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Charcoal (and making black powder)


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#16 The_Djinn

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Posted 08 December 2003 - 07:16 PM

I agree, experimenting with different woods will alter the effect / burn rate. I note that PanMaster say's about avoiding pine, admitidly I have avoided it due to the large amount of sap in it but I have seen Shimizu specifies pine charcoal in one of his star formulas which I will try out soon.

Edited by The_Djinn, 08 December 2003 - 07:18 PM.

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#17 Rhodri

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Posted 08 December 2003 - 08:19 PM

Charcoal has as many different types (allotropes) as there are species of carbon based organisms on the planet.

For pyro use, H:O ratio is imporant.

For bright, 'quick' BP use soft wood for example, Grape Vine, Willow, Dogwood or Balsa.

For sparks (incomplete combustion - aka 'effects') use Pine, Alder or other slow burning woods - BBQ 'brickettes' (note the addition of burn inhibiting clay in these latter processed carbon sources).

ADMINS: I've jumped into this subject since being away.....Plum wood is also an excellent C for fast BP. In fact, in golf ball tests Plum based BP has demonstrated most excellent lift characteristcs.

Edited by Rhodri, 08 December 2003 - 08:24 PM.

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#18 Richard H

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Posted 08 December 2003 - 09:06 PM

I reckon we have some world experts on charcoal in our forums :)

I'm listening very carefully as I'm planning on something rather special for next years big project ;)

#19 The_Djinn

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 08:21 AM

After all this information, I can see the members of the forum heading off to the local forests and orchards armed with axes etc. this weekend or the neighbours had better keep an eye on there trees.
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#20 pyrotechnist

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 08:37 PM

I fined that balsa wood isn't that good I have used a bit and it left some slag behind it a lot of carbon fibres were left and not used up it was disappointing to see. But I will try again some other time and see then but i was using sodium chlorate I haven?t used my potassium nitrate yet with it. I like using will but the pine charcoal in Shimizu
book came in handy with a fireball effect and some other effects paulownia coal is good and hemp coal I haven?t used it but have heard of it.
fireworks is my aim setting of is the game

#21 tomu

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Posted 13 December 2003 - 07:14 PM

I use softwood from bushes and shrubs with good results. The forest administration is quite happy to give me permission to cut as much of it as I want in there woods.

I cut the old and try branches off and chop them to pencil sized pieces which I char in an old cooking pot over a slow fire.

But I use also BBQ beech charcoal with good results, if I'm too lazy to make my own.

To be honest I couldn't say that there is much difference in the BP wheter I use selfmade charcoal or the bought BBQ beech charcoal.
Experience is what separates the boys from the men

#22 Stuart

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Posted 14 December 2003 - 08:04 AM

I have. When i used home made charcoal with Ash, the BP had a bit more jizz shall we say

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#23 Terminator

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Posted 18 December 2003 - 07:03 PM

Bernie mentioned they use Hickory as a substitute for Willow in Cricket Bats the US.

Has anyone tried Hickory in BP?

I only ask because it occured to me that this can be bought in chipped form from garden centres for adding to BBQ charcoal for flavour. Therefore it is easily available and I would think that being chipped it would turn to charcoal relatively quickly.

Al.

#24 bernie

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Posted 18 December 2003 - 10:52 PM

NOT cricket bats! No, no, no. Baseball bats. Flat bats indeed. How curious? Can't tell you if it will make effective pyro charcoal or not. I can tell you for sure that it makes pork taste good.

Substitute for cricket bats..........

#25 tajmiester

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Posted 19 December 2003 - 10:24 PM

Hi,

I have been considering, in my attempts to make better BP, to mill the charcoal or sulphur (not both) along with the KNO3 dry, in my ball mill. My reasoning is that I often make quite good BP but I never manage to mill it to satisfaction; after milling the charcoal, sulphur and KNO3 I mix them and I add a little water and it either all turns doughy (and just clumps around in the mill) or it is completely liquid and when I dry it the KNO3 recrystalises in patches. I wanted to dry mill the KNO3 either with the fuel ? or catalyst (s) before hand so that the particles are really well combined, and then add the last ingrediant milling it causously with a little water. I was wondering, if I am to attempt this should I dry mill the KNO3 and S or the KNO3 and C? The catalyst would be the obvious choice, but you need fuel for fire and which would be safer?

Thanks Tris ;)

Edited by tajmiester, 19 December 2003 - 10:25 PM.


#26 tomu

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Posted 19 December 2003 - 11:41 PM

You can mill green meal dry in your ball mill without any risk of explosion. I do it myself and others aswell for several years now. Milling wet green meal makes just a holy mess.

Check Dan Williams phantastic homepage http://www.wecreate4...lackpowder.html
if you don't believe me. Sorry, just practical stuff and very little theory there.
Experience is what separates the boys from the men

#27 bernie

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Posted 20 December 2003 - 04:15 AM

Aren't you the guy with the copper mill? :-) I just had to get that in.

I've never had any luck milling a dampened comp. Tried various % s and it always got gacked up. Could be a lot of reasons it ended up like this but I go dry as well. Ain't saying it's better, just that it works for me , my locale , my machine and my ingredients.

#28 The_Djinn

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Posted 20 December 2003 - 09:12 AM

Point to ponder..

During the week I decided to devote some time this weekend to cooking up a few varieties of charcoal. Had it all planed out in my mind that I would take the bbq out, pack some firelighters, wood and charcoal on it and get a roaring fire going before placing a few tins containing various varieties of wood on the top and leaving it for a few hours.

No problem, I even considered throwing a couple of Angus steaks (RichardH, stop drooling) on the top for good measure as I don?t like to see a good bbq go to waste and figured I would kill two birds with one stone... lunch and charcoal.

It was only a while later that it struck me... why on earth would I want to burn charcoal to make charcoal, bit like taking one step back for every step forwards.

But never fear my fellow enthusiasts, I have mentally justified this process as it is not declared insanity to burn charcoal briquettes (containing clay etc.) in the endeavours of producing some top quality charcoal.

Now all that is needed, is for the weather to play ball?

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#29 Richard H

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Posted 20 December 2003 - 11:22 AM

Good plan Mark! I'm going to try making some various charcoals (Willow , Spruce, and Pine-(for spark effects) ) next year.

#30 tajmiester

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Posted 20 December 2003 - 03:33 PM

I have read Dans instructions before and was always put off milling dry by:

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the milling should be done with all the due precautions taken. This means locating the mill remotely and perhaps using protective barriers around it.


My method results from Wouters page where he says:

4. Now mix the charcoal/sulfur mix with the potassium nitrate. Don't bother to mix it very thoroughly, since that will happen in the mill soon enough. To this mixture, add 6% of water. I spray it over the powder that I spread out on a sheet of paper to make sure all of it becomes wet. Put the wet powder in your mill and let it run for 5 hours. Every hour or so, check to see if the powder is still wet. If it dries out the risk of accidential ignition greatly increases.


Although I have never managed to satisfactorally mill it when wet... I think I will will compromise, mill the KNO3 and Charcoal together and then add the sulphur and either mill it wet or dry, depending on my mood!

Thanks Tris

P.S. "You can mill green meal dry in your ball mill without any risk of explosion." This is only my opinion but I think thats a bit fool hardy. Don't forget after a couple of hours the meal youv'e got crashing around in that mill is only one step away from fully fledged BP!




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