Suitable charcoal

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Llongfordrailway

Llongfordrailway

Edrig, Little John, Ruby, Ffion and Coal Fowler
17 Nov 2013
330
0
Lancashire
Hello all!

I was donated a large jar of charcoal by an old friend which was too small for his engine but ideal for our 16mm locos. I've unfortunately run out and my friend cannot recall where he got the charcoal from originally. It came in small "chips" which were the perfect size. I tried to steam my engine up over the weekend using wood soaked in paraffin but it didn't burn well at all and I couldn't get steam up as it burn so badly the coal couldn't catch. I've got some old charcoal lumps for the bbq and tried breaking it up tonight. It was a huge mess and the charcoal was more a crumble than "chips" and it made more mess than suitable size lumps.

Where do you get your charcoal from? Or do you beak it up and have any tips on how I can do it more successfully!!!

Many thanks

Daniel
 
G

green park

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25 Sep 2013
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i use "lumpwood" bbq charcoal from our local hardware shop and break it down with a hammer. i use the ball end of hammer and there is not too much wastage. previous owner recommended lumpwood and i had never heard of it before but the guy in the shop new exactly what i needed. got a sack of it for a few quid, last me for ages, same as the coal. keep it in a jar with paraffin. now and again, its handy to pop a lump on to draw up the fire if you are losing it after putting on too much coal. martin....
 
Llongfordrailway

Llongfordrailway

Edrig, Little John, Ruby, Ffion and Coal Fowler
17 Nov 2013
330
0
Lancashire
Thanks for that Martin! I'm clearly going wrong on both fronts! I was using briquettes and a normal flat hammer. Lumpwood charcoal and a round headed hammer now ordered.

Thanks for your help

Daniel
 
Rhos Helyg Loco Works

Rhos Helyg Loco Works

Registered
Have you Googled for "charcoal suppliers" and asked if they supply charcoal flakes for model steam engines? I think you will find that they know exactly what you are looking for...
 
Llongfordrailway

Llongfordrailway

Edrig, Little John, Ruby, Ffion and Coal Fowler
17 Nov 2013
330
0
Lancashire
I didn't surprisingly enough. I have had bad experiences when approaching mainstream shops and explaining our hobby. Only a few weeks ago, I had to post a parcel and they asked me what I was sending for security purposes. The look on the woman's face when I explained it was a garden railway coal wagon. She simply replied in a strong Yorkshire accent "so no electrical then?" hahaha.

I've ordered some lump wood charcoal now and a small ball headed hammer. I'll hopefully have better luck with this.

Maybe the charcoal I had before were flakes as they didnt appear to be crushed but were the perfect size. My friend hasn't crushed them but purchased them. I'll try flakes in the future.

Regards

Daniel
 
Steam Hostler

Steam Hostler

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30 May 2019
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Colorado
I've almost completed the build of a DJB Robert kit here in the USA, and have been searching for the proper fuels to burn in her. Ive located Welch coal in the proper size to burn in these tiny fireboxes, but finding "flake" charcoal on this side of the pond is impossible. From looking at Google pictures of Flake charcoal it seems that coconut shells is the major producer of Flake charcoal.

I found out that over here the small chip charcoal is marketed as "Horticultural Charcoal" found on Amazon. Used mostly for sweetening the soil in Terrariums and Succulent pottings.
Most common sold is the 24 oz. bag of hardwood charcoal chips at 1/2" diameter pieces from several vendors with prices from $5.50 to $16.80 each bag.
Hope it works, as lighting off anthracite or Welch coal requires a lot of heat.
 
tac foley

tac foley

Registered
11 Apr 2017
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354
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Near Huntingdon, UK
Re Charcoal - Jason Kovacs might have an answer for you. It's hard enough to find good stuff over here in UK, where there are many little coal-fired locos like yours. We've one such paragon of the charcoalmongers' trade here in UK in the person of Chris Moody, he of Loco-box fame. Luckily for me, my home is on a major route to most anywhere in the UK, and he takes pity on my ade olge and infirmnesshood to drop stuff off on his way to elsewhere.
 
Last edited:
400Parker

400Parker

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18 Nov 2013
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Horticultural charcoal is the way to go. You can get it in the UK from the Dorset Charcoal Company. And if you explain what it's for, Jim may filter out the finer bits and leave you with reasonable sized pieces.
Don't forget to give the charcoal a good soaking in paraffin (kerosene in the USA, I believe) and then drain off the excess. You don't want it too wet and you don't want burning paraffin dripping down onto your track.
Steve
 
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