If you are just starting out in hobby blacksmithing you will need a good fuel. A fuel that provides enough heat to really get the metal glowing.
Gas is great but expensive. Not only do you need to buy the gas but the tanks and valves, etc.
Coal of the right type is difficult to find and if you do is also expensive.
Coke is also a hard find.
Originally, the best fuel for metal casting and for forges to get metal to working condition was lump charcoal. Yup, that stuff that is left behind when a big fire is smothered out. Those large leftover black lumps are worth their weight in gold - well almost.
Lump charcoal is still a great choice.
However, have you priced good 'lump' charcoal lately? It's from $10.00 - $25.00 + depending on bag size.
Do you really want to burn $10.00 - $25.00 + to try your hand at getting a piece of red hot steel deformed?
If you have a Weber charcoal grill, or almost any charcoal grill that has a good lid, that is, a lid that has air flow restriction controls good enough to shut off the air, then charcoal making is a good alternative to buying it.
It is very easy to make and takes very little time.
Lump charcoal is what you want for blacksmithing. Don't but those briquets.
Preferably lump charcoal made from hardwood.
If you do any amount of greenwood woodworking then you will have some unusable wood scraps that can be made into lump charcoal.
What's better than using your wood waste, relaxing a bit with a beer or two and getting some great lump charcoal in return?
Charcoal Grill with lid
Wood pieces of various sizes that fit into grill.
First order of business is to get a decent fire going with the smallest pieces of wood then layer on the pieces that you want to be finished lump charcoal.
The Weber all loaded up after the fire base has been started.
Get the pile to light up and start a good burn.
The fire has started. We want the whole pile to be burning.
Once it is burning briskly we are on the right track. Sit back and have a beer - or the second one.
A beautiful fire - evenly distributed.
What we are after now is for the flames to be almost gone and the wood to have a gray ash coating.
Nice gray ash on the wood and the flames are just about where we want them to be.
When the flames are almost gone put on the cover and close the vents - lid and base bottom - so no air gets to the fire.
The Weber has vent holes on the top and on the bottom.
Both locations are now closed.
Now you just leave it alone.
Wait until tomorrow and this is what you should find.
The next day - beautiful small lump charcoal pieces.
The lumps should all be cooked all the way through.