Monday, September 10, 2012

OUT - dust & smoke

Since I showed you how I was introduced to charcoalmaking, I think it is appropriate to show you how it all ended this weekend.
Saturday we opened up the kiln in order to spread out the charcoal, so it could cool down and today we went back to pack it all. Sounds all very easy and it is.... in a way, when you do not take into account the fysical labour and large amounts of smoke and coaldust one is to endure. First you have to start to dig out the actual coal by removing the topping layers of gravel and spruceboughs. After that you can start to rake out the charcoal. Quit labourious, dusty, smokey and warm! As you dig deeper, you begin to disassemble the sidewalls in the proces.

The hot charcoal is than sifted, removing small pieces, ashes and gravel. After that the coal is spread out in order to cool down. You have to vigilant constantly, since much of it still is glowing. We had a bit of a breeze, while working, so quit a few times the coal lit up or started to burn. We needed a few people of constant fire extinguishing duty and the kids were happy to help!

My son hard at work.

Even the smallest did their part. Here my youngest, busy adding stickers to the bags for the coal.

Yep... quit warm, still

My turn in "the pit".

It wasn't all hard work, though....

Coaldust & ashes....

still more dust and ashes....

Sunday was bagfillingday!

Filling up the bags

the second load...

The reward for my family; a large bag full of charcoal we helped to make. But the other rewards (lots of woodtime, good company and comradery) are priceless!! I was warned though. This kind of coal tends to get real hot.

After the filling it was time for lunch
Unfortunately a lot of the wood was not charred.... But nothing, or not much, goes to waste. The wood is cut up and stacked. This way the hut, or even the grill's fireplace, can be warmed for many a cold night, without the need to cut firewood. The entire area was cleaned up and even raked with a lawnrake, to make sure as much of the coal and remains are cleared from the site. This debris, a mix of gravel, ashes, small pieces of coals and forestflootlitter, is gathered in a large U-shaped wall and will be used as toppinglayer on next year's kiln.
The poles, struts and supports are gathered, too and will see another year of service. And I just hope that I, or better even we, will be able to help and witness the complete proces from the beginning, next year!

smoke, sunshine and trees..... pure magic!

A very strange...... fungus? Lichen??

You find woodspirits everywhere! One of the kids simply marked the depressions in the stone...

This is how kids should be playing! Building shelters, climbing trees and just happily running around.


  1. Nice follow-up report, Ron. It must have been great to take part in the process, and then to take some of the charcoal home with you as well. :)

  2. Funny coincidence, mate, my weekend was quite similar to yours;-). A great post, and yap, that´s how kids should be playing.

    As for the woodspirits...


    Sometimes we have to become a kid again to see them again...;-)

  3. Very nice stuff Ron!