Treloan, Portscatho – (Grid ref: 875347). “From Willow to Fire”.

From Willow to Fire.

Had stored all the large chunks of willow from the coppicing in June under the van on pallets to season it. Mac and Pete had found an old diesel drum which we cleaned out then got into shape to use as the charcoal burner.

Top of Drum - Bottom of Charcoal Burner

Top of Drum - Bottom of Charcoal Burner

Bottom of drum - Top of Charcoal Burner

Bottom of drum - Top of Charcoal Burner

We needed to get enough charcoal out of the burn for the feast planned for Thursday night.!!

Time for me to start cutting and preparing the wood, making sure it is all the same sort of size and length.

Note: Stacking the burner is a real art. Making sure that larger bits are at the bottom – smaller bits at the top and the minimum of air is in the drum.

Charcoal Burn Using An Oil Drum - Preparing Drum 1

Charcoal Burn Using An Oil Drum - Preparing Drum 1

Charcoal Burn Using An Oil Drum - Preparing Drum 2

Charcoal Burn Using An Oil Drum - Preparing Drum 2

Charcoal Burn Using An Oil Drum - Burn Method 1

Charcoal Burn Using An Oil Drum - Burn Method 1

Charcoal Burn Using An Oil Drum - Burn Method 2

Charcoal Burn Using An Oil Drum - Burn Method 2

In the end after standing with the kiln for 4 hours, then sealing the kiln. I had a nervous night of not knowing if the burn had been successful. Worst case scenario would have been if the kiln was full of ash and no charcoal!!! (Gulp!)

Came back the following day and Si informed me the kiln was still letting small amounts of smoke out but at a constant rate!!

This could be really bad.

Checked the kiln to find that the mud I had used to seal the rim had cracked and fallen of in places in the heat. Thus oxygen was still getting in and burning the wood rather than baking it!! I went around the kiln at about midday with more mud and water to seal every hole. 7 hours to opening time. All I could do now was pray and wait.

Just before 7 I tried to sneak down the field to open the kiln quietly (Just in case it hadn’t worked…) but mac was there ready with the camera and some folks from the site to record the moment for posterity.

Thank goodness it had worked. Probably not as much charcoal as we could have had without the leaks, but plenty for the feast. Phew! Very relieved and much learned as always.

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2 Responses to “Treloan, Portscatho – (Grid ref: 875347). “From Willow to Fire”.”

  1. FEAST 2009 – the food « caravanserai Says:

    […] artist Greg Humphries made charcoal for the barbecue from local willow  (thanks to Jude and Tony […]

  2. Greg making charcoal « caravanserai Says:

    […] Greg making charcoal By shedsite for full details of Greg’s first ever …arduous, devoted and very successful method for making charcoal check here […]

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