I am relatively new to coal burning (1 month), but it seems to me like you may be shaking too much.
LsFarm wrote:I would suggest not shaking as often. Everytime you shake you put the fire into 'freshen up mode', where the ash drops out of the way and exposes the coal to fresh air, making it burn faster.
Makes sense to me. I only shake 2-3 times a day depending on how much heat I need to get out of the stove. The less I shake the longer and slower the burn, the more I shake the faster and hotter the burn. You may be overly concerned about the fire going out. Try and allow the ash to build up a little and help control the burn.
Following the advice of other members on this forum has helped me maintain a fire in my stove for 4 weeks now, heating my house to 72 degrees, and my furnace hasn't kicked on once. Having burned wood in the past the greatest differences seem to be how to control the air flow and fighting the urge to mess with the fire.
Thanks to all the members for your help.