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Bacon

First time using coal, need help

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Hey guys, I found a coal supplier near me so I switched from charcoal to coal but I'm having a little trouble.

The first fire I lit when great with green coal, but now in trying to relight it as we speak and it won't take.

Could it be I have to much clinker? If I'm identifying it right I have tons even though I only ran the fire for an hour.

So my questions are:

How do I relight the fire?

How best to identify clinker?

And why do big lumps of coal congeal and get bubbly?

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Did you read Forges and Fires

First post under solid fuel forges.

 

Clinker, the stuff that is not coal and does not burn. Has a glass appearance sometimes, other times looks burnt. It has a heavyier weight to the feel than coal. Collects in and around the air pipe.

 

Coal congeals and gets bubbly as it turns to coke.

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I've read a lot but just feel unsure right now, and I'm at the fire on my phone so I'm not searching the forums, sorry for that.

So clinker isn't the grey stuff that feels lighter and has lots of holes?

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That lighter stuff is the coke.

 

Clinker feels like metal or glass, and clinks if you drop it on the anvil.

 

Try wadded up newspaper, some sticks, pine shavings and small pieces of charcoal. Light that and get a good bed of coals. Then add a double handful of coke. Then add some green coal once the coke is going, periodically upping the blast from the fan. Not too much, now, get the fire going slowly.

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Coke is harder to light than coal.  I usually burn coke and start the fire on the principle that paper starts wood, wood starts coal, and coal starts coke. Also, a pure coke fire needs air blast to it all the time or it will self extinguish. That isn't a problem with a coal transitioning to coke fire. Once you have clinker you will recognize it, glassy, dense, melted looking, and gradually adheres to itself making large masses. Keep a fire going with coal or coke for a couple of hours and you will have clinker in the bottom of the fire.

Combustibly,
George M.

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If you want to know what clinker looks like, get a good fire going in the forge and throw in a double hand full of dirt and sand. Continue to forge, keep the fire hot for a while, and you WILL get clinker.  Let the fire cool (remove the air blast) for a minute and you can hook out the clinker from the bottom of the fire. 

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Wow thanks for all the great tips guys. I ended up using charcoal to light the coke.

So when the coal bubbles up it becomes coke. Should I crush the coke to normal size or leave it bulbous? I've been crushing it


Also george m, I love your signature

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A a loose fire or and oven or dome fire that is a long and windy conversation I personally like a loose fire 99.5 percent of the time I keep it broken up and mobile so I can rearrange at will for the job at hand. Others like the oven effect but they are hard to keep fed without throwing coal into the middle of the fire through the hole.

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I've read a lot but just feel unsure right now, and I'm at the fire on my phone so I'm not searching the forums, sorry for that.

So clinker isn't the grey stuff that feels lighter and has lots of holes?

Welcome to the millea- old craft and discipline of blacksmithing.  Clinker is the metal/ceramic crud left by burning coal.  If you are in a hurry to learn the techniques and mysteries of the trade find a near-by quango of conspirators interested in undermining the last hundred years of technological progress.  You might also do a search of this site.  Read everything in the library about this craft so you can ask a question that can be answered.  This is basic.  Do your part.

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I light my coke from the previous fire with a method I read here. I can't remember who posted it, or I'd credit them. I take three sheets of newspaper, wad one tightly into a ball, wrap the next tightly around that, and wrap the third tightly around the whole shebang. I light it, place it right on top of my air inlet, and SLOWLY add air, while holding it down (and together), with my rake. As the paper gets roaring, I scrape in all my surrounding coke, give it a few more seconds of air to make sure I haven't smothered it yet, then pile more on top. Then the rake holding down the ball can be removed. As the paper continues to burn, I press it and the coke down every twenty seconds or so, keeping things compact while it lights. It took me a few fires to get this method down, but it's really fast, I don't have to mess around with kindling, and it works well. Just my .02.

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When all I have left is Coke from a previous burn I sometimes throw a bit of coal in about half into filling the firebox with coke.   Somehow this either helps there to be some flames or maybe it just allows you to see some smoke that let's you know that you are making progress.     Usually there is plenty of coal mixed in with the fused coal/coke chunks that this is not necessary.   here is a pic that might help

 

 

 

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Welcome to the millea- old craft and discipline of blacksmithing.  Clinker is the metal/ceramic crud left by burning coal.  If you are in a hurry to learn the techniques and mysteries of the trade find a near-by quango of conspirators interested in undermining the last hundred years of technological progress.  You might also do a search of this site.  Read everything in the library about this craft so you can ask a question that can be answered.  This is basic.  Do your part.

 

I've got a book "A Blacksmithing Primer" and I have 4 more on the way "New Edge of the Anvil" "The Backyard Blacksmith" "Practical Blacksmithing and Metalworking" and "The complete Bladesmith".  I've also been trying to read through all the sites and forums. Somehow I missed a propper description of clinker and couldn't find it from my phone. Thanks for the welcome, I may come to the meetings one day if I get a chance..

 

I light my coke from the previous fire with a method I read here. I can't remember who posted it, or I'd credit them. I take three sheets of newspaper, wad one tightly into a ball, wrap the next tightly around that, and wrap the third tightly around the whole shebang. I light it, place it right on top of my air inlet, and SLOWLY add air, while holding it down (and together), with my rake. As the paper gets roaring, I scrape in all my surrounding coke, give it a few more seconds of air to make sure I haven't smothered it yet, then pile more on top. Then the rake holding down the ball can be removed. As the paper continues to burn, I press it and the coke down every twenty seconds or so, keeping things compact while it lights. It took me a few fires to get this method down, but it's really fast, I don't have to mess around with kindling, and it works well. Just my .02.

 

This is a great method, thanks for the tip. I'm definitely doing this from now on.

 

When all I have left is Coke from a previous burn I sometimes throw a bit of coal in about half into filling the firebox with coke.   Somehow this either helps there to be some flames or maybe it just allows you to see some smoke that let's you know that you are making progress.     Usually there is plenty of coal mixed in with the fused coal/coke chunks that this is not necessary.   here is a pic that might help

 

I think adding the coal for the smoke effect really helps, at least for me so I know its working. Thats a great picture, probably the most descriptive thing I've seen.

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I live in Southern Lousiana.    It is humid most all the time.   I keep paper in my shop from junk mail.   No shiny stuff.   I find, especially in the heat of humid summer than even paper in my shop can burn poorly.    So I cheat.   It works and it uses, for the most part just extra stuff I have around.   I have a wood shop so I band saw small left over pieces of wood into small pieces.   Sometimes I split them small on the hardy.    I also sift the dust out of my coal.   Prolly don't need to but I do.   So I have plenty coaol dust.   

 

So I take a humid junk mail envelope to start with.    Add some wood bits.   Pour in some coal dust.   Lay out some humid paper on the forge.   Douse all with a sprikling of charcoal starter fluid.   Rap it tight and light it off.   

 

Turn the blower slow and start piling up the coke around the edges trying to keep a flame.     Sprinkle some coal if needed and slowly let it all catch fire.   I can get a decent fire in minutes.   A mature fire takes longer but this never fails me.   I only fail when I try to short cut the paper or mostly when I have some of that shiny paper.    "Avoid the SHINY PAPER"

 

I also use the coal dust to pour over a mature fire to make a cave.     It's smoky and disrupts the fire but helps use up the dust and makes a good roof.

 

I just do what I do.   It don't make it right.   But I don't feel bad about using the charcoal starter.   There are many times in deep humid summer when there has been little rain that paper is a bit stubborn to light.  I could baby it but why...?   I go with the thinking that the blacksmith uses what he has on hand.

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Borntoolate makes a good point, and something I wouldn't think to mention normally. That shiny paper really won't burn for anything. I only use actual newspaper, and leave all the ad inserts for recycling.

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DanBrassaw are operating on the same frequency. I have been using the fire starting method he descibes for years and it works every time. We also have the same ideas about using newspaper for fire starting and add inserts for recycling.

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