An old Axeman-Anderson 260 came home with me the other night. She is 50 years old but I think she has a lot of warm nights left in her. She had a good man but he was neglecting her and making her live in the garage. My summer project will be to remove the Will-Burt S30 stoker and American Radiator boiler and clean, test, install the 260 and redesign the coal bin. I will have some bituminous coal left and my question to this forum is: How much bituminous coal can I mix in and burn in the Axeman-Anderson? The coal is nicely sized stoker coal about the size of pea coal so I don't think size will be a problem. It will be left in the 'dead' area of the bin so I can blend it in slowly after the live storage is used. Thanks for any help.
There seems to be a number of folks in southern pa/maryland that are having less than stellar performance out of their bituminous setups. whether it's the coal or the old cast-iron boilers, it's not as trouble free as it should be. It's unfortunate, because not everyone's bituminous setup is this way and I hate to see people switch to anthracite when it doesn't have to be that difficult w/ bituminous coal.
Thank you to everyone for the interest shown in my post. Sounds like I need to keep the fellow I have working in my "basement coal mine" motivated and on the job. Several of you inquired about my decision to change from bituminous to anthracite. In 2009 I posted to this forum my experience in changing from hand fired to the Will-Burt stoker. That whole story is still accurate. As time goes on I am less emotionally involved in bituminous coal. It has been 24 years since I loaded my last load of coal. Dealing with the Will-Burt is an art. After 6 years it still gives me a lesson sometimes. I use fewer shear pins each year and I have learned how to recover from a broken pin without removing the fire. In REALLY cold weather it requires tending 3 or 4 times a day. If I am out of town it is way beyond the abilities of my wife or neighbor to tend to it. There are 2 reasons why the Will-Burt is less than ideal. First, I can't find the recommended coal for it. They want #4 coke and the coal around here is all #9. I did just find some old stale coal in my bin that has lost a lot of its coke and it works WELL. Second, the physical dimensions of my boiler do not match Will-Burt's specifications. Will-Burt told me it would work on low feed and it does but it would work better with a bigger square fire box. I am looking for more heat to run my hydronic driveway. I am getting too old to be falling on that ___ ice. The Will-Burt is rated at 250,000 BTU and with the right boiler I'm sure it would do it. My boiler is rated at 250,000 BTU and with hand firing every 15 minutes like in an old steam locomotive it would generate that heat also. But the two just are not a proper match for high heat and I will not sell them to the same buyer. In summary I am looking for more heat with less tending and less skilled tending. These factors will become more important as I age.
It's unfortunate that the coal and the boiler are not working out for you. I knew something wasn't quite the way it should be because the procedures and requirements you mentioned in previous posts for firing your bit stoker are far more demanding than anything I've experienced even w/ mid/ high coke button coals.
If you were willing to bring up low/no coke button KY stoker and put in a bigger boiler - you would have a much better time with much less hassle and tending. Another option (not likely since you've already purchased a new boiler) is something like an EFM 700 or bigger that will work with KY bituminous pea stoker. I have a setup running in upstate NY using an anthracite stoker with bin feed and will be doing flex auger ash removal this spring because it's not a clinkering type stoker - basically it's almost completely hands-off while still using bituminous coal. Either way good luck to you.