a PAW situation. Those who don’t expect the loss of electrical power will be scrambling to survive…

    Do your research now, while you can easily find the documentation for these skills. Then Practice.

    PS don’t the the alligators get you down.

  4. Nice article. After reading this article, felt the below video was a good one to share, if that’s okay. I’m sure this gentleman’s site, primitive technology, has been mentioned before.
    Some really excellent videos on self sufficiency and primitive techniques. This video is on making charcoal and if you look through the playlist he even has some forge experiments. https://youtu.be/SjK2XlNE39Q

  5. It’s hard for me to get past the idea that we are using one very critical resource which we burn to get another resource which we are going to burn. What amount of wood produces what amount of charcoal?

    1. Wood is a highly renewable resource. That said, you can expect a 5% to 50% return by weight depending on initial moisture content, variety, and the efficacy of your charcoalling method. I only burn it, I don’t make it, but I have know those who do. On commercial operator had a burn box that he loaded with FIFTY cord. But like bananas, I can’t understand how they can sell this stuff so cheaply. I’m far better off going to my job for 8 hours and then going to Walmart and buying ten 20# bags with my net.

  6. I use a wood stove to augment my oil furnace. When the fire dies I sift the ash and remove the chunks of charcoal left and place in a steel barrel. It’s amazing how much I accumulate with essentially zero effort (and i get all of the advantages of the heat of the first burning). It’s also almost effortless to get a blazingly hot coal fire going with absolutely no smoke.

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