Making Charcoal Flakes From Sawdust




Charcoal flakes are a great easy to make item with many different uses. These flakes are great items to take camping/backpacking. They take up very little space, are light weight, produce a lot of heat, and are easy to light (can be lit from flint and steel or just one match). Those of you familiar with making char cloth will recognize the process.

What you will need:

Sawdust (I recommend courser sawdust from a saw mill or a thickness planer)

A lidded Tin with a small hole in the lid (I use an old tobacco tin, but plan to upgrade to a larger tin soon)


something to grab the hot tin out of the fire with (I use a pair of channel locks)

leather gloves (recommended)

Step 1: Fill Tin Loosely With Sawdust

Scoop up some sawdust into the tin, do not pack it, place the lid back onto the tin.

Step 2: Place in the Fire

Place tin in the fire and wait. Depending on how hot your fire is in about 30-60 seconds it will start to smoke and a flame will shoot out the hole.

Step 3: Remove From Fire

When the Flame dies down used you tongs to remove the tin from the fire, will be very hot do not touch with you bare hands. Set somewhere to cool off, once cool put on leather gloves and remove the lid.



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    9 Discussions

    Jack Friday

    3 years ago

    great instructable! i wonder if this also can be used for purifying water?

    6 replies
    SkwurlitoJack Friday

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Fine sawdust would probably work better OOORRR you could slightly crumble this stuff. Should work fine if made properly.

    Jack Fridaybosc85

    Reply 3 years ago

    ive seen somewhere in a documentary channel. they used super hot steam while making the coconut charcoal. so basically its cooking the husk to make it into charcoal while the super hot steam makes the surface has this microscopic holes.

    DIY-GuyJack Friday

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    What is the difference between "activated charcoal" and this kind of charcoal?
    My purifier says "activated" charcoal.


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Common charcoal is made from peat, coal, wood, coconut shell, or
    petroleum. “Activated charcoal” is similar to common charcoal, but is
    made especially for use as a medicine. To make activated charcoal,
    manufacturers heat common charcoal in the presence of a gas that causes
    the charcoal to develop lots of internal spaces or “pores.” These pores
    help activated charcoal “trap” chemicals



    3 years ago

    do u have to use tin or would aluminum work?


    3 years ago

    Kudos complements to your genius.