Question: I found your site in a search on Google for ;starting a coal fire;. I have a small fireplace/stove on a boat. I have tried to get a coal fire going in it without any luck. I have read your tips on starting a coal fire, but I haven't been able thus far to get it going. I have used charcoal to get the fire going and then I add small amount of coal. The coal burns to the point of getting red where it touches the charcoal, but I don't get anything more than that - I'm not sure what I ought to get actually - your description refers to a blue flame, but I haven't gotten that. How long should it take for the coal to ignite fully so that it will burn for an extended time (eg overnight)? I think the coal is good quality (low sulfur anthracite from the Blaschak Coal Co.). Because this is on a boat, the chimney stack is not very high, but I also have a bellows to increase the airflow. Answer: Sounds like one of a few potential problems. 1. Underfire air...Does all the air enter your coal stove below the grates. If not, it will not burn hard coal. 2. Lack of draft - The bellows will not help....coal needs to have a reasonable draft. 3. Lack of high enough ignition temperature. Try burning hardwood in the stove and then , when the wood is all hot embers, adding a few small shovelfuls of coal. If this coal ignites well, then follow coal tips from there.