Real charcoal, on the other hand, works quite well and is quite a clean
fuel. But he's right about the low density. Charcoal is a good fuel
pound for pound, but those pounds take up far more space than when the
carbon is in the form of coal. More space on your forge, more space in
your truck if you have to haul it in from somewhere. Also, it throws
sparks and hollows out really fast, which you have to learn to fill in
more often than you would with coal.
Storage is not too much of a problem, though--weather won't hurt it. It's
expensive if you have to buy it. It lights wonderfully easily, and a
handful of charcoal will bring back a fire you thought was going to die,
or keep a fire banked nicely if you want lunch.
IMHO charcoal is really great if you have lots of scrap wood available,
especially if it's already in pieces and doesn't need cutting. It's easy
to make yourself, and it's the only _free_ fuel most of us have available.
It's also the authentic fuel for the first two thousand years of the Iron
Age, so it's educational for us to experience and of course appropriate
for a lot of reenactors or museum demonstrators.
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