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Bad news about my coal supplier

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I went out to my main coal supplier-Valley Farrier supply in Beaver Creek, Oregon....about 20 mins outside of Portland city limits.
I immediately noticed that the 2 or 3 tons of coal they *always* have sitting outside were not there. I walked inside and asked the guy inside about it, and he explained that they are trying figure out if people will still buy coal at a projected $38 per 50 lb sack.
LUCKILY one of the other employees who is also a black/blade smith was kind enough to sell me a couple partially filled sacks from his supply, which will keep me going for a little while, but I suppose my only 2 options now are to build a gas forge, (which I am already planning to do) and/or gather up a big supply of waste wood and render down my own charcoal.

Apparently with the high gas prices and competition with China, coal is getting so expensive that we will be seeing our sources on the west coast slowly dry up because us average blacksmiths will not be able to afford it.

Ohh boy...I sure will miss using good 'ol Pennsylvania coal :-(

If any other smiths in the Greater Portland area are needing any coal now will have to now drive all the way down to Monroe Oregon.
I figured I would let you all know.

Take care

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That's definitely a bummer. I "inherited" a supply of coal from my forge's previous owner, I'm wondering what kind of hurting I'm going to be in for when I need to resupply a few weeks from now (at my current rate of consumption). I'm definitely not looking forward to switching back to gas. If anyone in central NC has a line on a local supplier for coal lemme know.

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I just purchased 2940# of coke(from coal) for $794 delivered to Phenix City, AL to a site with a fork lift. That's $16.21/60# bag (equivalent to $13.50 per 50# bag-sellers quote-)

2000# was $587 or 14.68per 50# bag

The coke cost was good on orders shipped by June30,2011. I am sure the transportation costs have increased since my order.

This was from"L Brand" www.BlacksmithCoke.com. Ed Avolio, 678-360-3521

While I have not used prepared coke before I decided to take a chance on it. After all from what I have read here that is what most of the smith's use in the UK. In addition I am not sure if the AL Forge Council had planned to buy a semi load this year as they usually do.


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I buy my coal at a hardware supply about an hour away from me.
In the past there were other places closer but they have ceased carrying bituminous because of slow sales.
Both of these places had Blaschak St. Nicholas Brand blacksmithing coal in forty pound bags. Both places told me the same thing when they ran out of what they had, that they purchased a pallet of it (80 something bags) and it took about three years to sell it all so they weren't reordering.
Anybody can order a pallet which is I believe the minimum order, 80 odd bags, I forget, 84 or 88 bags delivered on a pallet anywhere an 18 wheeler can take it. They are in eastern Pennsylvania, Blaschak Coal Corp. (570)773-2113. It is good soft bituminous blacksmithing coal.
If you're in an out of the way place this may be an option that works for you.

Now I get it at a place called Reboy Supply. I get it in bulk, bringing my own 5 gal buckets. I can buy one or a hundred, no matter.
This is Pocahontas #3, regarded far and wide as the best blacksmithing coal available.
Reboy will ship coal to you via UPS ground in 100 lb boxes. That's the good news. The bad news is they can't send it to Canada and right now (temporarily) they are not doing credit card sales.

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the guy i get mine from, it was $30 a 70lb bag. a good hour hour half from here but well worth the drive to see what he is able to do.
plus he well ship to any home hardware in canada for a mim order number

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Our suplyer has gone from 10# to 40# now 50# bags go news is it works out to be less a pound. We still have to drive 3 hours to pick it up. But we are still at $12 per bag to our members. Mark add another 30 minutes and you will be at most of our meetings.

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I envy you you have a great source of coal in Ontario, available through any Home Hardware or though Thak.
I wish I had that vein of soft coal, callled Crown Jewel in my shop.

uote name='joshua.M' timestamp='1303514580' post='220254']
i never said that? i have a coal forge but no coal

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Hello all

Thanks for the helpful info and leads to coal sources.
My main problem as I figure it is not the price of coal itself, it's the cost of shipping it out here to Oregon, which is quite a haul from you guys in those areas where coal is plentiful and rather cheap.
I live in timber country and will most likely round up a few 55 gal drums and camp out next to an enormous slash pile with my partner in crime and a goodly amount of libations in order to render down as much charcoal as possible.
Failing that, I saw that Trader Joe's has 18 lb bags of good hardwood charcoal for $5.49 each....It's not the greatest scenario, but it could be a handy source in a pinch.
But, for now I will use the dwindling remainder of my supply while planning out a proper gas forge.

Thanks again for all the info...It might come in handy if I *really* do miss working with real coal.


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  • 2 years later...

I know this is an old thread, but I want to give a tip in case people stumble across this. In Portland, there is a restaurant supply chain of stores called Cash & Carry, and they sell 50# bags of mesquite charcoal. I have been using it for years for light smithwork. It's really cheap, always in stock and as an added bonus you can put a grill over your forge and cook steaks (provided you haven't been working with volatile metals or fluxes, obviously). Smiths used charcoal for many centuries; it's a bit colder than fossil coal and burns faster but it is suitable. These are not briquettes, these are chunks of tree.

The only real downside is that it comes in big chunks, so when I buy it I have to spend an afternoon smashing it into suitable pieces with a wooden mallet. It creates a significant amount of dust and there is some waste, but overall it's worked well for me. 

It's about $14-$18 a bag right now (October 2013) 

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Central fuel in Chehalis, WA carries blacksmith coal at $0.12 a lbs. it's about a 1.5-2 hour drive from Portland but it's real Blacksmithing coal and cheap compared to buying by the bag, though they do sell bags bringing 5 gal buckets or like I did a 35 gal garbage bin. I paid $24 and change for just shy of 200 lbs. after tax. and with Oregon ID you don't have to pay the tax.

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Welcome aboard Dave, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you might be surprised at how many of the IFI gang live within visiting distance.


Instead of using a mallet to break up lump charcoal use the vise OR make a pair of pointy tongs and just bite it smaller.


Nice kitten, we used to have a cat who waited on the banister of the stairs to hitch a ride on your shoulder or just perch on your head till you had to get up. Great cat, good memories.


Frosty The Lucky.

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I've used both coal and charcoal, and once my latest $35 bag of coal is used up I'm never buying another.   The charcoal is cleaner, hotter, FAR less smoky, more pleasant and less expensive.


I can get decent blacksmithing coal at a premium price, but I can cook 2-3 barrels worth of lumber scraps each fall for nearly free and it lasts me all year.  I use offcuts in the drums since they stack tight and neat and yield more charcoal.  If I don't fill the drums myself with a year's worth of carpentry projects then there's a local contractor who sells an apple bin full of offcuts for $10. 


Once drums are full they go next to the annual burn pile, which consists of whatever fell out of the trees around the yard since last year.  I stack the pile around the drums, light it up, throw the ends in as needed, and when it's cool pull the lids off the years supply of charcoal and roll them under the bench.


This works great for me and I live in the DESERT, so I'm sure this model will work in Western Oregon.  I'd really feel strange there paying for coal while a million tons of wood rots all around me...

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