tony17112acst wrote:OMG, NOW we're getting somewhere!!
I have learned everything else I think I need to know otherwise:
* Leave a red glowing corner when loading;
* Never close the load door without seeing blue flames;
* If you have a low fire with very little coal, add smaller amounts, not one huge load;
* Puffbacks are more likely to occur on a warm day;
* Running fresh air at full blast will cause a puffback since the draft is too strong, not allowing the gasses to ignite.
I think you are on your way to trying a few things to dial in your very own customized procedure that will work in your set up. As stated, the blue flames being present show the gas being burned off. How you get to that point when reloading will vary a little based on the level of your coal fire when you started, outside temps, your draft, your stove's personality, your coal, etc, etc. It will take a little trial and error on your set up to figure out your procedure.
The following is the procedure I used on my set up that kept me from having puff backs when running my handfired, I would say leaving the corner exposed and livening up a low fire were most important and would suggest you start from there...
Always, always, always leave a corner of red glowing coals to ignite any gas ( did i mention to always do this??
Get a low level fire "livened up" prior to loading - I did this by opening the ash door and leaving the loading door shut for a few minutes prior to loading (usually around 5 minutes) - dont forget, carry a timer around with you.
Leave the ash door open for a few minutes after loading up with that corner of red coals exposed (usually no more than 5 minutes - carry the timer) - loading door is shut during this time. When it was ready for the next step, I could see some quick blue flames immediately around the exposed corner.
With ash door still open, carefully crack the loading door open providing over fire air and slowing air through the coal bed, blue flames roll over coal bed igniting gas, close the ash door after blue flames ignite that gas and then close the loading door. If blue flames remain you are done. If blue flames go away, then it wasn't quite ready and I would close loading door and open ash door to rev it up a little longer - maybe a minute.
Then I would repeat the cracking of the loading door step until I got the blue flames to remain.
The steps above worked for me, my stove had windows which allowed some over fire air even with the loading door shut, yours may be different. The particular load of coal I had on hand would vary in its volatility depending on size, how "clean" it was and which mine it came from. Outside temps also caused variability, if it was warmer, I would cap off my baro to increase draft to liven up the fire.