How I make the charcoal I use in my portraits
I started making charcoal as an experiment to see if it was as good as the stuff you can buy. What I found was that it is better, at least I think it is.Here's what you will need...
A small tin
SA coffee tin or a baked bean tin works fine
Enough to wrap around the the end of the tin
A heat source
A small BBQ, a fire pit or just a fire
- You will need sticks of wood between 1 and 2 cm in diameter.
- The wood can be green, which means it doesn’t have to be dried out and can be cut straight from the tree.
- Leave the bark on.
- Cut the sticks to the length of your tin.
- Pack the tin with thicker pieces to the outer edge and thinner ones in the centre (sometimes it may not be possible it just helps to get an even burn)
- Cover the open end of the tin with the aluminium foil.
- Pierce a small hole in the foil.
- Place the tin on your heat source.
- Smoke will come from the hole when the process begins.
- Keep rotating the tin every so often to make sure all the wood is “cooked”
- It can take between 30 minutes and 2 hours depending on your heat source.
- Usually it’s done when there is no more smoke coming from the hole.
- Once you take it off the heat let it cool down normally or it might crack.
- If you take the foil off and find it’s not done you can put it back on the heat.
NOTE: Not every stick you put in the tin will work. It may be too brittle or underdone. I have a 50% success rate which normally gives me about 8 sticks.
You can use all kinds of wood, but my favourite is Ivy