Most coal is quite friable and will tend to break off into small cubes or
even part like shale. This would suggest that is is unsuitable for fine
detailed carving but coal varies a great deal in character. I understand
that the brown coals (lignite) can be very soft almost like peat, where as
anthracite is very hard and i have heard it referred to as black diamond.
With such a range of properties there may well be seams which yield coal
suitable for carving but will they still be accessable today? With the state
of the british coal industry it would apear unlikeley.
Sorry its not an answer to your question but perhaps someone with more
knowledege might have a more complete answer.
Lead Mining in the Yorkshire Dales
The Industrial Heritage of Calderdale
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