I have a Vogelzang Norseman 2500 which is very similiar to your stove. I also burn sub bit. in mine and have good luck. I can easily get 12 hours between loadings in mine. I'll try to explain to you how I run my stove. This may not work for your stove as the setup and different types of coal can make things totally different. I'm not exactly familiar with your stove, but if its like mine, it will have two shaker grates. One at the back of the stove and one at the front. If its the smaller model it might just have the one shaker grate. If yours is the smaller one, just half the amounts of coal that I will talk about. I also have built a thermostatically controlled inlet air damper on my stove. I do know that this has saved me alot of coal. Also you might be heating too large of an area for your stove. My stove is the larger one with 2 grates and I heat about 1800 sq ft. My stove pretty much just idles along most of the time unless it gets down into the teens or below. My house is also pretty tight with decent insulation.
First off, I'm not sure if you have a manometer, but I suggest buying one. I'm not sure if I could get along without mine now that I've had it. I also have a barometric damper to control chimney draft. I usually set my draft anywhere from .04 inches water column to .055. When its warmer and I don't need as much heat I set it less and when its colder I set it a little more. You might be experiencing high draft in your chimney therefore it will pull more air through the coal and burn it up faster.
To start my stove, I like to get a good bed of wood coals going in it. I like to have the entire grate area with about 2 to 3 inches of hot wood coals covering it. I then rake all these coals to the front of the stove. I then put about a 5 gallon bucket of coal in the back of the stove and sort of taper it to the front and have it just end at the edge of the burning wood coals. Also with sub-bit, the bigger piece of coal the better. I then take 3 or 4 baseball sized pieces and 2 or 3 good hand fulls of walnut sized pieces and place them on top of the burning wood coals. I then shut the door and if I didn't have the thermostatically controlled damper, I would only open my draft knob 3/4 of a turn or so. After about 6 hours or so I will come back and "top off" the stove. I will rake all the burning coal to the front and fill the back up with fresh coal again. This is called banking. "I will not put any frest coal on the burning coals from now on. I just do that on the first load after when starting." Banking the coal will allow the fire to slowly burn through the coal increasing your burn time and also reducing smoke. I then repeat again every twelve hours. I usually burn anywhere from 1/2 a five gallon bucket "about 15 lbs of my lump sizes", to a full bucket-30lbs, in a 12 hour period. If it gets below zero, I will burn up to 1 1/2 buckets 35-45lbs in 12 hours.
I don't ever mess with the damper on the loading door. This is overfire or secondary air which you don't need much of. My stove has some slots in the front and rear cast liners that allow some secondary or over the fire air in. I've played with covering mine up and have found that its best to leave them open as my coal has alot of violatile gas that is released when it is burned.
Also, the grates in these things are a poor design in my opinion. Mine never did really shake down much ash. I usually give it a few shakes and then I use a L shaped poker I built out of 1/4" steel rod that I slice under the coal with to help get the ash down. My original grates finally broke awhile back and I ended up building a new set out of oilfield sucker rod that so far are working great. They seem to be holding up and also seem to do a better job of shaking the ash down.
Well, thats my 2 cents. This is what works for me. It may or may not work for you. Good luck and if you have any questions feel free to ask!
Last edited by bverwolf
on Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.