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The Japanese Charcoal Kilns of the Southern Gulf Islands

Brian Smallshaw, Stephen Nemtin

Accession Number
Date November 25, 2017
Media digital recording Audio mp3 √
ID duration




Speaker 1 0:00
Good afternoon, everybody. As Rumi introduced me, I'm Brian Smallshaw. And we've been working on this, this study of the historical charcoal kilns of the Southern Gulf Islands. And this was a is a study that was supported by a grant a Canada 150 grant that we were encouraged to, to apply for by Jennifer Iredale who is with us today who visiting from Maine Island. And kind of at the last minute, we scrambled, and we put in our application, and we, we got a grant to carry out this study. And then we got some additional funds from the National Association of Japanese Canadians who also also pitched in to help fund the study. And so what we've been doing is we've been looking to document the kills that we know now are scattered throughout the Gulf Islands. And to date, we found five on main island, five on Galliano Island, two on Saturna, and two here on Salford city, there's three etc, three, etc. And we also know that there are some are worse some on Pender island, but we haven't found any yet. But if anybody here has any contacts with people on Pender Island, who can lead us to something on Pender, we'd be most appreciative of that. So we've been carrying out these studies, both to document the location of the kilns and what they are, what we what their sizes, their locations, and so forth. But we've also been trying to get into the history of these skills and and learn a little bit more about how they were used, what the charcoal that they produced was used for, who are the who are the customers for this charcoal, what was the purpose is that it was put to, and we're trying to, through that kind of getting a little bit better idea of what early settler life was like for Japanese Canadians. Because they were part of the settler project here in on the west coast, but they weren't really equal partners in that whole project. And as a consequence, their history isn't really very well documented at all, especially the very early history of Japanese Canadians here. And so these, these kills and their operation, in a certain sense, kind of gives us a little window into what, what the what, what life was like for those, those first Japanese Canadian settlers here. So we've been carrying out our studies and part of the the work has been done by myself and Steve Namsun. here who is who is visiting from Galliano and Steve gets as Rumi was mentioning seed gets credit for originally discovering these skills. And Steve will tell you all about it, I'm sure but he was walking through the forest one day and fell into one and was kind of surprised and wondering what these were all about, and what what it was that he just found him through his research and, and we owe a lot to Steve for this. He found out that these were charcoal kilns and they were operated by Japanese Canadians. And and then he restored one on on Galliano and so actually I might as well turn it over to Steve here he'll give you the story of his original finding of the hills and his reconstruction of one on on Galliano and then his advice to the people on Main when they decided to do one for the Japanese garden there. So might be might be good.

Speaker 2 3:44
Before I do that, I want to just do take you back in time. Understand how the word made wider. So I'm in 3 million years ago please. Canada is under three years of all North America. We are in the middle of great ice. Now go to a million and a half years ago and then go home and just began with the bottle and then another three and a half years goes by and we are now really into erectus that are wandering around as glaciers are receding. A million years ago was the first buyer down for roasting Nether 150,000 views to assign, receive even more, and they find the red homosapiens and with greater mobility and traveling so many years they had fired and that became a great real estate drop is living in a cave, somewhere around 75 to 100,000 years ago, you have Neanderthals homosapiens and different varieties of Homo sapiens and even convected wiving looking for the best a payment bank as between in between 30. The bridge land bridge that came down to Hokkaido and up to Korea, there is land, land waste across to Japan, and 35,000 years ago, there are people mostly off to Europe. Everywhere in the world, as the glaciers receded, people discovered homosapiens and Homo erectus and the bird that depended on the wood, they were burning. In their case, they could take that word put it in sometimes shell container and travel the world became less I take everything buyer as a source of heat. And now we go to let's say 20,000 years ago checks about the Czech Republic. They don't need that. So they severed in a riverbank inside a little cave, in the riverbank, they find a sheep they find a killer. The first killer in a cave. The charcoal pits that are ongoing. This is 27 years ago, small, small, like a teardrop shape we'll get into. So, they find the same shape that became the gills today at around 20,000 years old safe area, they have 1000s of figurines of all the animals at that time madness foods all different kinds of ceramic figures of the animals at that site as well as figures of people. So when we think of killing, it goes hand in hand with ceramics. Firing and pottery go together. After this age at around between 10,000 6000 BC they were everybody was starting to make small hills, large kilns melt raw copper, silver and gold above that you want to make proper use would make some kind of fire in which you use charcoal as the fuel source and put it in raw covered more fire exits. The copper will melt out of your body. So between 6001 1000 They were starting to smell copper silver gold at 1000 BC. You need a lot of smell in that time period, they had to learn that we were going to be able to get that rock. So everybody that's joining me be small charcoal kills to make charcoal for example, if you take all of it, but you would still get home that was still here

Speaker 2 10:16
so the alternative 300 degrees, and then you have anybody died inside. You don't have to say give us a chuckle right. They went back 300 degrees. Now we take that Juggler and started, it's now burning at six. So depending on the wood you use, it gives up to the famous bench of 1200 degrees, temperatures to get it to become really high. So this technology was happening all over the world during that eight between six and 8000 BC. All over the world, people were trying to make charcoal. It was the main fuel that we come to Canada, the 1870s and the Japanese come to Canada. And they come to DC because it's just like Japan. And they are starting to make charcoal.

Speaker 1 11:37
Yeah, and so there was around the Fraser River and on the Skeena river there was kind of a salmon rush that began and about boat 1870. And shortly thereafter, the first Japanese immigrants started arriving and having a cultural affinity for everything to do with fish. They became very involved in the fishing industry. And there was the beginnings of the canning industry on on the Fraser River and Canary sprung up to Canada salmon in order to export it at that time, mostly to England. The early the early canneries and the early canning technology was from about the beginning from about 1880 through about 1910 cans were soldered Chuck, and they were in the beginning they were soldered on all of the seams of side seam and the bottom and the top later, they developed a stamping technology where they could close cans by crimping them. But even relatively late in that process, they were still there was a hole in the top of the cans. Partway through the cooking, they would cook the salmon in the cans would come out and then they would seal it with a with a dab of tin lead solder kind of cheery thought. And so in this photo here you see mostly in the calories of mostly Chinese Canadian workers. And here they're they're soldering cans. And I'll draw your attention to this little so here's a picture of that in a minute. And they're on a canning line here and they're soldering all these cannon shot and this is about about the turn of the last century so this would be about 1900 and the stoves that they were using were these little sort of tabletop stoves this is one that we still have it's at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery and seeps in and it stands about this higher so and so they would fill the charcoal to get a fire going and they would have a pot of their tin solder on top and then they would be putting their their soldering iron into the fire there heat up and then they would take the take the solder and individually solder etc and here you can see here's here the souls right there.

Unknown Speaker 14:13
Cancers are

Speaker 1 14:18
made of steel but they were what they were soldered, soldered. And initially in the very early years of the canning industry, they were cutting up the chin like they would just get big sheets of tin they were cutting up strips of tin and round and later they would start to get the ends shipped to them. It sort of evolved over time but they were completely constructing them from scratch and initially soldering all the seams shut later crimping them and then just just using solder for the

Speaker 1 14:54
other areas in this photo isa he's soldering leaks, so they would come would have the bath and some of them would not be a perfect seal. So then they would re solder them shot and ship them out. And this is the will so now we can discuss and maybe this will be Steve can get into more detail here. This is the basic shape and design of the kilns that were used around here and were used in Japan. And so what we find today are we find holes in the ground that are lined with stones, but originally they had a clay clay soil cap. So initially they would, they would fill up the skills when they're when they first built a kiln. And they would construct a clay dome by packing packing clay down over sort of a branch network on the on the top, pack that down below five or six inches thick packet really tight and then the very first firing would be firing the dome of the kiln so it would be like they're firing a large pot. And then after they removed the charcoal from the first firing that pathway would remain and they would use that for subsequent firings. And

Speaker 2 16:20
so, this is actually a 3d drying of the charcoal kiln here which is different than the other kilns on the other side. On the other islands. It's one big oval and there's a fluid one fluid in the middle and the other end over here and on the teardrop shape. It is like a teardrop horseshoe. And like it would be like this in the interest. It would be smaller in the teardrop shape. And you only have fire like this at one end. And she gets get the book we love was amazing. When we when we took everyone out and then replaced every rock and we use the same way and what was

Speaker 2 17:39
held there and he's shown us how to do it yourself. This is clay that was useful as a high school content. So

Unknown Speaker 18:00
because it was nothing special at all the rest of us

Speaker 2 18:17
thank you pilots how to do it like it was actually interesting for me and everybody else was that when you don't receive your notice is a dirt floor. And we discovered that after we finish bother me about the smoke inside. And so I went one day started to dig and I go down six inches. And I find underneath this floor was slipped under the floor and everything was floor and the floor underneath the floor. Create a shape so that everything's sloped to these air holes here and down here so that the moisture we need a very high moisture is coming out of the woods down the wall and would be sloped towards the air. The moisture would be burned out and also it wouldn't see down into the ground because the cedar floor insulated to the end. This is a 10 year gap and sure enough to really win because it's smaller, that the cedar planks are more lightweight, and the shape is easier to create a shape and smaller.

Speaker 1 20:12
So this design is is is, is based on a traditional Japanese design for charcoal. And many of the immigrants that came to Canada from Japan were from Wakayama, Ken which is a center for charcoal making in Japan. It's made all over Japan. But waka ama is a particularly. There's a lot of it being done in walking around and even today, and a year ago, see, we made contact with the charcoal Producers Association of Japan, and see went to Japan and traveled all over the country and spent a lot of time in waka ama learning about how they make charcoal and walking on it today. And it's still very much an ongoing industry. There's been new technical developments in in the process for making charcoal and Stevens brought us a bunch of photos of his trip

Unknown Speaker 21:10
still right. Design version of reality because 35 years ago, I contacted Mr. Miyagi loci, the juggler association of all

Unknown Speaker 21:38
the letters that you sent me information, and I didn't get it for years, but then working with restaurants and Rooney, everybody on the chat

Speaker 2 21:55
room he contacted the same organization and writing letters back and forth with one of the main guys who was representing the association and helping us answer questions that I had 35 years ago 15 years later. So they invited me to go so as they first sent me, third generation troublemaker, and this is when this album from the 20s

Speaker 2 22:40
more rapid gently and bamboo and straw, you don't want it to break.

Unknown Speaker 22:49
The better you can get last. This is like loading juggle. I 30. I left when I was working. They sent

Speaker 2 23:07
this to the third generation charcoal maker. He was so proud. This is the Emperor of Japan coming to visit his family who helped them retire little village get to like poverty times they all make charcoal and so he was being honored by the Emperor.

Speaker 1 23:30
This gives you some idea of the importance importance of charcoal with

Speaker 2 23:35
the spirit and soul that Japan is chuckled. He makes the samurai sword tea ceremony the better the quality of the Tea Party at the burning fuel. Also the better ceramic you can get from a better so it all relates to the viewer toggle. This was Will you and I have a translator and we you take a picture of our site. This is so let's talk about this. Because this is the first ever since the dawn of time and writing first thing was charcoal at the end of the stick and the paint makes it oils and animals. Fish oils you get and the calligraphy and art of Japan based on charcoal and silk today memorize with a particular two in that tube was A charcoal, making charcoal and drawing and doing calligraphy part of your samurai sword gear. And

Speaker 1 25:13
this is the character for first Sumi for charcoal. And it's fire inside the container at the base of a mountain. you'd appreciate that.

Speaker 2 25:28
Okay, here we go. This is this bincho tan, black charcoal from the third generation shadowmaker Mess Yeah, but you're starting with a piece of Obamacare called Obamacare, Obamacare and the size of this thing and then shrinks and it's really hard to steal it it's really super high and also musical. A charcoal xylophone because they sent me to the charcoal museum. And then I didn't know to the degree tells me that and I went with the third generation that they opened the museum for me because that's how they felt. They were amazed that there chuckled to their history come here and it's related to charcoal. So I got to play this given the soulmate thing, and then I showed them photos of the king on Dalian and the man said, we have these photos here. And then he goes and comes back with all the readings and things that I've done over the years

Unknown Speaker 26:56
and then they we all realize whoa I did that was amazing moment for when they were smart.

Speaker 1 27:08
So I should point out this musical instrument good charcoal, if you if you take a piece of it you can ping it with your finger and it really does ring it really has a clear Yeah, you can start this

Speaker 2 27:27
these Tokushima University and there I met teacher chocolate history and the head of the Japanese charcoal Studies Department. And these are so many cards. So these are just a few. This is a chunk of vinegar that they put in the back that is really good for you and helps clear up that chocolate actually the early five years in Canada us cycle isn't anything to eat itself that smoking, tar and guns and any toxins and charcoal absorbs toxins in the air and the soil and in the water. So these are pictures for Samak and any kind of poisons and toxins. This is a charcoal factory. We're just looking. So then they sent me after that they sent me to the master charcoal maker of Japan, Mr moto moto. Amazing ElliptiGO stay there for a week and I can do anything I want in the factory and live in this little tiny Japanese Kurosawa movie. So this this is the top of the new technology killed in Japan. So this is a talk with a feedback behind us. And he told us three holes on each side of the dome. And that's through loading and controlling when he started off the load from each side with the hits and then these are all blocked

Unknown Speaker 29:30
and then they're blocked off of bricks

Speaker 2 29:33
a circle they cut out the circle and then they met it that again

Speaker 2 29:43
this is a single guys that his own little business going and this is his film so you can see

Unknown Speaker 29:53
those are the holes up on

Speaker 2 29:56
the flag and it's another candidate

Unknown Speaker 30:02
And then fired through this

Speaker 2 30:07
was takes about a day. Yes, it's told me we're gonna move over all of the counts.

Speaker 3 30:17
Yes. You said that the Id put one in horizontal? Yes. Why is it?

Speaker 2 30:24
Well, because they're doing using an oak and the oak, the oak tree and they switch and they lie like this. You don't want a lot of air in Canada that we don't, they weren't using. They only use mostly Alder, and decent and some bird. And some of you this probably likely for Iron Works and Smith toggle with us as well. And the cannabis is also getting soaked factories is nothing so it was also and I think explosives because 15% is charcoal. And then the early days they didn't have chemicals yet to make class. So they were still using charcoal.

Speaker 1 31:20
Black Powder was the black part of black powder is charcoal. And that was used mostly for mining around here

Speaker 2 31:27
stents and dynamite needed for dying. So the older with thicker, and you end it was better to stack them like this and get an even burn. If you haven't this way, then is more crushing. A chance of breakdown. This is a forest independent I was the into the mountains. It looks like it's been clear that it exists. Oh, it's so special. And when they cut it about this time.

Unknown Speaker 32:03
Seven years later, it proved to be perfect. Shape branches on your site, this will be for us. And then look at it again.

Speaker 1 32:14
So it's basically kaput. So it's not being the trees aren't aren't killed after they're cut off.

Speaker 2 32:22
Yeah, it's called New em up. And so this is the special called the banjo and method of making charcoal, the best quality. And here, this is a father and two sons in light of breaking out the burning charcoal, which was this is the new technology method. You rake up this charcoal burning because what is stored, you're standing in air, and you're testifying so much that you want to get all the moisture in the library pyrolysis. It's a lot of acids, and chemicals, what type of monoxide and all these passages that you actually use in the currency. So they are written breaking up the cycle and putting in a spy and

Speaker 1 33:42
maybe interrupt for a second just to people who don't know. So when you're making charcoal, you're basically getting a big fire going in an enclosed space. And you're getting it burning really hard and hot. And then you're gradually choking off the air to that fire to a certain point where you seal it off entirely and put out your fire in a normal process. In this process, however, you're doing that same thing, but right near the end, you open it back up again. So you can imagine you still got a fire going in here and you've now got a kiln full of charcoal. It's still lit, it's still going and as soon as you open up that air, open up the hill and allow air to go in it starts burning again, really hard and hot. So what they're doing here and then with this method, it's special, you open it up and then you pull it out of the kiln. With these rates, it's an extremely hot job because that's going full blast. It's really burning hard. And then they put it in these piles of ash to smother so it's sort of charcoal in the normal way but at the very end you open it up again pull it out, it starts burning and then you put it out again and you can explain why why they did

Speaker 2 34:57
that what happens is up Without taking every bit of moisture anytime mother and then when you put it in your in a baggie in your house, it's almost smokeless there's no carbon monoxide, there's no toxic there's no consequence.

Speaker 1 35:20
So this is this is very high quality charcoal. But of course because that final burn that happens you get considerably less of it you know so you're not going to get the same kind of yield from a from a kiln full of bincho time that you would from normal normal charcoal but it's very very high quality

Speaker 2 35:38
and more you can control this then you can get the white thing Showtime it's even harder than that it turns white

Unknown Speaker 35:48
because you

Unknown Speaker 35:55
will receive

Unknown Speaker 36:04
system is just sealed up and lived for about three to four days

Unknown Speaker 36:14

Unknown Speaker 36:15
that they get it up so that the combination of the kidneys the word itself 95% But that's why

Unknown Speaker 36:26
it's really 100%

Unknown Speaker 36:31
But then the other type still materials remain in that chapel. So that's why it's why that blackish black irregular go into this

Speaker 1 36:47
so in Japan has been choked on is sometimes referred to as white charcoal and normal charcoal was black charcoal

Speaker 3 37:04
charcoal or such as probably would,

Speaker 2 37:07
that's the word loading getting into the site, and that taking these things away over here. And here's the GFCI that

Unknown Speaker 37:23
they're bringing down on cable

Speaker 2 37:31
and the big big upside down and he's gonna drop it right here. And then they have a huge tree that is back.

Speaker 3 37:43
original tree that they cut, how many feet would they leave at the bottom?

Speaker 1 37:50
Yeah, so So I'd say four threads.

Unknown Speaker 37:53
So that's quite significant.

Unknown Speaker 37:56
So then they just keep growing

Speaker 1 38:00
in the same way that Willow is coppiced for like making basketry material they cut it off it sends up shoots cut it off again and sort of it's it's almost an infinitely renewable resource. And this is a ceramic top when I was testing this is a brand new kill

Unknown Speaker 38:20
brand new technology killed here Yes. Laughing good. And they do this for getting bigger every day until Oh, yeah, that's and then the layers,

Speaker 2 38:45
layers and layers. This is the new jail this is the entrance where you saw the other one and then you see nice bread in your factory blocks and anything that they wouldn't make it. Here we are sorting, sorting charcoal and getting the different grades from a bigger chance and we're slowly and gently we have the sort of vezo different things different prices.

Speaker 1 39:21
And charcoal is is a highly valued product in Japan and people people paying good money for high quality charcoal it's it's considered very special stuff.

Speaker 2 39:34
Right here is a huge sacrifice and building a lot of buildings. And I think harder

Unknown Speaker 39:45
it's a completely different tree so so

Unknown Speaker 39:59
good Okay

Unknown Speaker 40:06
so, this is this is

Speaker 2 40:11
the chart that I had first I do start to Vertex resource on private property and this was the one we stored on private property which is called the central air outlet. When I first rolled into one of these, it was just see this rock wall I can see three holes like fireplace holes, I think a rock wall and three fireplace walls but what is the research I find that there's only one fire

Speaker 2 41:03
right yet here is an air of air that goes up a chimney and also one on this side where I'm standing on both sides of need are to hold that I could not find in any of the diagrams and I'd seen that so these holes were added by talking to the Cajun settlers and whatsoever air intake and air control so they're more controlled with

Speaker 1 41:45
slightly different than the traditional Japanese can kind of be a little bit when they win the design camp. And this is the basic design that we see for most but not all of the kilts are sort of a teardrop shape it comes down to a narrow entrance and originally there would be the clay cap on top of this and likely some kind of

Speaker 2 42:07
sand the sand on top of that was a great play so they did break the one and this year kill here when I on the other side and I got out of here I got down six inches and I found like a thick layer of charcoal like 2020 feet from the key which meant that it was great then it wouldn't be that late but in all these shells there was no raking they would leave the charcoal burning and stuff up all the air the entrance make sure there's no air at three or four days then they would open it up and loaded from the inside so do different techniques. Here we are the second gallery which is our historic site this was totally moved around

Speaker 2 43:42
here accurate information which is going to be right so we're gonna get new information. This is another site we're standing in, never been taxed. And the rock wall is all in here until we accept it over here

Speaker 2 44:09
this this is the first one that I restored. I'm trying to property these are all overlooking active and inactive

Unknown Speaker 44:23
on Dalian are all one single property.

Speaker 2 44:28
Well, it's all about active passive, you're coming in from the past and you look to the left. That whole area was logged in 1901 the report team would gather Japanese juggling, and there are five counts from all around Georgia some day And then you'll see on the left is where the start site is above that. Here we are measuring another different

Speaker 2 45:17
area. But we don't know exactly what the best

Speaker 2 45:30
as the last, I think they were starting to vlog because they only are using access. And here we are, this site is another site. But what was really important here, you can't really see. But right over my dad

Speaker 2 46:03
right here, right here was the chimney. And we discovered the

Unknown Speaker 46:11
new cedar

Speaker 2 46:14
inside to make the chimney for it. And the grid is still dead. It's all charcoal, but it's still there. Now that's how we sort of think about this and how they made the chimney.

Speaker 1 46:29
It would have gotten creosoted digraphs. And therefore preserved. I included this picture because this is also this is at the north end of Galliano. This is psaltery Bay, where about 100 years ago, there were psalteries for herring over the water, and you can see the remaining remainders of the post that they sat on. And at one point there were between three and 400 workers at the psalteries salting hearing for export, mostly to Asia, but also a little bit to Europe as well. And we know from a historical memory of Mary O'Hara on on Galliano that there was a hill also at the north end. Somewhere on the hill above the psalteries it's still a little bit of a mystery because charcoal wouldn't have been used in the psaltery because it's not Academy it's a salt reader preserving fish with salt. But on the other hand, they were shipping some of the tearing out in barrels to Europe as Brian herring so barrels mean blacksmiths for the Cooper's and that blacksmith require charcoal for the forges. So it's possible that they were using the charcoal, the blacksmiths were using the charcoal. It's also possible there were three or 400 workers, many of them Japanese immigrants, probably quite new from Japan. And it's entirely possible that they were still using charcoal in day to day lights for cooking, and eating for domestic purposes. So we haven't found the remainders of the kiln and this part of the end of Galliano is long and narrow. And this is up at the far north and to the island. But it's entirely possible that there's going

Speaker 2 48:23
to surge in December with this person who thinks maybe we got an idea.

Speaker 1 48:32
So we're still searching. This is main island, and this is the Japanese garden on Main and main island had the largest number of Japanese Canadians of all of the Gulf Islands and considering that the overall population was smaller on Maine than it was on Saltspring. They formed a much larger percentage of the population up until the uprooting in 1942 And so the people on on galley are on Main rather have had have created this Japanese garden to commemorate the Japanese Canadian pioneers and they did it much earlier than our garden here and so the garden itself is is it's much more developed and as part of their garden they reconstructed a kiln at one corner of the garden and these were using the kill was not at this location it was nearby but they gathered up stones from the one of the original kills on made and move them here and constructed this this model of account solver was a Koga is it kitchen Bay, what's the name of the diners Bay? Yeah. Dinner Bay.

Speaker 1 50:01
Some shots of their Japanese garden which is very beautiful, wonderful job and this is one of the one of the killings on main island and this one was quite interesting because it's not in the usual shape this is an oval and and this one was in remark this hasn't really been restored anyway but he was in remarkably good condition it was a lot of them the stones have all tumbled down and it's it's a little difficult to tell that it was actually a kiln but in this case, it was

Speaker 2 50:38
this kill most of the other kills that are teardrop shape. What is mine, what is the date, inactive mass miners miners day

Speaker 2 50:52
Springwater by the bay rover, the school is there were one two, there were three cannons that were in teardrop shape. This is on the other side when you come into village Bay and the ferry and if you go to the right on the other side of it, there is where this killer

Speaker 1 51:19
like near Navy channel like and so I think that

Speaker 2 51:23
the soccer influence disease the only one that built the other overkill. So somewhere I think there's a connection between this overkill and your overkill and perhaps the charcoal went to the same place to the Soap Factory in Victoria. But I am guessing these are

Speaker 1 51:48
not another one that was much more overgrown and this is still on me and then I included this one because this was near by one of the kills this is on the yeah and this was the original Japanese Canadian owners built the foundation I think the the building has been replaced on top but this is the original foundation that they they built and I think Andrew might find this somewhat somewhat interesting third

Speaker 2 52:21
is that and the foundation is as a seller like it

Speaker 1 52:24
was like it is a reseller yeah and with the building on top

Unknown Speaker 52:31

Unknown Speaker 52:42
cross hatching the rug

Speaker 1 52:45
and then this is on Saturna island where we found some more

Unknown Speaker 52:55
very protected since I walked into the walk and then I said I take a hole in it

Speaker 2 53:09
like this. So speech got me shot. So, I was showed them that if I dug down like a foot up guys, this seemed like above 100 years is a good bit of debris. So, I did this is the this is all charcoal charcoal layer charcoal, which is so happy really happy

Unknown Speaker 53:49
to go another

Speaker 3 53:54
question flooring for the chimney would have been preferred.

Speaker 2 54:01
I think it was put down fairly cedar glass slab and then the square form the web it was shut down charcoal

Speaker 1 54:20
with the cedar and it would get coated with like creosote like like the inside of your chimney. So it would get it would get preserved so it probably burned a little bit on the inside, like coded with pre pre treated I doubt it and

Speaker 1 54:42
in some cases, there's some pretty big trees now growing up through these kills. This one was just somebody's back property like behind their house, there was sort of a couple of tumbledown buildings right beside it. I'm sorry. Yes.

Speaker 1 55:13
Well, and then, so we've been documenting the locations of all of these kilns around the Gulf Islands. And at the same time, we've been doing quite a bit of work in the archive. And there's just not a lot of material there. It's it's, it's very thin little threads that we're working from. And consequently, when they found this little slip of paper in the sand key archive in the city of Santa key find in the city of Vancouver archives, it was kind of like one of those moments that you get in the archive when you're poring through hundreds and hundreds of pages of old material. And you come across some little slip of paper like this one received from, from Santa key $25 in payments on account of charcoal from, I think that's key, and I actually, and this is JC who is the captain of the tugboat theory. And so, kind of parsing this a little bit, I'm guessing that what happened was I actually loaded charcoal onto his tongue. And there was a high actually on Pender island. So this is very likely from Pender, and it was transported to the SAM key company which had its operation in False Creek in Vancouver. And it was delivered to Sam de sol De Santis and he paid the tugboat Captain $25 for the charcoal, which foot would then carry back to I actually remit payment to him. And that was on December 28 2019 9889. And, and so what's the rest of it? Say I need some help with that, but that's, that's Chinese. That's not Japanese because it's the SAM Kiko. Like the bill. Yeah, well, it's like it's like a little receipt that was was given out. And so the SAM T company was, was like, kind of like a trading company. They bought and sold a lot of materials but they sold charcoal to the canneries, that was one of their businesses. They also made charcoal themselves. And so they operated a kiln in False Creek that was from what I can gather was working mostly with scrap from the sawmill that existed there. So they would collect up the scrap probably that they may have even gotten paid for that that part of the job to take take this scrap wood away and then they would load it into their own kill, make charcoal and sell that to the canneries. So in the in the SAM Keefe on there's lots of records of them delivering charcoal to to the canneries. Interestingly, they are also delivering charcoal to the hotels. And I guess that was for for cooking in the in stoves in the in the hotels because in that time of course this is pre gas pre electric electricity. So they would have either burned firewood or coal or charcoal and I guess it was charcoal because I have lots of receipts of deliveries that were made to these various hotels around the city. And another little moment of triumph was finding this and this line right here manufacturer holder and for charcoal is very important to us because up until this point, we assume that all of the charcoal that was being made was made from hardwood because that's normally what's used for making charcoal for cooking. In Japan they primarily use hardwoods although apparently I'm told they also use conifer charcoal for making swords Japanese swords in the forges and but to find out that they were in fact using because it seemed to me that for being much more prevalent and lots of it that they would be making it from from for and this was this was proof and I found on other other documents where it seems that the charcoal that was used in the canneries was likely for charcoal because it wasn't it wasn't being used for cooking over it was used for for soldering so they use

Speaker 2 59:35
I'm thinking I'm thinking that the third was probably could have been used more for the smell for it because you need a higher heat to do the iron. Then when you're soldering it's only between like 306 100 degrees, which all the burdens about that.

Speaker 1 59:52
But I did find evidence man was like mechanics were the canneries. Were buying merch for charcoal and maybe it was too cheaper, I don't know. But there you can see 200 200 sacks of charcoal price for that. So eight and a half cents, likely the price per bushel. We figured that the price for charcoal at the time was between seven and nine cents for a bushel of charcoal and Rumi found something where they were. They were complaining about the price at what was at eight and a half, eight cents of it. And there was a there was a little complaint that this was a rageous ly high price for for charcoal a bushel, right? I've made charcoal, myself and a bushel of charcoal for eight cents. But this was, of course 150 years ago HERSA and the whole bill $17 for 200 200. Sacks. And then, and then what about a month ago or so we had. So the contacts that Steve made in Japan with charcoal promotion Association. They were so curious about about our work here and they three of them came to visit. And

Speaker 2 1:01:19
first in March of last year, of this year, professor that I met at the university, he came to see the chocolate like one day, pick them up and then take off, put them on my friend's boat here thinking back back. And so he was very happy with us first to assess it from Japan to see but we have these three methods after me when I went to Japan. This then invited me to work for organizations, charitable organizations, the main juggler Soumya chemokine is like their apprentice I think, to know everything you need to know about jackal jackal products to the Japanese Horse Association works with the Japanese forest is biochar, the latest thing technology today? In red, it's charcoal is biochar. Biochar a university that is taking charcoal and covering it up and using it to enhance soil also also absorbs toxins from the environment. So the Japanese forest industry and China forest industry and UBC even came over to get samples of the charcoal 100 year old charcoal and they use it in their homes, everything closets in your bedroom, charcoal to absorb toxins in the environment. And all kinds of filtering

Unknown Speaker 1:03:26
the separation they shine in different rooms.

Speaker 1 1:03:29
It absorbs the odors as well. And it's used in in baths as well you wrap it up in a mesh bag and you put it in a bath in it. It's like a circle is used for filters, right? For water filters, and so they put it directly into the bath and it cleans but these are like Japanese style tubs where the water may may be in the bathroom more than for a few days. And they also in the

Speaker 2 1:03:55
1990 expanded version, chart of streams in the river to purify the rivers. Any toxins.

Speaker 1 1:04:09
In this photo here they're looking at all of the little things that have been found on the beach at psaltery Bay and the north end of Galliano and they're going through and this was I just wanted, I didn't include pictures of our of our kills here because you can go see the actual kills themselves. But this is the Tohsaka family. And these are all the grandchildren of Isa Budo Tohsaka, who was the person who built the kiln that is now in moet park out behind artspring And at the opening of the kiln many members of the Tohsaka family came and joined us and I quite like this picture of the soccer family in front of the kiln that their grandfather, the grandfather made

Speaker 2 1:04:57
part of the ceramic top They discovered they made the packs guys put them as the pathway into the camera.

Speaker 1 1:05:11
Just a couple of shots. So I experimented myself with making charcoal. This is a little kiln that I built in on our property. And at one point I had a couple of large Arbutus trees that were downed, and I used it to construct a kiln and use it for charcoal and I constructed this skill out of an old water tank. This was actually my second kiln, the first one I built out of an old 45 gallon oil drums sunk into sand. And then I got a little bigger and built this one. And what I'd really like to do now is build a traditional Japanese style one built into the side of a hill line with rocks covered with a ceramic dome. And but this one

Speaker 2 1:05:58
you can see you're doing by the smoke, and the smoke goes to your home different processes at the clearing layer, which means it's scanning,

Unknown Speaker 1:06:15
getting close, getting

Unknown Speaker 1:06:16
ready to get totally clear,

Speaker 1 1:06:19
then it'd be time to shut it down entirely. This one takes it's sort of all day. And so I laid it in the morning Burdett kind of all day, and then by by nightfall, it's usually ready to shut it down. And then next morning, I open it up and it's hopefully out and cold and done. But making charcoal is a bit, it's a bit of a chancy thing because you'd never really know what it's a little bit like firing pottery, you never really know what you've got until you open it up. So if everything goes well, you open it up, and you've got beautiful charcoal, it's just nicely carbonized all the way through, it's perfect. If you haven't done it quite right, you end up with wood that's partially charred on the outside, still wood on the inside. Or if you go too far, you end up with a box full of ashes and maybe a little tiny bit of charcoal. And so I'm a novice, of course. So I'm, I'm still kind of learning as I go along. Somebody who's a master at it would not be what would be much more competent of what they've got inside. But it's it's tricky. There's a real art to it. And as Steve was saying, These days now there's much interest in the use of charcoal as a soil amendment. And this stems from a research that they did in the Amazon bases basin where they found terra preta, this was dark soils, and they found these islands of high fertility in an area of otherwise very low fertile soils. And over time, they pieced together what had happened and the the indigenous people of the of the area in many centuries ago would would make pick charcoal and make charcoal in the ground in order to prepare soil prepare the ground for planting crops. And the thing is, once that charcoal is in the ground, it's highly stable. And it will it will it will remain there for centuries. And it sort of acts as kind of like permanent fertilizer. So it sets up kind of a virtuous circle in the soil where plants grow better because of the charcoal, it's there the charcoal provides. Its it absorbs and holds moisture. It encourages microbial and micro Raizel growth in the soil. And so you get better plant growth which puts more organic material into the soil which makes the soil better and it's sort of this happy circle of life. And so there's now much interest in using waste plant material to make make charcoal and this this is the scope open kills, sometimes called cone kills, or some people are calling them Contiki kills. And they're making charcoal the knees and there's a person on the island here Now Rick Lang has a kill like this and he's making making biochar and I've been taking like the small bits of charcoal that I'm left with I make a load of charcoal the big pieces I use for, for cooking on because I like to cook on charcoal for barbecuing, but then there's always a lot of findings a lot of small pieces in that I scattered around our fruit trees and using our garden to improve soil and there's much interest in this now around the world where they're where they're using charcoal as a soil amendment. And the term for it is biochar What's your hand? Oh sure. It's it's that's it. So it's carbon. It's dirty stuff, but and that's, that's our talk for today. If anybody has any