For the last several years I do all of my bullet metal melting for ingots on my Dad's old coal blacksmith forge. I use either coal or charcoal for fuel. I have some hard coal pellets, but they are so much harder to get burning that I don't use them much. I have three fire bricks set around the fire and set a big cast iron skillet on the bricks. With the large skillet I don't have to bother with cutting the metal in small pieces, I just put them in the skillet and melt them. That saves a lot of time and aggravation.Once they are melted, I skim off all of the trash and then I give them a good fluxing and start pouring ingots,I also flux the metal often while pouring ingots. I keep a couple of extra fire bricks setting close so when the skillet starts getting too hot, I can slide the skillet onto them. My biggest problem is, I've got to get more ingot molds It don't take long before the molds get so hot that it takes forever to cool and be dumped.
My forge has a long history with my family. Here in the Hillbilly country of Southeastern Oklahoma up through the late forties and early fifties there were more farmers using teams of mules and horses to draft farm implements than there were those who used tractors .My dad had a nice blacksmith shop under a giant post-oak tree At one time he had his blacksmith shop in a large sheet iron building. I can't remember if it burned or what happened .I was very young at that time.His old Lancaster blower is what I still have. I spent many happy hours watching him do such things as sharpen implement plows, make his own horse shoes, build farm implements from scratch and such. He would always let his neighbors come and use his shop and all he expected in return was that they bring enough coal to replace what they used.
I have that same old Lancaster blower setting under another big post oak tree between my two shops. Back when I was teaching industrial technology in high school, I had this blower ,an anvil on a stump and a pile of coal setting in front of the school metals shop. It was amazing to see how many parents come by to watch what we were doing. They were amazed to say the least. And best of all, my students of the past still talk to me about it. They loved it.
David a. Cogburn