First I would like to thank everyone for this forum. I've learned a lot here. I'm taking over this Civil War era farmhouse on a 130 acres. It has an big old Armstrong octopus coal/wood burner and a back up oil furnace. As I am a single dad and a member of the working poor, I really want to get into coal burning. I've been experimenting with some burns but have not filled it up yet.
My nice neighbor just got 20 ton of soft coal. He brings over a scoop on the skidloader when I need it and charges me 10 bucks. Neither of us know how much that weighs but it seems like a deal. My problem is that it's too small. The original owner broke the grate in the Armstrong and had a nice stainless grate made for it, but the slots are too wide for this coal. He just burnt wood because he was retired and had time to do that. Maybe by next season I can find some stove coal for this furnace but I would like to go with what I have for now.
I can get some bags of anthracite ($5.50/40 lb.)that are big enough down the street. I was thinking about starting a burn with a nice thick layer of the anthracite and then layering on the small bit coal up to the top, thinking that the bridging of the bit coal will keep it from falling through the grate.
So what do you guys think? Dumb idea? I'm trying to save money. No cash right now. I just ordered 200 gal. of oil and that has to go on the credit card. Ouch.