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Just found a nice deal, roughly 1000 lbs of coal for $35 some of it is usable as is some pieces are bigger than my head. Most of the coal I have been able to buy is fist size and I have been breaking it all up with a hammer in a bucket. Any ideas on a better method? I normally can buy it 100lbs for $15 so I want to use all I can.

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With bituminous coal I use, the pieces that are around fist size or a little I'll just put it in by the fire and after it starts heating up a few smacks with my fire rake and it usually breaks into smaller pieces. 

Other than that, I have just put large pieces in a chicken feed bag and busted them up with a hammer. 

Hammer, pick or rock crusher.... haha

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I was recently given a 50 gal trash can full of coal ranging from dust up to the size of a large grapefruit. The best thing I found for cracking it down to size was a handled round punch, swung like a hammer with my wooden "swage stump" for backing.

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Ooh, that would have been good. Of course, all mine is cracked and burned, so it's too late for me.

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Take a 5 gallon bucket home and see if it will burn. If it is usable then come back for the rest. 

You only need to break up what you intend to use at one sitting. Light work and when you get a bucket or two ahead, you can skip a day of breaking coal. Suggest you get a grate that will let the size pieces you want to pass through, so then you can just sift out the large lumps and crack them. 

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I used a piece of steel reinforcing screen to make my sifter.  It’s stiff enough to break up those pieces of coal that dont go through.  

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Using a car axle is a good tool for crushing the fuel.

A similar device is an asphalt tamping tool. (with a long  handle). 

They should be available at some of the big box hardware stores.  (also dome of the feed stores),  etc.

I've used one for tamping cold patch asphalt, in the past .  And 'now' it crushes coal nicely.

Please use a dust mask when crunching the stuff.

Regards  to all,

SLAG.

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5 hours ago, Glenn said:

Take a 5 gallon bucket home and see if it will burn.

Uh. . . Is that how you WV hill folk tell if a bucket's plastic? :lol:

Thank you for such a tasty straight line Glenn!

Frosty The Lucky.

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Is there a reason the coal won't burn? I know the people who owned the home passed away recently so the place was sold kinda as is. The new owner doesn't want to burn the coal in the furnace and plans on just using the fireplace instead. I may install a grate at the bottom of a large tube and insert something like a asphalt tamper in there too keep things contained and maybe let it fall into a bucket from there. Just looking for ideas

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Almost anything can be made to burn you just have to do it right. Anthracite coal just takes more tending, nothing special at all. I have some that cokes nicely and burns clean but I don't collect smithing coal from that mine I just have left overs. 

Don't get fancy, I prefer small pieces so I lay a piece of plate on the ground with 1/2" sq bar on each side of a moderate pile of coal then lay another piece of steel over it and smack it with a hammer till the top piece is banging o the kiss blocks. (the 1/2" sq. bars) Dump the crushed coal in a bucket and repeat till I have enough.

This gives me a consistent max size down to dust which is the gradation that works best for me. But that's me and I'm mostly a propane forge guy, collecting coal entails driving up nasty rough roads and hand digging the stuff on steep slopes. I'm too fat and lazy to sweat like that. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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