How to Make Wood Alcohol Through Distillation

••• Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

All of your scrap wood and paper clippings can be turned into a fuel source that you can use around your home. Distilling wood is an excellent way to turn old scraps in to something useful again. Methanol or wood alcohol is the liquid chemical that wood gives off when it is distilled. It is used in antifreeze and it can be used to produce biodiesel as well.

    Obtain a heat source for your distilling. This could be a fire pit or a propane or natural gas burner. You can also use an electric burner.

    Mount a large pot over the temperature source. Put a thermometer in the pot to track the temperature of the wood and water mixture. The thermometer will be important for making sure the temperature of the mixture stays at the right level throughout the distillation.

    Obtain a condenser tube and drill a hole in the lid of your pot that is sized to the tube. A condenser tube is a metal tube that the alcohol travels through as it evaporates. Attach the condenser tube to your lid.

    Attach the other end of your condenser to an additional pot or bucket that will serve as your holding container. Ensure that this container is covered to prevent the loss of alcohol.

    Place your wood shavings in to the pot and fill with water. Heat it until you reach 78.3 degrees Celsius and keep it at that temperature. As the wood breaks down, it will release alcohol into the condenser tube and slowly drip down into your holding container. You can distill the alcohol again to improve its purity.

    Things You'll Need

    • A fire pit or propane burner
    • A large metal pot with a lid
    • Cooking thermometer
    • Metal tube
    • Wood and paper shavings
    • Metal container


    • Perform this procedure outdoors in a well-ventilated area. Wear protective gear and stand away from the pot while the wood is distilling.

Related Articles

What Substances Make Ice Melt Slower?
How to Make Glycerin From Vegetable Oil
How to Separate a Mixture of Sugar & Water
How to Make Rocket Fuel out of Sugar
How to Make MSM Crystals
How to Strain and Store Honey from a Beehive
How to Convert Starch to Sugar
Does Kinetic Energy Increase in a Drink When Ice Melts?
How Does a Fireplace Blower Work?
How to Make Acetate From Vinegar
Homemade Maple Syrup Taps
How to Heat Treat Steel
How to Build a Hygrometer
Biofuel Examples
How to Make Hot Pepper Suet
Substances That Affect the Rate of Melting Ice
Exhaust Dyeing Process
How to Test for Ethanol Content
How to Convert BTU to KW
How to Make Black Powder

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!