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coal types and where to buy??

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by mitch8, May 23, 2012.

  1. mitch8

    mitch8

    180
    Oct 11, 2010
    i was wondering what the diference is between hard coal, soft coal and coke in a a forge? how much air should i be fanning in? and where should i buy? i live in minnesota if you know of a place not a line? does bbq charcoal work? any other info would be great, thanks.

    mitch
     
  2. P. McKinley

    P. McKinley KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 27, 2008
    Soft, Bituminous Coal is what you need. We get our from the beaches.
     
  3. mitch8

    mitch8

    180
    Oct 11, 2010
    could i just use a bag of kingsford briquettes if i fan them well in a closed forge? i know there is a difference between coal and charcoal but i was still wondering.
     
  4. stevomiller

    stevomiller

    May 4, 2001
    Most smiths that use solid fuel use high grade soft coal (bitumonus), some use lump charcoal. Others use hard coke, but you need a deeper fire and continous air blast, at least in my experience. Hard coal comes next, and last would be briquette charcoal.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
  5. mitch8

    mitch8

    180
    Oct 11, 2010
    i have been told that soft coal (bituminous) is best for forging but when i google search it the minimum orders are in the thousands of metric tons. were do you guys buy? any good places in Minnesota or do i need to order on line?

    thanks, mitch
     
  6. Jason Fry

    Jason Fry KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 5, 2008
    If I remember right, Centaur Forge has a Wisconsin store and sells by the 50 pound sack. Just going from memory, though.
     
  7. K R Johnson

    K R Johnson

    851
    Nov 29, 2005
    Here you go Mitch, you are in the middle of a group of blacksmiths and bladesmiths. http://metalsmith.org/ They have a coal supply in Anoka.
     
  8. mitch8

    mitch8

    180
    Oct 11, 2010
    Thanks Keith!! And I like your work to, that lannys clip in amber stag really has a glow about it!
     
  9. mitch8

    mitch8

    180
    Oct 11, 2010
    where is this supply in anoka? i dont think im quite ready to join a guild.
     
  10. K R Johnson

    K R Johnson

    851
    Nov 29, 2005
    Not sure, contact the Guild to find that information or email me and I'll help you with contact information.
     
  11. mitch8

    mitch8

    180
    Oct 11, 2010
    alright, i sent you an email but i forgot to put a subject in so that's me in the inbox not spam.
     
  12. VaughnT

    VaughnT

    433
    Feb 7, 2010
    Heck, don't be afraid to join the guild just because you're new to the craft! That's exactly the kind of person any decent guildmember would love to see walk in the door.

    For forging, you do NOT want to use charcoal briquettes. These contain impurities that can be imparted to the steel, and they don't burn nearly as well as lump charcoal.

    If you can look around the yellow pages for coal suppliers, you're interested in metallurgical-grade coal. This is a bituminous coal that's low in sulphur. If the supplier doesn't know what type of coal they have, and some don't, look for clean burning coal in pieces about the size of a quarter. West Virginia coal like Pocahontas Vein is good stuff, but so is Blue Jim and others.
     
  13. mitch8

    mitch8

    180
    Oct 11, 2010
    thanks vaughnt thats the kind of info im looking for! and are you sure the guild wouldnt mind having a kid in the mix? im only 16 if there is any age restriction. and keith thanks again for the email.

    mitch
     
  14. Carcara

    Carcara

    143
    Dec 13, 2005
    You might try looking at blacksmithing forums,abana.org and iforgeiron.com
    There is a MN chapter of ABANA, (Artist blacksmiths association of North America)
     
  15. VaughnT

    VaughnT

    433
    Feb 7, 2010
    Mitch, no guild worth their salt is going to turn you away. They might have some legal restrictions on what you're allowed to do because of insurance purposes, but that's not nearly as big a drawback as you might imagine. Think of a guild meeting like the chance to meet many smiths in one place instead of having to travel all over the county. Once you've made some contacts and they see that you're genuinely interested, they'll open up to you even more and I wouldn't be surprised if you had invites to their personal shops to learn the skills first-hand.
     
  16. K R Johnson

    K R Johnson

    851
    Nov 29, 2005
    I am a longtime member of the Guild of Metalsmiths since about 1985 and I can assure you that you'd be very welcome. There is an excellent forging education program from beginning to advanced. Teaching is what the Guild is all about.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2012
  17. Kostoglotov

    Kostoglotov

    60
    Feb 11, 2008
    Mitch

    I highly recommend joining the Guild. Its a great group of guys that are involved in all facets of metal working. The intro to Blacksmithing classes (3 separate classes held in the late fall/winter) are worth 100 times the cost of joining the Guild. At 16 you will probably need to have a parent attend classes with you.

    Its a great way to get started there are a number of classes where you can make everything from punching tools, hammers, 2 X 72 grinders, forges, treadle hammers and tire hammers (The larger projects aren't held every year). Keith is correct that all skill sets are welcome and the members are more than willing to help someone get started.


    FYI the Coal is sold through the Minnesota School of Horseshoeing in Anoka. Joining the Guild will also get you a discount on coal (IIRC - $5 for a 5 gallon pail)
     
  18. chemistguy

    chemistguy

    308
    May 28, 2013
    where can I get coal in Ithaca, New York?
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014

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