How Do You Start a Coal Fire in a Outdoor Fire Pit?

General energy and coal related topics, news and basic information. If you do not know where to post your topic post it here.
Post Reply
GreenhornCoalLover
New Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat. Jun. 23, 2007 10:20 pm

Post Sat. Jun. 23, 2007 10:26 pm

we have a outdor fire pit on wheels. It stands adout four feet tall. I have fitted it with two air nozels on the bottom and have hooked them up to an air compressor. I tried to start a coal fire in this by first lighting paper, then kindling, then pieces of hardwood, and then small pieces of coal. the coal wouldn't light it only got hot and changed colors. What should I do? How do I start a coal fire?

User avatar
Richard S.
Mayor
Posts: 12710
Joined: Fri. Oct. 01, 2004 8:35 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite
Location: NEPA

Post Sat. Jun. 23, 2007 11:37 pm

Are you trying to cook over a open coal flame? Not sure if that's such a good idea, possible health issues aside I'd imagine it would make everthing taste quite bad.

Anyhow are you using a grate? Can you post some pictures?
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

- Albert Einstein

GreenhornCoalLover
New Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat. Jun. 23, 2007 10:20 pm

Post Sun. Jun. 24, 2007 11:08 am

not cooking over the coal. we are trying to melt metal in a crucible we have. the pit is hexogon shaped and has the two air jets on the bottom and the grate is on top of those with a two inch gap in between the bottom and the grate. we put the coal on the grate and tried to light it but it wouldn't work whats wrong?

User avatar
Duengeon master
Member
Posts: 1944
Joined: Sun. May. 06, 2007 7:32 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harmon Mark III
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite pea and nut mix. Bituminous lump
Location: Penndel, Pa.

Post Sun. Jun. 24, 2007 11:55 am

GreenhornCoalLover wrote:not cooking over the coal. we are trying to melt metal in a crucible we have. the pit is hexogon shaped and has the two air jets on the bottom and the grate is on top of those with a two inch gap in between the bottom and the grate. we put the coal on the grate and tried to light it but it wouldn't work whats wrong?
Hi greenhorn, welcome to the forum. what type of coal are you using? I would recomend bituminous to use in a forge. it will easily light with paper and kindling as you described. Depending on where you live, the local coal man may have blacksmith coal [bituminous]. I have tried to light anthracite that way unsucessfully. It needs a closed area such as a stove to keep the heat in. Bit. will readily burn in your pit. :onfire:

GreenhornCoalLover
New Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat. Jun. 23, 2007 10:20 pm

Post Sun. Jun. 24, 2007 3:08 pm

I'm using anthracite, I live in illinois and can easly get bituminous coal


User avatar
LsFarm
Member
Posts: 7385
Joined: Sun. Nov. 20, 2005 8:02 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland
Location: Michigan

Post Sun. Jun. 24, 2007 8:38 pm

Unlike charcoal, blacksmith coal, or bituminous, anthracite will not burn as an individual lump or in a single thickness layer. Anthracite needs the radiant heat from neighboring coal pieces on all sides to burn. I've tried taking a shovel-full of red-hot athracite from one fire to start another and never been sucessfull, the shovel-full of coal always goes out.

But an individual piece of bituminous coal will burn like a piece of wood, especially if you blow air on it. I'd dry some bituminous to heat your crucible.

Hope this helps, Greg L.
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

GreenhornCoalLover
New Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat. Jun. 23, 2007 10:20 pm

Post Mon. Jun. 25, 2007 11:08 am

I'm going to buy bit coal and try it to see if it can get the anthracite coal going so I can heat the crucible

User avatar
coaledsweat
Site Moderator
Posts: 9825
Joined: Fri. Oct. 27, 2006 2:05 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea
Location: Guilford, Connecticut

Post Mon. Jun. 25, 2007 11:41 am

Kindeling will not start an anthracite fire, you will need a mature wood fire with mostly coals (the burning wood kind). Start by adding the anthracite a little at a time, once lit add a little more every 10-15 minutes until you get the size your looking for. Do not completly cover the burning coal as you add new, it may smother it, anthracite wants to burn top to bottom. It will need to be a deep bed once it is going (about 8-10") and totally encapsulsted from the sides. It absolutley will only burn unless the draft comes from the bottom (with anthracite, all the air MUST come from below), a forced draft would be better (light easier and burn much hotter). If it isn't too big a hair dryer would work. Once lit with a forced draft, you will be melting plenty with anthracite.
The problem I see is it will be a one shot deal for you without a shaker grate. You will not be able to maintain the fire for long periods without it. But you should have a fire for many hours of smelting pleasure. :twisted:

User avatar
Gary in Pennsylvania
Member
Posts: 208
Joined: Sun. Mar. 12, 2006 2:59 pm

Post Thu. Aug. 30, 2007 4:35 pm

LsFarm wrote:Unlike charcoal, blacksmith coal, or bituminous, anthracite will not burn as an individual lump or in a single thickness layer. Anthracite needs the radiant heat from neighboring coal pieces on all sides to burn. I've tried taking a shovel-full of red-hot anthracite from one fire to start another and never been successful; the shovel-full of coal always goes out.
Hmmmm....

I own a parcel of land adjacent to my home (not the piece I'm talking about in my OT tractor thread) and I spent this summer thinning it out of trees and brush.
I've got the 'ole burn barrel in there and I am burning all the branches etc. instead of renting a chipper.

All summer long I've contemplated this thought.....
I'd like to get a thick bed of white hot wood (I do burn smaller 6" logs) coals in the bottom of that barrel and then dump half a bag of nut on it. I have one single bag of coal left over from last season and this notion of tossing it in the barrel is killing me! I wanna try! But I was afraid what may happen if it actually caught?!? I can get the fire in that barrel RAGING. It's fed air well through vent holes all up and down the sides. If the coal really caught....I’m afraid that it may melt the damn can!

I dunno. Whaddaya think???
Gary in Pennsylvania
******
Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they are yours (Richard Bach)

No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent - ER

User avatar
e.alleg
Member
Posts: 1285
Joined: Fri. Feb. 16, 2007 10:31 am
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 520
Location: western ny

Post Sat. Sep. 01, 2007 12:10 am

I had a pail full of anthracite mixed with junk from the bottom of a coal bin, I was afraid to use it in my stoker so I threw it in my burn barrel just like you suggested. It sounded like sizzling bacon for a second, then the barrel got hotter. Normally it gets reddish, this time it was almost see-through and started to spark but didn't melt at all. My burn barrel has holes in the bottom and along the bottom sides for air and sets on a cinder block foundation.


User avatar
Duengeon master
Member
Posts: 1944
Joined: Sun. May. 06, 2007 7:32 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harmon Mark III
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite pea and nut mix. Bituminous lump
Location: Penndel, Pa.

Post Sat. Sep. 01, 2007 2:32 pm

I've tried to burn anthracite that way once. about half of it burned. It looked like a fire that went out halfway through the burn, part ash part coal. e.alleg had it right you need holes on the bottom. If you throw more wood on top the ashes will smother the anthracite. at least it did for me :|

Islander
Member
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun. Aug. 27, 2006 9:42 am
Location: Cape Cod

Post Mon. Sep. 03, 2007 10:04 am

You don't need coal to melt the burn barrel. All you need is a 6' piece of metal pipe, and a leaf blower. :)

It takes 2 men to feed an open wood fire with a leaf blower.

User avatar
Yanche
Member
Posts: 3032
Joined: Fri. Dec. 23, 2005 12:45 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea
Location: Sykesville, Maryland

Post Mon. Sep. 03, 2007 10:20 pm

How do you get to a broken water pipe in frozen earth? Dump a good amount of coal above it and set it burning. A leaf blower will provide the combustion air to get it going. Within 24 hours the ground will no longer be frozen. Much safer than the propane technique. A open 100 lb propane tank feeding a concrete pipe covered with sand. Like a huge blow torch over the frozen earth.
Yanche
Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Stoker Boiler burning Anthracite Pea Coal

User avatar
Gary in Pennsylvania
Member
Posts: 208
Joined: Sun. Mar. 12, 2006 2:59 pm

Post Tue. Sep. 04, 2007 6:55 am

Islander wrote:You don't need coal to melt the burn barrel. All you need is a 6' piece of metal pipe, and a leaf blower. :)

It takes 2 men to feed an open wood fire with a leaf blower.
:rofl:

That cracks me up!

Gary in Pennsylvania
Gary in Pennsylvania
******
Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they are yours (Richard Bach)

No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent - ER

Post Reply

Return to “Coal News & General Coal Discussions”