New type of retort. Aka a WA. Smoker

Hi, Bob!
More critics… Where is that mentioned 1" “checker”-grate?
The thin plate hanging in a tiny chain won’t last long in the midst of high - glowing char as there is oxygen too.

Then, signalling to the firedepartment with thick smoke from the high wood pile ON the initial bottom fire?
Or are you going to top-light it for less smoke?

Even if you do top lightning, you need secondary air to complete the burning of the tarry destillation gases.

With that high a wood pile it is hard to keep the burning zone on a constant level. If it is top-lit, the burning zone creeps downward and the secondary air inlets have to follow downward to avoid burning off the new charcoal.

If you keep the barrel shut in the upper end during the process, and take out the distillation tars out through the bottom end, through the top of a bottom-fire added with secondary air, you will have a more constant process with very little smoke right from the beginning…


Thanks Sean, the chain is going to be a problem on hanging up on material in side. I could put in a pipe and have the chain inside of it, but now I have a extra pipe running down inside the retort. But if the pipe is also the air intake for the nozzles and there is only one pipe that might work.
It hard to make one apparatus do all the things you want it to do. A open Kon Tiki, for smaller branches, or run it like in a TLUD, for larger wood chunks. And still use it as a charcoal gasifier, when not being used as a retort.
Your input is highly valued, I appreciate it very much. Getting it to function in different modes of operation is going to be tricky. And having it work well when using it in these different modes of operation. When it was mentioned that it looked like a rocket stove. I started thinking how could that be incorporated into this retort. Haha. To many ideas still floating around in my head, get it on paper now so everyone can see it.
I love building useful things out of discarded materials. It’s my form of art that I like to do and make. But it has to be functional.

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Hello Max, good to hear from you, hope everything is going well with you. Good eye on the drop plate and chain. The chain will go down a pipe protecting it.
Here is the Rev. #2 . I had the rotor plan in my head and forgot to get it on paper with the drop plate.
The air will come in through the brake rotor when runing as a TLUD. Yes it will be burn top down.
The brake rotor will also be used as nozzles like a forge for when it is being used as a charcoal gasifier. Thanks Mike LaRosa, for your brake rotor idea.
Yes, it will have secondary air added in the bottom of the insulated 8 " exhaust chimney to burn off tars and gases. The chimney will come off when I put my stainless steel Kon Tiki on top for continue loading burning mode, with a slidegate below it.

Everything below that will become dead air space when running that mode of operation. The air inlet pipe will be cap off. The brake rotor plate can be open or closed the hot char will just fall to the bottom and cool and go out.
Here are some more pictures and the Rev. Drawing #2.

In this last picture the brake rotor and plate are supposed to be hung by the chains under the wheel, there should be no hot charcoal touching the chains there.
I am thinking on using refectory cement and screening in the lower part to seal up the wheel holes.
Trying to get three different modes of operation done using the the same vessel. If I could figure out a way to use a rocket stove for added heat and help with the making of charcoal I would.


Hi Max, in reading your last paragraph I see what you are talking about. Just make it function like a wood gasifier and let the end results being ash and charcoal falling off the grate. Burn off the tars and gases. Do not try to run a engine on it. The brake rotor would have to have It’s own in closed fresh air supply on top of the wheel lug plate and a big hole cut out of the middle, and have a 1"×1" holes grate hanging below it. The charcoal would be ready to go with a little fine screening through my trommel. This might handle bigger wood chips with a grate shaker. The grinding of big pieces of charcoal is a dirty and messy job. I do like bigger pieces for the BBQ. Thanks Max, here is one more way to do it and get good charcoal results.


I don’t think it is that hard, you have the auger, just reverse it. add a barrel on top for the chimney. The nicer ones do have a grate and an ash cleanout at the elbow though… That might pose an issue.

It just reminded me of the closed retort/vegetable blanching rocket stove I was originally going to make. Now after watching Moonshiners I am kind of glad I didn’t go that route.

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Up date time,

I built this grate to match the rest of the retort/gasifier unit, super stout. With the 1" x 1 1/2" slots it shouldn’t have a problem of clogging up when running. It will have a grate shaker/drop the grate chain (also heavy duty) with a pipe over the chain to protect it more from heat. The pipe will be full of ash for more prodection
The pipe hinges will also have shielding to protect them from the heat.
I like this stationery building , build as heavy as you can.
One thing about it, it’s pretty much theft proof, they are going to have to really want it bad. No one is just going to pick it up and walk away with it.


You’d be surprised what Georgia scrap thieves can carry off…LOL I guess they are descended from convicts…

And Hey, before I hear about it from some of our Georgian members… just a little light hearted joke. Nothing meant to be serious there. :grin:

It’s always funny to me how any group of people will have that kind of reputation for another next door. Everywhere I have ever been. Bolivians/Peruvians, Columbians/Venezuelans, Alabamians/Georgians, Kentuckians/West Virginians, Pennsylvanians/New Yorkers…And everyone of them just like the other…


It all starts in high school, remember how the closest school had the fiercest rivalry


I’m definitely intrigued by this “Smoker.”

Criticizing neighbors is almost a family thing like sibling rivalry. Back in the 70s, my wife was smuggling Bibles into the USSR. The Poles told her, “The Russians are our brothers. You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your brothers.”


I didn’t get out to my project until this after noon. Metals to hot to handle or work comfortably, would you believe this is in the north end of the house temperature.

I think this will be a record breaking day for East Wenatchee.


That is HOT. And metal objects could hit 150+.

How about the smoke? The Rocky Reach fire is only about 5 miles upriver.


Our second fire of the year that was close by is out. No sign of smoke, we could see it burning across the river to the north. We were put on E-VAC #1 stage in case it jumped the river. Hope that is the last one. Both fire started by humans. Very seldom does a animal start a fire.


Sorry guys, but 82 degrees isn’t hot. :disappointed_relieved:

I sure hope you can avoid the fires. Sorry to hear about them.

When I was young in FL we seemed to always have wild fires in the summer. But it seems that they weren’t as big as the ones ya’ll deal with.

Billy, I think they are talking about the 113 Degrees F side. :upside_down_face:


Thanks Mike.
I really can read, I promise.

Ok Bob, you are very right. That is quite hot. Wow.! Sorry to misread it…
We haven’t seen anything like that this year even down here.


Well it is all put together and making charcoal,

Here are some pictures also

No smoke and I can keep adding wood to it easily as it burns down.

It works like a rocket stove but in reverse. When the batch is finish and cool. I can drop down the grate below and the charcoal is taken out were the air goes in at the bottom. There is a air regulating valve when the intake hatch is cost up to give a little air but not to much.

Any charcoal that falls through the grate falls into the water below, that is why you see not glowing charcoal in the pipe. This will cause my batch of charcoal to be greater at the end of the burn cycle.
A lot of thinking and looking at other members on how they make thier charcoal. I am pretty sure this is a one of a kind unit design.
Already there are pieces of charcoal being made and cool in the water. Will any brands make it through the grate? We will find out after this batch.


Thanks Don for the like , some of your ideas are in this design,
The retort at the bottom is at 580 °f or 304.4 °c off my scale any higher up.


This is very interesting what is going on here. The big chunks of cherry wood are gone.
Up date : I just put the stainless steel bowl with rock in it to close down the retort to let it bake the rest of the wood down still flames coming out around the bowl. The hatch is up tight to the intake pipe. I added more water before closing it up . I still have the valve open for a little fresh air.

Up date: just shook the grate lots of charcoal went through into the water.


For the amount of wood I put into this unit it was the fastest burn ever. The top metal cover on with the wet rug on top with rocks hold it down tight. The heat at the bottom barrel with 2" air gap is at 500 °f or 260.0 °c


100% success on making charcoal.

The last big chunks were put in 45 minutes before I put the bowl on top with the rock in it. I could of kept feeding it if I wanted to. The charcoal pieces were just going to the bottom and into the water. There is no dusty mess when taking the charcoal out of the lower area where the water was. Yes it has drained out into the ground.
It will be years and years before the heavy cast water pipe and hub wear out or rust out. The pipes have a coating on the outside for under ground use. It did stink a little at the first burn, I just walked away. These pipes were a big rocket stove build a few years back that did not work well. It works great now after being repurposed.