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Any new small charcoal retorts out there?

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17 minutes ago, richardwale said:

Is the wood you are turning into charcoal very dry before you cook it?

Better if it is but not esential. I experimented with some large logs I had only a week ago picked up out of the mud and chucked into a crate. Some were very wet and heavy. It took 4 hours to convert and used a bit more fuel to get it up to outgassing temps but it appears to have converted fine. Best ie fastest with smaller material that's dry

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I think I have!
It would cost around £500 -£800 to make. Makes 60+kg of saleable charcoal per day and you could easily run two at a time if you wanted to up production. The charcoal ends up in barrels which are easy to handle. It's ready to go again the next day while you sieve the previous days product. What other retorts can compete with that? Only unknown is longevity as I dont work it hard enough to ware it out. 
Just deciding how to go forward with it. Options are
1. Manufacturer them  (very complex)
2. Sell plans (most likely)
3. Do nought and keep it for myself (not going happen)
4. Just share with all for nothing (possible)

Would be very interested in your plans if you were to sell them!

Keep getting asked for charcoal so it’d be nice to offer it!

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On 6/4/2017 at 09:10, Woodworks said:

Just a little update.


Not had much time to tinker with MK1.2 but it's working well enough just not as cleanly as hoped. Converted 0.8 of a cube yesterday from 08.30- 17.00 Could have got it up to a cube if not had something on in the evening so a pretty productive little retort. The first burn is the smokiest so guess thats down to the fact the firebox is currently sitting on bare earth so water getting driven off.



Well this little thing continues to work well. Just had a couple of woodland guys spend some of the day watching it in action and helping with improvements.


One thing that would be great is an element of automation for temperature control. I have an idea using a bi metal springs but darned if I can see one in the UK. Can get a 1000 from Alibaba! Anyone know where I can some of these? 


Edited by Woodworks

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can you only refuel it when it's died down a lot? It must be unbearable when you open the door?

Hi Richard,
It’s safe to open the door once the temp is down to about 80 degrees C. At that temp I unload straight into purpose made cooling bins with airtight lids. Then the charcoal can continue to cool while I reload the drum.

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Hi Richard,
You feed the firebox until the temp hits about 350, at this point it’s self sustaining as the retort then feeds / cooks on the wood gasses in the drum.
You just have to monitor and then reduce the temps if they go above 550 degrees - like now for example....

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