I had a dilemma....After only 2 months of schlepping 50 pound bags of rice coal from my garage, across 1/2 the back yard, down my hatchway, and to the front of the basement near my stove, I had it! My poor, 62 year old back wanted an easier solution! I got my stove in February, and I knew I had to come up with a better idea.
In looking at the great coal bins in this thread, I considered what I wanted to do. Yea, I'd like to build a 5-6 ton size bin near my stove and have loose rice coal dumped in from a hi-boy coal truck. But the only option was to put it in the other front corner of my basement, necessitating a back-up across my front yard for the coal truck. I also had to find someone who could/would deliver loose coal in the Springfield MA area, as well.
So, I decided on a mini-bin in the same corner as my stove! It's also the corner of the house closest to the front of my 1 car detached garage (the bags are in the rear of the garage), and would make for easy access. I've been a faithful follower of "This Old House" on PBS and have built a couple of projects in the past 20 years or so, so I figured I could do this. I planned on something akin to the old railroad coaling towers from the steam locomotive days, where the steam engine would drive under the coal tower and the coal would drop directly into the tender. In my case, a 5 gallon "Homer" bucket from Home Depot and thence to my Alaska Channing III.
Unfortunately, that corner of my house is 'home' to a 200 amp circuit breaker box (and main lead into the house), an outside water faucet, my telephone junction box with DSL "home run" attached, a GFI protected outlet, and grounding wires for my telephone and electrical service. But as it's the wall with the chimney from the former oil furnace and fireplace above, I didn't have a choice.
I'll let the pictures do most of the talking from here on.
I didn't expect the cinder blocks of the wall to break up so easily from using a 10 pound sledge hammer! I wound up using about 140# of cement to fill the hole after putting in the 4" PVC pipe!!!
I figured the area would become a muddy mess during the winter, so I put down a dozen foot-square patio stones before putting down the legs of the funnel.
Although not obvious in the picture, there is no left side on this thing. I still have access to my hose faucet (only with doing some contortions, however).
Yes, it's lag bolted to the wall with 15 3/8" x 4" lag screws! And yes, it's over-built, too! But I had some used 2x4s and plywood at hand, and it's easier to work with 2x4s than something smaller. All framing joints are attached with Liquid Nails and 4" long screws. Having diligently watched "This Old House" for many years, I even tried my hand at a couple of lap joints!
I used the cheapest caulk I could find at Home Depot ($2.95 a tube, as I recall) to caulk all the joints to the outside of the bin. My goal was to have ZERO coal dust in the air when I poured coal in from the outside. I used caulk to seal a couple of gaps here and there, including where the PVC pipe comes into the side of the bin, as well. The caulking did the job. There is no dust cloud, even after pouring in the coal.
Looks like "Plan A" didn't do so well!!!!
I had two problems! First was coal spilling over the sides of the bucket (caused by not putting the bucket far enough in under the bin, which, was caused by putting the center support leg of the bin too far forward to allow the bucket further back!). And, the metal slide door closed with difficulty on my first bucket of test coal (100 pounds poured in), and by the end of the 3rd and last bucket of the 100# test, wouldn't close completely!
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Last edited by Bratkinson
on Sun Oct 18, 2009 10:13 pm, edited 5 times in total.