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Containers to make charcoal in-Need ideas

 
Dar Helwig
Posts: 18
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My preferred method for making charcoal is to use 5 gallon paint pails with the lids. I put the wood in them and lower them into my 55 gallon burn barrel. Problem is that those steel pails are getting mighty rare. Does anyone know what industries or business still use them (instead of the plastic pails)? Or, do you have any ideas for another kind of container? I don't what to do the whole thing of creating a charcoal retort like the fancy youtube guy make. I'm not the handy and don't have the time or ambition. I just want some steel 5 gallon buckets with lids.
 
Nancy Troutman
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Location: Swanton, MD
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I resorted to purchasing metal buckets from here:   https://www.amazon.com/Vestil-PAIL-STL-RI-Handle-gallon-Capacity/dp/B0052P2GIC/  ; Mostly because I am chemical-phobic.

As far as a free source?   Look for companies that reclaim computer components.   DMSO is used to dissolve the plastic components.   However, most steel 5-gallon buckets are recycled, in that they are returned re-used for more DMSO.   Something like the way old Coke bottles were recycled.   So you might have to pay the deposit to take one.
 
William Bronson
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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How about a big stainless steel stock pot?
Harbor Freight has a set of 4 ,about 20 bucks.
 
Dar Helwig
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William Bronson wrote: How about a big stainless steel stock pot?
Harbor Freight has a set of 4 ,about 20 bucks.


This is right up my alley. I actually had a stock pot but it turned out to be aluminum and it did not survive the 55 gallon trash barrel inferno. Do you know if these stainless pot will stand up to the heat for very long? How would you go about clamping the lids on. I used vice grips and the heat ruined the springs in the handles. I also used little c-clamps but I will need to find where to buy more of them. I only have 2.
 
Daniel Schmidt
Posts: 71
Location: Jacksonville, FL
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I bought a set of those stock pots for a different purpose that does not involve any heat. They are really thin material. I have heard of people complaining about these and similar thin pots warping under use on top of a stove, so I would guess that the new 5 gallon 'paint' can would probably serve you better. It would probably hold up better and has a larger holding capacity. They do work great for my purpose as part of a water filter system. It looks like they are on sale even cheaper than when I bought them. It might be worth a try given how cheap it is, but you might want to open up the box in the store and see for yourself before buying them if you go this route.
 
William Bronson
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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forest garden trees urban
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To hold the lid on ,you could use weight. Another way would be to run pipe clamps through slots in the lid and on the lip of the pot.
Another idea is threaded rod from the bottom of the pot to through the lid,nuts and washers at both ends.

One more thing, a large metal ammo can.
Replace the rubber gasket with stove gasket.

http://www.armysurplusworld.com/product.asp?ProductID=60927


A metal tool box might work the same.
 
Malcolm Scott
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If you are making biochar, I highly recommend the pit method - much more bang for your buck and the only high tech bit is a spade/shovel for digging the hole and then collecting your biochar once it has cooled. You do need a good way of quenching the fire once you are finished loading - either (a lot of) water or possibly a sheet of roofing iron or similar to cut off the air (some sand/earth around the edges to seal it)

Steven the SkillCult guy has a good video on this method https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1jAo7qd_Q8

If you want higher quality charcoal, I'd recommend filling the 55 gallon barrel fitting the lid, and then ensure there are a few holes punched in one side. The holed side faces down in (again) a fire pit - and when it gets hot enough the escaping gases will add fuel to the fire. Once that process stops your charcoal is done.

 
Joseph Johnson
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Location: Sierra Blanca, TX
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Find a company that does driveway sealing in your area. They still use steel 5 gal. buckets. cleaning them can be a bit messy but you would likely get the buckets for free. Just a Thought
 
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