Water and coke

I've run across stuff that seems to say that water is helpful in the coking process, but it was a little heavy on the particulars of the
chemistry and I got lost in it.
Can it be explained in somewhat less technical terms for the layman?
--

Carl "haven't studied chemistry in 33 years" West
http://prospecthillforge.com : The Blacksmithing Classroom
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Carl West wrote:

The coal we were getting was screenings and fines. If you dumped a shovel full on the fire, it would bugger off in all directions from the air blast.
Water kept it stuck together until it coked and fused.
That's as far as I ever looked into it.
Never heard of any chemical reactions, just that it was easier to get a glob of mud to sit where you put it.
If you have a link, though, I'd probably read it until they lost me with long winded explanations....:-)
Cheers Trevor Jones
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wrote:

Way back when I was much younger we had a forge. I was taught to start it off by loading it up with coal and starting a fire. Once the coal got burning you doused all but the center with water to put the fire out. When the smoke stopped the forge was ready for use. Frankly, when I learned all that I didn't know what was happening, just wanted a fire to forge a knife, but I think now that it was really a method of coking the coal.
I don't even remember who taught me that but it would have been either someone with blacksmith or farrier experience.
Bruce-in-Bangkok (Note:remove underscores from address for reply)
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