Choose a suitable container in which to burn your incense pellets. “Charcoal burners” are made from metal, wood lined with metal, ceramic, or stone. Each type of charcoal burners has different advantages and drawbacks. The heat generated by the charcoal and incense may leave scorch marks on furniture is used without proper insulation.
Metal burners are often inexpensive and very popular. Made of brass, steel, iron, or alloys. Metal burners tend to get very hot and work best when placed on wood or other insulating material. Most metal burners are sold with an insulating wood base. Other metal burners, especially ornate Church brass burners are hung on a chain suspended away from the wall.
Wooden burners usually have a metal-lined bowl which allows the charcoal to be safely burned and often are cool enough to be carefully moved while in use.
Ceramic or stone bowl type burners are sometimes used with sand placed in the bottom of the bowl to add an insulating barrier. They also tend to get quite hot and should be used with an insulating wood base or other insulation to avoid scorching furniture.
Bowl-shaped burners are easy to clean since the burned charcoal and incense residue may simple be dumped out (after cooling!). Burners with slotted holes in the lids are popular and attractive when burning as well as keeping ashes from accidently being scattered.
Deeper bowl-shaped burners often have a removable shelf with small holes on which to place the charcoal and allow ashes to fall into the bottom of the bowl and need emptying less often.
Fancy brass burners with hinged lids and ornate designs, “carved” styling, and hinged handles are a good choice for use on special occasions. However, many of the burners with hinged lids, are unstable and may tip and fall when the lid is left open. These burners require extra attention when opening the lid to add additional charcoal or incense pellets while in use.
Tools usually used to handle the charcoal and incense pellets include small tongs (4” – 6”) which can hold the charcoal over a flame for 5-10 seconds (usually a match, lighter, or candle) while the charcoal is lighted. The tongs are also used to pick up the incense pellets to place then on the hot charcoal. Small “demitasse” type spoons also work well to move the incense pellets from storage container to the charcoal disc. Decorative tongs and spoons made from brass are very popular tools and readily available.