After reading this forum over the past months I have been thirsting after some Eastern Kentucky coal. I rcently traveled up into Pa and bought some coal said to be deep-mined from the actual Pittsburgh seam near the actual city of that name. The stuff burns well and hot and must be quite high in volitols, as it gives off a carbon-y fluff (rather like what you see when burning asphalt or plastic) when first started. The flying fluff goes away after good burning heat is attained. The coal lasts well, doesn't coke-over and falls down fairly well as it burns. It's ROM and with small and large rectangular or square-ish chunks. Once broken, the interior carbon is mostly homogenous with little apparent stratification. Overall the outside of this 'Pittsburgh seam coal' has a faint dull grey-ish coloration as opposed to a pure blackish color of what I normally use. The lumps are very hard to break up by hammering, especially compared to the locally-known and so-called "Big Vein" (derivative of the same Pittsburgh seam) coal now being mined in the Georges Creek Valley hillsides around Frostburg, Md-- which is the sort of coal I've preferred burning for the past twenty-five years. Unfortunately, this locally-mined "big Vein" coal -- which is ranked as a metalurgical coal but heats and lasts well, doesn't throw-off much fluff, and even smells good on the street-- has become quite costly for some reason and what the local mines are now offering is a high-sulphur coal locally-known as "Redstone"-- which occurs in a small seam above the "big vein" and they all used to have to practically give away to get rid of it. Talk about a coking and klinker-forming coal, this "redstone" is it.
Anyway, I sort of like the deep-mine Pittsburgh coal I brought home. It does have more of an odor than the local "big vein" -- not sulfurous but I'd describe it as sort of a stink-y "burning tar" smell.
I'm now wondering if I've found something similar to the Eastern Kentucky stuff. Anyone who uses good Kentucky care to describe their stuff? Is it also high volitol? Could you describe the smell of the burning coal?
Thanks, Mdtatter in Western Maryland