Coal Bin

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Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
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Post Wed. Jul. 04, 2007 7:44 am

I am new to this group but have been burning coal as my main heat (here in Massachusetts) for almost 30 years. I have a Harman stove (my 3rd stove) & burn anthracite nut coal. I have always bought bagged coal but am now considering building an outdoor bin large enough to hold 2 tons so that I can have it delivered bulk. I cant seem to find much available info on the net as far as plans for a bin, ideas, etc.. Anyone where I can look?


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Post Wed. Jul. 04, 2007 8:31 am

Hello Richard, welcome to the forum Here is a link to a thread on this site that has many photos of coal bins:


Because every house, basement, garage, yard etc is different, virtually every coal bin will be different. Here are some general cautions and idea:

A ton of coal is about 40 cubic fee

Put a solid waterproof floor in the bin. The coal often comes wet, and you don't want the floor rotting or getting muddy.

The solid floor is so you can shovel off the floor without picking up dirt, mud, gravel, wood splinters etc.

Brace the sides to be strong enough to not swell or bow out from the coal pushing from the inside. Coal is pretty slippery, and constantly exerts a lot of force on side walls.

Make some kind of variable height doorway so you can fill the bin, [doorway top high] and still access the coal and floor of the bin as the coal is used [doorway low]. A frequently used idea is to make the doorway a vertical slot filled with sections of 2x6 or 2x10. Just remove each board as the coal level drops to provide easy access to the coal.

Materials can be plywood with 2x4 and 4x4 bracing, pressure treated plywood is best for the bottom, or concrete block on a concrete floor, and any combination of standard building materials

If you put the coal bin outside, make sure you have a roof or cover on it to keep the rain/snow off the coal, it will freeze into a solid lump and be very difficult to get out of the bin.

Hope this helps, take a look at the above link.

Greg L.


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Post Fri. Jul. 27, 2007 10:41 pm

I have built two bins which I keep outside (sorry no pics) but I built them on skids using the skid as support for the bottom. Screwed sides to the skids, reinforced the corners with old 2x4's and put a sheet of plywood on to with hinges. Maybe cost me $25.00 each and most of that cost was for the hinges and the paint. I keep 1000 pounds in each and rotate to keep fresh stock.
Also, the units are light enough when empty so I can turn them over and empty out the dust at the end of the season - I just take that back to my burn pile when I clean up the yard at the end of the season.
Remember to allow for water drainage in the bottom so the skids do not rot and use oak skids - red oak is best - do not use poplar - it starts rotting if you just look at it.

Woodburner - but also a coal burner

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