Thursday, October 21, 2010

Making charcoal

Dancer is taking a class called Caveman Chemistry, which goes through chemistry from a kind of as-humans-learned-about-it approach. Very hands-on, very cool. The first week they had to make fire. Then they made charcoal. Part of Dancer's homework this week was to teach someone else how to make charcoal. This morning she got everything set up -- a 16oz can, a tuna can, a chopped-up piece of clothespin -- and handed us the instructions.

  1. We put the pieces of wood in the 16oz can (wrapper removed), and put the can on the stove.
  2. We covered the can with the tuna can (wrapper removed), which had a hole poked in the top, near the side.
  3. We turned on the stove. At first steam came out, which Dancer said was because of the water in the wood.
  4. Then when smoke began to emerge, we had to keep lighting matches near the hole. We went through about eight matches before a stream of fire lit over the hole. Dancer said those were the oils from within the wood.
  5. We turned off the stove when the fire stopped, and peeked inside.

1 comment:

  1. I had to read this like three times before I realize that it said "clothespin", not "clothesline". I was confused.