To say coal dust = gold dust may be a bit of an exaggeration, but with coal now £13 or more per 50 Kilo bag, one can ill afford to waste any of it. If you find yourself with coal dust in your coal bunker here’s a suggestion on how to make best use of it by converting the dust to briquettes. (Bear in mind that throwing dry coal dust on a fire may cause a mini explosion !)
The main problem is how to make the dust bind into a usable briquette, and to use materials that are on hand and wouldn’t therefore require additional expense. Unused wallpaper paste is one way forward, and the methodology used as follows:
Mix a quantity of wallpaper paste sufficient to fully dampen the amount of coal dust available, mix thoroughly into the coal dust, trying to achieve a thick consistency, with all the coal dust being of the same consistency. The next requirement is suitable molds – plastic plant pots are an ideal answer, especially those that you get when buying a strip of plants from a nurseryman. Put the mix into the molds and press in firmly.
All you need to do now is wait for drying out – damp coal will burn, but a much better result was obtained on an open fire with briquettes that were dry, and in order to do this they need to be turned out of whatever mold you have used after an initial period of drying. (It is going to be better to do this in the warmer months of the year if you want to dry them in the garden shed or wherever, in the winter months one risks incurring the wrath of ‘she who must be obeyed’ by leaving the drying briquettes in the warmth of the house)
Once fully dry the briquettes can be handled and won’t fall apart when placed on the fire, and may help you to stretch the Winter Fuel allowance a bit further.
Others may have found better ways – we’d be interested in hearing your comments or tips.