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coal for raku

updated mon 31 mar 97


claudia smith on tue 4 mar 97

Has anyone used coal as a fuel in a raku firing? I would be interested in
any tips or caveats. My kiln is a circular stacked brick japanese style
charcoal setup with a saggar. I have a source for coal but would like
to know about how the temperatures of burning coal compare to charcoal, wood


Kenneth D Westfall on wed 5 mar 97

Coal should work alright, it burn hotter, but will need more air and
draft to burn than charcoal. You probably will have to add a taller
chimney to increase the draft for combustion. I have used coke with a
small blower and it work great.

Gavin Stairs on wed 5 mar 97

Hi Claudia,

I suspect the only trouble with coal is that it contains tars which tend to
distil out and which may be a problem at low raku temperatures. On the
other hand, this may be just what you want. However, if your pieces show
visible tar residue after cooling, you should be aware that coal tar
residues are toxic. If you want pure carbon markings, without the tar, try
coke (that's coal after the tar has been removed) or charcoal.