Just an update. It is now March 28, the coal feed has been running flawlessly without attendance for one month. Again, this is heating a 4,200 sq ft house with a family of five. There was still enough coal in it to go another 4-5 days.
As we want to use up our bagged coal and have not built the next 3 skids yet, we refilled it today from the 50 lb bags. We put in 36 bags and could have fit more easily.
We did have our first outfires during this month. We had a couple of warm days and twice the fire went out. It was not due to any lack of coal feed. In each case the outfire aquastat did it's job with only a small amount of raw coal in the ash can.
I was running 3 teeth with a low of 150F and a high of 180F, with the outfire timer at 3-1/2 minutes every 1/2 hour. Apparently that was not enough to keep the fire going when it was sitting there with no call for heat.
After I changed it to 5 teeth with a low of 150F and a high of 195F, with the outfire timer at 5 minutes every 1/2 hour, we have had no problems. I think I can probably back the outfire timer back down to 3-1/2 minutes, the key seems to be the wider spread with more burn when it is on.
I have recieved the steel for the discharge gates for the next three skids I am going to build. I am toying with not even putting the bolt for the handle in each one as they open and close easily even with a full load of coal above them.
As I am still using up the bagged coal, I won't need the other skids done until fall, so I may wait until then to take a day to build them. That way they won't be in the way in my cellar.
Again, moving the skids one at a time under my cellar window and having coal truck chute the bulk coal into each skid bulk bag should work well. Our experience filling the bulk bag by hand is as long as you keep the bag from getting a side fold in it as you load it, it loads up fine. Suspending the bag straps with bungies as the coal truck chutes into it will keep the side walls from having any side slack.