Charcoal retort ideas please

I'm thinking of building a retort and was wondering if anyone here has any experience that they might share. I have an unlimited supply of hardwood.

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Hi Tim,
I'm thinking I'd like to make about 100 lbs a day. I've seen some 55 gal drum set-ups that look good. The problem I have is an acre by 5 feet deep in beech strips that are 1"x1"x14'. I would like to get rid of them and at least break even doing so.

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If the wood is free from rot sell them for rail road ties to some 7 1/2 " live steam club.
Donald Warner
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http://www.wecreate4u.net/dwilliams/charcoal/charcoal.html
Joel. phx

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This may not be of much help but here goes. I remember seeing a documentary about some people (I think it was somewhere in the wilderness of the Soviet Union) that were making their own charcoal in a mostly earthen pit. It was circular, something like ten feet across with just a piece of sheet metal covering it. The sides were vertical, everthing was rusty and sooty so it was hard to tell what the interior sides were made of inside the earth berm. More scrap sheet metal I would guess. It was three feet deep or so.
Maybe instead of 55 gallon drums, you could use longer sections of steel pipe. I am thinking the corrugated stuff used for culverts, covered in earth...
--
Dave W a.a.#1967

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Hey Tom, I think Lindsay Publications has a reprint of a medium size (1 cord load) charcoal kiln. It's called something like "Making Charcoal in a Connecticut Kiln" Anyway, it is made from cinder block and would incur some time and $$ to build but the blocks are stacked dry and would go up in a day or two. Yields from 1 cord of hardwood could be around 1000 lbs of charcoal. Takes like 48 hrs to cycle a load. You could have that acre of 1x1 done in Hmmmmmmmmmm you calculate it. Use of 55 gal drums would be best for small amounts. Lots of knife and Damascus smiths would probably buy it up if the price was right.
Glen Gardner, Pgh.
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