Ferrous Beuler

Neighbors and coalsmoke

Recommended Posts

Might have a problem here- The wife and I have just moved from a very rural setting where making noise and coalsmoke was never a problem at any hour day or night. The gables of the nearest house were just visible over the trees more than a quarter mile down the road. Now that has all changed.
The new house is smack in the middle of a villiage and I am surrounded by neighbors, very close on all sides. The plus of this is that I now have a shop building, a one car garage with a dirt floor. It measures 12 ft by 18 ft and is certainly roomy enough to set up shop in, (this begs the question- "is any shop ever big enough? but that's a different can of worms altogether).
Obviously I am now in the market for a gasser as sending up a heavy plume of coalsmoke could see the local 911 dispatcher flooded with half a dozen simultaneous calls. So that's the downside, going with gas when I definetly prefer coal and a handcranked blower.
More on the plus side is that I now have a shop contained in its own building and can get busy setting it up as I please to suit me. Our new house and garage is over 100 years old and it is obvious the garage has had a woodstove installed in the past. Putting my forge flue through the same spot that has been framed over from the woodstove will be easy and other garages in the neighborhood have woodstoves in them so I won't be the only one making smoke. As we all know, green coal in a new fire puts up quite an acrid heavy pall before it cleans up and thins, so this is the problem.
I will be adding a gasser which will no doubt be my main source for taking heats but I know what a coal junkie I am and this will take some geting used to, switching to gas. I know I will still long to have a snootful of coal.
Does anyone have any ideas they could share on the subject of getting along with the nieghbors, "blacksmithing incognito", hiding in plain sight, etc. etc.
Thanks! Dan:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Start The Fire W/lump Charcoal & Ease The Coal In Around It.
Train The Neighbors :the'll Think Bar B Q / Meth Lab :o
REALLY THOUGH THE LUMP CHAR. WILL CUT THE SMOKE DOWN!
THIER STILL GONN'A KNOW YOUR B-SMITH'N!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my neighborhood I can't use coal at all so it is gas or nothing at all. Charcoal is not an option because of sparking and the extreme dry conditions. The last thing I need is a brush fire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Talk with them and work with them, if they have a baby that naps at 2pm go take a break then!

I ran a forge in the inner city of Columbus OH for 15 years. My closest neighbor grew up with a coal furnace and told me the smell brought back her childhood---no problem there!

Talk with the local fire department; shoot do a demo for them and the police department---gets you a lot more "Please hold it down the so and so's are having a party" rather than "here's your ticket!".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

you might see if you can get coke! ive used it a lot lateley almost no smoke and no sparks like charcoal... and talk to the neibors you mignt be suprised and they might like it! ive had a shop in a neiborhood with trip hammer almost on the property line( within a foot or 2 ) with neibors house as close to the line as law allows (i think it was 10 ft setback) had no problems they liked my coal smoke better than the other neibors male goat!!! if your carful on fireup to keep the smoke to a minimum build a good tall chimney you shouldnt have a problem... i know of a shop that was in down town seattle and they were running a coal forge... the chimney was real tall alway up building but it worked good...good luck!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

pete46 is on the right trail

I use charcoal to start my fire then slowly bring in the coal. Make sure that you construct a good chimney (12 diameter or equivalent). The large size will draw in a lot of tramp air (read the solution to pollution is dilution)

my $0.02

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dan,

I did the reverse of you - started in the city and moved to the country. As such, I hid in plain sight. I did not go around and volunteer information but when someone asked what I was doing in that shed, the response was that I did a little welding on the side. That wasn't a fib as I had a welder and used it once in a while so the neighbors could see the arc reflecting at night. The coal smoke and banging were just part of being a "weldor". One of the neighbors remarked that they could never figure out why the windows and dishes shook occasionally - I didn't say that it was probably the 100 lb hammer running.

This is even funnier when you consider the neighbors did call the police once when I was hitting a speed bag in the carport. Apparently, that sounded like someone trying to get out of a locked room or so I was told. I showed them the bag and they left in less than a minute. Never got another call and I worked there regularly almost ten years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As stated above a good tall chimney. Make shure you always finish the day with plenty of coke to start a fire the next time. Fire control and cooking off green coal slowley will cut down on most of your smoke. You still might get a few compants about the smell of coal burnign but unless there is some law or regulation aginst burning coal to heat with you should be fine. Most people will get over the smell and or any other problems once they find out what you are doing expecialy if you fix or make them something from time to time. If they dont get over it well more than likeley they would have found some other reason not to get along with you at some point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My nickels worth. You can absolutely forge and weld and do anything you want with charcoal ( except use coal ). I know it is different. I am fortunate that I have good neighborhood. I also have gassers and I do use coal. Charcoal is not cheap, no but I use it at rondys and shows ( I sometimes use coal as well). There is a learning curve. Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
an alternate option is to go the route i was forced to and use a scrubber i have used mine for about a year and have had no problems

scrubber.JPG
scrubber


One problem with using a scrubber: Fed. Law requires ALL scrubbers be inspected (not cheap) on a regular basis, and the waste water from your scrubber is Legally controlled for HAZ MAT disposal by the EPA, and that is also a HIGH fee.

The cost for those two issues tells me let the smoke go, there was a very long thread about this a while back. You seriously could be looking at jail time if not in compliance with these EPA regs. .

No Joke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dan, try to find some high grade Coke, coke doesn't give off smoke and makes very little or no ash and clinker.
I worked with a coal forge in the middle of Kenmore (a very dense village) , my neighbors were so close I could here them sneeze. Anyway, I forged there for a couple years and never had one question. Just don't go telling everyone what your doing in that garage... or you could open up a can of worms. And beware, most small towns and villages have a noise ordinance, I know in kenmore it kicked in at 10pm and started at like 9am.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
an alternate option is to go the route i was forced to and use a scrubber i have used mine for about a year and have had no problems

scrubber.JPG
scrubber


Iv seen small and large size scrubbers in action (small as in cleaning a hole buildings air), and i think its a bit more complex than a 55gal drum filled with water.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi. Yes, that above post is correct. One of my neighbors went to jail over dumping hazardous waste into the municipal drain system from garage shop operations. It seemed that some nosy neighbor turned him in. You never know who it is going to be :(.

I have a neighbor who operates a coal forge in a pretty dense (duplex and apartment complex) area. He generates a lot of thick smoke. When the smoke gets really heavy over the neighborhood, the neighbors start dropping by to see if they can get in a few licks. This fellow is really friendly and has beer and snacks available, and he has a true teaching spirit. Nobody ever complains. He also has a little MIG welder and he helps neighbors with repairs and stuff. Whenever I smell coal smoke in the neighborhood, I don't think of complaining, I think "I'd rather be forging."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well,i live in a subdivision and out side the town limits. but i try to be courteous, let them sleep in on weekends and not stay up too late.i too burn coal,and some has string of sulphur in it,but no complaints yet. you may have a few small things to pass out as a peace token to them.and as far as the junkie in you,good luck. maybe save a little bit of coal and take a hit off it now and then, just to get ya by, best of luck,hope all works out. jimmy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I start my fires with three large pieces of newspaper. Stack them then start in the middle crumpling them up so it looks kind of like a mushroom. Light the bottom then set it in the forge , put your coke that was leftover from your last fire around the edges but leave the center open till its all burning good, then start working your green coal into the fire. This will keep from having that zero visibility smoke screen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the great replies but I think I'll skip the jail part!
Looks like if I'm going to stay with real fire that it's going to have to be with charcoal despite the flea circus and cost. With an electric blower constantly running I'd be doing nothing but feeding the fiire the whole time because charcoal gets consumed so much faster but with a hand cranked blower that won't be so bad.
I think I'll just have to learn to gauge when I can get away with burning coal and during the colder months that should be easier since everyone's windows will be closed then and generally it gets dark about 4:00 p.m.
Peace offerings should gain me some mileage here too.
Thanks! Dan:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look at a smaller fan to supply air to the forge and a on/off switch for the fan. No use burning charcoal with a hurricane force wind when your not using the fire.

Try building a *boy scout* fire with sticks from the yard or wood kindling. Then add in the coal little at a time so the fire consumes the smoke. A forge hood and a tall chimney helps dilute any remaining smoke. With careful fire maintenance, build small hot fires, and you should be able to keep the smoke to a minimum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have any really close neighbors, so that's not a problem for me.
But, I don't like a lot of thick smoke in my own face when I'm pulling a lot of green coal up and onto the fire.
Whin it looks like it's going to be a really smoky situation, I simply toss 2 or 3 balled up sheets of newspaper or a handful of dry sticks from the 'kindling bucket' on top of the fire.
The flame will get rid of a lot of the smoke.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My nickels worth. You can absolutely forge and weld and do anything you want with charcoal ( except use coal ). I know it is different. I am fortunate that I have good neighborhood. I also have gassers and I do use coal. Charcoal is not cheap, no but I use it at rondys and shows ( I sometimes use coal as well). There is a learning curve. Good luck.


i pay 13 dollars for a 10 pound or bigger bag.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I rarely use my coal forge, but when I do I set a 6 ft. stack on top of the hood to draw it up high and run a fan behind me in the shop to help disperse the smoke. No complaints so far. I live in the midle of a very nice subdivision too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.