Jump to content


Photo

Making Black Powder


  • Please log in to reply
196 replies to this topic

#46 seymour

seymour

    Pyro Forum Regular

  • General Public Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 691 posts

Posted 31 October 2007 - 10:00 AM

Eucalypts are indeed said to make very good spark producing charcoal. But remember that there are hundreds of species of Eucalyptus. I have a log which I will cook up in the next few weeks.
The monkey leaped off it's sunny perch and flew off into the night sky.

#47 Techohead

Techohead

    Member

  • General Public Members
  • PipPip
  • 40 posts

Posted 02 November 2007 - 06:30 AM

well it's been a few days since my last post... i wanted to thank you all for the continuation of this thread for it has/will prove(en) an indespensible resource to me. I just rode my bike (i'm too young for a licence for those who've asked why) to a park a few kilometers away from my house, with a saw in the middle of the rain, intending to chop a branch off a willow tree should i find one, and as i rode around the corner into the park i hit a log and came off my bike. funfun. i got up, cleaned my elbows and knees, then looked back apon the giant willow branch that had stopped me. is that fait or what? (no religious or spiritual meaning intended... figure of speech)

i chopped it up and took home as many pieces as i could, which amounted to 2.4 kilograms. once the rain stops and i am able to light a fire i will charcoal. i would appreciate if anyone would contribute their kowledge on charcoaling willow, as my last attempt made dodgy charcoal. should i plain it first? into shavings? should i leave it in short logs? should i leave in fire for many hours? should the jet coming out the hole in my can be powerful? (almost a foot long flame?) there are many variables involved... and i may have got any number of them wrong in my last attempt.

congrats, you read the whole thing... thanks for your help.

Edited by Techohead, 02 November 2007 - 06:31 AM.


#48 Bonny

Bonny

    Pyro Forum Regular

  • General Public Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 538 posts

Posted 02 November 2007 - 02:29 PM

)

i chopped it up and took home as many pieces as i could, which amounted to 2.4 kilograms. once the rain stops and i am able to light a fire i will charcoal. i would appreciate if anyone would contribute their kowledge on charcoaling willow, as my last attempt made dodgy charcoal. should i plain it first? into shavings? should i leave it in short logs? should i leave in fire for many hours? should the jet coming out the hole in my can be powerful? (almost a foot long flame?) there are many variables involved... and i may have got any number of them wrong in my last attempt.

congrats, you read the whole thing... thanks for your help.

When I cook charcoal (willow or pine) I remove the bark and cut pcs to the length that will just fit into my can standing up. The wood should be dry, not green wood. I then split it all into about 1/2" strips and pack them into the can.Put the lid on and let it cook until no smoke is coming out,turning the can as needed to heat it all around. Cover the hole and let it it sit (usually overnight). Works for me.

#49 Gazza

Gazza

    Member

  • General Public Members
  • PipPip
  • 44 posts

Posted 02 November 2007 - 06:50 PM

I tried my eucalyptus charcoal in a BP formula and I must admit I was not impressed with its performance: it did burn rather slowly. :(
However, I made some good tigertail stars with the eucalyptus charcoal. I used these in a 4 inch mine, together with zinc granite stars- I love the contrast of the orange sparks produced with the TT and the blue-green glow of the granite stars. :D

#50 marble

marble

    Pyro Forum Regular

  • General Public Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 502 posts

Posted 03 November 2007 - 04:00 AM

Eucalypts makes crap charcoal as does every other native tree here

#51 rocket

rocket

    Member

  • General Public Members
  • PipPip
  • 74 posts

Posted 03 November 2007 - 07:55 AM

as does every other native tree here


I wouldn’t rule them all out, there may be some fast growing tropical trees up north(far north Queensland) that may be of some use.

#52 Arthur Brown

Arthur Brown

    General member

  • UKPS Members
  • 2,908 posts

Posted 03 November 2007 - 10:17 AM

Most charcoals have their place in pyro! Some are better ground to 300 mesh and others left at 12 mesh -- for different uses!

The early literature said charcoal from trees that grow by water made the best gunpowder, however we are not loading guns with powder! Willow is a particular favourite! It grows easily and can be sourced in UK and Europe and China where the early BP history comes from. Milled to 12mesh it can be used for sparks (typ. in candle comp) Milled to 150mesh it can be used as a propellant. Milled to 300 mesh (airfloat) it is suited for fast propellant and explosive uses.

The semi-volatile organics that remain after the cooking process are what makes each wood and charcoaling process different and more or less suited for each prospective use.
http://www.movember.com/uk/home/

Keep mannequins and watermelons away from fireworks..they always get hurt..

#53 Techohead

Techohead

    Member

  • General Public Members
  • PipPip
  • 40 posts

Posted 04 November 2007 - 03:59 AM

well i've just spent the last four hours of my life charcoaling a large tin full of willow, which amounted to almost 40 grams, but can fill 1 cup, very light stuff. i did the whole process of charcoaling properly, and milled the charcoal before mixing it with the BP ingredients, mixed it all up in teh right ratios in a 200 gram batch, and it has been milling for 1 hour now, and i tested it and teh mix wouldn't light from a flaring match. so i tried with 5 simultaneously flaring match heads, which only just managed to light the muxture, which then burned amost like normal BP, but with a little slag, and no speed at all. my 1 teaspoon sample burned for almost ten seconds.

this is my second try at making willow BP, and i used a different tree in a different part of the city, jsut to make sure it wasn't a tree specific thing, but both were willow. i had teh same result with each... teh stuff just doesn't seem to work. throw your ideas at me people...

#54 marble

marble

    Pyro Forum Regular

  • General Public Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 502 posts

Posted 04 November 2007 - 04:29 AM

Can you take some photos of your charcoal, kno3 and sulfur? Also a photo of your retort would help.

Was the willow dry or still green before cooking?

My green mix made with really crap charcoal burns faster than your product so something must be wrong somewhere.

Edited by marble, 04 November 2007 - 04:33 AM.


#55 Techohead

Techohead

    Member

  • General Public Members
  • PipPip
  • 40 posts

Posted 04 November 2007 - 05:05 AM

i may have just solved the problem... i poured my charcoal onto a thick concrete slab and pounded it with the end of a 1 meter iron rod, and pounded every bit of it, then put it in my mil for an hour and it worked substantially faster... i think the problem may have been that the charcoal grains were soo hard, that despite the amount of milling they wouldn't crush well enough, meaning that the mix was only achieving a pysical mix, but not a chemical mix. the pounding crushed the tiny hard crystals even finer... better watch out or i'll be making diamonds. this theory would also explain why it took soo much heat to start, as we needed it hot enough to melt the surfaces of the grains so that they could chemically bond to start the reaction.

i will explore this posibility, and if i still have problems after many hours of pounding and milling, i shall post photo's.

#56 MDH

MDH

    Pyro Forum Regular

  • General Public Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 741 posts

Posted 15 November 2007 - 11:23 AM

Try Kiwi. It's a blessing. You aussies should be able to grow kiwi in your generally warmer environent, no?

#57 paul

paul

    Pyro Forum Regular

  • General Public Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 722 posts

Posted 15 November 2007 - 04:36 PM

I now just stick with mixed spruce/fir charcoal. Tried so many woods but let´s stay realistic: Even some hardwood charcoal gives superb powders if you got a efficient mill.

I guess there´s no need to go higher faster better. Cheap spruce or fir gives superb charcoal. No need to tweakyour blackpoweder that much! At least not by furiously searching for and charring of rare woods :)

My flickr photo album


My first very own firework pictures are online!!!

#58 Bonny

Bonny

    Pyro Forum Regular

  • General Public Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 538 posts

Posted 15 November 2007 - 05:06 PM

I now just stick with mixed spruce/fir charcoal. Tried so many woods but let´s stay realistic: Even some hardwood charcoal gives superb powders if you got a efficient mill.

I guess there´s no need to go higher faster better. Cheap spruce or fir gives superb charcoal. No need to tweakyour blackpoweder that much! At least not by furiously searching for and charring of rare woods :)



Same here, nothing exotic. I use willow (have several trees in yard) for lifting and spruce or pine (whatever is handy) for everything else (meal for fountains,blackmatch, coated vermiculite burst,stars etc...)

#59 MDH

MDH

    Pyro Forum Regular

  • General Public Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 741 posts

Posted 16 November 2007 - 05:51 AM

As of recently I have been using horse chestnut again and it is proving to be an excellent charcoal with a good number of flammable volatiles. It, like pine, leaves a nice number of sparks too. It's a fast growing tree, it runs at around 5-6 feet per year.

http://content.answe...hestnut_800.jpg - a tree from google images pretty much says it.

EDIT: Wikipedia page

Edited by MDH, 16 November 2007 - 05:53 AM.


#60 marble

marble

    Pyro Forum Regular

  • General Public Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 502 posts

Posted 16 November 2007 - 09:45 AM

Poplar makes insane BP, much faster than willow imo




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users