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One of the most important fuels since ancient times, charcoal had been a crucial factor in the development of civilization for thousands of years. Used as fuel in a variety of areas, charcoal’s most important use is definitely in metallurgy, as it is one of the few materials that burn hot enough for blacksmithing. Burning up to 2,700 degrees Celsius, the intense heat generated by charcoal is the most common method to produce iron, steel and other metals until modern fuels appeared.

he raw material used is the wood harvested from the nearby mangrove forest, while the heat comes from large, conical brick structures known as kilns that are basically ovens. It is said that each kiln takes over 23,000 bricks to erect! After stripping the trees of their bark and placing them inside the kiln, the process of transforming the wood into charcoal can take over a month to complete.

For the first 8-10 days, a fire is maintained in an exposed hole on the kiln, raising temperatures in the cone to over 200 degrees Celsius. The kiln is then completely sealed for about 2 weeks to bake the wood slowly, removing any excess moisture from the material. The oven is then allowed to cool for about 8 days before the black, shiny charcoal is taken out.

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Additional Photos by Foozi Saad (foozi) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 969 W: 0 N: 1378] (7101)
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