The charcoal the we produce in the wood can be purchased at the visitor centres situated in Flatts Lane and in Guisborough Walkway.
 If you live in Marske, New Marske or Saltburn, then we should be able to deliver.
The price for a 4kg bag is £5, which is ploughed back into the groups' funds.
 

 

The story of charcoal

The charcoal process starts during the Winter months. This is when we thin out the denser parts of the wood.

The larger timber is stacked for us to use for charcoal making, whilst the smaller wood is piled for the wildlife to use. 
The brash, or twiggy stuff is burned.

We have two kilns. One is a 7 foot diameter double ring that is mainly used in the wood. The other is half size and can be moved around and taken to events for demos.



 

We usually time the charcoal making weekend to be sometime in late Spring. Our normal work day will see us meet on site and prepare the kiln(s) by levelling, and digging in the vents.
Once ready, the filling starts. All the timber laid down over Winter needs to be logged and split.
The kiln is filled in a way that allows us to light it from the bottom using a pre measured taper.
All this will take until around lunchtime.



 

                                     


 

We see the kiln filled and ready to light. Then the taper that we use, which is fed through one of the vents, and finally, after the kiln has been lit, we leave with the lid loose until fully burning and up to temperature.

The vent pipes are now placed, the lid lowered, and all air gaps are sealed. This promotes an oxygen controlled burn, which can take anything from around 12 hours to 24 hours.
The only way that we now have of telling when the proces is complete, is the colour and texture of the smoke plus experience.

What do we do now?  Well,  Keith normally brings his pole lathe and his shave horse along. We can all learn and experience some green woodworking skills. Any visitors to the site are encouraged to see and hear what we are doing, and have a go at turning, carving, etc.

 



We also need to feed. A good situation for a BBQ. So now we can forage for wood, light our fire, and when its burnt down sufficiently, can be used to cook on. Menus? Well thee usual burgers and sausages. Everyone brings something and we all muck in. Other delicacies include bacon, spam, black pudding. Often, potatoes arrive. A couple of our group have allotments, so we can bake these as well.
Its amazing the combinations that can be put into bread buns and rolls, together with ketchup or brown sauce.

 

                                                                        



There is also a shelter to think of. The whole burn will now take us into saturday. Some of us will stay overnight, wild camping. Usually, some sort of sheet strung between a couple of trees.

The only way, now of knowing whether the burn is complete is by the colour and density of the smoke.


 
For 80% of the burn, the smoke is whitish. It has a large steam content. Whats happening now, is that the moisture is being driven out of the wood. Later it will turn a dirty colour, yellowish grey. The impurities are now being burned out. This is now the crucial time. Soon the smoke will go grey and wispy. Another indicator is that there will be a red glow close to the inlet vent. These are completed burn indicators, and the kiln needs to be shut down. 
The vents are removed and all apertures where air can enter are sealed with dirt. This lack of oxygen ingress can now let the process go out and later start to cool down.
 

No one can tell at what time the kiln will complete, and needs to be shut down.
The start of the process, with the logging, splitting etc usually starts at around 9.00am on the Friday.
I have known us up and about to shut down the kiln in the early hours of Saturday morning. Sometimes breakfast time or a little later. However, last year (2011) we were still there after tea on Saturday, and the burn still wasn't complete. We did shut down, but the resultant charcoal quantity was not as great as we would have liked. Our estimate was that it would probably have taken another 2 or 3 hours.

Of course, this is not the end.
The next stage is to leave the kiln for at least 3 days to cool down, and then to empty it and bag the charcoal.


 



On our return, the kiln is opened and the quality and quantity of the charcoal can be seen.
The kiln was originally filled with approx. 2 tonnes of wood. The resultant amount of carcoal will be in the region of 200kg.
As you can see, the volume has reduced to around half of that which went in too.
Good charcoal will break up easily, but if not quite there, will be lighter coloured and more dense. These are known as "browns". They occur if we closed down the kiln too early, and need to be seperated. They canbe used for the next burn.
The mucky job of filling the bags now goes ahead, and they can be taken to our outlets, or stored.
Finally, the kiln is dismantled and put away until our next burn.
 

 

 

 

 

  


 


 

 

 

 

 

 





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