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How to Build a Charcoal Kiln

When some people think of a kiln, they probably think of a kiln that artists use to harden clay or form glass. However, a kiln can also be used to process wood. In turn, this processed wood can become either artists' or barbecue charcoal quite easily. It is a natural way to make charcoal in your own backyard. Building a charcoal kiln is an easy task that almost anyone can complete.

You can use a metal trash can like this one to build a charcoal kiln.
  1. Place the trash can in an area away from your house, trees or any other combustible materials.

  2. Drill approximately 12 holes on the bottom of the trash can. These holes should be at least 1 to 2 inches in radius.

  3. Lay down the bricks in the area where you will be placing the trash can and sit the trash can on top of the bricks. Placing the trash can on top of the bricks will enable air to flow through the holes in the bottom of the trash can.

  4. Place cardboard and/or paper in the trash can, filling it at least halfway full, and then ignite it with a match.

  5. Place the wood or branches into the kiln once the fire is going and is nice and hot. Cover the trash can with its lid, leaving at least a 4-inch gap to ensure that you don't suffocate the fire.

  6. Bang the trash can with a stick once thick, white smoke appears. This means that the wood is beginning to char. Banging the trash can will help settle the wood and create more smoke.

  7. Place the lid on the trash can firmly and tight so that no smoke can escape once the smoke has turned a thin shade of blue. This will make the kiln airtight.

  8. Allow the wood to be charred for approximately three to four hours. Remove the lid and allow the newly produced charcoal to cool for at least 24 hours.

About the Author

Teresa Starr has been a professional writer since 1998, with novels to her name and credits as a screenwriter. Her novels include "The Questions Within" and "A Forgotten Tomorrow" which are both distributed internationally by Ransom Publishing, U.K. Starr studied English and creative writing at Frederick Community College.