Best sifter/sorter/trommel?

I’ve made plenty if charcoal but I’ve never needed to grade it.
I have some sifters I made for compost, but they tend to be a lot of work.
I’ve considered making a trommel or shaker table to make the job easier, but I was concerned the payoff would not be worth it.

What is the best tool you’ve used for sorting charcoal into fuel sized bits?

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I make a ramped sifter to get my dust out, fill up a bucket and pour my grinded charcoal on the ramp. I use window screen for my dust separation I think the squares are probably 1/16" in size.

For my bigger stuff I just place hardware cloth about 1" square size over a wheelbarrow and shovel the grinded coal onto. Just takes a few jostles and it’s fine.

You could build a trommel using a bucket cut in half, then make a cylinder from hardware cloth and attach it somehow, maybe big staples or jumbo hose clamps?

I think a lot of guys set their trommel at an angle with the mouth pointed upwards.

If this is for dust separation you could just collect the good stuff after some turns but if it’s to separate the big pieces out you’d want something to catch the engine grade charcoal that falls out.

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I should add I only sift big stuff out before I crush my coal, the crusher does a good job of sizing anything else down I just want to get the “already fine” sized stuff to keep myself from having to handle all of it. I sift for dust after grinding.

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Hmm, I think the ease of using screens might be due to the dryness of the material.
I will try using the sifters I have.
A trommel might be more useful with wet clumping materials,and fuel charcoal shouldn’t be damp.


Kristijan is experimenting with slightly moistened charcoal, in a down draft reactor where it can convert the moisture into hydrogen like a water drip would do in any other charcoal reactor. He doesn’t have to add much. But that’s after its been sized.

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