Linc wrote:I was mistaken about there not being a secondary air inlet. It took me a while with to find it.
You maybe correct about the secondary air. I did multiple things different this time.
1) I originally used Blaschak bagged nut.I picked up some bulk Reading nut.
2) I left the flue damper fully open.
3) I had a good burn going and closed the ash and loading doors. I opened the loading door 5-10 minutes later to possibly add some more coal.There were minimal flames but the flames came back to life after a few seconds with the loading door open. I repeated this a few times over the next hour with the same results. So I grabbed a flashlight and pliers and cracked open the secondary air inlet. I could watch the flames react through the inlet come back to life. I adjusted the inlet till I got the flame to burn blue. Loaded on more coal and was good to go.
Refuelling was a different matter. It took quite a while to get the fire built up again.(I probably should have refueled before the coals burned down as much as they did) It never did attain the heat of the first load. I think the shaker grates are getting plugged the the ash. Very little ash falls with shaking. Poking from the underside helps a little but not much. Leaving the ash door open doesn't seem to do anything to getting the fire going again.
1. I have used Blaschak coal for years & never had a problem with it.
2. You say...."I had a good burn going and closed the ash and loading doors"... You shouldn't have both doors open (at the same time) for very long.....Robs some draft.
3. I have been burning coal for over 25 years & I never touch the seconday air controls. When adding coal I leave a small section of the fire uncovered (with flames showing through) to burn off any volatils. If I don't see any flames I will open the stove top load door (to let air in above the bed) for a few seconds to encourage flames to burn off the volatils.
4. After the stove has been running for a few days, I always poke down the bed a bit to overcome any "bridging". Do this only to a lively fire while loading & be carfeul not to pack the coal down tight. (I guess some people never do this & recomend against it. It has always worked well for me so find out what works for you, your stove/chimney setup, etc)