Make your own charcoal


Most religious supply stores sell self-igniting charcoal in little round cakes which can be used whole or broken into smaller pieces.

(1) If you have a mind to, you can make your own charcoal and then treat it so that it will catch fire easily.

(2) To make your own charcoal, build a small fire, in a container which is airtight when it is closed, using wood chips purchased at the supermarket or pieces of bark from a nursery.

(a) Once the wood is glowing red-hot, close the lid, and let the fire smother.

(b) After the coals have cooled, from several hours to a few days, remove them and grind them up into a fine powder using the grating side of a kitchen grater.

(3) To treat your charcoal for easy lighting and shaping into usable shapes you will need to prepare a solution of 30 ozs of water in which 1/2 oz of saltpeter has been dissolved.

(a) Add 30 ozs of the ground up charcoal to the previous solution and add just enough gum tragacanth or gum arabic to make a heavy paste.

(b) Form the paste into small squares or circles and make an indentation in the top of them with your thumb. This will form a cup to hold a pinch of incense.

(4) To light your charcoal, hold a flame to the corner or edge of your square or circle.

(a) Lay the charcoal in an incense burner, which is filled at least 1/3 full with sand or ashes to prevent burning the table that it sits on.

(b) Wait until all the charcoal is glowing and then place a pinch of powdered incense or a small piece of resin on the coal.

(c) Be careful not to smother it with too much incense.