Grew up sorrounded by a coconut trees...Coconuts helped us in our daily needs, education and others...
When I was in High School I making charcoal and sell it to have money for my weekly allowance for school. Making and selling charcoal helped me a lot to finish my study...It's not real easy to make it because of the heat, smoke and really been hard when it is raining...The other hard thing is to look for a buyer to buy my finish charcoal...I used to walk under the heat of the sun, to look for a buyer after my class in a noon time....Prospective buyer where I can sell it on the next Sunday of the following week, to have an allowance for that week...No buyer, means NO selling - No allowance for the entire week in school. I am blessed to met a woman that always buy my charcoal, though she don't need too. She just want to help me...what she did is buy my charcoal and sell it to others so I don't need to roam around the market to look for a buyer...Thanks God for that.....
(Note: I'm not an English native speaker, so please bear with me. I will explain further if you ask me too..)
How to make a charcoal:
First - You need to gather all the coconuts ( ready to harvest) in one place...It's easy to do the job when they are gathered together...
Second - Husk all the coconut; separate the husk and the whole coconut shell unbroken.
Third - Break the whole coconut shell in the middle ( put it all together in one place)..Take out the white thing or the meat (Copra) using some tools.....(There is water inside the coconut when you break it...Find a place far from fruits it makes the fruit wither when it absorbs too much water from the coconut)
Forth - Let the empty coconut shell under the sun from 1 to 2 days....( To make it dry - the drier the coconut shell is the better result of charcoal).
MAKING THE CHARCOAL ( 5 to 6 hours or let the charcoal inside the Drum overnight)
- Empty 55 gallon Metal Gasoline Drum ( without top lid)
- Coconut shells
- Covering ( Fresh banana bark - flattaned (10 -15 pieces)
- Heavy things ( Rock, pile of woods, etc)
Step 1 - Put the Drum in a flat surface or to make it safer you can make a round hole, 1 ft deep, bury the bottom part of the drum with lid and cover it with soil.
Step 2 - File the coconut shells ( one is on the top of anotther) in circle form up to the brim of the drum leaving a small space in the middle of the circle.
Step 3 - Take a piece of a coconut shell and make a fire and put it in the middle of the circle on the file.Wait for how many minutes till the fire kindled the other coconut shells below...Then, drop or add some coconut shells in the middle of the circle where you started the fire, slowly and make sure that the fire ignition below will not stop. Fill all the space in the drum up to the brim or 1 ft higher.
Step 4 - Let the fire inside continue but don't to check your drum every now and then by pressing coconut shells slowly...Some of shells will shrinks to the bottom and add more coconut shell up to the brim....( Note: Don't force the coconut shells too hard to shrink. When you can't press it anymore, it means that you are almost done...You will know if you're almost done because the ember goes higher.When it's almost or up to the brim, proceed to next step.
Step 5 - Take your flattened banana bark and file it on the top on the drum to cover it...you can file it accordingly and to the top of each other...Make sure that there is no air from inside or smoke will come out from inside....Put a heavy things at the top of the banana bark files....(Make sure that the drum is sealed using those banana bark, otherwise your charcoal will turn all into ashes...
Step 6 - To know if its ready, you can check your drum the next day by touching the body of the drum if its cold....( Usually, It's always cold and ready to be open after the next day...Note: Make sure that the fire is already dead inside the Drum. Little fire remains will re kindled the things inside and make your charcoal turn into ashes....So, before opening the drum, make sure that its cold and the fire is dead.)
When it's ready just open the drum ( by taking off all those banana bark, and you can use the banana leaves,arrange it in the ground and you can put your charcoal in there and pack it in the sack or plastic ready to sell)