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16 hours ago, DHarris said:

I have two empty 55 gallon steel drums, two empty 55 gallon plastic drums and two empty 33 gallon drums

That'll hold all of it unless I'm misremembering how many barrels were outside of a friend's shed. It took him either four or five 55gal drums to hold a ton of coal. 

Pnut

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A standard pallet with sidewalls 4 feet tall will hold a ton of coal. Otherwise it is 5 each 55 gallon drums. Take the advice of plastic bag liners to the inside of the steel drums (don't ask, just do it). It can be several smaller bags if one large one is not available.  Put the drum on a pallet to keep it off the ground and cover the top to keep it dry.  Transfer the coal into 5 gallon buckets as it is needed at the forge.  Takes 10 to 11 buckets per drum.

Depending on the size of the coal, dust, pea, nut, lump, etc and density of the coal the numbers may vary a bit.  

 

 

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Score!!   SWMBO was cleaning out under the kitchen sink.  I got a full box of borax, 2 gallons of old peanut oil, (for quenchant), smells like fried turkey when hot steel is quenched.  a packet of mouse bait, and a full container of sevin dust. Rest went in the bin.

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Curious as to why you want to go to the trouble to keep your coal dry.  The shop I worked in just had a pile out back and we would bring it in by the wheelbarrow full, wet from rain or snow, no matter.  We used old motor oil soaked newspaper to start it and I never noticed a difference in the fire on dry or wet days.   It is basically a rock after all.  I could understand keeping coke dry as that may be a bit porous and would soak up some water.

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Drove the most of length of length of Ohio to pick up a bunch of stuff from an old college friend whom I haven’t seen in thirty years. He’s cleaning out his late parents’ house, and I got (an exchange for a modest donation to their educational fund) a 300°F-2000°F furnace, a Starrett 924 machinist’s vise, a 55 lb cast iron anvil, some rail spikes and anchors, a small chunk of rail, four books, some cast iron sash weights, a set of horseshoes, and three hammers. Good haul for 200 smackers. 

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Gazz, some coals will "slake" pretty badly if allowed to get wet.  That is, the coal will break up into tinier and tinier pieces down to, in my experience, about coarse sand size.  That is just the way that rock weathers.  Some coals are more prone to it than others.  Probably, the lower grades such as western sub-bituminous coal are more likely to slake than high grade coals such as anthracite.  Higher grade coals are less likely to have small fractures for water to penetrate into.

Will slaked coal burn in a forge?  Yes, but it takes more careful handling and can generate lots of "fire fleas."  The very first coal I ever burned in a forge was some very nasty old slaked coal from an old coal pile.  Not a good experience but it gave me a good experience in how bad things can be.

So, it is often easier to avoid the problem by using a dry storage technique.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

 

 

 

 

 

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We never had that problem I guess.  The coal was bituminous and it was delivered several tons at a time as we burned it at a steady pace.  Maybe faster then it would break down or perhaps enough of the larger pieces remained that it didn't make a difference.

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It has been raining and my grandson has been sticking to me pretty tight for the past couple of days. I haven’t been able to get out till this afternoon. 
 

I really like the size of the coal. Most of the pieces are just a little bigger than my thumbnail. The association’s coal is about 3.5”. I have to bust up most of the pieces. This coal I don’t. As for clinker, it doesn’t seem any more or less of an issue than normal. The only major problem I noticed was limestone. Each shovelful will have at least three pieces of limestone in it. And it was impossible to be 100% sure I found all of them. It was fairly obvious I had missed a few. When limestone heats up, it fractures. Sometimes violently.  I am going to have to make some sort of sorting screen to dump each shovelful into to look for the stones. I suppose I can pretend I am on an archeological dig. 

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I had the same problem when several 50 pound bags of coal stored in the smithy fell apart when I tried to move them and they spilled behind the forge on the dirt floor. I just sorted through when I put the coal in my coal bucket and in the forge, picked out all the rocks before raking the coal into the fire. Kinda a pain but didn't take much time.

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Shovel up the coal, dirt, rocks, debris, etc and put it in a bucket of water. Give the water a swirl and the coal and coke will rise, while the rocks dirt etc will fall.  While the water is still moving, scoop or dip out the coal and coke.  Save the water in a second bucket so you can throw out the rocks and dirt.  Repeat as needed. 

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I get the occasional stone in my coal. Glenns suggestion is not only the easiest, but sometimes the rocks will be so covered in coal dust that they are easy to miss and put in the forge if just screening and looking by eye. 

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I’ve tried floating the coke and coal from under the ash dump before. It didn’t float, but I didn’t swirl it. I will try that.  
 

With this I was just washing the suspicious pieces with water from the slack tub. Washing all sounds much more reliable. Some of them are solid black from coal dust. Very hard to find those. 
 

This Utah coal is not anthracite, but it does seem harder than the Vinita coal.  I can usually break a thinner piece in half with just my fingers. This Utah coal I cannot. 
 

 

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Coal can be found in grades (or ranks) from the softest to hardest, not necessarily in discreet, separate grades depending on environment of deposition and the grade of metamorphism.  Lowest is lignite, highest is meta-anthracite.  Here is a neat chart showing the types of coal and BTU values.  

Credit to Stanley P. Schweinfurth - "An introduction to coal quality", US Geological Survey, Professional Paper 1625-F

 

800px-Coal_Rank_USGS.png

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A geologic oddity is that in western Colorado there is a coal bed that was cut by a later, intrusive igneous dike.  Obviously, the coal nearest the hot rock was burned out but there is a "baked" zone where you can mine natural coke.  This is the only natural occurrence of coke that I know of.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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That's fascinating George. It makes perfect sense and it must've happened uncountable times in the past, might be going on now. 

There are coal deposits that have been burning for centuries, some human caused some apparent natural causes. The Jonesville and Castle Mountain mines just north of here have had smolders in going the tailings piles since the 30s. 

Coal deposits are all over this part of Alaska and volcanoes too, I can see a couple from home and another 3-4 if I drive up a hillside. 

I don't see myself opening a coke mine but the deposits must be out there. 

You really got the voices excited in here, George. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Frosty, I imagine that with a burning coal seam it would eventually progress far enough to burn out from lack of oxygen but there would be a baked zone in front of the combustion front for some distance.  Quite like coal coking around the edge of a forge fire.

IIRC, the Colorado coke deposit was extensive enough that it was actually commercially mined.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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With something like the Centralia fires, part of the problem is that the old coal mines provide a sufficient supply of oxygen to keep the smoldering going for a very long time indeed. 

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One aspect not covered by that chart is how well a coal cokes up.  Sewell Seam coal is a joy to use for "cave fires" because of how nicely it cokes into a "roof".  Some of the coal we get out here is basically an open fire only  stuff.

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Recent additions as I get the smithing side of my shop built up

 

190 LB anvil. Great guys and I’m proud to be able to support an American small business making such a niche product. I whipped the stand up last week

 

also snagged a nice post vice last week from a “scrap” tool warehouse downtown. It’s functionality is like it just left the foundry....everything lines up and moves like a dream  

 

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