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#199847 - 04/08/10 03:02 AM Grinding charcoal to powder
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
I am attempting to make some Terra Preta by adding ground charcoal to compost for the garden. I've been putting some chunks into a can and grinding it with a worchestershire sauce bottle. It's not stupendously effective. Beating on it with a sledge on concrete is sloppy and wasteful.

So, does anyone have any clever, easy, simple, non-messy (mostly) ideas on how to grind up about a cup of charcoal at a time? I have a mortar but no pestle, and haven't been able to find a suitable rock.

Thank you for any ideas.

Sue

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#199848 - 04/08/10 03:09 AM Re: Grinding charcoal to powder [Re: Susan]
Yuccahead Offline
Member

Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 199
Loc: W. Texas
Put some in a ziploc and drive over it?
_________________________
-- David.

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#199850 - 04/08/10 03:16 AM Re: Grinding charcoal to powder [Re: Yuccahead]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
It seems that the plastic would puncture before the charcoal broke up, but I could try it. Maybe between two boards?

It's supposed to pour tomorrow, a big storm coming in. I guess it wouldn't be the time to try it...

Sue

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#199852 - 04/08/10 03:38 AM imitate fowl [Re: Susan]
EMPnotImplyNuclear Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 09/10/08
Posts: 262
Originally Posted By: Susan

So, does anyone have any clever, easy, simple, non-messy (mostly) ideas on how to grind up about a cup of charcoal at a time? I have a mortar but no pestle, and haven't been able to find a suitable rock.

Got a dowel? A pestle need not be made of stone, a dowel will work (spare handle)

Or you could imitate fowl and make a gastric mill smile swallow some gastroliths and shake shake shake shake (charcoal + marbles/gravel + drum = ball mill )

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#199853 - 04/08/10 03:41 AM Re: Grinding charcoal to powder [Re: Susan]
CANOEDOGS Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 1761
Loc: MINNESOTA
meat grinder..a old hand cranked one.even if it's one that you use charcoal could be washed out with no problem.

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#199855 - 04/08/10 03:47 AM Re: Grinding charcoal to powder [Re: CANOEDOGS]
scafool Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
Will it blend?
Even a cheap blender from the salvation army store will do to grind charcoal.

Other that that I would say to put it in a gunny sack with a couple of rocks and smash the heck out of it.
_________________________
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

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#199860 - 04/08/10 04:22 AM Re: Grinding charcoal to powder [Re: Susan]
Richlacal Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/11/10
Posts: 778
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
A couple of Red bricks,or Broken chunks of concrete,or a small hammer slowly pulverizing it,should do the trick,or a couple of Pavers from the garden also!Make sure you've got some eye protection going on.Soak em' in the rain,when they dry,they'll be alot softer.Good Luck!

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#199863 - 04/08/10 08:08 AM Re: Grinding charcoal to powder [Re: scafool]
MostlyHarmless Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 981
Loc: Norway
Originally Posted By: scafool

Even a cheap blender from the salvation army store will do to grind charcoal.


I think the dust would make its way into the bearings and destroy them pretty quick.

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#199869 - 04/08/10 02:35 PM Re: Grinding charcoal to powder [Re: Susan]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2390
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I started working with agrichar/biochar early last year. I've made about three 55 gal. drums. Excellent results in the garden but watch the soil pH.

I don't worry about grinding it too fine. I fill a 5-gallon pail half full and work it with a garden spade. Once it's down to marble size, that's enough. Time and rototilling will handle the rest.

Doing this creates a lot of very fine material mixed with the bigger stuff. There's no reason you couldn't sift it through a coarse screen -- secure it over the top of the pail, invert, and shake baby shake.

There's no clean way to handle finely ground carbon. Be prepared to resemble a chimney sweep. Oi, guv'nor!


Edited by dougwalkabout (04/08/10 02:37 PM)

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#199870 - 04/08/10 02:44 PM Re: Grinding charcoal to powder [Re: Susan]
CANOEDOGS Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 1761
Loc: MINNESOTA
Sue..what sort of charcoal are you using?..i'm let to believe that the stuff you use in a BBQ is not real charcoal but has a lot of nasty stuff added.the real thing seems to be lighter and "crunchy"

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