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#1
Old 09-15-2006, 09:23 AM
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Where can I buy some Coal?

I thought a sack of coal would look cool by the fireplace. Is it OK to burn now-and-then and/or if the power goes out? Never minding that at one time just about everyone had a coal chute on their house, and everyone hated how coal dust ruined everything in the house, I can't find it in the yellow pages. Maybe somebody sells it "on the side"? I was always able to get dry-ice at the local Car Wash for reasons that were never entirely clear to me. Somebody mentioned I could walk along some railroad tracks but I'm not quite that motivated..
#2
Old 09-15-2006, 09:31 AM
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[Railfan] You might be a few decades too late for the railway line. Coal is still hauled as cargo rather than fuel, but not much of it falls out. However, you could try looking up the number of your local steam locomotive preservation society. They're always friendly people, and will likely be able to direct you to a supplier (though getting small amounts might not be guaranteed).[/Railfan]

Bear in mind that, while coal fires are absolutely fantastic, if you're used to wood fires, be sure to set a somewhat smaller fire at first, until you get a feel for it. Coal radiates a lot of heat, and you want your house to be habitable. Also be extremely careful with the "cold" ashes the following morning.
#3
Old 09-15-2006, 09:35 AM
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Just about any DIY store or petrol station sells sacks of coal (or coalite) around here. Is it really that rare where you are?
#4
Old 09-15-2006, 09:58 AM
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Colophon, there is not a reason in the world your average American would want or need coal so noone sells it at any average store. It's not 'rare' persay, but yeah, generally you would have no clue where to get some.

However, I have taken a sack of coal on camping trips before. Just head on over to your local Farm, Tractor, Feed, and Supply store. Um... you do know where your local Farm Supply store is don't you Actually, I'm not sure where you are located, but you are bound to have one nearyby somewhere. Its just a matter of finding it.
#5
Old 09-15-2006, 10:10 AM
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Calling Una, calling Una....

Trains use diesel mostly now, hardly ever coal.
#6
Old 09-15-2006, 10:23 AM
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Geez, ever though of using the INTRAWEB for that?

Exhibit A

Of course that's just a little bag for model railroaders.

Here's what you really need:

2400 lbs of Anthracite for $285.00!
#7
Old 09-15-2006, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by An Arky
Geez, ever though of using the INTRAWEB for that?

Exhibit A

Of course that's just a little bag for model railroaders.

Here's what you really need:

2400 lbs of Anthracite for $285.00!
Dad said that gramps used to buy something called Canel coal for the house, which was more expensive but burned more efficient. Probably some geological coal oddity?
#8
Old 09-15-2006, 10:52 AM
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Wikipedia

Says it has a lot of hydrogen, so it burns brightly, but it isn't so good for heating; it's best suited for making gas.
#9
Old 09-15-2006, 11:29 AM
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How much coal do you want? If you want a few tens of millions* of tons, you might want to get in touch with these guys, who probably handle and sell as much coal as anyone does.

*But for 100,000,000 tons, you might need a delivery schedule speading over a few years: they handle about 90,000,000 tons each year.
#10
Old 09-15-2006, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StinkyBurrito
Colophon, there is not a reason in the world your average American would want or need coal so noone sells it at any average store. It's not 'rare' persay, but yeah, generally you would have no clue where to get some.
Actually, I'm not sure that's true. Many people own fishtanks and buy bituminous carbon for filtering. A small "sackful" of this coal sells at most pet stores for about $10. You can buy it online, too... just search "bituminous carbon".

It might not have the energy content of anthracite, but still burnable according to Wikipedia.
#11
Old 09-15-2006, 12:44 PM
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Try a fireplace/hearth store, especially one that sells coal or woodburing stoves. Typically you have to buy coal by the ton, but it shouldn't be that hard to wheedle a 40-lb bag out of a store for, say, $20 (expensive, but they're doing you a favor).

I grew up in the country, and although we used oil as the furnace fuel, my dad would get a coalpile out in the barn for use in a couple stoves around the house. A couple of nuggets about the size of a softball would heat a 15x15 room quite nicely for a couple of hours, but man was the stuff dirty (just handling it makes your fingers black, and when burned there's much more soot than wood). My brother would go out to the barn to fill the coal bucket, and was black from head to foot when he returned; you'd have thought he rolled around in it...
#12
Old 09-15-2006, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Controvert
Actually, I'm not sure that's true. Many people own fishtanks and buy bituminous carbon for filtering. A small "sackful" of this coal sells at most pet stores for about $10. You can buy it online, too... just search "bituminous carbon".

It might not have the energy content of anthracite, but still burnable according to Wikipedia.
That's activated charcoal. Bituminous coal is oily and would likely poison the fish.

You can find coal along railway lines, if you live near a coal burning power plant.

You can also get coal at excursion steam locomotive parks, such as Cass Scenic Rail Road in Cass W. Va.
#13
Old 09-15-2006, 02:13 PM
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A quick look into my area's Yellow Pages shows Fairclough-Strand Fuel Co with 120 Years of Service. They are located in Paterson, NJ and their phone is
973-742-2227
#14
Old 09-15-2006, 04:05 PM
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Yep, try a fuel distributor. Depends where you live. In the frozen North, you can still buy coal because some stoves are dual purpose and will allow burning coal. If you're down South, there's probably not as much call for it.
#15
Old 09-15-2006, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Controvert
Actually, I'm not sure that's true. Many people own fishtanks and buy bituminous carbon for filtering. A small "sackful" of this coal sells at most pet stores for about $10. You can buy it online, too... just search "bituminous carbon".

It might not have the energy content of anthracite, but still burnable according to Wikipedia.
"Honey, the fire is getting low. Throw a few more fish filters on it"
#16
Old 09-15-2006, 08:24 PM
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IANA expert. However, I do STR that there are issues about chimney cleaning after burning coal that you may need to consider. You really need an expert to cover the issue of which kind of coal you'd want for the purpose, and what other issues you need to consider.

If you do it, I think you'd want to make sure that whatever you get isn't dusty, even if you never burn it. The house I lived in as a little girl had a coal "forced air" (as opposed to steam heat) furnace, and even with filters, there would be some coal dust in the house. Burning it in an open fireplace would be likely to deposit a certain amount, even with the very best quality. Any white or light-colored fabrics or rugs would be most visibly affected.
#17
Old 09-15-2006, 08:34 PM
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I'm going on college visits and at least one I've seen has its own power plant with piles of coal all over the place. You could probably buy some from them. Or just take it, though that's not the most upstanding-citizen thing to do...
#18
Old 09-15-2006, 09:15 PM
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Come visit. You can get coal, and while you're here, tour America's oldest brewery. (Yuengling)

I live near what is believed to be the largest vein of anthracite on the planet. It's called the Mammoth Vein, and is still being mined something like 100 years after its discovery. You would not believe what the mining of anthracite has done to the beautiful state of Pennsylvania. We've got some BIG holes in the landscape. My father-in-law has a solid anthracite "rock" in his front yard which weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of half a ton. It's there for decorative purposes. No, I'm not kidding. I guess there are some who would see it as pretty. It is so black and shiny

Oh yeah, don't burn it in a fireplace. It wouldn't work right for reasons my sleepy husband is not quite explaining. I guess something to do with air currents being able to get under the burning coal. I don't know. I'm such a girl. And I don't want you to burn your house down

Lots and lots of people in this area still burn coal for home heating. In fact, there's been a resurgence in it's use recently due to the high cost of home heating oil. People are buying coal stoves to supplement. We do not burn it in our house, thank Og, as I would not be willing to deal with the icky mess and hauling of ashes. The ashes do make some ass-kicking nonskid material for icy sidewalks and such.
#19
Old 09-15-2006, 09:23 PM
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Location: Sydney, Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WishIHadACoolName
Oh yeah, don't burn it in a fireplace. It wouldn't work right for reasons my sleepy husband is not quite explaining. I guess something to do with air currents being able to get under the burning coal. I don't know. I'm such a girl. And I don't want you to burn your house down.
Yeah. I'm not sure about how to go about this. My experience is from living in a cold climate town in a coal mining area, and the buildings had small fireplaces designed to burn coal (there are about half to two-thirds the size of a normal fireplace). The coal burned well there, provided wonderful heating, and although the process of cleaning the ash out of the grate was messy, there were no problems I recall with coal dust infiltrating the rest of the building. We used to occasionally build a coal fire and put a big stump of heavy yellow box wood on top of it, and that was a lovely fire. A great thing with coal fires is the ability to easily "put them to sleep" by shovelling ash over the embers, and in the morning, you just stir up the whole shebang with a poker and then pile on some more coal, and away you go.

For a wood fireplace, I reckon you can still try it, but keep the coal fire small and loose, and pay careful attention to the positioning in regards to the airflow up the flue. Should be okay. Definitely worth a shot. But be open to trying a combined coal/wood fire. They're lovely.
#20
Old 09-16-2006, 11:45 AM
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If you want to move into a really obscure home heating fuel (obscure in the U.S., anyway), order yourself some peat bricks.

http://addedtouchstore.com/prodi...p?number=2075U
#21
Old 09-16-2006, 11:59 AM
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Fireplace supply store.

I was under the impression that coal should be burned in a coal-burning stove, not on an open hearth. My parents heated with anthracite for a few years, in their special coal stove, not in the fireplace. Burning anthracite, even in a contained stove, generates a fair amount of coal dust and, unless you get the temp and airflow just right, big clinkers that dustily collapse when you try to remove them from the stove.

I once lived in an apartment with a freestanding wood stove and my lease specified that I not attempt to burn coal in it.
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