How to build
a small charcoal kiln
|These small kilns may
not process much wood in one go but are quick and easy to
build, transport and use. They can be used to make both
artists and BBQ charcoal.
- An old oil drum or metal
- Three or four bricks
- Something to use as a lid.
How to build it
1. If you are using a drum, one end needs
to be removed. If the top has not been removed, cut the
top out using a chisel or an angle grinder.
2. Cut some holes in the base of the drum or bin. About a
dozen openings of an inch or two should be fine.
3. Place the drum or bin, with its open end up, on bricks
to enable air to flow through the holes you have cut in
4. You will need a lid - perhaps a metal dustbin lid or
How you use it
1. Start a fire in a bottom of the kiln using paper,
cardboard and larger kindling.
2. Once you have a strong fire, load your branch wood
randomly into the kiln leaving air gaps.
3. When the fire is burning really well, restrict the air
intake by banking earth around the base but leave a small
(4 inch) gap. Place the lid partially on so that smoke
can still excape.
4. Thick white steamy smoke is created during the
charring process. Bang or shake the kiln to settle the
contents and create more smoke when the process seems to
5. When the smoke changes to thin blue smoke the water
has been driven off and the charcoal is burning. Close
off all the air intakes at the base with more earth and
close the lid fully. Make it as air tight as possible.
6. The burn will continue for three to four hours and
should then be left to cool for another 24 hours before
the kiln is tipped over and emptied of the charcoal you
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