Video Series On Biochar

Well I'm striking out trying to find a drum to buy online that isn't ridiculous in price. I live in a large hub city, so there's got to be somewhere a guy can find an open top un-lined drum with a lid and band. The question is, where to look?

I got plastic drums from a car wash, that was pretty easy. This one has me puzzled.

The other question I have is: How do you keep the drum from vacuum sealing itself as it cools after you throw the lid on?

If can't get your hands on a used one it looks like ULine has steel drums with caps for about $150. That shared, in my neck of the woods there's a culvert pipe mfg/sales place that sells leftover cuts VERY cheap... like $20 or $30 bucks. Friend has one and to help with air flow (he's not making biochar, just doing burns) he puts it up on bricks... using my dirt trick could easily use bricks and then just pile dirt up around bottom edge. Picture of pipe doesn't do it justice -- really big as he was burning rail ties in this pic. As large as it is, would likely also work really well for outer fire ring for those that prefer retort system as could put sealed barrel filled with wood in center of it.

Burn Pipe.jpg
If all you have is mud and time...
Due to some health issues in my extended family, been slowed down on putting out the final two videos on charging biochar and putting it to use with plantings, but did put this quick short share together... shows how when made well, charcoal will produce a clinking sound similar to glass... and the sound can be used as a bit of a test on the quality of a batch of charcoal.

Basically, once "cooked" well the charcoal is hardened enough that when dropped against another piece of charcoal the vibration created can travel along the hardened surface and create the "clinking glass" sound. If NOT "cooked" well, any remaining softer wood left inside the charred wood will dampen and scatter the vibrations and prevent the clinking sound.

May have to turn the volume up to hear it, but the sound is there. 👍

Where did you scrounge up that type of drum?

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I've picked up old oil drums from a oil Jobber locally. Price is about 10 to 20$. These have closed ends....but it's easy to cut the ends out of the drum with a sawmill. Also I have used an old hatchet and a hammer to cut the tops out of drums......really works slick.

The last drum I picked up was used to contain my diesel fuel for my tractor. I've got it on a roller cart and installed a rotary pump to fill my tractor. FB Marketplace also has drums for sale. Usually fair prices.
I was once a partner in a wood fired furnace company. We made add-on central furnaces and boilers back when wood burning was a huge the 70's. The name of the furnace was "Char-lite" as we claimed to make charcoal out of the wood stored in the firebox while another portion was burning. Our firebox had a sloped floor from right to left......with the air inlet on the left side. Our furnace worked fairly well.....but it did make allot of creosote as the gasses burned off the stored wood.

The "bad thing" with our furnace was......that with the heat mostly on the left side of the firebox....the steel was prone to some expansion / contraction over the fire cycles.....and with the flexing.......cracks developed around the door and air inlet openings. A firebox that cracks is not a good a runaway fire could result.
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