Making Charcoal without Smoke

Thanks, Bruce and Garry, for suggestions about how to save charcoal from the pyramid style kiln without quenching with water. I might give it a try sometime.


See this topic for some other methods: Charcoal Making Anecdotes


Hi Steve

here is what I do and it works pretty well



I am also doing something similar, but I am using a drum on end, and then snuffing it out in place by putting a piece of 3/16" sheet metal over the top. After an hour or so it has cooled enough that I pull the top off, and put on a gasket that I made out of crumpled tinfoil, then i replace the metal to make a nice tight seal. As long as the drum is tight it should cool off in there, but if you have any air leaks from burn-throughs you have to shovel it over to a metal garbage can the next day to keep it from slowly burning up.


You don’t want it completely airtight. It will contract when it cools and can suck in the sides. That being said, you do want it fairly airtight, like dirt will let in enough air to keep it from collapsing. I just seal up the top of my barrel with the lid, and either twist it into a pile of sand or put about an inch of sand around the bottom, and I pack it tight with my foot while i am checking for gaps.


Thanks Thierry, Carl, and Sean for your ideas. I have seen a description of what sounds like throwing a wet blanket over the gap in the barrel to shut down the burn. I wonder how long it would take for the blanket to dry out and catch on fire–no YouTube video on that one. I suppose one could continue to dampen the blanket until the heat died down.


This looks like it could be a great way to make charcoal if altered slightly before it turns to ash, and use the gasses for something else .


That concept looks like it would be easily modified to produce both char and syngas for CHP.

There’s this system, a similar idea.

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Hi friends! Things are very hard in Venezuela and internet in the woods where I live is intermitent and we have had several total blackouts with cero power. It´s been very tough for us. Thats why I have been absent s long. I´m posting 2 videos of our method in barrel (the first eficcient) and the second one we baptised "THE BEAST. I posted it in another chat. We have had very good results with both and no need to wet (I don`t recomend it). Here they are

We have been doing it for agricultural purpuses for some years.
I hope you like it!


Hi Abner, I like your work. I can’t see videos, only 2 pictures, but no links.

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Lost my conection- I´ll try again


Hi Abner, Glad to hear from you. Wish there was a way to help you, but have been praying for you, and your country. If there is a silver lining, seeing what you are going through, maybe it will deter people from that type of government.


Here I go again.

Hope now it works

Another one:


Hi Abner , i wish we could all have a beast at the bottom of our gardens and then we would have hundreds of run hours worth of fuel in one go !
Oh and another thing you have that i don’t is a lady willing to get her hands black and muck in , even if it is only for the camera , nice one mate .
Wishing you and your fellow countryman / women all the best . from Australia


Thanks for your words D&B, she is my daugther but her mother (my wife) is of the same brand. They are warrior women. Now my daugther left to Chile o seek new horizons, and she is applying what she learned here and they liked the proyect. She is working in a University in Chile; at the end I think she will end in Australia with her sister, another daughter that lives in Brisbane. Of my 11 children, 10 left the country, we only have one left here (another daugther). Thanks again


Make use of your process heat.
I have given a lot of thought and tests to Gary Gilmore and his methods and you are very hard pressed to find easier methods.


I am glad to hear that you people are strong. Only strong people can be kind or gentle. Others act only out of fear.
I am praying for you.


Heard about this trick before! Something to try next.


This past week I finally got around to making charcoal using the horizontal barrel method shown in the link with post 276 of this topic. The idea I had of putting the cut out part back over the hole and covering it all with wet blankets and keeping them wet, worked to seal off the hole at the end of the burn. I think I lost more to ash using this method because I should have put on wood more frequently. Adding wood throughout the burn allowed me to make probably 2-1/2 times the volume I would get from the fixed batch size, vertical barrel you see going in the background. I could also monitor the burn more closely. There is smoke with this method, however: a little bit between adding wood, but mostly when putting on additional wood.

This week I made what will probably be a 6-month supply. I still have about 1/2 of what I made last spring. Time to go riding and smiling.


found this video of a charcoal retort recently.
Clever system that allows several batches in one go and a nice way to put the barrels in the retort.