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Like I said the only thing different about lighting the fire is the coal, still using the same pine kindling as I had before this shtuff just doesn't want to burn, sometimes it will glow for a bit and go out, sometimes it will actually light for a bit and go out while I'm cranking. Once I decided that I needed more air in the new forge and put my blower back on the river forge that I had been using I was having the same troubles. It had been long enough between burns that I had kind of forgotten that I was also having troubles before as well.

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Isn't the TSC stuff anthracite and so a hand crank will just not work too well with it as it needs constant air and can go out while you are hammering at the anvil.

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I've been having pretty good luck with the TSC anthracite by starting the fire with a small amount of bituminous, then adding the anthracite. I use a small hair dryer to keep the air on it when I'm at the anvil, and it makes good heat.

 

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That first bag that I had I didn't have too much problem keeping it lit, I probably wasn't working my steel long enough though so I wasn't giving it enough time to go out.

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Okay, this is what I have worked out for good rice coal fire management:

1. You need a lot of heat to get it started. A decent-sized fire of kindling and/or charcoal, well established before you start adding the coal. 

2. A fairly strong, constant blast of air, especially when first starting up or getting the fire going again after clinker removal.

3.  I've been getting some pretty substantial clinker. I've found that the best way to remove it is to kill the blast, let it cool a bit, and hook it out in big chunks with my poker.

4. Sometimes, the pieces pop when first added to the fire. I had a hot shard hit me right under the left eye at one of the few moments I wasn't wearing my goggles. Be safe.

5. Anthracite doesn't coke up like bituminous coal,  which means that the burning coal doesn't stick together. Since you're basically surrounding the steel with burning bits, the smaller pieces of rice coal give a more even heat than the larger lumps of nut coal. 

This last item is what makes working with rice coal really interesting.  While there is still a structure to the fire with the heat coming mainly from below, it has a fluidity -- a plasticity, if you will -- that enables you to reshape it very easily to suit the task at hand. It's also very easy to normalize a piece you've been working on: just bury it in the coals to soak for a few minutes. I'm liking this stuff more and more. 

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I've used the nut sized for a few heats now, and so far I'm not in love with it. What tractor supply's idea of what is nut sized and my idea of what is nut sized are two different things. (Blushing on my end).  Some of the "nut" coal is about the size of a small fist. I don't have enough experience managing regular bituminous coal, much less this stuff. As said above it is thirsty for the air. If you are hand cranking, you are a cranking Muldoon for sure. It has been hard for me to figure out when to start adding in more of the new coal. Perhaps I need to buy some of the rice coal for blending in, and just get to forging more. Thanks to you folks for adding to this thread with guidance.

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Update: I have been using TSC nut coal for basically two years now. The only other coal I've ever used is sourced from my local marina, randomly found along the rocks - no clue what type it is, but it smells different when burnt and behaves different from the anthracite from TSC.  

I have gone through over 20 bags of the nut coal, two different brands. One is pictured earlier in the thread, and the other is in a sealed plastic bag and called something like "miner's choice" or "Miner's Nut" (can't remember). 

I have found that using my forge set up the coal likes a kindling fire and the hair dryer on high to start, and then the hair dryer on low to sustain for hours. In a pinch of low coal I have been successful with turning the hairdryer off right before I pull the bar out, then back on right after I put it back in for another heart. I believe this uses a bit less coal, but I'll admit I usually leave the blower on low constantly. With a mature fire and the dryer on low, I have been forge welding up to half inch mild stock. I have never tried to forge weld anything thicker than 1/2, but I believe I probably could. My brother successfully melted/burnt a rail road spike by failing to pay attention. 

Coal is not easily available in my experience in Northern Michigan, so TSC anthracite has been my go to. 

Brent  

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That looks a whole lot like what I've rigged together for charcoal using firebrick and 1/2 an old air tank.

 

forge1.jpg

forge2.jpg

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Called my local store today. They order an entire flat, 46 bags, for a single order. Luckily, another person order a half a flat. Price now is 6.37 a 40lbs bag (~$0.15). I believe local SCABA have soft coal for $0.07/lbs, but ~150 mi travel distance with a V8 suburban.  This i'll try this and see how it runs. Will post pics of forge following trial, for good or ill.

Always amazed at the font of knowledge this site contains.

Forge on fellows. 

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I have only used tsc anthracite coal, I just changed from nut to rice. I like the rice better for even heat. "i run a long forge". As for clinkers maybe a 1/4 lb. To 20 lbs. Of coal. Really not bad at all.

 

 

 

 

 

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On 9/15/2015 at 10:10 PM, Technician.Austin said:

This coal was great, my only complaint was that it was wet in the bag. I imagine it was stored outside at some point.

I tried to order online & have it shipped

To my store. Screwed  up sife.not

User friedly. Employee in store said

They had some in winter from time to time. Lol

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