Friday, February 24 was clear, cool and windy—almost too windy. But rain and extreme wind had caused us to skip one day, and only a few remain before i leave for the northwest. The beautiful deep blue sky was countered by a cool wind, sometimes gusting to 30mph.
We installed a third 4-inch pipe for our middle air vent, and closed a 2-inch bung hole to give us greater air flow volume and better control.
|VIDEO: Quench a Charcoal Fire
54 sec; 2 Mbyte, .mov
Brad sliced up large sunflower stalks to load between layers of woody twigs and stems. Near the top, Brad loaded a layer of thicker stems—up to 3-inch diameter—to test if our insulated TLUD can char larger limbs.
And for the first time, Brad filled the 55-gallon drum to the tiptop—a full load.
The burn started quick, and went smooth, with almost no smoke. Despite vigorous wind, air intakes performed very well. Windshields sharply reduced effects of even strong wind gusts, to allow air intakes and gas flare to function stable and steady. The burn went so well, Brad went to turn compost and I returned to busting brush.
We noticed a sudden shift in sound of the gas flare that signals end of gas supply as the downdraft burn reaches the barrel bottom and the end of its fuel supply. Plugging three air vents with fiberglass wads quickly snuffed the gas flare, and flames retreated into the barrel.
4-inch vent pipes
plugged for shutdown
Brad dis-assembled the chimney to reveal pale, transparent flames writhing up out of the barrel. Trying to video the shutdown, I stood too close, and smelled burnt protein from my singed hair.
Bursts of water sprayed from a metal wand quenched the charcoal fire. Super-hot steam snapped and spit in the barrel to blast out the hole. Soon the red glow of charcoal fire faded. After a final squirt to make more steam, we slipped a lid on the chimney hole, covered with dirt to seal steam in and air out.
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