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.
(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.