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Thread: My homemade black powder

  1. #4681
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by almar View Post
    Do you test burn your milled powder Vette? If so what is a go or no go to you?
    hmmmm I wonder about open air burn tests (aside from the fun factor which is substantial)
    warm middle of the day it will scare the pants off ya how quick a sample will flash - then on a cold damp night its different altogether

  2. #4682
    Boolit Master
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    I’ve been following this thread for a few years and just never got around to it. I had a sassafras tree on my place that I was getting the leaves from to make fele’ for cooking,and gumbo. Well low and behold that particular tree or large sapling is gone now searched for it yesterday nada.

    Have plenty sweet gum saplings, doesn’t seem to be on any list for making good charcoal tho. Do have red Maple in the yard may be a better choice.
    "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government..... When the people fear their government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people, there is liberty." Thomas Jefferson

  3. #4683
    Boolit Buddy almar's Avatar
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    Doublebuck, I see you got great results with sasfarass, why not try that with a lower temperature charcoal and maybe adding a bit more potassium? I got to find out where they grow around here.
    “It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.”
    ― Winston S. Churchill

  4. #4684
    Boolit Master
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    I did make a reasonably good charcoal out of Red Maple before.
    Use the softer part of the wood.
    It is way lighter and doesn't burn too dirty.

  5. #4685
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by almar View Post
    Doublebuck, I see you got great results with sasfarass, why not try that with a lower temperature charcoal and maybe adding a bit more potassium? I got to find out where they grow around here.
    Almar;
    I plan to do that next and from now on, more than likely. Ever since I started making powder, I've tried everything from coffee grounds, to Wisteria vine and just can't quit experimenting. But, I got lucky early on reading and tried Sassafras, because someone else's tests showed it excellent, and it's just out my back door. It worked very well and actually has turned out to be my fastest screened powder and my fastest pucked powder.
    I think the Balsa test showed the great need of being slow charred. It was so light, the flame I judge my charcoal from went from flammable, to briskly burning, to ice blue, to orange very quickly. In maybe 30 minutes. I think I know now that the Balsa would have been the best of them all, but was over cooked. I'm leaning toward thinking they all have been. The burn rate test was .3 seconds, for four feet. My best Sassafras burned the same in .2 seconds. It went from leaves on the limbs, to debarked, to charcoal in two hours. This brown Black Willow was about .7 seconds. It was dry stored for three years. But even from the get go, I liked the wet burn residue. And, the powder is not slow. I think it's just not optimum.
    The reason I used the Black Willow and not the Sassafras, is because three years ago, everyone was touting Black Willow, and it took me six months to find it. haha When I did, I cabbaged some up, and debarked it and threw it on my shop floor. It probably has seen dry temps from -10° to 130°. I decided I was going to make it work or trash it. I had a baseline, from my first batch of it, and thought if the Brown powder made a highly noticeable difference, it would be an easy way to see. I still have a block of Balsa that was given to me, that I would like to slow cook and see it optimized. But, I'm going to shortly fall back on straight Sassafras and see how good I can actually make it. With a little help from my friends.
    I have lots of Sassafras and will ship it to you, in a heartbeat. Green or dry. I think I can get you about 8 or 10 pounds of wood for around $15 shipping. And that was USPS. We might could beat that with a shipper. The wood's free.
    Last edited by DoubleBuck; Today at 07:53 PM.

  6. #4686
    Boolit Buddy almar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    hmmmm I wonder about open air burn tests (aside from the fun factor which is substantial)
    warm middle of the day it will scare the pants off ya how quick a sample will flash - then on a cold damp night its different altogether
    Yeah, that's a good point, moisture is a big factor. Could be affecting the tests...
    “It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.”
    ― Winston S. Churchill

  7. #4687
    Boolit Buddy almar's Avatar
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    double buck I sent you a PM about that.
    “It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.”
    ― Winston S. Churchill

  8. #4688
    Boolit Man
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    Nov 2008
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    I was saving up my charcoal cook for a windy night, and today we have a storm with 40kt winds. I want the acrid smoke to not annoy my wife and neighbours, or stink up people's washing.

    I now have a BBQ lid thermometer in the lid of my retort pot and another in the lid of the Weber kettle. These should give a clue but my working temp is at the limit of their range.

    The gas burner in the bottom of the kettle has a very simple tap and a collar adjuster on the burner input air hole; not a very easy control to use.

    A quick Google shows that it will be a goat rodeo to do PID control of any gas burner so I need to build a kiln like almar's. If I do it right I can maybe upgrade the elements for a lost wax burnout kiln.
    Last edited by ChrisPer; Today at 08:52 PM.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check