Q&A Building a Coal Bin

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New Member
Staff member
Nov 27, 2012

Hi- I was hoping you can help me with plans for building a coal bin. It is for home use for a supplemental heat source. It is to hold 1/2 ton of coal. Could you please help?


I've attached a scanned drawing of a coal bin. This particular drawing is for a two-ton bin, but reduced proportionately, you can get the idea of design & construction. The material used is 1/2" to 3/4" plywood, and 2" x 4" boards. Leaving a "channel" on one end to remove the end panel for cleaning isn't a bad idea either. For a 2 ton size, the specs. call for a length of 97.5", width: 62", height: 28".

For a 1/2 ton size with room to shovel and clean, I would go 36" in length, 24" width, and keep the height at 28". You may disagree thinking it's too large, but better to be a little more than not enough.

You'll need (2) 4x8 sheets of plywood, (3) 2x4's, (4) 2x2 balusters, and screws.

I would lay (4) 24" 2x4's down on the floor, one on each end, and the remaining two spaced 11" apart. Screw the bottom of vertical 2x4's (28" high) into the horizontal 2x4's. Cut your plywood sides & ends, and screw the sides to the vertical 2x4's. Then, cap the end with screws, overlapping the end 2x4's. At the other end, buy (4) 2x2 balusters used for deck railings. Cut them at 28" high. Drill pilot holes, and screw one at each end (at the open end side) into the plywood & 2x4. Now, measure a space a little wider than the plywood you are using, and screw in the other two 2x2's. This now forms a channel so that the last remaining plywood end will slide into to allow to you remove for cleaning. If your storage area is damp, a little application of Thompson's is helpful for long term durability.

Answer Provided by: Ken Rajesky

12/2007 An updated link with pictures for coal bin plans is listed below

Link: Coal Bin Plans
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