"Real Life" Stove Operation

"Real Life" Stove Operation

PostBy: Devil505 On: Tue Dec 04, 2007 5:56 pm

Having burned 3 different coal stoves over the years now, I know I have developed some bad habits that I hesitate to admitt to . With that in mind, how about an honest thread where you admitt to some shortcuts, marginaly safe procedures & the like that will probably not appear in any "How To Burn Coal Safely" manual!

1. I have always opened the ash door (prior to shaking down or just to quickly increase heat output) & often leave it open for a short time rather than merely open the air intake vents & waiting forever for the fire to liven up! I always carry a cheap kitchen timer with me (set to go off in a matter of 5-10 minutes) to avoid becoming distracted. In over 25 years of doing this I have never forgotten to close the ash door.
2. After the stove has been burning for about a week I have always found it necessary to poke it down a little (from the top) in order to get the coal bed to settle down. I think the problem is called "bridging" but I have found that,unless I do this, the shaker grates will end up shaking down nothing but air! (I also twist the tip of the tool around a little to break up any large clinkers, etc) Maybe it's the coal I have bween using but this system works just fine for me & I rarely lose a fire all winter long.

Anyone else want to enter the confessional?
Last edited by Devil505 on Tue Dec 04, 2007 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: "Real Life" Stove Operation

PostBy: rsopko On: Tue Dec 04, 2007 6:41 pm

Amen, I myself wish to confess also that this is the way to do it. With a up in the morning and off to work, there isnt much time to toy with a stove, I open the ash door shack it down till just a few embers show and withen a few minutes after a good flameup,.. its time to add about 15 or 20# with a little jab around the dark coal bed to help ignite the blue dancers. I return in 5-10 min and a good flame is a roarin, A little more shakin then close it up and out the house, the wife wont chk on it till afternoon so I dont worry.

Thanks for being HONEST. Sometime you just have to figure it out thyself.
rsopko
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Kodiak hand fire

Re: "Real Life" Stove Operation

PostBy: titleist1 On: Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:32 am

"Forgive me father for I have sinned"...... :angel:

Some mornings if the fire has died down considerably, in order to kick start it back up again I will throw a stick or two of firewood on and leave the ash pan door open about an inch while taking the pan outside to dump it. By the time I get back in I can close it up and leave the vent screw open a little wider than usual to keep it going.

Does this get me kicked out of the club?? :alone:
titleist1
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite

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Re: "Real Life" Stove Operation

PostBy: JiminBucks On: Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:03 pm

Having two handfired units I try to keep at least one going all the time, but have found that even the Franco Belge after a couple days needs to be 'let go' and dies out. This routine requires alot of start-ups from cold after a good grate cleanout. Leave the old half burn coal as a bed for the new wood fire.
Now being an expert 'piro', I always use Kero , about a two second squirt onto the kindling and sheet of news paper. Never a problem , and always a good hot fire. Nothings worst then starting a fire and having it smother and having to open the door back up and smoke out the place! :sick:
Another tip here. For starter wood , I found that used oak hardwood flooring works great. Cut the pieces into 8 to 10in lengths, avoid the old nails. Split into stick size pieces, I still got all 10 fingers! :roll:
I picked up about 800 sq foot of the stuff that was gonna be sent to the dumpster! Stacked up neatly in the back of the gragage. I figure I got a 10 year supplier once processed! 8-)
JiminBucks
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFEL \ Franco Belge
Stove/Furnace Model: Classic Lion \ Normandie

Re: "Real Life" Stove Operation

PostBy: cheapheat On: Wed Dec 05, 2007 7:22 pm

I went to catholic school for 7 years so I know a little bit about confession. Sometimes if the tv remote stops working I rob the batteries out of me co detector. There I said it. Jim
cheapheat
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska Channing 3
Stove/Furnace Model: Bagging my own rice coal

Re: "Real Life" Stove Operation

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:13 pm

I haven't heard anything too bad here yet, except that robbing the batteries thing...
When starting the stove from scratch I use charcoal. I put it into a large coffee can and douse it with charcoal lighter, dump it in the stove and light it from underneath. It's the same as using Matchlight, only the plain charcoal and the fluid ends up being cheaper.
My confession is that I use a propane torch to light the coal stove as well as the wood stove (use the charcoal to start that too).
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: "Real Life" Stove Operation

PostBy: Devil505 On: Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:33 pm

Wood'nCoal wrote:I haven't heard anything too bad here yet, except that robbing the batteries thing...
When starting the stove from scratch I use charcoal. I put it into a large coffee can and douse it with charcoal lighter, dump it in the stove and light it from underneath. It's the same as using Matchlight, only the plain charcoal and the fluid ends up being cheaper.
My confession is that I use a propane torch to light the coal stove as well as the wood stove (use the charcoal to start that too).



Hmmm...Never tried using charcoal to start the fire but I'll give it a go next time. (hopefully next winter!)
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: "Real Life" Stove Operation

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:41 pm

Charcoal works great, because it burns for a long time and burns hot. I've had wood fires burn out before the coal ignites (usually because I'm using some of that "seasoned" firewood from my hillbilly wood guy).
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: "Real Life" Stove Operation

PostBy: bill4117 On: Thu Dec 06, 2007 7:34 pm

this is how i taught myself to light my stove. first i do the newspaper thing then i add scrap pine from the local lumber mill. it's all kiln dried scrap and i keep the damper relatively low to the fire "simmers" and i build up the pine till its about 3 inches of coals. then i add a thin layer of coal and close the door and leave it for like 10 minutes then i add a layer on top and open the flue and dampers all the way and let it rip for 10 minutes. once that's done i shut the damper and flue to desired amount and im ready to fill 2 inches at a time then 10 minutes to burn.
bill4117
 
Stove/Furnace Make: martin industries
Stove/Furnace Model: king-o-heat

Re: "Real Life" Stove Operation

PostBy: Devil505 On: Thu Dec 06, 2007 9:41 pm

bill4117 wrote:this is how i taught myself to light my stove. first i do the newspaper thing then i add scrap pine from the local lumber mill. it's all kiln dried scrap and i keep the damper relatively low to the fire "simmers" and i build up the pine till its about 3 inches of coals. then i add a thin layer of coal and close the door and leave it for like 10 minutes then i add a layer on top and open the flue and dampers all the way and let it rip for 10 minutes. once that's done i shut the damper and flue to desired amount and im ready to fill 2 inches at a time then 10 minutes to burn.


Pretty much the way I do it. (hopefully once a year!) I've gotten pretty good with it to the point that I can clean out a cold dead fire, relight & have a fully filled coal fire going in under an hour! (Used to take me a few hours to just light the coal)
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: "Real Life" Stove Operation

PostBy: rberq On: Sat Dec 08, 2007 8:19 pm

The charcoal trick is great also for saving a fire that you otherwise can see you are losing. Throw in a shovel full on top of whatever coal is still glowing, give it lots of air. Once the charcoal is flaming well I immediately cover it with a least as much coal, keep giving it plenty of air. I DON'T wait to add coal until the charcoal stops flaming. It's my first season burning coal, so I bought about a dozen bags of charcoal not knowing what to expect. I have used just under one bag so far -- once to start the fire a month ago, twice to save it when I waited too long to add new coal. (Hey, I'm still learning....)

Also, no kerosene or match-light, it stinks too much, who wants that stuff in the living room? I bought a bundle of the lowest-grade cedar shingles I could find at Home Depot. Split up the shingles for kindling. Newspaper starts the shingles, shingles start the charcoal, charcoal starts the coal.
rberq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300
Coal Size/Type: Nut -- Kimmel/Blaschak/Reading
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators, propane

Re: "Real Life" Stove Operation

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Sat Dec 08, 2007 9:37 pm

rberq wrote:The charcoal trick is great also for saving a fire that you otherwise can see you are losing. Throw in a shovel full on top of whatever coal is still glowing, give it lots of air. Once the charcoal is flaming well I immediately cover it with a least as much coal, keep giving it plenty of air. I DON'T wait to add coal until the charcoal stops flaming. It's my first season burning coal, so I bought about a dozen bags of charcoal not knowing what to expect. I have used just under one bag so far -- once to start the fire a month ago, twice to save it when I waited too long to add new coal. (Hey, I'm still learning....)


You'll be happy you have all those bags of charcoal in 2 months. The supply tends to dry up in the stores over the winter, esp. in places like the Home Depot where it's in the Seasonal dept. Right now all the BBQ stuff has disappeared in favor of Christmas decorations. I can usually find it in the supermarkets, any stock they have us usually out on the shelves. They must think nobody BBQ's in the winter (I do). If I don't see any and I ask if they have it I tell them I use it to light my coal stove (once again I get the look like I suddenly sprouted a third eye in the middle of my forehead), once in a while I ask someone who says "Y know, that's a good idea!".
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: "Real Life" Stove Operation

PostBy: rberq On: Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:47 am

Back to the confessional: As a member of the "question authority" generation, sometimes I poke and stir my coal fire just because everybody says I must not. It doesn't do the fire any good, but I feel better.
rberq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300
Coal Size/Type: Nut -- Kimmel/Blaschak/Reading
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators, propane

Re: "Real Life" Stove Operation

PostBy: coalkirk On: Sat Mar 29, 2008 6:23 pm

Spoken like a recovering wood burner! :lol:
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

Re: "Real Life" Stove Operation

PostBy: Charlie Z On: Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:27 pm

Our stove hasn't been fussy about staying lit, thank goodness. I lite it with small hunks of wood, douse with BBQ fluid. Fast and a bit stinky, but rare. Woof and come back later to load coal.

Depending on the coal (some, mostly pea, 'bridges' up on me), Saturday morning I troll for clinkers, dragging the hook through the coals and pluck out the biggies. Messes up the bed, but doesn't kill it. My wife works at home and I work nearby, so we generally have a good strong bed going. Seems to need it more with pea, than with nut. I probably push the pea too much as we had the vent almost wide open during the past week's cold nights.
Charlie Z
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Coalbrookdale
Stove/Furnace Model: Darby

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