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I Forge Iron
Owen Hinsman

Building my shop

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Hmm, if only I had a dirt driveway. Could I just sorta dig a hole in the corner of my shop and dump it there?

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Then what would you do with the soil from the hole? :blink:

So long as it's not HOT, you could crunch it up fine and put it in the woods or scatter it out of the way or toss it in the garbage. It's just dirt at this point and I'm using the official geology section definition of "dirt." That being, "Dirt" is displaced "Soil." For example the soil in the garden is soil, it's supposed to be there. However the very same material displaced on the knees of your pants becomes "dirt." 

You can reverse the process by turning that bucket of unwanted clinker/dirt into soil by scattering it where it won't do harm. NOT on a lawn someone will take a mower over! :o

Frosty The Lucky. 

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I rake the fines into the sand/dirt floor of my shop. (See how hard it is to give useful answers without knowing the details of your situation?)  Save it up to use as traction aids in the winter for your car(s)?

Coal stove ashes were the classic "cinders" that garden paths were often made from---or the track at my school way back when.

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Put it in a box; wrap the box up with Christmas paper, tie a pretty bow on it and leave it at a crossroads at midnight---oops sorry that's how you get rid of warts with a wart stone!

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Maybe use it in an outdoor litter box and then spread it on the compost pile? 

Speaking of warts, clinker is one of the sure cures for warts. Expose the wart and  have a friend pick a bright HOT clinker from the fire and lay it on the wart for a second. Poof! Wart gone. 

I thought boxing and gift wrapping . . . something and leaving it out was a practical joke. A pretty good one too if you can watch them open it or it's a more kinetic joke. No explosions fire or scary liquid/powder!! They aren't good jokes if EVERYBODY doesn't laugh!

Funny is good but be nice.

Frosty The Lucky. 

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I burn coal for heat here in PA. I have been warned that the ashes contain heavy metals. I know that run off from the coal mines here in PA have killed streams, fish, and aquatic life. Mine goes into the garbage to be disposed in a regulated landfill. 

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Who is saying that coal contains heavy metals? Did it list quantity or is there just . . . some?  You do know you can pull the analysis for the seam you're being supplied from, it's public record though you might have to call the EPA to track down specifics and locate the documents. I know here in Alaska every coal analysis is on record with the University of AK Geology Dep., the US Corps of Engineers and a couple other departments. Energy, EPA. Most of the mines, seams and beds were closed down shortly after WWII and there's only one working mine today. 

The thing that usually kills fish, and such are from the talings. Not always of course but the often powdered talings can leach out quite a bit. The culprit is usually sulfur though phosphates can be a problem. If you want something about coal to be concerned about take a geiger counter to your clinker sometime. 

I'm not saying you or anybody shouldn't dispose of ash or clinker in a way you don't feel safe or right. I'm on your side on that score. I'd just like to see a verification of heavy metal content, I wouldn't think it'd be legal to burn at all. 

Frosty The Lucky. 

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Whether heavy metals occur in coal clinkers is a function of where it was mined.  Some mines may have more or less than others.  It would depend on the source area for the non-organic sediment when the coal was being deposited and the geology since because some heavy metals can afix with carbon in secondary deposition.  Many of the dinosaur bones found in Wyoming are HOT with secondary deposition of uranium.  There is a small building near Como Bluff, WY which was built out of dinosaur bones and was once used as a rock shop.  It cannot be occupied now because of the fact that one of the daughter elements from the decay of the uranium is radon gas.  In general, IIRC, eastern US coals have a higher amount of heavy metals than western US coals because of longer time since deposition and possible greater depth of burial.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."  

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i.f.i. Citizens.

Ground up clinker makes a great treatment for an icy driveway. We also carried a bag of it in the car trunk especially in winter for when we got stuck on ice.

The substance really trashes the slippery ice,  and allows the car to continue on its way.

It was a good precautionary move for Winters in Montreal in the 1950's, 60's and 70's. Most apartment buildings burned coal in the 50's and clinker was put in the garbage every week.

Stowing clinker in the trunk is not really needed these days since the SLAG. relocated to "sub tropical" Saint Louis Mo. about a decade ago.

Gone are the good winters for yours truly. .

SLAG

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Reference  BP0051 Good Coal

Trace elements are defined as elements present in coal in amounts of less than 1 percent by weight. Generally, trace elements are present in coal in amounts much lower 1 percent, and are reported in parts-per-million (ppm) by weight in the coal. A trace element concentration of 1 ppm = 0.0001% by weight, or expressed in another way, a 1 ppm concentration of a trace element equals one pound in one million pounds (500 tons) of coal. Most trace elements in West Virginia coals are present at levels of 10 to 100 ppm, or less.

Highly toxic elements (e.g. arsenic, mercury, lead, and selenium) are present in West Virginia coals, though generally in very low concentrations. How hazardous elements present in very low amounts adversely impact the environment is a matter of scale. For example, a coal fired power plant with no pollution controls in place theoretically would produce 10 tons of lead for each million tons of coal burned containing 10 ppm lead. However, modern pollution control measures provide controls against the release of large amounts of hazardous trace elements to the environment.

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As hobby smiths, most of us will not burn enough coal in a lifetime to create an appreciable amount of toxic waste byproduct. The most prolific local smith I ever met routinely did 6/10's in the shop, and was burning 14 tons a quarter turning out industrial tools 30 years ago, and he did not work alone. That was one fully loaded dump truck direct from the WV mines, delivered to his door. Clinker was his parking area gravel. Cinder tracks at schools were paved with the waste from coal furnaces.

On the other hand, a local NC utility company has been in the national news due to spills from holding areas containing millions of cubic yards of fly ash. If you are burning enough coal to need dedicated rail lines in order to provide electricity for several million people over several states over several decades; well, that's a lot of byproduct. It is just a matter of scale. (No, not that flakey stuff, the ratio kind.)

Folks cook out every evening in the summer over charcoal grills, and smoke from restaurants make me hungry on my way back home from work. But no modern city allows trash fires and open burning of yard waste, and we no longer heat our homes with coal and firewood. The few remaining factories that still have smokestacks now have to have scrubbers in place. Cars and trucks burn cleaner fuel more efficiently now. I am old enough to remember smog alerts as a common thing, very rare now to have an Air Quality Index high enough to raise alarms, and that is with 5X population growth.

At a museum that I demo at occasionally, the first time, they put me under the trees on the west side, and my smoke blew thru the vendor area. I helpfully suggested that the outhouse, barns, stables, pig pens and blacksmith shop had been located on the east side due to prevailing winds. So that is where I set up henceforth, and that is where the replacement smithy is located now. My suggestion that tossing the clinker in the driveway was historically accurate was not met with the same approval.

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Our club coal comes from Oklahoma and has very little clinker in it. An all day forging session might produce a ping ball sized clinker, more ash than anything. It takes me years before I have to shovel the pile of ash & clinker from under the forge.

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Progress! I made a tomahawk and started a seax. And I, along with my dad, built another workbench, this one 11’ x 24” with a 3/4” plywood top. I also put up another two shelves for my toolboxes and other stuff. 

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We've had this discussion several times before: Radionuclides are eroded from igneous rocks  and like to bind to organics; so dino bones, point bars and coal swamps are all "catchers".  I think that radionuclides are the epitome of "heavy" metals. 

Of course when the wind is in the right quarter my smithy is downwind from the Trinity site and it's a lot closer than Arizona which is gifting us with their wildfire smoke lately on a regular basis.

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