Forest Tawi

Learning with Fire

Fire plays a central role in forest schools and bushcraft; it is our most useful tool.  

Fire does the obvious like keeping us warm and cooking our food. Less well known is that fire can also give us crystal clear drinking water, eliminate bad smells, treat stomach complaints and make plants grow faster. These attributes were well known and widely used in antiquity. As we look for more sustainable solutions to our problems today, perhaps the time has come to rediscover and share what else fire can do.

When the Forest Tawi is alight, students must be supervised at all times by a responsible adult. Student safety is paramount. Always remember that all the surfaces of this stove get extremely hot.

A brief history and background of fire

Fire has been mankind’s friend since the dawn of time. It was the first force we harnessed. READ MORE

The Forest Tawi package

The Forest Tawi comes with everything you need to explore beyond the flames. READ MORE

Charcoal Crayons

Charcoal drawings are the oldest known recorded human art form. Make your own charcoal crayons. READ MORE

Carbon Capture

The Carbon Cycle is talked about a lot nowadays. Turn the wood you burn into solid charcoal instead of carbon dioxide. READ MORE

Using Resources Efficiently

Efficient use of natural and renewable resources is what we strive for. READ MORE

Outdoor Cooking

The Forest Tawi has three sizeable and distinct cooking surfaces; a top wood-gas burner, a hotplate and a grill. READ MORE

Compare and Contrast

Compare and contrast two very different ways of working with fire; the traditional campfire versus efficient stove. READ MORE

Carbon

Carbon is the building block of all life on earth; we are all carbon-based lifeforms. We show you how to prove it. READ MORE

Amazing Porous Charcoal

Adsorbing Odours

Demonstrate the amazing ability of porous charcoal to remove unwanted odours. READ MORE

Purifying Water

Clean water in many parts of the world is difficult to come by. READ MORE

Biochar

Biochar was first used by Native Amazonians some two thousand years ago. READ MORE

Charcoal Briquettes

If you still have charcoal left over, we show you how to make charcoal briquettes. READ MORE

Fundraise for your Forest Tawi

While we think the Forest Tawi is good value for money, we appreciate it can be hard to find the funds to purchase one. With its three cooking surfaces the Forest Tawi is a consummate and versatile outdoor stove. It has the capacity to cater for a sizeable gathering of people. A barbecue is a great fund raiser; what better way to recoup the cost of your Forest Tawi!

Support seven days a week

We are always on hand to help; we want your Forest Tawi to work well for you and your students. We can also arrange video calls to demonstrate the Forest Tawi.

Fire has been mankind’s friend since the dawn of time. It was the first force we harnessed. The use of fire is what started to define us as an ‘intelligent’ species. Most of the time fire is used in exactly the same way as it was by our ancestors: a simple pile of burning sticks. Over two billion people around the world cook on open fires every day.

Our use of fire is an odd exception to every other area of technological advance. What makes it even stranger is that one of the fundamental benefits of fire has been forgotten by most of those who use it for cooking. When wood is heated it gives off flammable gases, and it is these gases that burn to produce flames, not the wood. The wood itself is turned to charcoal which then burns away to ash.

The charcoal made in an open fire is very different from the charcoal you burn in a barbecue. Barbecue charcoal is made without the presence of oxygen. Open fire charcoal is made in the presence of oxygen which means all the pores and tubes within the structure of the wood are burnt out. If you remove charcoal from a fire at the right time, you get a sponge like structure made predominantly of carbon; porous charcoal (also known as porous carbon and biochar).

The ancient Egyptians discovered that porous charcoal had some very unique properties. It could be used to eliminate odours, purify water and cure intestinal disorders, even poisoning. Other uses of porous charcoal continued to be discovered and expanded over the centuries. The knowledge of these benefits and the use of porous charcoal was widespread. Then some human societies began to change. Solving problems with collective knowledge was gradually superseded by institutional provision. The use of porous charcoal diminished in favour of purchased remedies. Porous charcoal went the same way as traditional medicines; its benefits were largely forgotten by the general populous.

Porous charcoal, nowadays more commonly known as activated carbon, is widely used within industry.

Although we may not realise it, porous charcoal is frequently used by many of us in commercial products such as tooth paste, and filters for water and air. Porous charcoal is undoubtedly one of the most useful substances mankind has ever discovered and has the potential to solve many of the problems we face today.

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The name of our unique stove comes from the Swahili word Tawi, which means small sticks or twigs. Our original Tawi stove was created on a small holding in Kenya.

The Forest Tawi stove is designed to allow outdoor learning providers to explore and demonstrate the full potential of fire – from cooking to climate change. For those learning bushcraft the Tawi’s ability to facilitate clean potable water is invaluable.

All Tawis are designed to make high quality porous charcoal. They do this by removing the burning wood in its charcoal phase at exactly the right time. The charcoal is quenched in a water bath which enhances its properties. In the Forest Tawi, the heat generated from the burning wood is used by three distinct cooking surfaces. The fire itself burns so efficiently that there is virtually no smoke and no sparks. After use the stove cools down within 20 minutes. Once cool it can be quickly dismantled for storage and transport in the water tank.

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Learning how to make a small fire in the ground safely is important and ancient knowledge which creates a particular and unique sense of security. We are not seeking to replace this, but rather to create different opportunities for exploring the power of fire.

The traditional campfire closely resembles how fire was first used by mankind. By simply removing the front of the chimney and the hotplate (this must be done by a supervisor) your Forest Tawi converts into an open fire trough. Compare and contrast these two methods of working with fire.

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Carbon is the building block of all life on earth; we are all carbon-based lifeforms.

Use the Forest Tawi carbonization tin to demonstrate this by turning dry organic objects, such as pine cones, into their carbon form. The results are truly amazing.

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Charcoal drawings are the oldest known recorded human art form. The Forest Tawi includes a charcoal crayon maker for your students to create their own works of art. Click HERE to see the activity sheet example.

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The Carbon Cycle is talked about a lot nowadays. Turning the wood you burn into solid charcoal prevents the release of some of its stored carbon as carbon dioxide. Every 1kg of porous charcoal you make is approximately 3kg of carbon dioxide that you have prevented from entering the atmosphere. This makes every Tawi design a carbon negative stove; you are actively removing carbon from the Carbon Cycle as you cook your food.

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Efficient use of natural and renewable resources is what we strive for.

The smoke produced by ordinary fires is predominately unburnt volatiles – wasted energy. Every Tawi burns almost all the smoke it produces, making it an extremely efficient stove. We show you how to demonstrate this graphically to your students by switching the smoke burning part of the stove off and on. The Forest Tawi is designed to burn small sticks, twigs, ‘brash’, off-cuts, and pruning waste. As long as it is dry wood, it can be used as fuel. Burning wood that would otherwise be discarded means your fuel source is environmentally friendly and sustainable.

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The Forest Tawi has three sizeable and distinct cooking surfaces; a top wood-gas burner, a hotplate and a grill. This makes it a very versatile stove.

You can cater easily for a group of students; for example: fry burgers or sausages on the top burner, and onions on the hotplate while toasting buns under the grill. Make a batch of ‘school’ chutney or jam; the top burner will bring a large preserving pan to the boil.  

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Conduct a simple experiment to demonstrate the amazing ability of porous charcoal to remove unwanted odours.  Your Forest Tawi comes with twenty perforated drawstring pouches so your students can take away some of the porous charcoal they have made and use it at home; it works wonders in a fridge or compost bin.

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Clean water in many parts of the world is difficult to come by. Yet, as you will be able to demonstrate through a simple experiment, porous charcoal can easily be used to purify very dirty water. It will even remove contaminants such as soap.

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Biochar was first used by Native Amazonians some two thousand years ago to enhance the barren soil left behind after forest trees had been cleared. It enabled them to grow crops year after year, and sustained a huge civilisation for centuries. The porous charcoal you produce in the Forest Tawi makes excellent biochar for use in composting and garden soils.

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If you still have charcoal left over, we show you how to make charcoal briquettes for use in a conventional barbecue. They burn cleanly and produce plenty of heat. Replacing purchased charcoal which often comes from unsustainable sources, with homemade briquettes is environmentally sound, especially as the Forest Tawi releases far fewer pollutants than a traditional charcoal maker.

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