Firewood and charcoal


Any wood over 2" in diameter cut to 4 ft lengths

Cordwood stack

Photo: Silver birch, split and striped, drying for firewood.


Easy to make on a small scale in your wood, local charcoal is becoming more popular to buy. Mike Pepler uses two small oil drums to make his charcoal. There are a number of charcoal making courses around the country. Gervais Sawyer, wood scientist, has written an interesting comment for the Small Woodland Owners group (SWOG) on making charcoal on the small scale, and you can read the follow up comments including information on a retort kiln here.

Comments on this article

Pete Grugeon 3 June, 2013

For anyone wanting to see an illustrated guide to charcoal production in a ring kiln, take a look at

Posh Bob 2 November, 2015

This website in all its entirety, takes me back to happy days. I was studying forestry in Llysfasi, North Wales. My placement albeit voluntary with Groundwork/National Grid taught me so many woodland skills; including charcoal production, in 50 gallon drums. Needless to say this site has made me very happy to have a refresher on pertinent knowledge. I would also like to thank the travelling woodsman from Shrewsbury who passed on many of of his skills: including the two 50 gallon drums that he gave to me, to make superb charcoal. Unfortunately National Grid withdrew support to the Environmental Education Center I worked at. I hope that any youngsters considering employment particularly in woodland conservation take a close look at this site; it gives an excellent introduction to the subject. Also the name of Oliver Rackham who was a giant in the subject gave me much inspiration.

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