Hello.....my name is George and I'm brand new on this forum. After poking (lurking) around for a couple of days, I decided the folks on here are my kind of people! Although I'm in the worst place possible for using coal.....the politically correct west coast....I'm in a rural area and seriously considering coal heat for my 18' x 24' shop. I have a original cannon heater from a caboose stored away that must weigh close to 300 lbs. and I swear, the walls on that thing must be close to an inch thick! The shaker grate is in good shape, in fact the only real defect is a couple of holes that were drilled through the rear for the installation of a water coil. Those were filled with ceramic stove putty and I used wood in the stove for one season. Although it heated, the firebox was FAR too small to hold enough fuel for long periods. No, this critter was designed to burn coal.
Since discovering this website, I did some looking around and found that TSC supplies bagged "Kimmel" anthracite and I see that it's been discussed on here several times. The closest store that has it is in Reno, Nevada about 180 miles from me, so my trailer will be necessary for a decent load.
Judging by some comparisons I've seen, wood heat vs. coal is almost a wash cost wise so it would seem to be silly to use coal. There's another aspect though and that's storage/burn times. The same amount of btu's for wood translates to a large storage area compared to a pallet of bags. As for burn times, I have to toss wood in my current shop stove several times during an eight hour period and I suspect this cannon heater will hold enough coal to reduce that considerably.
Anyway, howdy to everyone and I look forward to picking up useful information from everyone! I'll try to ask intelligent questions.....