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Thursday, May 15, 2014

On Mulcher/Chippers, Shell Grit and Bio Char

Since our Mulcher/Chipper was out and dirty from making the NZ Compost it was deemed a good time to knock out some Bio Char. I'd used the last of the previous batch yesterday.

Last Winter we had cleared out the wood heater every morning and stored the contents. The reason for a daily clean was to ensure that we collected not only the ash but also any charcoal that remained unburnt. If we had not cleaned out that charcoal would have been consumed in the next fire.

Some of these lumps of charcoal are very large. The simplest way to break them into Bio Char is running them through the Mulcher/Chipper. Dead simple and quick. The only thing to remember is to wear breathing protection and don't do this near the washing line. The amount of fine dust is incredible. Leaves you with a blackened face. If desired a solution is to wet the contents.

Bio Char exiting the Mulcher/Chipper

A better view of sizes against the grass background

The final volume was about 100 litres of Bio Char from about 6 feed bags of fireplace cleanings. Enough to keep us going for 12 months.

Now that the mulcher/chipper was really filthy we went for broke. We have three 70 litre garbage bins that were almost completely full of Oyster Shells. That is a lot of Oysters. We digested these ourselves i.e. the Oysters not the shells.

Oyster Shells

With the mulcher/chipper rolling at full speed the shells are slowly fed in to the entry schute and the output collected in feed bags at the bottom. We get a fairly good variety of sizes especially if the material is allowed to build up in the out schute slowing down the exit speed and allowing the shells to bang around in the mulcher/chipper innards.

Fairly good mix of Fines and Coarse

The final result was two very full feed bags which should see the girls producing very hard eggshells for some time. These were stored in an old plastic garbage bin.

Final Result

It is just as well we completed all our mulching tasks because just as I was giving it a good hose out, one of the main bearings supporting the flail system disintegrated.  Ah another workshop job.

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