The process of cutting dull M, dull bright MB, bright dull BM, and bright B coal under various compressive stress conditions was studied in laboratory tests. The efficiency of ploughs depends much more on the natural mining conditions than does that of shearer-loaders. For seams of medium workability, it is difficult to forecast whether ploughs will be successful. Cuttability tests are a good way of determining whether ploughs can be used. The effort necessary to cut coal in a stressed condition depends not only on such properties as the workability defined by the Protodyakonov index or compressive strength, but also, and mainly, on the petrographic structure and elastic properties of the coal. In bright coals with high elastic strain, and with BM and MB coals, a much greater increment of effort is necessary with increase in compressive stresses. The cuttability of dull coals from difficult mines was not very different.