MattBrooks

500lbs of coal soaked by rain...

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Hello everyone, I was hoping someone could guide me a little here. I've got 500lbs, give or take, of coal that got drenched when we had a few rainy weeks here. Since then I tried laying some out on the asphalt in the sun to dry it out but couldn't get any of it to light in the forge. Am I going to have to trash all my coal or is there something I can do? Also, how does one trash that much coal?

Thanks for reading.

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That's a LOT of coal! You could try a small batch in an oven at 180F (well below any ignition temperature) for 10-20 minutes, wrapping it in foil or something to keep your oven clean. I think you might have to limp along that way until it warms up more in VA, then spreading it out should work :-)

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I would try a small wood or charcoal fire with the coal piled up around it there is still water in it watch for the steam boiling off. Don't throw it away the rain water has soaked some of the dirt and other stuff out of it. Just need a longer heat to get it started. I have put a lot of WET coal on my fire.

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Many smiths wet the coal on purpose to slow the burn. Being rained on should not appreciably affect the quality. My grandparents heated thru the winter from a coal pile in the side yard, sometimes you had to bust the frozen mass with an axe to get enough to fill the coal scuttle. Burned just fine.

 

Coal does NOT start as easily as charcoal, coke is even worse. Learning to work with coal without a guide or mentor is a royal pain.

 

Start a blazing fire with newspaper, pine cones, wood and/or charcoal, and add coal gradually to the top. It will take a few minutes to light, and you keep adding fresh coal to the edges to preheat, raking it in as needed.

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I actually use the locally sold coal by pouring it in a bucket of water and stirring it;  (It's pretty finely ground); then I take a scoop of it; hold it against the side to let any "loose" water drain and add it to the forge.  Save some breeze from your last forging to help get you started and add the wet stuff to the sides until it's going good.

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All coal burning power plants store coal outside in all types of weather.  Being wet will never affect the heating quality of coal.  I would get some 5 gallon buckets, fill them with your coal, and put them anywhere out of the rain.  Most of the water will eventually drain to the bottom of the bucket.  Scoop what you need off the top, and add it to a good small wood fire,  It will finish drying quickly and start to coke up.  Putting additional coal around the fire and on the forge table will hasten the drying. 

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Power plants store their coal outside, uncovered, and subject to all sorts of weather and temperatures.  
Best thing to do is build a good fire that will both dry out the coal and get it started to burning and 
FORGE ON !!


Like Thomas, I put the fines or coal dust in a bucket full of water and scoop out a hand full of black mud and add it directly to the fire.

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I'm with em I keep my green coal and fines nice and wet helps cut down on the smoke since I'm in a fairly crowded neighborhood

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Give to me I will dispose of it. Actually if I was to use coal I would wet it first place it around charcoal or coke from a previous fire burn it to convert it from green coal to coke. Green coal doesn't have the heat coke does.

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seeing as how coal has been underground under all conditions for millions of years, a little rain ain't gonna hurt it.  pile it all into a barrel, the excess water will drain out to the bottom, take from the top and forge on

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I didn't have much choice the last time I bought coal. It was raining at the time I was shoveling 500 lbs into the tote in the back of the truck. I was more worried about how much extra weight in water I was going to be paying for.

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Knowing it was going to rain I put plenty of holes in the bottom of the tote.

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Matt: There's nothing wrong with your coal, you just don't know how to light it. No big thing, if you read in the solid fuel forge section you'll find bunches of posts about lighting coal fires. Including but not limited to my own rolled coil of cardboard sure fire method.

 

Don't sweat it, none of us were born knowing this stuff it's a life long learning curve. Enjoy the trip.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Matt,

Coal is thousands of years old, water is not an issue. Heat is what you need. Start your fire with some sort of high (BTU) heat wood, we use split cedar. Don't bury the fire, surround it with coal. Let the wood get going and use your blower to get the blast heat. Coal takes a while to get going, keep the air flowing, this gives you the most heat. Coke is a coal byproduct that has big BTU content, this is really what you forge with. Your fire burns off the junk in coal and yields coke. The outside edges of your fire are supplying the coke for the hot center. Save the coke from your last fire and use it in your next fire. Experiment a bit and you will have it figured out in short order.

Peter

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as a geologist I would phrase that as hundreds of millions of years old, peat is mere thousands of years old in places. Getting water out of mines is a common task---see the invention of the steam engine or the old song with the refrain "it's dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew"

 

With my hand crank blower I like to get a good kindling fire going and then when there's coals place some coal in and keep cranking slowly till they catch and then racking it tight in the center and as more coal along the sides increasing my blast thil I get a good roaring blaze and the chimney starts to sing.

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Hello everyone, I was hoping someone could guide me a little here. I've got 500lbs, give or take, of coal that got drenched when we had a few rainy weeks here. Since then I tried laying some out on the asphalt in the sun to dry it out but couldn't get any of it to light in the forge. Am I going to have to trash all my coal or is there something I can do? Also, how does one trash that much coal?

Thanks for reading.

 

put the coal in your wifes clothes dryer...... don't do it when she's home.

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A shop I used to work in kept the coal outside and uncovered.  Fires were started with crumpled newspaper dipped in used motor oil.  There was never an issue with wet coal.

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put the coal in your wifes clothes dryer...... don't do it when she's home.

 

What no suggestion to help dampen the noise by tossing in some white towels or sheets?!  LOL :P

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I have trouble lighting my coal too. It looks wet but I heat with wood. I just take some hot coals from wood stove and put them in bottom of forge. Turn on blower and pile on wet coal. Inside of 5 min I can forge.

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Always save some coke from your previous forging session.  If your forge is outside, you might want to put it in a metal bucket and put it under cover.  I never light "green" coal anyway, too smokey.

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Like Thomas, I put the fines or coal dust in a bucket full of water and scoop out a hand full of black mud and add it directly to the fire.

Hey, I saw a video where they took the coal mud and made a cave fire from it. I have little interest in that but I have about a five gallon bucket of coal fines. I never heard of putting it on in wet globs. But anything that helps me use it up I will try. Normally I might dump a half quart or better of dry fines on a hot fire. This will also make a cave pretty quick. But it also kinda kills the fire for a bit and also coats the metal with gooey fines. At least initially. Do you put your wet mud balls around the edge?

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