Making natural charcoal at home.
You can use a fire place, fire pit, wood stove, pellet stove, fireplace
*heavy glass jar or can with tight lid
*heavy cotton potholders
*2 cans: one must fit inside the other
I’m using a Cambles soup can and a diced tomato can.
*Nail or drill
*Wood scraps, smoking pellets, cotton cloth, paper really anything you want to turn to charcoal.
Make sure the cans are clean and dry. Take the smaller can and pop a small hole in the bottom near the edge some.
Fill the small can with your materials you will need to break up the materials into small chunks.
Place in the fire for 2 or more hours depending on what your converting you will need to check a few times till you figure the timing.
Remove can and empty you should have nice charcoal to work with now.
Grind in mortar and pestle till fine.
You can get about a good amount of charcoal . this way if you spend a few hours doing this.
Interesting! There’s a fireplace here for the wintertime and a bonfire pit for the summer, so charcoal is usually pretty easy to come by (at least while I’m here and not abroad), but this methods looks like a good one for anyone who doesn’t have easy access to a fireplace/pit and needs the charcoal for spellwork
Thanks for sharing your wisdom, @LadyDennaRahl!
What makes this a great way to procure charcoal is the fact that this method is only a more modernized version of the ancient practice of charcoal making. The other reason that makes this a great method is the fact that it completely burns off the organic material leaving one with 100 percent pure coal that requires no seperation
If you need activitated charcoal, I read an article recently that said the easiest way is to mix it with lemon juice let it sit for a while then strain out the charcoal. I have no idea if this works but I thought it bore mention.
Oh, this is really cool! I don’t know why but I never thought to make my own charcoal
Please do not try to make activated charcoal by the method you are describing. It is highly unsafe and eliminates any protective usage of charcoal even if not activated. I have researched this at great length and have tried many different ways to make it for my Apothecary. The lemon juice and bleach methods as well as many other at-home means of making activated charcoal are not safe at all. In my research and discussions with chemists, most of these at-home methods do not work as people think and are highly unsafe. Bleach is a perfect example as that leaves chemicals behind that are unsafe and do not burn off.
Activated charcoal is not the same substance as charcoal sold in the stores as bricks, lumps of burned wood or even burned food. The manufacturing process of activated charcoal makes it extremely absorbent, allowing it to bind to molecules, ions, or atoms and remove them from dissolved substances. The process of making activated charcoal involves superheating carbon-rich materials, such as wood, peat, coconut shells…
This superheating process is the “activation” as we know it in its name. The process strips the charcoal of any previously absorbed molecules. Freeing up the bonding areas again. This also reduces the size of the pores in the charcoal and creates more holes in each molecule, increasing its overall surface area.
Calcium chloride is the only means I know of that one could superheat the powdered charcoal at home hot enough to create the same effect as commercially made, but this is highly dangerous because of the thermal expansion, heat caused by mixing it with water as well as the gasses from this process are highly volatile. Other aspects of the at-home process while not as dangerous can be due to exposure to a chemical burn-off as one cooks the strained sludge till it’s dry.
As someone who has with the assistance of trained chemists learned how to make this myself. I do not recommend people making it at home for safety means.
Thank you for correcting me. I had no idea it could be dangerous.
While I advocate for many things to be learned to be made yourself. There are things that are just not safe currently.
Can activated charcoal be used, though? I bought some and used it to make black salt. I don’t have access to any kind of fire but I enjoyed reading about this method.
Yes, it can be used. Alternatively you can buy Lump charcoal from the bbq section and use that. it should read lump coal or lump hardwood charcoal. it is made the same way as to how i described it.
Thank you Charlaine, this is a well researched and well written article.
I haven’t really thought of charcoal, well BBQ charcoal, but the lighting fluid might kill you.
I’ll keep buying it.
Thank you very much for this distinction and also for the safety warning, @LadyDennaRahl! It sounds like you have put a lot of research into charcoal crafting- thank you for sharing what you’ve learned along the way and also for watching out for others as well!
Just adding in an additional safety tip as active charcoal is a bit of a hot ingredient lately (I keep seeing it in products in the stores)- but be please be careful about ingesting activated charcoal as it interacts with medicines in the body:
Activated charcoal is sometimes used to help treat a drug overdose or a poisoning. When you take activated charcoal, drugs and toxins can bind to it… Activated charcoal may reduce or prevent the absorption of certain drugs… Activated charcoal may also reduce absorption of certain nutrients.
From WebMD: Activated Charcoal Uses and Risks
This means that ingesting activated charcoal can negate certain medicines you are taking and make it harder for your body to absorb certain vital nutrients and minerals.
These warnings are just for ingesting it- using it as a spell ingredient or topically doesn’t carry the same risk as ingesting it. Although I’m not sure about inhaling the fumes for anyone burning activated charcoal…
So for anyone crafting charcoal and/or using activated charcoal, please do so with care!
I have worked in a living museum pharmacy where I as an apprentice, I was tasked with making Activated charcoal in large batches as they had in the 18th/19th centuries. I know firsthand the complexity of making it.
As for taking activated charcoal as a supplement. I am on a number of meds and take activated charcoal capsules as well for intestinal gas issues caused by severe IBD. I must take the Charcoal 2-4 hours afterafter or before taking my normal meds.
It sounds like the activated charcoal helps you take good care of your health, Charlaine- I’m glad for you! That’s a good point about being careful about when to take the activated charcoal so that it doesn’t interfere with other important medicines.
Aside from it’s emergency uses, I’ve been hearing mostly negative or alarming things about activated charcoal (when ingested). I appreciate you sharing how it has helped you! It sounds like you know a lot and are thus able to use it in a safe and responsible way