Locating Scraps for Charcoal

      Advice on finding sawmill offcuts and byproducts for use as feedstock for a charcoal kiln. October 3, 2009

I am running a small kiln to burn various hardwoods into solid lump charcoal. I am looking into the possibility of obtaining scrap pieces from sawmills for my operations.

To the sawyers out there: What are your thoughts on this? Would you be interested in getting rid of some of your scraps and waste? To me, hardwoods, especially hickory, are the most useful. But I can make use of softwoods as well. I am located in Indiana, and right now obtain most of my wood either from my own shop scrap or from fallen trees and branch wood.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor A:
Here there is a charcoal plant and it makes charcoal out of hardwood slabs. They cook it in large kilns and then scoop it out with wheel loaders. They pay about $10 a bundle which is about 4 ft in diameter and 8 to 10 ft long. Most mills that make railroad ties will have cut-offs and many sell them for firewood. I have cut offs from boards that come out of the kiln and we S4S them and trim.

From contributor T:
If it's not too far, then consider the train loads of broken limbs and downed trees caused by the recent once-in-a-lifetime ice storm that hit southern Indiana, northern Kentucky (near the Ohio River) and parts of W. Virginia. People are piling the debris along the road right-of-ways. The local government crews are picking this stuff up, but I don't know where they are taking it. The first round of cleanup will probably take 3-4 months. Everybody wants it gone. This is not a buyer's market - it's a taker's market. The prevailing attitude is: Oh! You want to take it? Let me help you load it. Can you come back for more?

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the responses. No, Southern IN and Kentucky aren't really too far for me, so that might be something to check into. We actually have quite a bit of ice and wind damage up here too (though not like they have). These supplies will all last for a little while, but I am looking into a consistent supply for the future.

From contributor S:
The bigger sawmills and concentration yards that upgrade their lumber by cutting off should be a good source for this material. If you want strictly hickory, check with some local loggers. If you can pay cash and pay a little more a ton than they are getting for pulpwood, you can probably have truckloads of small to medium size hickory delivered.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: General

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2019 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article