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Wood gas and making charcoal
#1
I said previously that I broke up some old bed frames for the metal a couple weeks back, but I also got a bunch of pine wood out of them that I obviously can't burn in my fireplace by itself. So, I cut it to bits and loaded it into some cleaned out paint cans with holes drilled in the lids, built a fire outside with some of the left over pine and put the paint cans on top so that the heat was exposed to the wood but not the flame so the wood is turned into charcoal and very little ash that I can use for my forging and casting experiments as well as for my grill (but pine isn't the best for this purpose). This process obviously produces wood gas. When I burn like this I usually light the gasses off and it produces a really white hot jet. Has anyone experimented with wood gas at all?

I'm also wondering if doing this and burning the gasses as they are created... If I were to do this in the fireplace during the winter with pine inside the can would it still create too much buildup inside the chimney to be safe? My thinking is that by burning the gasses off through the holes in the top of the can makes it so that the bad stuff that would normally clog up the chimney burn far hotter than it would if I were to just be burning 2x4's in the fireplace which would obviously be bad. I'm thinking since the flame is so much hotter that there wouldn't be a lot left to stick to the inner walls in the flue. Then I could use the fire to also be creating more fuel I can use later from wood I couldn't normally burn. What do you guys think? Anyone try this?
The forum poster formerly known as Emoticon...
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#2
On Season 1 of The Colony they built a Wood Gasifier that they piped the gas directly into the carb of their little generator they built. They were able to run it (so the show said) without any problems for as long as they had wood to burn.

I believe there was a family on a show, I do not recall which one that had a wood gasifier in the bed of a pickup truck and they were able to drive the truck into town and back without problems. It's a very feasible fuel source if you have the equipment to make it and use it safely.
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#3
i built a charcoal barrel where tou plumb the gases back under the barrel so they brun and give more heat. when the gases stop comming out and the fire goes out you have charcoal.
bob308, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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#4
I often wonder why pine is supposedly so bad to burn.
I know the reasons everyone says it's bad, but I also know in may parts of the country (and the coldest) pine is the dominent species and is commonly burned without issue.

I suspect it's mostly an issue (as with all wood) a matter of properly seasoned wood.
Welcome to ObamaNation part deuxUtg
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#5
The sap and creosote is supposed to build up in the flue and increase the risk of chimney fires is what I've heard.
The forum poster formerly known as Emoticon...
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#6
Emoticon;19730 Wrote:The sap and creosote is supposed to build up in the flue and increase the risk of chimney fires is what I've heard.

I know that, yet spruce and other soft woods are commonly burned in areas where hardwoods are non existent. We are spoiled in this area of the country with a good suppply of hardwood.

I'm wondering why soft woods aren't a concern in those areas.
There must be a safe way to burn them for heat short of sweeping the chimney every week.
Welcome to ObamaNation part deuxUtg
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#7
It was cold enough here tonight I lit off our first fire of the season and gave this a shot with one of my paint cans loaded with pine. I figured it wouldn't hurt much to try it as a test once. In the fireplace it was surprising, I couldn't light off the wood gas until the bottom of the paint can was red hot and glowing, the flame just wouldn't sustain before that, so a lot of smoke and gas escaped initially without being burnt, but I could have stoked the fire hotter next time I try this to get it to that point faster. I also think that if I made one large hole instead of 4x 3/8"ths holes in the can like I have it would be much easier to burn off the gas from such a small volume. When the can cooled down enough for me to open it up the entire inside of the can was coated with about a 1/16th inch coating of creosote sealing the lid shut, and keep in mind the pine I used was in board form like 10 or 15 years old. So yes, in a controlled environment the pine does create a huge amount of creosote compared to hardwood. When I make oak charcoal I get much less buildup inside the can. I imagine it would have been much worse if the pine were a year or two old. Once you light to gas off though how much of it sticks? Who knows I think very little, but I have no way to tell for sure. On the plus side the quality of the charcoal it yielded was just as good as burning outside. I didn't have any problems with it smoking up the house or anything. I suspect that whether you can burn pine safely or not depends entirely on temperature. I definitely wouldn't use it to start off or when the fire dies off, but in the middle when it is the hottest would be your best bet I think when the gas will actually burn off and create little smoke.

Once I have enough ash built up I think I'm going to experiment with making lye too from the ashes. I'll post the info if it works out.
The forum poster formerly known as Emoticon...
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#8
Emoticon;19730 Wrote:The sap and creosote is supposed to build up in the flue and increase the risk of chimney fires is what I've heard.

What if you have it swept every year? Or does it build so fast when using pine it is too risky?
Vampire pig man since September 2012
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#9
Camper;20714 Wrote:
Emoticon;19730 Wrote:The sap and creosote is supposed to build up in the flue and increase the risk of chimney fires is what I've heard.

What if you have it swept every year? Or does it build so fast when using pine it is too risky?

In the end, from what I've found it's not going to cause you a chimney fire on the first pull, after a month though of heavy burning who knows? The consensus seems to be from what I've read is the more seasoned it is the hotter the fire the less buildup there is. The You can always grab a flashlight and look up the flue and see how it looks. Or you can get up on the roof, pull the cap off and with a mirror and reflect the light down inside to see what it looks like.

From the roof if you look down and see this you should probably think about getting it swept soon:

[Image: 002.jpg]

Here's a picture of really bad accident-waiting-to-happen buildup:

[Image: Dirty-Chimney.jpg]


This is what it would look like if you have had a chimney fire and it didn't crack the liner and burn your house down. That smooth glassy stuff is supposed to be really hard to get off:

[Image: 008.jpg]

This is what it should look like after being swept:

[Image: 015.jpg]
The forum poster formerly known as Emoticon...
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