Charcoal loss in storage

I have been harvesting charcoal from my outdoor furnace and both killing the burn and storing the raw charcoal in a steel barrel with a fairly airtight lid. I have an actual lid for the barrel that is temporarily lost under 2 feet of snow somewhere in my yard but that is another story. I have decided that I am losing charcoal to combustion in the barrel and estimate that I am down 10 to 15 gallons from what should have been there. The other explanation is that member Dave Baillie in a fit of jealousy over my huge charcoal capacity has been swiping mine piece by piece over the last month. I think the former is more likely so I am going to now quench/choke the fresh charcoal in a five gallon steel pail and then store it in the barrel cool until Dave and I can get a chance to get together and grind/size a bunch for use in his tractor this spring. I would say that I was aiming for some use in my own as well but I haven’t been hitting my own goals lately so I will live gasifiably vicariously through Dave and his Ferguson tractor. At least for this spring. The moral of the story is choke off the charcoal before storing in a larger container, or make sure the proper lid stays with the barrel before the deep snow arrives.


I have an alibi I swear! Plus I would have swiped the whole barrel at once.


It’s a small town and I am related to most of them so the whole barrel would be almost impossible, a pocketful of charcoal at a time though…

Hi Wyatt, Trying to put the blame on Dave is an effort in futility. He did not do it. The culprit is the lose fitting lid letting oxygen into your barrel thereby allowing the charcoal to continue burning. I’ve had experience with charcoal burning in the barrel over a week. Make sure your lid makes a tight seal and maybe even put a weight on it. Then, go dig out your missing lid. Are you going to blame poor Dave for loosing that too?
Gary in PA, where I wish we had some of your snow. Too warm this winter :frowning:


Hey Gary, I thought I had the top sealed well enough, not much chance of finding the proper lid until thaw. I also had a weight on it but that wasn’t good enough. It is interesting that I can choke off a whole pail of hot charcoal with a loose lid and a fairly large hole where the plastic pour spout was without losing any volume. If I had filled the barrel in one go and put the tin on top with a weight I expect I wouldn’t have lost much. I blame the air space inside that may replenish itself using heat currents through the cracks.

PS, come and get all the snow you want, I am about to buy snowshoes to go walking in the fields with my wife.