Finally got over to Nathan's place this weekend. After we went to Carl's house and brewed beer and set it up to ferment, we went back over to Nathan's house to cook some charcoal. Basically, the process is you put wood in an oxygen deprived container (in our case, a galvanized steel trashcan with lid), then put that in a furnace (in our case a 55 gallon steel drum with air holes in the bottom) surround by some sort of fuel. You raise the temperature inside the cooking vessel to about 1500 degrees Fahrenheit for a few hours. That cooks all of the water and impurities out of the wood, and leaves you with almost pure carbon charcoal.

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enter site We chunked up some nice red oak and hickory and filled the trashcan and used some crappy half rotten pine as the cook fuel. You can see me here using a leaf blower to help the cook fire get up to temperature faster (the pine was a little damp, so it needed some encouragement).
Cooking Charcoal - Kicking the Fire up a Notch 2 Cooking Charcoal - Kicking the Fire up a Notch 1

Here is a picture of the fire as the cook wood finally settled into coals and got really hot.
Cooking Charcoal - End of Cook

The whole contraption would, of course not be cooled enough to get the charcoal out until the next day, so here is the picture Nathan sent me of the final product this morning.
Cooking Charcoal - End Product

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