Recently discovered that lining the inside of a charcoal making barrel with old sheets of rusty roofing metal works quite well. It seems to allow the temperature to get higher. I just hung the metal over the edge of the barrel so the bottom of the metal is just above the inlet holes of the barrel. Then I cut a slit in the excess above the barrel so I could hammer it over the lip. Here's a photo:
Just noticed the text on the photo, and saw the clay sand shovelled over the air holes, so this photo is actually near the end of the charcoal making process, not at the beginning.
This is the 245th barrel of wood converted to charcoal. Here is what I got after 90 minutes:
The variation in color is because I was poking around in the charcoal with a shovel.
Later I will screen this, and run it through the charcoal grinder, and screen it again. Here is a photo of the engine grade charcoal (on the screen), and the fines (underneath) that will go into the compost pile.
Another photo of the fines:
The white stuff is from charred chicken bones. It should add some phosphorus and calcium to the compost.
The posting program warned me that "the last posting to this topic was 1619 days ago, and did I really want to revive it?".
Well, I didn't really intend to make charcoal this morning, but when I walked toward my shop I noticed wet grass, no wind, and sort of foggy/overcast pre-dawn conditions. Since the barrel was loaded and covered, I uncovered it, stuck in the torch, and let it rip. No smoke at all!