Black gold; 10 years in the making

by kester on August 1, 2018

our ring kilns loaded and onto our 10ft trailer and truck, ready to ship back to Hampshire

Our charcoal story started 10 years ago with a course on the Hampshire/Dorset border, just outside Cranbourne, with the aptly named Pete “the Charcoal” Jameson (PJ). Pete threw us in at the deep end and we learned the processes and the smells of charcoal burning.

Our next journey took us to Wales to collect our shiny new ring kilns from B.M Wilson (now sadly retired) who was the premier kiln maker at the time.

Within a week we had the kiln set up on site and loaded with wood. With the help of PJ we fired our first kiln load of mixed hardwood on the 17th of July 2008. In the issuing 10 year the kilns have been filmed several times for tv/radio and we

our ring kilns lit for the first time the 17th of July 2008

bsites. In 2013 we move the kiln to a site in our own wood from one nearby.

Fast forward to 2016 and the ring kilns were joined by our Hookway retort kiln as we were finding it hard to empty the ring kilns due to 2 wet summers. While the Hookway kiln improved the turnaround time and could be emptied in as little as 10 mins between showers, it is limited to 6-8 bags per burn, which has got us out of a few holes. It also made us realise that the retort was the way to go, as it has a much faster turnaround time. With a ring kiln you have to wait for the fire within to go out which to be safe is a minimum of 24-36 hours. The retort works by cooking the timber so there is no flame in contact with the wood.

We had been looking at the mobile Exeter Retort kiln for a number years and knew a local Wood Collier who used one, but we also thought there were some issues with the early models. We also knew that the Carbon Compost Company who designed it, had been working on these issues and were willing to listen to suggestions. At the South West Wood Fair at Longleat 2017 and we spent a good time looking at the latest design and talking to Robin and Geoff about the improvements and design changes they had made which had removed all the reservations we had previously. 

Returning from the show we looked at the price and possible funding available. We had been involved with the Fieldfair Leader scheme in the past and knew that there was European Grant money available to support companies like us. Thus started the process of applying for funding towards our new investment. Although it would take longer than anyone had planned we were awarded our grant in June 2018 and placed the order straight away.

our exeter Retort Kiln has arrivedOn the 25th of July 2018 our new kiln arrived; not only did Goeff bring the kiln up from Devon, he spent 2 days teaching us how to fire the kiln putting first a half load and then a ¾ load of timber through giving us a good amount of charcoal to bag.

Not only is the new retort quick to load and empty, but another bonus us the reduction in wood needed because of the way the kiln converts the wood to charcoal. The losses to fines (small charcoal/dust) are reduced and the number of brown ends (unburnt wood) are reduced to virtually zero.

defra, EU and feildfair Leader Logo

Hamble Festival

by kester on March 15, 2017

Title: Hamble Festival
Location: Hamble-le-Rice
Description: Another new show for us this year in the lovely village of Hamble-le-Rice (Hamble) and again we will have our full range for sale as well as a slightly different demonstration
Start Time: 09:30
Date: 2017-05-06
End Time: 15:00

Beltain Festival 2017

March 15, 2017

Title: Beltain Festival 2017Location: Butser Ancient FarmLink out: Click hereDescription: This will be our third year at this beautiful event and it gets better every year. but remember it is a ticked event so get your tickets now.Start Time: 16:30Date: 2017-04-29End Time: 22:00

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Shamrock Quay Festival

March 15, 2017

Title: Shamrock Quay Festival Location: William Street, SO14 5QL, SO14 5QL Southampton Link out: Click here Description: This is a new event for both Hampshire Farmers Markets and us but it looks like being a stunning show. even better we will have our full range of products for sale and a few little surprises too […]

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Beltain at Butser

March 2, 2016

Title: Beltain at ButserLocation: Butser Ancient FarmDescription: We are honoured to have been invited back to demonstrate and sell at this year’s Beltain Event. We have been moved along the site this year opposite the beer tent (event better) and we will have lots of Celtic a Pagan Theme.Start Time: 16:00Date: 2016-04-30End Time: 24:00

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‎Meon Springs Country Experience Weekend‬

March 2, 2016

Title: ‎Meon Springs Country Experience Weekend‬Location: Meon springs WestmeonLink out: Click hereDescription: The Meon springs countryside event gets bigger and better every year and as always we will be in a prime position in the main show field along with other members of Hampshire Coppice Craftsmens’ Goup. Start Time: 10:00Date: 2016-04-09End Time: 16:30

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Easter Ancient Demo day

March 2, 2016

Title: Easter Ancient Demo dayLocation: Butser Ancient FarmDescription: We will be demonstrating pole lathe tuning and green wood work at Butser Ancient Farm. As an added bonus you will be able to by our wares including our latest leather Items with an ancient theme. Start Time: 10:00Date: 2016-03-28End Time: 17:00

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Logs, leather and mud

January 23, 2016

It has been a long time since we wrote a blog post on here (2014) and a lot has changed in that time. One thing that doesn’t change is the log orders we are still keeping the home fires of Hampshire and west Sussex burning. Since our last post we have delivered over 500 loads […]

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The Meon Springs Country Experience Day…

April 5, 2014

Title: The Meon Springs Country Experience Day… Location: Meon Springs Whitewool Farm, East Meon Hampshire GU32 1HW Link out: Click here Description: We will be supporting this event again this year as part of the Hampshire Coppice Craftsmens' group (HCCG) display. HCCG will be demonstrating varous coppice crafts including pole lathe turning, besom broom making […]

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Keeping the home fires burning

March 16, 2014

  This winter we have delivered more log loads than ever before, many to our regular customers, but we also have a lot of new customers. We hope you were happy with your firewood and will back to us again in the future. It has been a difficult winter for everyone. For those of us […]

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