Thought I would add my two cents worth, at least I hope it's that valuable. I'm fairly new to coal so I have not lit a lot of fires, but I have been experimenting with different methods after reading on this board. It seems every method basically involves starting a wood or charcoal fire, then slowly add layers of anthracite until the stove is full. I was looking for a way to light it without having to slowly add coal for a couple hours. First my setup.http://www.alaskastove.com/coal-stoves/kodiak/
I do not have a barometric damper, only a manual pipe damper. I have a short stainless steel chimney going straight up through the roof. Notice the ash door has sliders for the draft plus a small slider to insert the shaker handle. I open the MPD, completely close the draft and only use the little slider for my torch. That keeps all smoke and odors going up the flue and not drafting back into the room.
I begin by clearing out the ash and clinkers, then bank any leftover coal to the back to expose the grates. I lay my kindling directly on the grates, then completely fill the stove and hopper with coal. When I'm ready to light it I put 2 or 3 ounces oil in a small SS bowl, put that inside the ash pan, close the ash door, insert my propane soldering torch through the small slider and burn the oil. It takes about three minutes to burn the oil, wait a few seconds for the smoke to clear, then open the ash door until the coal is burning well. I think this would work without the oil, but it would take longer. The burning oil throws a lot of btu in a short time, preheating the coal and establishing a good draft. The entire process takes about an hour, from lighting the torch to having a hot stove, an established coal fire, and closing up the stove and setting the draft until the next day. I will post some pics and describe what's happening for each.
I cleared the ash and clinkers, banked the old coal. There was not much coal left because I let it burn out naturally. I have also intentionally put the fire out early, leaving a lot of coal in the stove. Then I had to actually shovel some coal out to expose the grates. Next I put three matchlight charcoal briquettes directly on the grates.
I put four pieces of wood on top of the charcoal. This time three of them are 1x2 strips about 6 inches long, the fourth is a 2x4 six inches long and then split. They are placed so as to reserve some air space around the charcoal after the coal is added.
I dumped in a full bucket of coal, leveled it out and dumped in a second bucket, which this time did not quite fill the hopper.
A small SS bowl with about a half inch of oil placed into the ash pan. I use stainless steel because of the heat. The little bowl will be glowing bright red by the time the oil is gone. If it were made of tin or carbon steel it might melt down. The SS bowl only cost about a dollar, don't remember if it came from Big Lots or the local Dollar store.
Using a propane torch through the slot to burn the oil. I keep the torch going until the oil is consumed and wear welding gloves.
That bright light you see is the oil with the propane flame on it.
The pic is not too clear, I took it with the door closed and the glass is reflecting. About 40 minutes after lighting the torch I have blue flames on top. I gave it a few more minutes for the flames to stabilize, then closed the MPD. If I close the MPD too early the flames will go out and I'll get a puffback.
Exactly one hour after lighting the torch I can close up and set the draft controls for whatever level of heat I want. I opened the glass door to take this pic, so it looks a little different due to excess over fire air.
And that's it. I like this because I can completely fill the stove without lighting it. Then if I'm not home my wife can easily light it without moving buckets of coal or adding a little coal every few minutes. She only needs to use the propane torch and monitor the progress. And of course adjust the damper and draft controls.
Hopefully someone finds this useful.