Re: Cook and make biochar with merely a shovel? - Dakota fire hole modified to make biochar cleanly - progress so far.

Harry Groot

As a Boy Scout, and later, when living long term out of a tent, I used a Dakota Hole for cooking and water heating.  It would seem now to be a good low-tech way to make char, and easy to snuff by sealing the air and "burn" holes.  We used to use a board as a damper on the air inlet to control the burn rate and to put out the fire when we were finished, to save some charcoal for lighting the next fire. 

For making biochar it would seem you could use a metal plate to blank off the burn hole and cover it over with soil to seal it.   Same with the air inlet, but you could use a piece of plywood if metal were in short supply.  That way there wouldn't be a lot of grit contamination nor would it be a soggy mess by using water.  We made our holes with a post hole digger, which would make recovering the char pretty straightforward, too.

Pretty cool idea for a cheap TLUD!  Makes me want to relive those days, only make biochar...


On Mon, May 3, 2021 at 10:22 AM briancady413 via <> wrote:
HI Kim,

It needs design work, I think. It smoked a bit when I tried it yesterday. In fear of a fire marshal declaring it an open fire, I extinguished it soon after lighting. This, and it being the first Dakota Fire Hole I've made, as well as the first TLUD, leave me with more questions than info. To quench the fire I shovelled dirt atop the partly-burnt fuel, covering it completely. I haven't excavated the char yet.

It is inherently a high-mass design, I guess (unless the upper combustion zone were lined with firebricks or the like).


On Monday, May 3, 2021, 10:11:58 AM EDT, Kim Chaffee <kim.chaffee2@...> wrote:

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