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I Forge Iron

coal fire tending

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Sabre, you're correct about placing the green coal around the firepot and pulling into the fire gradually.
I try to keep the top of the fire open a little.....a little flame coming through.........to eat up the smoke.
One mistake I used to make was that I would simply rake more coal up towards the top and center of the fire. I would forget to push in the sides of the fire.....and all the coke would burn out just above the firepot,often allowing air to blow directly on the iron I was attempting to heat.

So, sometimes I push the sides in with a rake,sometimes I can simply strike the pile of green coal with the back of the shovel or poker.

I don't know if you can have a smokeless fire, but you can reduce the amount of smoke you make if you rake in the coal gradually.

Once the center of a coal fire is burning hot, and you rake in a goodly amount of green coal.......there may be considerable smoke start up from the green coal.
I sometimes use a small sprinkling can and drizzle some water right where the thick smoke is coming from. Not enough to dowse the fire by any means, just enough to slow the ignition of the green coal.
I don't sprinkle any water on the center of the fire at all.
With some kinds of coal, this dampening also aids in the coking process.


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I find that if I have a good hot fire with the green coal coking around the sides and keep gradually adding the coke the smoke is really minimal. I constantly keep adding the coke and try not to have to rebuild the fire very often although, you will have to do this every so often to keep your fire clean.

Keep the fire bright and add the new fuel slowly is the answer :)

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I might add something you probably already know. Starting the fire with coke will greatly reduce the amount of smoke. Sure, there will be some raw coal in there, and it will smoke like heck, but not as bad as starting with all raw coal.

Once the fire is burning well I try to add a little coal at a time to the outside of the firepot. I push the old material towards the center of the fire and add the coal along the edge of the firepot. Try not to wait until the center of your fire is all burned down too much. It's better to add a little at a time than wait until your out of the hot stuff.

If I do get carried away and deplete "The Good Stuff" I add a bunch of material to the outside of the pot and pack everything together well. I then poke a hole down into the center to direct the air flow straight up, give it a bunch of air, and take a break while the coal cokes down.

Hope this helps someone,


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