How To Make Charcoal

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Charcoal is a solid black substance predominantly composed of carbon. It is created by burning wood or other vegetation via “pyrolysis”, which greatly limits the supply of oxygen, causing incomplete combustion.

Charcoal has a surprising number of uses and very interesting physical and chemical properties. It has great usefulness in survival situations. Knowing how to make charcoal is a useful skill, and one that is easy to learn and practice. This video by Primitive Technology shows how to make charcoal using the mound method.

The mound method – as demonstrated in the video – is a very old process for creating charcoal that is still used in many countries. This is done by stacking the wood above the ground then covering it with dirt. This method is very versatile because it can be used for infrequent small scale charcoal production and yet is also adaptable for large scale production.

Here are some interesting uses of charcoal during a survival scenario:

1. Mask Odors. Charcoal is commonly used to as an odor absorber. Mesh bags of charcoal can be used to eliminate odors from shoes. Use powdered charcoal to absorb human scent on snares or traps by rubbing onto the surfaces.

2. Water Filter. Granulated charcoal makes an ideal water filtration medium. It can remove particulates and other chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and fuels from water. Use as one of the layers in a multi-layer filtration system. High-end water filters such as the Berkey use compressed blocks of activated charcoal and have astonishing filtration characteristics – able to remove particles, food coloring, pesticides and many microorganisms from water.

3. Sun Reflector. Use charcoal in combination with lip balm or vaseline for camouflaging skin in a survival situation. It can also be used under the eyes to reduce glare and lower the risk of snow blindness.

4. Writing. Charcoal can be used as a writing or drawing instrument. You could leave messages for rescuers if lost, however bear in mind that rain will wash away charcoal writing.

5. Fire for Cooking and Heat. Charcoal can be used as a fire fuel; it is easily ignited and can provide heat for warmth and cooking.

6. Detoxification. Activated charcoal is commonly used in certain types of poisoning because of its great ability to adsorb toxins of numerous types into itself.

How To Make Charcoal
How To Make Charcoal. Photo –

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