Brown Bagging Fines

General topics about using bituminous coal for residential and commercial heating. Pros, cons, and where to get it.
bja105
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Post Sun. May. 22, 2011 9:15 am

Anybody load brown paper shopping bags with coal and burn it like a log? My coal has lots of fines, and is a bit sticky, I figure this will work. Any comments?


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cokehead
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Post Sun. May. 22, 2011 10:00 am

I have found that fines choke a fire. The only way I have found to burn them is to sprinkle small amounts on an established fire with good coal but if you add to much you screw it up. I found it wasn't worth the trouble and have accumulated a few hundred pounds of fines myself and I'm hoping someone with a stoker can use them but I doubt they would want them either unless they were disparate. Unless someone else has a good idea I consider them garbage.
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Short Bus
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Post Sun. May. 22, 2011 3:19 pm

I would put them in brown paper lunch sacks, and toss them on top of hot fires.
Not really worth the effort.
If it was as easy as burning oil, everybody would be burning coal.
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VigIIPeaBurner
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Post Sun. May. 22, 2011 8:27 pm

baja105, what are you trying to burn the finea in? I had a few tons of bottom-of-the-bin-freebies which always seem to have more than the ususal fines just because of what it was. I didn't waste a bit of it, the top loading batch burner I run handeled them well. If they seemed capable of choking off the mother fire, I just ran the poker down through to the grates to provide air passages up through the load. I don't know how easy this manuver is for a front loader. Do you always take coal from the bottom of the bin? They get mixed in and not usually so concentrated going at it from the bottom of the pile.
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Berlin
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Post Sun. May. 22, 2011 9:27 pm

better yet, find a new coal supplier. use the fines for the garden or the lawn (adds carbon to the soil). If you're in western PA, look at the coal sources page and look for valier coalyard. Get the biggest size they carry which they call "oversize" and stop playing with the fines.
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bja105
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Post Sun. May. 22, 2011 11:33 pm

I'm not far from Vallier, but the coal I'm burning is special, in that it was mined at our farm. Its got plenty of fines because it has been handled a few times, and has spent 15 years in a pile outside. Its free, so it doesn't really matter if I waste it. We have free gas and lots of firewood, so its just being burnt for fun. It will be burned in my Riteway 37 when I decide where I'm going to put it. The last year I burned in a Vogelzang Boxwood stove with a grate added. The Vogelzang heated well enough for my purpose, but with no ash pan, it was messy.

We still have lots of coal in shallow veins on the farm, and I've been thinking of taking my wheelbarrow and shovel to the woods and going after it, for fun. The man Dad bought the farm from 40 years ago auger mined coal, then hauled it with a six horse team 60 miles to Pittsburgh where he sold it for home heating, by the bushel basket on a street corner. On the return trip, he would bring steel gas well casing. Seemed funny to me that Dad was a trucker, a steel hauler, and the farm';s prior owner was a teamster when teamster meant someone who drove a team.

We took a walk through the woods today, 2 miles with my wife and four kids, ages 9, 4, 2, and 10 months. We must have passed a ton of coal in chunks on the trails. Its everywhere, and has been mined (deep, auger, and stripped) for a long time.

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Post Sun. May. 22, 2011 11:45 pm

When I saw this title, I thought your were a MA resident that paid a fine for brown bagging! :lol: :drunk:
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freetown fred
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Post Mon. May. 23, 2011 12:21 am

:clap: toothy
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Poconoeagle
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Post Mon. May. 23, 2011 8:18 am

SMITTY wrote:When I saw this title, I thought your were a MA resident that paid a fine for brown bagging! :lol: :drunk:
ha ha me too!! I thought thier out of thier minds for fine's for people bring lunch to school... :shock: 8-)

My uncle sits in his garage and cuts open road flare's and mixes it with fines and dry sawdust and packs it in empty irish spring soap boxes then shoves a large fuse from the fireworks store in it and makes homeade stoker starters for the new alaska......

something to do at 75....... :)
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Post Mon. May. 23, 2011 8:17 pm

bja105 wrote:We have free gas
Gas well?
bja105 wrote:We must have passed a ton of coal in chunks on the trails. Its everywhere
Just pick up the good stuff then. :)
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rberq
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Post Tue. May. 24, 2011 8:26 pm

Berlin wrote:use the fines for the garden or the lawn (adds carbon to the soil).
Soil needs carbon???
Simple answers for simple minds.

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freetown fred
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Post Tue. May. 24, 2011 8:50 pm

not sure if it needs it--but it's a good filler for ruts, etc. & doesn't hurt anything--cheaper then top soil ;)
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Berlin
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Post Tue. May. 24, 2011 8:53 pm

apparently; farmers buy fines from coalyards throughout the country to spread on their fields, and that's reason they gave me. I'm not sure if it's true, or if it helps anything, but many thousands of tons of coal fines are spread on farm fields regularly. My thoughts are that it might help by putting trace elements back into the soil or even help soils that are too alkaline, but those aren't the reasons I was given. As fred mentioned, it's a lot cheaper than top soil etc. Bituminous coal fines can be had for as little as $20/ton.
Burning western Pennsylvania Bituminous in WNY using model 77 stoker furnace. BITUMINOUS equiptment: 2 hand fired stoves of my own design, Many Combustioneer Model 77 stokers, stokermatic furnace, Many Will-Burt stokers, & and Two Iron firemen.

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Post Tue. May. 24, 2011 10:32 pm

I've burnt fines, bagged and rolled up in brown grocery bags.. but the fines tend to melt and stick together, at least my coal did.. so I had to go in with a
poker and break up the 'log' once the bag burnt away.. otherwise the 'log' wouldn't burn fully. No oxygen got to the coal, it acted like a single chunk and wouldn't burn well.

also, my fire box was large: 22x24" and 10" deep.. so a rolled up grocery bag was not able to fill up all the space,, beware if your firebox is small to not
'fill' it with a paper bag of slow burning fines.

If you need to burn 'em, you can but not really worth the time, but for an experiment, it is interesting.

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?

bja105
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Post Tue. May. 24, 2011 10:52 pm

I like the idea of using it as fertilizer. I have a garden, and two hay fields and some corn. I could try a small scale experiment in the hay. I need to do more research.


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