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AlmonteIron

Coal question…what the heck do I have?

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Hey folks,

My standard smithing coal is pocahontas #3. 50lb bag with the blacksmith at anvil graphics (see pic). The writing on my old bags is red. It was great stuff to work with. I received a new skid and the bags have the same picture but with green writing instead of red. I used a bag today and it seems to smoke more when coking up, seems more greasy in the bag, chunks are more porous and also has a nasty, gooey tar-like gunk when coking up. The coke itself seems lighter than the coke from the other bags. 

Does anyone know the difference between the two bag styles and what the heck I'm working with?

Thanks,

Randy

 

Coal-4202.jpg

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There is a Pocahontas No. 3 in Virginia that has 15,006 BTU, and a Pocahontas No. 3 in West Virginia that has 13,953. Pocahontas No. 3 coal is not all the same due to the way it was formed. You have to look at the analysis to be sure what you are getting, is what you want. The analysis is usually available from the coal company when buying coal. Pocahontas Coal is broken down into 10 seams of Pocahontas coals, numbered #1 - #9 and Poca #3 rider.

Call the dealer and ask for the analysis of the coal. If he does not know, ask for the vendor's phone number and contact information.

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 I'm sure the green vs red bags means something more than just different ink. Thanks Glenn for your reply. I'm going to track this down further.

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I can't technically assist you. However, that is what the bags I buy look like. Yes, it is gooy. Lots of tar. The coke is like Styrofoam I guess???   I love it........ best I have used. Little white clinkers. It is awesome. It cokes real easily. I am calling it nut sized to pea sized in my bags. It smokes nice if you want to drive folks out, but if you use it properly (heat the green coal slowly to coke it) there is little smoke. And,,,,,,,,,,it smells nice like a steam locomotive. 

I have used other coal. So I will know. It is from PA I am told.

However, that means nothing as the BAG can have anything inside of it, as you probably know..... 

I am buying it in Eastern OHIO. I teach blacksmithing in Eastern Ohio near Canton for the Ohio History Museum.

The coke lights really easily. Real. Easy. and  I use it for welding w/o problem. In fact it "may" be rare to locate coke that lights this easily as I see MOST folks heap green coal in their forge to build a fire. I use only a small bit of kindling and this coke. Almost zero smoke as opposed to fanning a smoldering coal fire and sending smoke signals to Louisville. 

 

There are two dealers here in "Amish Country" that sell this same coal. 12.00 per 50lb

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speaking of coal...............I am utterly surpised to see the number of smiths who recommend NOT using coal. Not because it smells bad, or smokes or the price or  etc.etc. but rather  the environmental impact. It pollutes and the equipment that mines this stuff is a emitting pollutants and the mining in general destroys the landscape.

 

wow. I don't get it but everyone must fight their own battles....take a stand against something so I can respect that. However, do folks like that not understand iron is mined. And diesel equipment is used to do that??????

Charcoal is burning trees so.......that is ok somehow??? That in no way requires diesel powered equipment, I guess.........

 

If this gooy coal don't work-out for you, perhaps try a hard coal. I have used that and it is really something. Not one I would wish to try again.

 

 

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Gooeyness is a feature not a bug!  You do need to learn to manage the fire so the metal is not in the gooey zone---making sure you have a good pile of breeze to start the next fire and add the fresh coal to the backside and top can help. (as can getting used to tapping a workpiece against the forge lop to dislodge any gooey pieces sticking to it...)

Boy I miss the large rafts of coke the coal I used in Ohio produced---excellent for forge welding, with both closed and open fires.

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in your opinion...what is "open" and what is closed" ?

 

I have no issue with the tar/goo. Makes for real sweet BIG chunks of coke. I break them up then flip them into the fire. Break them up some more. Non of that goo is on my work. Because you don't heat the work in the green coal anyhow so...........it ain't no thing.

 

I use a little water on the forming coke /green coal to my likeing. Not much. Sometimes I don't use any if I want it to make coke quicker.

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Well the definitions are pretty similar in the books I have read about it: an "open fire" is a collection of coke chunks that you place your work in. The work is in contact with the fuel on all sides.  You can not see it but you can lift it out in any direction without messing up the fire much.  A "closed fire" is an "oven" with a solid top and an entry hole. you can watch your piece as it heats and it may not be in contact with any fuel on the inside. There are several tricks to keeping a closed fire fed and maintain it's closedness. 

Have you heard a different definition? I've been using this one for 30+ years; but understand that jargon is time and location dependent.

Only time I use a closed fire is when forge welding thin layer billets when I need to keep track of it to get the first weld in without burning up the outer layers.

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