Charcoal-Making Stove

Craft this cooker to make your own charcoal from scrap wood.

| February/March 2011

chracoal cooker

Scrap wood can be converted into charcoal in this homemade burner.


Coal is not readily available in my community, so I use charcoal to fire my forge for blacksmithing. I had read books on making your own charcoal, but I wasn’t satisfied with the ovens others had used, so I went to the drawing board to develop a burner that would last a long time and could be built inexpensively.

The main part of my burner is a 200-gallon butane tank. Inside the burner is a 10-inch-diameter pipe that holds the wood, which will be cooked by a wood-fueled fire, to become charcoal. I welded two water tanks to the butane tank for a chimney. The process produces about one and a half feed sacks full of charcoal.

This charcoal is perfect for my blacksmithing work but also could be used in a barbecue grill.

Ralph Rumbley
Monroeville, Alabama

Building the Charcoal Stove

I’ve read books on making charcoal and looked on YouTube to see how others make it. Some people use brick for the oven, but that would be expensive. Others use 55-gallon drums, but they would burn out fairly rapidly. So, I went back to the drawing board to find a design that would be inexpensive and last a long time. I finally settled on butane tanks.

The first piece of the “cooker” was a 200-gallon butane tank. It was three-eighths-inch thick and had a hole in one end from rust. I cut the end with the hole from the tank. Next, I cut a 22-inch hole in the center of the tank’s side. I stabilized the tank by welding two pieces of 2-inch tubing onto the bottom supports.

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