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I Forge Iron

forging with coal in the UK?

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I was just wondering if anybody here in the UK forges with coal?

I know generally blacksmiths here gave up on coal and developed a serious coke habit years ago. Farriers have long gone for gas and knifemakers go for all sorts including charcoal. Smiths in the States and Europe still use coal a lot it seems, so why not here I wonder?

I'm thinking about giving up on my elctric driven forge blower, which means I have to use somethng that will sustain heat without power. So it's either gas, charcoal or coal. I have a gas forge and aside from heat treating and mascus making, I really don't like using it. Charcoal I use a lot with the Iron Age forges, so I know it would be uneconomical in the main forge as well.

If anybody here does use coal, what do you ask for from your supplier and how does the price compare to coke? :huh:

any suggestions appreiated :)

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Hi Dave,

If you are ditching the electric blower in favour of bellows, give ordinary household coal a try.

When demoing with a hand bellows set up, I used to grab a sack of ordinary house coal on sale at a local garage. I found that this worked fine, and with judicious use of water to damp it down as required, could forgeweld in it. There were some drawbacks with regard to the heat radiated from the fire, but by and large it was more economical and practical than using coke at the demo. I also still use it sometimes in my home forge, the fumes off it do not seem to affect my chest as much as when I am using coke, and you get a better aroma off it, giving the forge a distinctive smell that older visitors recognise and are instantly transported back to past times and memories

These are my personal observations and may fly contrary to others experiences, give it a try using various coals available and see what you think.

With the current price of coke rising again return to coal is looking even more attractive

Edited by John B
Re rising costs
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up to retiring i use mainly coal small bitumin coal ,and coke during the summer when i made smaler fires less tool smithing and running hammers , and more shoing and souveneer stuff ,i dont know if the smell of coal smoke ,is a turn on for some .my wife prefered the coke as she had my clothes to wash,

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thanks guys. It's justa thught at present, but having only forged with coal the once I quite fancy trying for the heck of it :D

I'll ask about the bitumous coal when I order some more coke later today. It can't hurt to give a couple of bags a go, at least with coal if I decide I don't like it I can still burn it at home in the winter.

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