re:char fellow Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy provides a photo-essay on rural charcoal production in India.
Sticks are placed inclined, creating a mound. Here for demonstration sake, the partially charred sticks from a recent charcoal preparation are used. Usually the partially charred sticks will be very less say, 1% to 2% of the whole charcoal preparation mound. They can be reduced if proper monitoring is done during the charcoal preparation. For partially charred sticks, the time taken for charcoal preparation will be less. For any wood, the procedure is same.
A larger mound is created, we can create any size mound, I have seen mounds of 5 meters height too.
Mixing the earth and preparing the paddy straw for laying over the sticks mound. Here the earth and straw is made wet as this mound is smaller in size.
First stage cover up the mound with straw
Then cover the mound with earth
Light the mound at the top, using easily lit straw / small sticks
Holes around the base may be necessary to allow for tar and moisture to escape.