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Howdy guys I've been out for a while because of a plumbing job I've been in, and just recently got back into the shop. And I am curious if anyone here has had any experience digging your own coal? I haven't ever bought any but I'm sure it would be cleaner than what I have found. Alot of coal here in KY has skate in it and making it burn alittle dull. And then over the hill you could find some that is just perfect. Any experience or good stories from it? 

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Usually the surface seams are a bit degraded compared to deeper stuff. If you can find a place that the locals have been potholing for heating coal you might get some decent stuff. Of course pretty much EVERY coal deposit is different, so you need to find info on what is local to you. I know a smith out this way that collects coal that spilled from the days of a coal mine in a ghost town near my northern place.  Hs says it burns well; of course he has no experience with sewell seam...

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Someone owns the land, and someone owns the minerals (coal). They may not be the same people.  I would suggest that you get written permission from both parties before you cross the land to remove the minerals.  Chances are the coal owner will just sell you a ton of the coal already brought to the surface.

A lot depends on the details you did not supply.  How much coal do you want or how much coal do you need?  Drift mining or outcrop mining can be dangerous. First be sure and tell someone where you will be, what you will be doing, and when to come looking for you if you do not return at a predetermined time.  How thick is the seam of coal you are planning on working, and will you need cribbing or fresh air to protect yourself?  You plan on using a pick and shovel or do you plan to loosen the coal up with explosives? (permits usually are required).  How do you plan on moving the coal to your vehicle and then to your shop?

Try to locate a coal dealer in your area and avoid all the problems.  Buy a ton and be happy.

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Ask at the local feed store; some mines have a contract where they have to supply locals with coal for heating if they are asked.

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I dont go into mines or anything like that. I have a friend that my family has worked for for many years and I just dig a small coal vein on his land. I also pick up pieces that fall from cliffsides. It's also very safe as long as you don't hurt yourself digging it out of the side of a hill. Or hurt your back packing it. I wish I could find a resource for coal because I would just buy some instead. But it's all I have, and digging coal from hillsides is what my family has done for years. It's actually really common here in KY because alot of people heat with wood and coal with no way of buying it. (As far as I know I haven't heard of anything yet) but I do appreciate your all feedback and safety comes first! Thanks guys. 

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Eastern Kentucky tends toward lower sulfur coal; took me several minutes to find places in Kentucky selling coal on the internet.  I would get in touch with the local ABANA affiliate and ask them were was a good place to buy coal.  Our members in Finland and Australia probably can't help you much.

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The safety cautions were presented so anyone wanting to extract coal from the ground is aware of the dangers.  This is posted so 6 months or a year from now someone new to blacksmithing is aware that there are dangers in digging your own coal.

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Note the nearest ABANA affiliate to you may be in a different state---not a problem.

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Thanks thomasP I appreciate your help. And safety is number 1 I agree. I see nothing wrong with warning people of dangers, that's the best way to go about it. Thanks Guys. 

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