Weekly Hack: Turn wood into charcoal

Updated: August 15, 2019

By Abrilla/Shutterstock

Making your own lump charcoal from scrap wood is easy!

You’ll need:

Small chunks of hardwood 

A large can with a lid

A roaring campfire

Punch a nail-sized hole in the lid of the can, fill the can with wood, and replace the lid. Stick the can in the hottest part of the fire (be careful). As the wood starts to “cook,” you’ll see smoke escaping from the lid’s hole. Eventually, this smoke will turn into a flame. The fire’s heat forces gases out of the wood, and they ignite when they hit the air. 

When the fumes aren’t flammable anymore, the flame will sputter out. This means the process is complete—congratulations, you’ve got charcoal! Remove the can from the fire (seriously, be careful), and wait until the can is completely cool before taking the lid off. If you expose the charcoal to oxygen too early, it could turn into boring old ash

Featured Video