Making charcoal in a stove

well with the heating season upon us I decided to give more effort to using a retort/ stove combination for heating and charcoal making. I have used small boxes in my inside stove but I want to be able to make larger batches so that means a bigger stove so therefore outdoors. early days but here is a short video.

Looks like an Earth Stove David . I have one in my living room that has been my soul source of heat for the last 12 winters in far northwest WI I have made a few small batches of charcoal in mine but will make most in the forced air furnace that heats my shop. That stove was the best $50 I ever spent. Many say they make a lot of creosote but with dry wood I have no problem. Last two I found on craigslist were $400 and $600. I would love to find another.

Jim this one was a dump find. It is nice and big. I had to enlarge the opening and the door was missing but it seems to work well for what I want it to do.

Brrr. Cold 22F (-6C) Morning DavidB
Now we into hard, cold stove using again; any new insights you will be tring/using for this new season?
Steve Unruh

Brrr is right; -19 c this morning. Stayed busy all fall so the outdoor unit will have to wait didn’t get the lines burried in time. Back to the inside retorts. Using two types this winter 6.5x6.5x18 inch metal tool boxes filled with wood and a 7 inch stovepipe unit with end caps. Based on my math I could make 1 gallon gasoline equivalent everyday if I went all out ( I won’t but I could). You know Steve with your large wood stove requirements you would make a natural small engine charcoal guy… The tractor ran on softwood charcoal mostly fir so the softwood argument doesn’t fly. It is such a natural extention of the wood stove, come on join the dark side…:slight_smile: A joke of course. Stay warm Steve
Best regards, David Baillie

I’m trying out the new retort today. A continuation of my off the shelf nature this is two 7" stove pipe caps and an 18" section of stove pipe. One end is tap screwed on the other removable via the factory crimped end. 5 1/4" holes for aimed venting. I had to shorten the pipe by an inch for best fit. It is filled with maple split into 2x2 widths. Ignited about 20 minutes after I put it in. Went back after 1 hour still burning. After 2 its out. Will see how it did tomorrow. I could easily do 6 of these a day if I was home and needed the heat. Only -8c today so this one will do me until tonight. First shot just in, second shot full burn approx 1 hour, third shot 2 hours won’t flare any more…

Hi David,
A couple years back I tried making charcoal in this “retort”. Made good charcoal, but one spark left in the mix can light up the entire batch. I never did pursue this all winter as I had planned to. Uh, too lazy. comes to mind, lol.

It’s almost impossible to see the spark in this video, but’s it’s there under my left (not right as I state in the vid) index finger. It’s only a second, but if you can view frame by frame you’ll see it.

First seen it done by Pepe. I made two logs last week. first one burnt up when the snow melted allowing the air to get too it. I have ashes to smother it in now, have used sand up until the ground got hard. I need to get back at making at least enough to crack off my new WK. Won’t be long now!

The charcoal lighting back up is a real concern for me as well. I’ve decided to entomb the retort for 12 hours in an 8 inch chimney box… Of course I got impatient so cracked this one open. Amazing looking charcoal; no brands (underdone) and no ash (overdone),no lost heat in the making, engine fuel as a byproduct what is not to love…

I love it… to bad they don’t have winters here… actually they have, but so warm still :wink:

Hey Steve, your post was up for a bit then disappeared. The site must have hickupped. Could you repost those stove links? I would love to have a wood cook stove but the way we have to build here makes it really difficult (ie expensive) to do. Epa listed, wett inspected, professionally installed. Then to toot my own horn the house is very efficient so we would cook ourselves out of the house… Maybe next house. I totally agree on the cool down. Many people smother out their fire by cutting the air intake too much. I prefer a hot fire that goes out then let the insulated house coast through the rest of the night. I have been cheating the last 2 winters for the kids. There are small space heaters in the bedrooms to keep the kids toasty all night. Together they add 3 kw a day of electricity use but with no forced air doors closed they can get chilly…
Best regards, David Baillie

Hmmm. Yes. All gone by-by.
The kitchen stove video actual use evealuations were being done by a Montana USA seller called Obadiah’s:

Some comparisons of some very high end modern kitchen stoves that shows the importance of “devil in the details” when solid wood is the fuel.

My comment to DavidB had been to get his wife to go along with his wood for fuel peculiarities was to get her passionate about a nice shiny new modwrn wood cooking stove. (what Dutch John did)

MY dilemma is instead of just letting me get her a nice new engineered ESSA my wife insists that I rebuild one of her three set back old 1800 era family heirlooms! I could NEVER match the performance improvements.
Mote point. My rebuild; or the ESSA would not certify for legal installation here in my great , now EcoFreekinNaziGreen state of Washington. Bootleg installing any of these moderns here would void our homeownwers insurance on an inspection. Wife a working Registered Nurse must by state law maintain a $1,000,000 professional liability insurance to be able to work at her advocation. “For the protection of the Public”. For our own asset protection here in sue-happy land we have to add another $1,000,000 personal liability insurance. Only way to get these affordable at ~$600. a year each is bundled in with our homeowners.

So as much “fun” as it is to speculate about C’s, H’s and BTU’s a fellow best keep track to the P’s&Q’s of creeping Progressive Socialization as it steps on your neck to do practical things.

Steve Unruh

Hey DavidB
Just general search “Clear View wood cookstoves” reviews for Obidiah’s.
Then on youtube RH side bar find the others or switch to Obidiah’s youtube channel.

Today is a good day for all that “waste” heat

Had to look close at your picture to see if it was Fahrenheit or Celsius. -19 C is -2F so we had about the same temp today. C or F it is real cold.
Don’t ya love the way snow crunchs underfoot when it gets down to these temps?

I see you understand cold. I actually really like that scrunching styrofoam sound. Should be a little colder tonight.
Best regards, David Baillie


I have been making charcoal in the stove for the last week to fill my WK. I have enough in the garden shed but the sliding door tracks are full of ice. I guess I wasn’t thinking, one batch would probably thaw enough to get one door open. Oh well . Nice to still have a full simple fire.

Celebrating batch 20 on this retort. It is showing some wear and tear; metal delaminating along the vent holes. The end caps are intact though. I have recently scored some stainless 7" pipe for the main body of the next retort. I will use the same end caps. Thought I would share a few pics of the stove/ radiant setup. Pic 1 is the new through the wall wood box. 24x26 inches it holds about 1.5-2 days of wood. Pic 2 is the stove during a lull; you can make out the water coil built into it. Pic3 is the radiant manifold that pushes about 6 litres into the floor per minute; it adds 5-7000 btu per hour to the house. its good at distributing heat to the far corners. Pic 4 is a must; a CO detector with a readout. 20 batches so far, about 25 gallons of really nice hardwood charcoal. I would have loved to be going non stop but I landed an inside project; rare in cottage country in winter time.
Best regards, David Baillie

Good weather for it but this is getting old…