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Coal questions...?


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For you guys in coal country , be it Montana or eastern USA. Growing up we had a coal furnace as did most farmers. Ordered it from the lumberyard and they would bring a truck load along with a coal chute and empty it in a small door into the coal room in the basement. Today I don't think you can find a chunk of coal anywhere except the power plants and big plants that have a coal boiler. Do you guys who use it just go to a mine and buy it or do you have to go through a dealer (for lack of a better description)? I mean could I show up with a truck and get a load? Some years ago I think I saw some for sale here in 100# bags for the guy with a standalone stove etc. But haven't even seen that in years.

Probably when I was 10 or 12 dad bought a used stoker. (Iron Fireman brand name.) It was my job to fill the stoker. A heaping fill would last 2 days. Then I took the lid off, got a bunch of 2x12's or similar and built side boards for it so I could get an extra day out of a load. (improvise and lazy all rolled into one)

Inquiring minds want to know.

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I purchased a few tons of coal 3-4 years ago specifically for forging. It came from a vein in PA (I purchased it in Louisville KY). That company sold coal for general heating purposes also that had slightly fewer BTUs than the forging coal. I know they hauled it in a 10 wheeler. 

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Haven't checked lately, but when I was wanting some for forging a couple years ago, tractor supply was supposed to have bagged coal.  But somebody with experience said what they wasnt any good for forging.

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We used to get it at the mine with a tri axle......my old man was all about saving a few bucks, would buy a truckload at a time.  Only burned 3 ton a year then, when I got my house I burned 3 a year too, so 6 ton a year total.  Even then a load lasted awhile.  Once he passed away, I was the only one burning it, so I just buy it from a local guy who sells it as a side business, he is only a few miles from me, but I just pay him to bring it and run it in my gravity wagon.  I still had a ton or better from last years warm winter so I just ordered 2 ton.....$220/ton delivered this year which is up some, probably could get it cheaper from other guys locally, but we got it from the same mine years ago ourselves and it is great coal so I just pay the bill.  And that will keep the house warm the entire winter.

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There is a mine about 60 miles from here that you could buy coal from a few years ago. I do know if they are still in business now. The price of coal is very low. Thx-Ace 

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There is still a tipple here where you can buy house coal. 

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Have fired coal furnaces since I was tall enough to see in the top door.

Burn 2 ton a month at shop and nearly that much at home.

Its comfort is second to none.

$100/ton bituminous.

Dont like the anthracite I used a couple years.

Obama threw a big one into coal miners. Hope he freezes at night this winter.

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Any place with horse shoeing supplies should have coal in small quantity for forge work. Would think it would work for other than heating horse shoes. But then again maybe for all the knife building that is so big with hobby metal workers with a forge, the chemical composition of the coal may affects the blade. 

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6 minutes ago, Jacka said:

Libbes won't have ANY OF US using coal,wood,or oil if they have their way.Just freeze to death in the winter I guess.

Im afraid your probably right...

Have wondered off and on where to get coal also. Dad got some a few times off and on over the years. Not sure where. When i was a kid grandma still had a coal stoker furnace refused to replace it. It did always feel good in there.

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Years ago, the '50's and '60's the "One man trucking company" in town hauled & sold coal. There were mines around our area, Interstate 80 east of us 20-30 miles barely missed thousands of acres of strip mined coal, and south towards Galesburg there was a small mine. This One Man operation got a rail car full from Kentucky If I remember correctly. He had a little electric belt conveyor he unloaded onto that moved the coal into the basement coal bin. We had a HUGE coal fired furnace, looked exactly like the one on "The Christmas Story". Seems like 8 ton late summer left enough to fire up the furnace the following fall a couple times.

About 1964, '65 the Monster was torn out and a LP gas furnace installed,  the wall between coal bin and furnace room removed, coal bin walls & floor scrubbed, and painted. Had a ping-pong table for a couple years when Dad's desire for a pool table got the better of him.

I imagine the availability of coal stopped with the passing of that One Man trucker.  He also hauled crushed rock, black dirt, fill dirt, blacktop, sand, lime. Anything he could dump out of his 1964 C60 Chevy with a pusher cheater axle. Summer of '74 I hauled sand with him for a day or two for the Township.

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Forging coal should be the highest grade and unless your living near source probably is marketed now to renewed interests in blacksmiths and hobbyists and I’m sure their price has increased lately?

Not going to help your question in the US but I live 30 miles west of the last privately owned coal mine in western Canada and due to the green movement and our current left leaning federal government coals days are numbered to 2030 with 200 yr reserves below our feet. Cost of coal today $42 ton, carbon tax $57 I believe so as of now the progressive tax implementation is more than the produce but only for domestic users, coal is still being mined and sold internationally with no tax attached

Most of Alberta’s power was generated from coal fired powerplants now retrofitting to burn natural gas and the loss of many jobs dead ahead, can’t wait to see what the price of power is going to climb to once they have all the rats in the same cage

I burn about 15 tons a year and go get it myself

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2 minutes ago, hardtail said:

Forging coal should be the highest grade and unless your living near source probably is marketed now to renewed interests in blacksmiths and hobbyists and I’m sure their price has increased lately?

Most of Alberta’s power was generated from coal fired powerplants now retrofitting to burn natural gas and the loss of many jobs dead ahead, can’t wait to see what the price of power is going to climb to once they have all the rats in the same cage

Forging coal is the highest grade making the most BTUs with the least amount of impurities. I think that the resurgence of blacksmithing due to television shows and such has raised the price of forging coal along with anything blacksmithing related. 
 

A very large amount of the US is lit up by coal fired power plants. I work in one. Coal isn’t cool right now politically. What the super-duper smart politicians don’t understand is that while solar and wind energy is viable to an extent, it cannot be “pushed” through the lines like generated power can. We lose more megawatts to mechanical issues in a day than most solar fields could make with perfect conditions in a week.  The giant windmills don’t make enough power in their lifetime to pay for themselves without government subsidies.  I don’t want to trash the environment either but there are ways to clean up coal and still use it effectively. 

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We us to go over to local rock quarry that was stripping the cap rock off top of the coal seam for gravel.  pickup load cost $10.00 it was not crushed or sized.  Doctor Evil the quarry was northwest of Viola Il. 

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To my understanding there is more than one type of coal depending on where it comes from.

The stuff coming out of the mega mines in Wyoming is low-sulfur coal and simply won't burn in a stove or furnace. It is shipped all over the country and used in power generation plants. I'm sure Sledgehammer can elaborate more, but I believe it is crushed and blown into the boiler and injected with large amounts of air. Or something to that effect.

I hear the coal from back East is different and can be shoveled into the stove or furnace and will burn great. Can anyone expound on this?

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43 minutes ago, messer9696 said:

To my understanding there is more than one type of coal depending on where it comes from.

The stuff coming out of the mega mines in Wyoming is low-sulfur coal and simply won't burn in a stove or furnace. It is shipped all over the country and used in power generation plants. I'm sure Sledgehammer can elaborate more, but I believe it is crushed and blown into the boiler and injected with large amounts of air. Or something to that effect.

I hear the coal from back East is different and can be shoveled into the stove or furnace and will burn great. Can anyone expound on this?

A little. There's all kinds. Anthracite and bituminous are two categories.  Anthracite burns cleaner with little "clinker ". The western coal gets blended with Eastern  enable burning. Then there's metallurgical coal for steel making. I think I read once that there's 10,000 different types of coal.

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A friend of mine was a trucker.

Every fall he would have to go to western SD or eastern Wyoming and pickup a semi load of coal for a guy.

Not sure where he got it but he came home with a load every time.

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46 minutes ago, messer9696 said:

To my understanding there is more than one type of coal depending on where it comes from.

The stuff coming out of the mega mines in Wyoming is low-sulfur coal and simply won't burn in a stove or furnace. It is shipped all over the country and used in power generation plants. I'm sure Sledgehammer can elaborate more, but I believe it is crushed and blown into the boiler and injected with large amounts of air. Or something to that effect.

I hear the coal from back East is different and can be shoveled into the stove or furnace and will burn great. Can anyone expound on this?

Yes............different grades, I burn hard antracite here, takes more air but burns way hotter and doesn't take as much volume.  Coal even can act different from different vanes under the ground in the same location.  We got a triaxle load one time, dumped it, I worked from one end burning it, and my dad worked from the other...................Stuff I had burned really well, if you wet it down to release the hydro carbons, it would almost light with a match.....................His however wasn't as nice, and didn't burn as hot.  He said they had two loaders running from two piles, one filled the back other one more to the front..................I burned the back of the pile first out the tailgate, he worked on the front of the load.  Ended up mixing it and all was fine, but that is how it works.

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40 minutes ago, messer9696 said:

To my understanding there is more than one type of coal depending on where it comes from.

The stuff coming out of the mega mines in Wyoming is low-sulfur coal and simply won't burn in a stove or furnace. It is shipped all over the country and used in power generation plants. I'm sure Sledgehammer can elaborate more, but I believe it is crushed and blown into the boiler and injected with large amounts of air. Or something to that effect.

I hear the coal from back East is different and can be shoveled into the stove or furnace and will burn great. Can anyone expound on this?

The coal we use here is local. There are several mines close by. The coal from Illinois has less sulfur to my understanding (mine is 3 miles west) than the closest Indiana mine which is 3 miles East. It comes in by the semi load and by rail here.  The amount on hand changes all the time but I can tell you the pile covers several acres. They push it with D11s and the dozers look like toys moving on the pile.   All five units here have sulfur scrubbers to clean things up. The plant sits about 1/4 mile inside Indiana on the border with Illinois. 
 

Im not an engineer of any sort but coal is crushed and injected with other components to make a fire that super heats water. They control the expansion of the water as it becomes steam that drives a turbine generator. 

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46 minutes ago, exSW said:

A little. There's all kinds. Anthracite and bituminous are two categories.  Anthracite burns cleaner with little "clinker ". The western coal gets blended with Eastern  enable burning. Then there's metallurgical coal for steel making. I think I read once that there's 10,000 different types of coal.

Coal explained

Coal takes millions of years to form

Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock with a high amount of carbon and hydrocarbons. Coal is classified as a nonrenewable energy source because it takes millions of years to form. Coal contains the energy stored by plants that lived hundreds of millions of years ago in swampy forests.

Layers of dirt and rock covered the plants over millions of years. The resulting pressure and heat turned the plants into the substance we call coal.

Three images showing how coal was formed. The first image is of a swamp, 300 million years ago. Before the dinosaurs, many giant plants died in swamps. The second image is of water, 100 million years ago. Over millions of years, these plants were buried under water and dirt. The third image is of rocks and dirt over the coal. Heat and pressure turned the dead plants into coal.

Types of coal

Coal is classified into four main types, or ranks: anthracite, bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite. The ranking depends on the types and amounts of carbon the coal contains and on the amount of heat energy the coal can produce. The rank of a coal deposit is determined by the amount of pressure and heat that acted on the plants over time.

Anthracite contains 86%–97% carbon and generally has the highest heating value of all ranks of coal. Anthracite accounted for less than 1% of the coal mined in the United States in 2018. All of the anthracite mines in the United States are in northeastern Pennsylvania. Anthracite is mainly used by the metals industry.

Bituminous coal contains 45%–86% carbon. Bituminous coal in the United States is between 100 million and 300 million years old. Bituminous coal is the most abundant rank of coal found in the United States, and it accounted for about 47% of total U.S. coal production in 2018. Bituminous coal is used to generate electricity and is an important fuel and raw material for making iron and steel. West Virginia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Indiana were the five main bituminous coal-producing states in 2018, together accounting for 75% of total bituminous production.

Subbituminous coal typically contains 35%–45% carbon, and it has a lower heating value than bituminous coal. Most subbituminous coal in the United States is at least 100 million years old. About 45% of total U.S. coal production in 2018 was subbituminous and nearly 89% was produced in Wyoming.

Lignite contains 25%–35% carbon and has the lowest energy content of all coal ranks. Lignite coal deposits tend to be relatively young and were not subjected to extreme heat or pressure. Lignite is crumbly and has high moisture content, which contributes to its low heating value. Lignite accounted for 8% of total U.S. coal production in 2018. About 52% was mined in North Dakota, and about 43% was mined in Texas. Lignite is mostly used to generate electricity. A facility in North Dakota also converts lignite to synthetic natural gas that is sent to consumers in the eastern United States.

Last updated: October 11, 2019

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You are correct that the coal coming out of The big Wyoming mines is “EPA” coal, and not as high of quality as some types. It will burn in a coal stove though and put off plenty of heat. I run a wood coal stove and keep some coal on hand for super cold days, and it comes from Wyoming.....

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no coal here anymore at all for ANY purpose---- thats why I have to fire my forge with wood. It works but sucks when I used to haul coal to customers who were forced to install gas stoves! Damn govt. and crackpot crazies taking over the world!

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39 minutes ago, SONNY said:

no coal here anymore at all for ANY purpose---- thats why I have to fire my forge with wood. It works but sucks when I used to haul coal to customers who were forced to install gas stoves! Damn govt. and crackpot crazies taking over the world!

Come get some. I’m 3 hrs south of Bloomington. It will cost you what it cost me and not a penny more unless you want to trade something instead 😊  I’ve got probably a ton of it sitting here and could spare 100lbs pretty easy. I use my gas forge more than my coal forge now anyhow. 

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