wtfdidido wrote:i'm a little lost as to what the top door is, in front of the stove pipe.i plan to do a double wall, and install a blower fan to send the heat through the existing duct work in my home, and just wondered what this door was for.
thanks for your time
The top door shown in Berlin's plans is for loading. From what I've read, he dumps a couple buckets of coal in from the top door, and does it very quickly to avoid soot/smoke rolling out. He then avoids opening it for awhile until the volatiles burn off.
Berlin - I appreciate the help you've given me on this forum, and the plans you posted. I have a few questions regarding your stove.
What size coal are you using in this stove? On the stove I built, I did not make a top load door, but only a front load door. I'm finding it difficult to load more than a half-depth bed (5" or so) with front load. My front firebrick are laying on their side, and the side and back firebrick stand on end (like the Harman Mark III). Once I get the stove loaded to the top of the front firebrick, I have to use a small shovel to get the coal in, and that takes lots of time and I always spill some coal and make a mess. So I usually stop at the 5" bed depth, but don't get the long burn I'd like due to the relatively shallow bed. Top load may solve this problem. Or maybe I should have moved the load door opening up,and stood the front bricks on end as well. I'm thinking I may try what Harman did on the TLC2000 - build some louvres at the bottom of the load door opening.
So, a top load door is beginning to sound like a good idea, but I'm worried about smoke pouring out of it when opened. I can see it being OK with an old bed, when little or not smoke is present. But once I dump coal on, it will start smoking. That would be OK if I didn't have to reopen the top door until 8-12 hours later, but won't I need to add more coal soon? If I dump 2 full buckets of coal at once, I will smother the fire. That's why I ask what size coal you are using. Maybe I'm using too fine of coal. Don't you smother the fire if you dump all at once?
I have anywhere from pea to nut coal that I'm using, all mixed together in the buckets. I've screen the fines out, anything smaller than 1/4" or so (seems anthracite and bit. coal have different size classes, so I'm including coal dimensions to avoid confusion). From my experience, when I burn nut/pea mixture, it takes longer to load (due to layering to avoid smothering it). Then, since the nut/pea has so much surface area, I get tremendous heat for the first few hours while burning off the volatiles. It's easy to get the stove 600* or hotter if you leave the draft open. Once the volatiles are gone, the stove burns great, more like 250*, but I get less heat. That's annoying, because I get a hot house, then it cools. I reload, and the cycle continues. How can I even the heat out, and still burn the small stuff? Maybe the high volatile bit. coal is just going to prevent me from evening the heat out with nut/pea.
When I use what they call "stove" coal or lump coal (3" - 8" sizes), I get more even heat, I'm assuming it's due to the smaller surface area, volatiles not coming off as fast. That spreads the heat out over the burn cycle. But the lump coal isn't as nice to load - gotta get your hands dirty, stack it by hand, etc. I like the idea of dumping 2 buckets in the top door and being done. But that would be hard with lump coal.
wtfdidido - I have some photos and plans for my stove too if you are interested. Let me know. I may just post them here too. I keep stalling, wanting to tweak the stove some, change the plans, etc. based on what I'm learning over the first few months of burning it. But I can't seem to get to it. I may just post what I have and add some statements to the plans for things for people to consider based on my experience.
Don't want to drift too far from the original topic. If we need to split this off into it's own thread, I assume someone that can do that will. Lots of questions - sorry.