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rdennett

Cheap charcoal?

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I was doing some forging this weekend and I used a lot of charcoal, approximately six or seven pounds in about 4 hours. I got it for 58 cents a pound from my local grocery store (it is lump charcoal, btw, not briquettes). I can't burn coal because of HOA rules and I don't have a good source for coke. I also don't have the wood to make my own and it would be a violation of HOA rules again, not to mention city ordinances. That said, can I do better than 58 cents/pound for lump charcoal? BTW, there is such a thing as natural briquettes which use starch to bind the charcoal dust rather than inert clays and such which lower the heat output in common briquettes. These are supposed to burn hotter for that reason. Does anyone have experience with them? Do they beat my price? I live in Austin, Texas, btw.

Thanks,
Rob

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I don't know if you can do cheaper but are you not allowed wood fires but charcoal is okay? Seems to me if one was to be not okay, the other would be too due to embers from both.

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I don't know if you can do cheaper but are you not allowed wood fires but charcoal is okay? Seems to me if one was to be not okay, the other would be too due to embers from both.


I am not really allowed fires other than in barbecues. My forge is basically a barbecue, and I am going to ask forgiveness rather than permission. Making charcoal would be too obvious, and anyway, I don't have the wood. Raw coal smoke might be a little obnoxious for the neighbors, so I don't want to go there. It is also not easy to come by. That goes double for coke and I understand you need a pretty thick firepot to use it, which I don't have (mine is an old honda brake disk). So my choices are charcoal, which I am all set up for, and propane for which I would have to outlay some dough. If I find myself burning up too much charcoal, I may go that way, but for now I am curious if there is a cheaper way to buy charcoal.

Thanks,
Rob

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I have a raised firepit and when I use charcoal I build a fire in that and transfer hot coals over to the forge as needed.

Does the HOA forbid raised firepits as are sold commonly?

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I have a raised firepit and when I use charcoal I build a fire in that and transfer hot coals over to the forge as needed.

Does the HOA forbid raised firepits as are sold commonly?


Not sure about that, but I don't see what you are getting at. I don't have enough wood to make my own.

Thanks,
Rob

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Scrap wood is usually easy to find
construction type material 2 X 4 1X4 ect
I tear appart pallets which are in dumpsters all around.
Dont put 1 by and 2 by or 4 by material together when making charcoal the small stuff will be burned up before the center of the larger is done. Put the same size material together in each batch.
After it is made into charcoal I use a large magnet to harvest the nails otherwise you start seeing sparks and think your work is burning up when it is still black.
I believe Tom Latane' who is a well known smith world wide uses some small scaps of wood in the forge. This does make more smoke.

As you have difficulties with fires maybe a gas forge is the answer depending on what size and type stock you need to heat. If it is too big it is hard to get it into the gas forge.

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HOA are one of the most funnest things on earth to live in if you are not active in the least. However this is not a rant about he inequalities of HOA but how to live in one. I too have the problem of living in one and coal is sure a big NO! Charcoal is OK with most of the folk and a gasser does not seem to bother them much unless you have one that sounds like a small jet. Now as to where to buy large quantities of charcoal cheaper you may want to try your local blacksmith group. The local blacksmith group sometimes has an in with a wholesale company that gives price breaks to the organization. You might try a local fuel comapany. Another source is a restaurant that uses large quantities of charcoal for grilling. You may be able to talk the manager into selling you a bag or two at cost or at a slight mark up for a good customer, be sure to eat there often. Good luck with the HOA, as you know there are some who live only to enforce the rules. :(

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Good luck with your search but you forged for about 4 hours on about $4 worth of charcoal? Not bad value in my books......

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I was doing some forging this weekend and I used a lot of charcoal, approximately six or seven pounds in about 4 hours. I got it for 58 cents a pound from my local grocery store (it is lump charcoal, btw, not briquettes). I can't burn coal because of HOA rules and I don't have a good source for coke. I also don't have the wood to make my own and it would be a violation of HOA rules again, not to mention city ordinances. That said, can I do better than 58 cents/pound for lump charcoal? BTW, there is such a thing as natural briquettes which use starch to bind the charcoal dust rather than inert clays and such which lower the heat output in common briquettes. These are supposed to burn hotter for that reason. Does anyone have experience with them? Do they beat my price? I live in Austin, Texas, btw.

Thanks,
Rob


Rob,
When I do an iron smelt I'll burn about 200 pounds in a day. The best price I have seen here in Wisconsin for lump charcoal is about $1 per pound in bags.

Ric

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Rob I also run a charcoal forge and also live in the ATX, my shop mate and I by lump charcoal from Sams club 40lbs for ~$14 which is about 35 cents a pound, as far as I know that's the about the best you can do unless you buy by the metric ton, and I've done lot's of research and running around.

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Rob I also run a charcoal forge and also live in the ATX, my shop mate and I by lump charcoal from Sams club 40lbs for ~$14 which is about 35 cents a pound, as far as I know that's the about the best you can do unless you buy by the metric ton, and I've done lot's of research and running around.


Unfortunately, I am a Costco member :(.

Thanks,
Rob

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