Introduction: Emergency Hookah Coal Making

Picture of Emergency Hookah Coal Making

What to do when you run out of hookah coals? Run into the forest and make your own darn coals!

Step 1: Find Some Wood

Picture of Find Some Wood

Go outside and find some wood about the size of a finger or sausage.
You then need to peal the bark off of it and break it/Dremel it into little pieces.

Step 2: Dry the Wood

Picture of Dry the Wood

Put the pieces of wood into the oven at 400 degress and dry for about 15min.
REmove the wood and place onto a hot stove top until a flame is produced.

Step 3: Amost Done!

Picture of Amost Done!

Let the wood burn until it begins looking like a coal. Be sure to turn off both the oven and the stove at this point. Now set your coals upon the hookad and enjoy!


Doc Wyoming (author)2015-12-21

Gonna try this with cedar, got tons of cedar chips left over from a project.

psol123 (author)2013-08-12

Thanks soo much im a young hookah smoker new to this ur a god

keagon (author)2013-07-08

this works but lasts far too short. it will work for emergency coal. but i need actual coal of which can last quite a while. i have hear that grilling coal has harsh chemical and there are no shop around me of which i can purchase from can anyone tell me a greatt way of doing this . it would be great thanks

njaguar (author)2012-10-07

worked fine for me =) but yap it goes fast =/

shadow1732 (author)2011-11-18

i have a wood stove in my house that i just pulled a hot coal out of one night. it worked great. little woody taste to begin, but went away after a short bit. much better tasting then a lot of the quick lights out there. plus since i have the wood stove i didnt have to worry about it being smokey in my house.

few problems with using these coals:

1) ash is a terrible mess. the slightest airflow will leave it snowing ash in your house

2) heat control - too small of pieces then you need a ton of it, and they burn out fast. too large of pieces will burn the heck out of your shisha

qµrec (author)2007-01-08

Cool! But how does the wood affect the taste?

shadow1732 (author)qµrec2011-11-18

i tried it myself... if you do it right youll get a slight woody tatse to begin with, but it quickly goes away

Brickbeard (author)2010-06-03

 try the husk from a young coconut it seems to be working ....right super weird taste.  just burny.  is that a softwood?  i dont know, prolly, who made that rule anyway. i feel like peeps had to be doin this for years...oh noes wait, my brains!

shadow1732 (author)Brickbeard2011-11-18

some natural coals on the market are already made from this... Coconara for example

NikonDork (author)2007-01-14

Just remember to select a hardwood. Inhaling fumes from softwoods isn't a good idea.

gedion4000 (author)NikonDork2010-12-21

agreed....i couldnt imagin using anything like pine. eww!

pyrotechnical (author)NikonDork2009-02-22

Would some cherry wood work?

armstrem (author)2009-09-10

I tried this using some thumb/sausage-sized sticks I broke off of the cedar-like shrubs by the side of my apartment building. Aside from making my apartment smell like a campfire initially, the coals worked great! Of course, they don't last long, so they're obviously not a permanent substitute, however they certainly do the trick temporarily. You do have to get used to the fact that there'll be a small fire on your stove top for a minute, but if you have a fan over your stove, and you keep the sticks burning long enough for them to go out on their own, then you have less smoke to deal with. Another advantage of doing it that way is that they'll break apart easily once the fire goes out, so the length of the sticks don't matter, because once they've burnt, you can use your tongs to easily pick up the pieces.

ssancheznes (author)2009-09-07

tried it today with my homemade shisha tobacco and hookah, worked great,

WonderBoy1 (author)2009-06-15

I do realize that this is old, but oh well. A simple way to make charcoal; select your wood, make sure there is no bark on it, cut it into about 5 or 6 inch long sections, then split it longways into about 1/4" to 1/2" diameter pieces so it looks roughly the shape of a pencil, the thinner the pieces, the faster it will cook. Take an empty 1 gallon paint can and fill it with your pieces of wood then drill or poke about a 1/2" hole in the lid, then replace the lid back on the can and pound it back on. Place this can in a campfire or grill. When it starts cooking a jet of flammable gas will come out of the hole in the lid. Make sure and rotate the can about every 15 minutes to cook it all evenly. When the flame coming out of the hole in the lid goes out, it means that your charcoal is done so pull it out of the fire. DO NOT open it until it has cooled otherwise your new charcoal will light on fire and ruin the whole batch.

Drackar (author)2007-02-22

I'd be careful with this one, many/most woods have assorted chemicals that are toxic to the human body. If there is any residue from an improperly prepared/not fully burned piece of coal, it could lead to lung damage.

xerxesx20 (author)Drackar2008-11-17

Glad you pointed out the safety aspect. Safety first, fun second! 8-)

xerxesx20 (author)2008-11-17

When making lumpwood charcoal, which is either very similar, or identical to hookah coal, (correct me if I am wrong, I smoke a briar pipe, but not a hookah (though it's on my list)), the coal is usually best made over a long period of time so that the insides of the coal become dried and toasted, the thinner the wood and larger the grain, the less time it takes to dry, I think. To make charcoal, what one needs to do is to "roast" it for some time, in the absence of oxygen, so no combustion occurs. Also when doing this, it drives out most (if not all) nasty odours, chemicals etc that are residing in the wood. Very good lumpwood charcoal burns without a flame and without any smoke, thus, it is used in some ancient traditional forges -- it won't interfere with the incandescent (glowing orange hot) metal(s). Apologies if I am not close to what hookah coal resembles, I am just throwing a little dim light on the creation of clean, sulphur and (hopefully) taste-free, clean hot coal. :-)

xerxesx20 (author)xerxesx202008-11-17

Forgot to mention: There are many lumpwood charcoal and charcloth (great stuff!) 'ibles here on Instructables. Make some of your own, for a barbecue, for money, for a friend or just for fun. :-)

robi2581 (author)2008-10-09

So I tried this last night because there isn't a hookah shop where i am currently residing and i am out of coals. I don't think i did it right though because i couldn't keep wood as a coal and it went out and it tasted like wood smoke when i tried to start the bowl. So i stopped and am back to ground zero. Sad day. any suggestions?

ChiefnPurps (author)2007-12-07

hope this shit works

halogod007 (author)2007-11-11

lol.. or you can just order some more? i get mine at

jongscx (author)2007-10-14

I wouldn't recommend pine... Probobly Cedar or Oak... Hardwoods... And for the love of god don't use poison Ivy/Oak vines... They may look like the right size... but... no... just no..

tmaxxrookie (author)2007-08-05

awesome dude lol but ya wut kind of woods should i use? i have oak wood and some left over brazilian cherry wood from my house being renovated lol. please write back soon. aiite dude o ya and how does it affect the shishas taste? thanks man jay

zus (author)2007-04-05

What are good woods to use ? How does this effect the taste ? Thanks guys

pjp13 (author)2007-04-01

haha.. thats so funny because my suitemates and i were so desperate one day and we tried to light a regular cooking charcoal that we had from barbeques. and the 3 of us were in our little bathroom pouring charcoal lighter fluid on a piece of charcoal and then lighting it on fire.. eventually there was a massive amount of smoke (which probably contained carbon monoxide) and i was holding the burning charcoal with my tongs on top of the toilet for like a minute.. haha. fun times. anyways now i know to stock up on charcoals.. lesson learned

jtobako (author)2007-01-08

yes, just don't let it burn all the way. if you want to stock up, wrap up some sticks in several layers of foil then throw the bundle on the bbq or camp fire. when the bundle stops smoking, pull it out and let it cool. open the bundle for a fresh pack of charcoal.

lemonie (author)jtobako2007-02-12

Charcoal is easily made in small quantities, as you describe or by packing a can with wood & closing the top with earth/sand/mud, then in the fire as you describe. However, it would seem that the advantage of this instructable is that it gives you hot coals.

TeamSkenes (author)jtobako2007-01-08

good call

moonchild (author)2007-01-11

Bro, your a Legend!

mabufo (author)2007-01-08

The hookah shop was closed? Whoops.

JakeTobak (author)2007-01-08

Very cool. I don't have a hookah, and if I did, I'd just run out and buy more coal. This is good to remember though for the apocalypse when commercial coal runs out and I need to make my own. If you don't have a stove or if you don't want to burn wood on your stove-top, could you use a propane torch to heat up the wood?

TeamSkenes (author)JakeTobak2007-01-08

It was a Sunday night, we were out of coals and the Hookah shop was closed. That's why it's for 'emergency' purposes. I guess you could use propane. Today, our apartment smelled like a bonfire.

About This Instructable




More by TeamSkenes:Guitar Hero World Tour Drum Mod for Rock Band 2Hanging Bike Work Stand...Perfect for Cramped Places
Add instructable to: