Just a quick update on my coal load project. I glued an additional strip of wood in the center of each flat insert 1/4"x3/4' leaving a 1/2" at each end and beveled the edges. Then painted it black and while the paint was wet I sprinkled the coal on it.
I went to Tractor Supply and got a bag of the blasting sand called Black Diamond. It only came in a 50 lb. bag, 3- lifetimes supply so in anyone wants any let me know.
This in only 3 applications of the sand, 2 or 3 more should and it should look pretty good.