Cucumber Coal

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Fender
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Cucumber Coal

Post by Fender » Sun May 02, 2021 7:53 pm

Has anyone bought coal from Bay Star Coal in Cucumber, WV lately? I had heard good things about their coal a few years ago, and bought several tons. Turned out that they had switched to a different mine, and the coal did not meet my expectations. What are they selling now?
Dan Watson

kbarnett
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Re: Cucumber Coal

Post by kbarnett » Wed May 05, 2021 10:29 am

The last batch we got from Cucumber was 2 years ago, it was good coal, no smoke, very hot, but seems to have more slate and a higher ash content than in the past.

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Fender
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Re: Cucumber Coal

Post by Fender » Wed May 05, 2021 1:41 pm

Thanks. I can deal with ash, so long as it doesn’t clinker badly. The coal I bought, frankly, didn’t burn well at all.
Dan Watson

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SteveR
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Re: Cucumber Coal

Post by SteveR » Wed May 05, 2021 10:55 pm

the coal did not meet my expectations.
What does this mean? Coal is a complicated material.
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Fender
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Re: Cucumber Coal

Post by Fender » Thu May 06, 2021 4:47 am

Steve,
It just didn’t burn well in my boiler. It acted more like anthracite than soft coal. Very little volatiles and the coal didn’t break apart in the fire.
Dan Watson

kcameron
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Re: Cucumber Coal

Post by kcameron » Thu May 06, 2021 6:41 pm

Intended use makes a big difference in which type of coal you like. When I'm blacksmithing, I like one that has a medium clumping (sticks together) as I can mound it or even make a cave of heat for some operations. I get better work if it is near anthracite but too close to anthracite it is hard to start and keep burning well. The nearer to anthracite has less ash when burnt and cleaner burning. In the loco I don't want any clumping, unless it is a very small grind when that helps it from falling through the grates. Going too far the other way from anthracite you get more smoke and I think it is a bit more acrid and bothersome to the eyes. Worst in both of my uses is stone or any non-burning material in the batch. Screening it to pick some of that out is needed sometimes.

But the biggest deciding factor for most people is what ever type of coal they can find. Lots of areas have few choices. Luckily in upstate NY we have a number of coal users ranging from blacksmiths to Amish families. Sometimes you may even find that blending sources will give you what you want.
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Fender
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Re: Cucumber Coal

Post by Fender » Thu May 06, 2021 10:16 pm

Ken,
I bought some coal about six years ago from a dealer in South Boston, VA that was just about perfect. Low smoke, little ash, hot, no clinker. But, it had been dug out of a cellar, so was a finite supply. Still trying to find the “holy grail” of coal sources.
Dan Watson

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Marty_Knox
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Re: Cucumber Coal

Post by Marty_Knox » Fri May 07, 2021 10:17 am

Dan did you get a copy of the analysis of the coal you bought? It is customary for the supplier to provide one when asked.
What you want to look at are the BTUs, the % of volatiles, and the ash fusion temperature.

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Re: Cucumber Coal

Post by Berkman » Fri May 07, 2021 10:18 am


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Bill Shields
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Re: Cucumber Coal

Post by Bill Shields » Fri May 07, 2021 2:24 pm

penncoal -> yes...frequently

generally it is quite good...but then...on occasion get something less than expectations.

happens with blaschak (which I use to heat my house)...99% of the time it is just fine...then i get a couple of bags that won't stay lit and have a bunch of slag (shale / slate)? in it.

is nature of beast
Too many things going on to bother listing them.

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Fender
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Re: Cucumber Coal

Post by Fender » Fri May 07, 2021 5:33 pm

Marty_Knox wrote:
Fri May 07, 2021 10:17 am
Dan did you get a copy of the analysis of the coal you bought? It is customary for the supplier to provide one when asked.
What you want to look at are the BTUs, the % of volatiles, and the ash fusion temperature.
Marty,
I didn’t get (nor ask for) an analysis. I was just going with the recommendation of another live steamer. I learned later they were getting their coal from a different mine.
Dan Watson

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pat1027
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Re: Cucumber Coal

Post by pat1027 » Sat May 15, 2021 2:01 pm

Berkman wrote:
Fri May 07, 2021 10:18 am
Anyone used penncoal? http://www.penncoal.com/blacksmith-live-steam.html
I bought 20 bags in 2019. What I have burned so far is comparable to other the "Pocahontas" I've burned. It tends to clump up which is desirable for black smiths. I notice clumping less with larger pieces. The clump needs to be broken up after it has started to burn. What I don't like about black smith coal is the percentage of fines. I run mine across a 1/4" hardware cloth screen and loose maybe as much as 25%.

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