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Making Homemade Lump Charcoal - Pic Heavy.
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bootlegbbq
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Joined: 04 Feb 2010
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Location: Floyd, VA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 11 10 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info. I can't wait to try it out.
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DesertPits
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Joined: 05 May 2010
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Location: SoCal

PostPosted: Tue Jun 08 10 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a great project.
I went through my junk piles and found everything I need. I hope to have it up and burning in the next 2 weeks. I have to find some good wood. Out in the Hi Desert theres not to much of a selection. I'll post some pics when up and runnig.
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DesertPits
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Joined: 05 May 2010
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Location: SoCal

PostPosted: Wed Jun 09 10 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Question Was wondering if your exhaust pipe are 2 foot sections instead of 3 foot as listed in the parts needed. Looking at the photos they might be 2 foot sections?? Maybe not. The reason I'm asking is because I have 2 sections of 2 foot long pipe. Will have to add a 2 foot section to make 6 foot total if need be.

Thanks
Mike
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woody350ep
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Joined: 02 Sep 2010
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Location: South Bend, IN

PostPosted: Sun Oct 03 10 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just wondering what the total burn time is when you do this. I did a burn today for the first time. I have a 20 gallon inside the 55 gallon. It was full to the brim with sticks/scrap chunks/2x4's, etc. I started the fire around 1 or so, and it was burning hot as hell at the base when I left for the BORG around 5:30. I think it was gassing out the bottom by this time. Anyhow, when I got home at 6:30ish, the fire was out and was cooling down. This makes the total burn less than 6 hours. Does that seem right? I don't know why, but it seems kinda short to me.

I'll check it in the morning to see what the wood looks like inside, but I have a feeling I might need to run a 2nd burn on it to finish it off...
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Hell Fire Grill
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Joined: 17 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 05 10 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One things for sure. You retort has either charcoal or ashes in it. Should be charcoal as long as no air got in.
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woody350ep
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Joined: 02 Sep 2010
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Location: South Bend, IN

PostPosted: Tue Oct 05 10 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I checked it yesterday. It was half turned. Not ashes, that's for sure. I did another burn on it yesterday, and will be checking the status of it tonight. I'm excited though!!!
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DesertPits
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Joined: 05 May 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 05 10 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried the retort system that Deadbeaverreanch described and it worked great. Here is a link to the post of my burn.\

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=40861&highlight=
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woody350ep
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 05 10 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the linky. I did a second burn yesterday, checked it out tonight. I didn't empty the retort out, but what was left in there (1/2 full) seemed to be of a rather nice quality. I personally have never used lump, but I did buy a bag to give myself a little comparison point. I will be messing with it this week. I'm thinking this is going to save me a lot of money and take care of scrap wood I have lying around at the same time. I used elm/oak/cherry for the charcoal and sticks/random wood cutoffs/broken up skid for the fuel. The skid wood worked great. I just took the axe and broke off the slats on the skids and they fit very nicely down inside the smaller gaps that chunks of wood wouldn't fit.

I didn't take pictures of the burn, but I'll snap some of my retort and end result when I finish it up.

Thanks for the method of build! I was gonna be doing the cut the bottom of the barrel method, but I think this is a much better way to go. Oh, and I only got 2' sections of stove pipe because it was 2' or 6'. I got the 2' because I can break the whole thing down and store it all inside the 55 gallon drum!! Very Happy
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QObsession
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Joined: 23 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08 10 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do any of you Gentlemen know who the guy was that built a Retort out of a stand up propane tank and a 55 gallon drum?? If so how did it work??

BootlegBBQ was it you that built it, I know you mentioned the idea.
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DesertPits
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08 10 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

QObsession....I think the guy your talking about is bootlegbbq.....He did a couple of burns, it didn't seem to come out right. I've been checking in here to see if he had some better luck. Haven't seen a post latley.

Mike
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QObsession
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Joined: 23 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09 10 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would really like to hear from BootlegBBQ about his retort. I thought his idea was great, and the unit would last longer then 2 drums would.

Does anyone know if he added pics to the link on his retort. I saw it once but cannot find it now.
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Bunqui
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Joined: 13 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11 10 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DBR,
Great post. Thanks. Your set up reminds me of the home gasification set up from the cover of an old FEMA booklet.
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enduro
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Joined: 02 May 2012
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Mon Aug 06 12 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I made up a system per these instructions, and on the second attempt to fire it, it worked perfectly. On the first try, I must not have had enough fuel wood (or it wasn't packed between the two drums properly) because I got an incomplete burn. On the second try, I packed it full of broken up skids/pallets and that made all the difference.

I used 2 year seasoned red oak, cut into 16 inch logs and split into about 3-4" splits for the charcoal. I ended up with lump that was as good as or better than any bagged stuff that I've ever bought.

I'd post pictures, but I can't seem to get them sized correctly...so I guess you'll have to take my word for it for now. Just passing along a very positive experience for anybody who's interested.

Thanks again for all the knowledge that I've picked up from this site!
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bootlegbbq
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Joined: 04 Feb 2010
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Location: Floyd, VA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07 12 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to be away so long guys. This is a really busy time of year for me. Here is a link to the build and burn. Let me know if you have questions.

http://s997.photobucket.com/albums/af93/bootlegbbq/Home%20Made%20Coal%20Production/

I have problems with showing pics on this site so I'm hoping the link will solve the problem. Can't seem to find the pics I posted earlier. Sorry Bear, don't mean to be a problem
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SoEzzy
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Joined: 13 Oct 2006
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Location: SLC, UT

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07 12 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's the pics on the first page they are fine where they are, if it's others then let me know and if you need help posting them, let me know.
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briandude
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Joined: 12 Jun 2012
Posts: 30
Location: Southwestern Illinois, Randolph County

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02 12 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just got my retort built today and just finished the first burn.

HOLY COW that thing gets hot Twisted Evil once it really gets going!

I'll go out in the morning and see how it did!

I did build my retort a bit differently than DBR... I cut 5 air holes in the 55 gal drum using a cap off of a spray can for a pattern (about 3" diameter approximately, one about every 15 inches.) It seemed to be plenty of air for the burn, very good draft. I also didn't put the holes in the 8"-6" reducer, no problems there either. Didn't notice any flames exiting the flue, I used 3 24" pieces of pipe to get the 6' length.

Thanks DBR for making this info available!! The Smoke Ring Forums are just awesome!
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DionysusJr



Joined: 19 Dec 2012
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19 12 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting this info.
I built mine in earlier this month and had a successful camping trip with the Scouts where we cooked "trashcan turkeys" with my homemade charcoal. Work great.

Couple troubleshooting questions though, I had to use a steel 30 gallon garbage can in lieu of a drum because i just couldn't find one for the life of me. Its holding up pretty well, but I am having trouble making a batch in a single burn although I believe the wood to be dry.

I'm getting a LOT of white/grey smoke coming off the second burn, is it because I am not getting enough oxygen in at the bottom of the barrel, or do I need more holes at the top in the reducer?

I can post pics if it would help. Thanks.
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briandude
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Joined: 12 Jun 2012
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Location: Southwestern Illinois, Randolph County

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19 12 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dionysus,

It sounds as if your wood that you're making into charcoal is not completely dry.... or it is in too large of pieces.

Without seeing some pics of what you've got going on, it's hard to tell.

The conversion does go through a state where there is a lot of smoke, that is normal. I didn't add the air holes to the reducer, and it works just fine, they are not needed, if anything, they reduce your draft I would think.

Let's see some pics of your setup, and we'll get it figured out! Smile
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Homemade 80 Gallon Offset Smoker
Brinkmann Smoke-n-Pit Pro
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Brinkmann Electric bullet smoker
and of course, a gas grill...
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See my homemade cooker build here.
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Dead Beaver Ranch
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Joined: 05 Mar 2010
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Location: Montgomery, Alabama

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03 13 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just wanted to point out the reason for the holes in flange at the base of the smoke stack. This is to allow combustible air to be sucked into the smoke stake which will allow the volatile gas to ignite and burn off once enough moisture has been driven off. This reduces the amount of smoke produced during the process (because it burns), causes less pollution and I think fun to watch. There will always be a certain amount of white smoke which is the moisture being driven off - this obviously won't burn as it is water vapor.

I can't over emphasis the need to make sure the wood is well seasoned and you get plenty of wood packed in between the barrels to burn. There seems to be a very narrow margin of error here. Three solutions to this issue: 1) using a smaller interior barrel or 2)filling the barrel with less wood, or 3)Run it through a second time.

Also make sure the thickest wood is 4 inches.

Good luck, DBR
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wa5ngp



Joined: 22 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18 13 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

when it burns in the pipe do you see a flame coming out of the top? I don't have large holes in mine and I saw a HUGE amount of smoke coming out but no flames.

This is my 2nd run at it. The first one didn't do much since the wood was wet and too big. I also noticed that with pecan it worked better to remove the bark since it seems like the bark provided a layer of insulation.

I put a thermocouple into the pipe and it was over 1000 degrees inside. Shocked

I think I got it this time but won't know for sure until tomorrow.

don
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