Best Way To Start Fire With Charcoal?

Best Way To Start Fire With Charcoal?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:48 pm

My shaker grates jammed again so I'm gonna clean out in the morning & relight. Based on some advice here, I bought a small bag of Kingsford Match Light charcoal & was wondering what is the best way to start the coal fire using this charcoal as a base? ( I read a few posts that recomend breaking the briquets up, or should I just place one layer of the charcoal on the grates & then start with a little newspaper in the ash pan?) When I relight with wood, I always blacken the window so hopefuly this will cure that problem.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Best Way To Start Fire With Charcoal?

PostBy: WNY On: Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:19 pm

I put some newspaper under it, I hit my charcoal with a hammer to make it a bit smaller, put 2-3 broken up brickettes on my grate, with a handful of coal on top, light the paper, let it burn a bit, plug the stove in to get the blowers going. Normally takes about 15 mins to get going....then throw another handful on it. :)
WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
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Re: Best Way To Start Fire With Charcoal?

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:23 pm

I have a Mark II.
I use about 10 full MatchLight briquettes to create a small cone in the center, just like in a BBQ, before you light it fill the rest of the grate with nut to the top of the cone, about 3" deep. Ball some newspaper on top, lite it to warm the flue, then use the butane microtorch to lite the bottom of the charcoal.
Close the top door, leave bottom ash door open, lite cigar with microtorch and wait.
The charcoal will burn with a yellow flame as the fluid burns out of the MatchLight, then dies down and then the blue ladies start to dance!
Wait for some good blue flames, then begin to add 1.5" of nut, wait till it catches and finally top it off to the bricks.
The fire starts in the middle and works its way out to the sides.
About 20 minutes till I am topping off to the bricks and another 40 minutes till the bed is full burn.

I also use the briquettes to restore a fire that got too cool or got shook before it got hot enough. The coals are a dull red at this point.
Shake out the ash, the ash pan has a glow from above.
Poke the center to open it up then press 10 briquettes to the bottom of the grate, keeping them close to the center. Put a layer of nut only 1 " over the area of the MatchLight. Close the top door open the ash door, wait for the blue ladies.
CapeCoaler
 
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Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove

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Re: Best Way To Start Fire With Charcoal?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:32 pm

What I was going to do was to put a layer of charcoal across the whole grate, light it, wait for it to burn well & then start adding coal a little at a time across the whole fire. Not a good plan?
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Best Way To Start Fire With Charcoal?

PostBy: Dallas On: Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:47 pm

Go over to the thread How to Light a Hand Fired Coal Stove and look at the next to the last post, right before your own. I just had to clean mine again yesterday and used the same method with the cardboard. While it worked, it didn't work as good as the first time, due to the cardboard catching on fire. Next time, I'll dampen the cardboard before laying it in the bottom. A dozen whole briquettes should be plenty.
Dallas
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Modified Russo C-35
Other Heating: Oil Hot Air
Stove/Furnace Make: Russo
Stove/Furnace Model: Modified C-35

Re: Best Way To Start Fire With Charcoal?

PostBy: rberq On: Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:48 pm

Yes, good plan. I use non match-lite, I put some newspaper, some wood kindling, then a good layer of charcoal across the whole grate, not a skimpy layer. Once the charcoal is flaming vigorously, I start shoveling in the coal an inch or two at a time with the ashpit door open. As long as the yellow flames keep coming up through the coal, I keep adding more coal a few inches at a time, and the fire is going in no time.

Very early in the cycle when there's only charcoal, it seems to burn better with somewhat less air rather than with the ashpit door full open. Once the stove is pretty well loaded with coal, the level will drop faster than you expect as the charcoal on the bottom burns out a lot faster than an equivalent layer of coal would burn.
rberq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300
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Re: Best Way To Start Fire With Charcoal?

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:53 pm

Looks like we have a similar concept, force the air over the easy to light charcoal. The rushing air pushes the tempatures higher enabling the coal to light faster.
The cone of charcoal makes the chimney, 3'' of nut blocks enough air to force it up the charcoal chimney and make a mini blast hole that lights off the surounding coal.
I have even used the blower off the back of the Mark II to enliven a fading fire. I restricted the air intake with my hand and in 8 minutes the fire was back!
CapeCoaler
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove

Re: Best Way To Start Fire With Charcoal?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:20 pm

CapeCoaler wrote:Looks like we have a similar concept, force the air over the easy to light charcoal. The rushing air pushes the tempatures higher enabling the coal to light faster.
The cone of charcoal makes the chimney, 3'' of nut blocks enough air to force it up the charcoal chimney and make a mini blast hole that lights off the surounding coal.
I have even used the blower off the back of the Mark II to enliven a fading fire. I restricted the air intake with my hand and in 8 minutes the fire was back!


Sounds good....I'll use your cone of charcoal method & let you know how it works for me..... Thanks!
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Best Way To Start Fire With Charcoal?

PostBy: rberq On: Tue Feb 19, 2008 10:43 pm

I like the charcoal cone idea. I read elsewhere on this forum where someone fills a coffee can in the middle of the grate with charcoal, fills around the can with coal, slides the can up and out, then lights up the charcoal. Same chimney effect with the charcoal, but the can makes it easier to keep the column of charcoal in place while putting the coal all around it.
rberq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300
Coal Size/Type: Nut -- Kimmel/Blaschak/Reading
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators, propane

Re: Best Way To Start Fire With Charcoal?

PostBy: sandman On: Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:20 pm

if it's not a stoker, why not just use wood?

i tried the matchLight in my stoker, it worked ok but took a while.

now i just scoop a bunch of coals from the wood stove. it's a lot faster!
sandman
 
Stove/Furnace Make: harman
Stove/Furnace Model: VF3000, mark III sf150&250

Re: Best Way To Start Fire With Charcoal?

PostBy: treysgt On: Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:04 am

Who'd have thought there would be so many ways to light a coal fire - I'll add yet another :)

I do not use match-light or even regular briquettes - I use 'lump' charcoal. Mainly because that's what tastes best for grilling steak, so I have plenty on hand. But also, it burns MUCH hotter than briquettes - so kick-starting the coal is that much easier. It gets so hot that you do not really want to put too much in. I have found the following works best for me.

If you visually divide the bottom of your grate surface to three rows - a front, a middle and a back - load the front and back rows with an inch or two of coal (not charcoal). The middle will still be bare grate, with coal bordering it. I load that middle section with a couple of sticks of fatwood, end to end, then cover that with lump charcoal, again about 1-2 inches. In the ash pan I wad about 4 sheets of newspaper. Light it, which lights the fatwood which lights the row of lump charcoal. Keep the ash door open. In 3-4 minutes the charcoal is already cranking, so a few shovels of smallish nut coal goes on. Another 5 minutes gets a few more shovel fulls and 5 minutes later it gets loaded to the firebrick and I close up the ash door.

I found the cone or mound method worked too, but sometimes left a 'cool' side or section that burned slower than the rest. This center row always produces an even, fully lit bed - fast. Good luck!
treysgt
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark1

Re: Best Way To Start Fire With Charcoal?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:32 am

rberq wrote:I like the charcoal cone idea. I read elsewhere on this forum where someone fills a coffee can in the middle of the grate with charcoal, fills around the can with coal, slides the can up and out, then lights up the charcoal. Same chimney effect with the charcoal, but the can makes it easier to keep the column of charcoal in place while putting the coal all around it.


Sounds good but I just had another idea: I'll fill a small paper bag with Matchlight & then surround it with the coal. Paper bag burns......charcoal catches fire...etc. I'll let you know how it works. The reason I would rather stay away from wood is that wood always blackens the window with creosote.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Best Way To Start Fire With Charcoal?

PostBy: coalkirk On: Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:54 am

treysgt wrote:Who'd have thought there would be so many ways to light a coal fire - I'll add yet another :)

I do not use match-light or even regular briquettes - I use 'lump' charcoal. Mainly because that's what tastes best for grilling steak, so I have plenty on hand. But also, it burns MUCH hotter than briquettes - so kick-starting the coal is that much easier. It gets so hot that you do not really want to put too much in. I have found the following works best for me.

If you visually divide the bottom of your grate surface to three rows - a front, a middle and a back - load the front and back rows with an inch or two of coal (not charcoal). The middle will still be bare grate, with coal bordering it. I load that middle section with a couple of sticks of fatwood, end to end, then cover that with lump charcoal, again about 1-2 inches. In the ash pan I wad about 4 sheets of newspaper. Light it, which lights the fatwood which lights the row of lump charcoal. Keep the ash door open. In 3-4 minutes the charcoal is already cranking, so a few shovels of smallish nut coal goes on. Another 5 minutes gets a few more shovel fulls and 5 minutes later it gets loaded to the firebrick and I close up the ash door.

I found the cone or mound method worked too, but sometimes left a 'cool' side or section that burned slower than the rest. This center row always produces an even, fully lit bed - fast. Good luck!


Lump charcoal is the best. It does burn hotter and lights as easily as the match light stuff. I use it in my stoker and hand fired. Of course if I'm on the ball, I only have to light the stoker once per season. I did accidentally let it go out once this season and had to relight. I started a thread on this in the fall but there were so many other methods offered it kind of got lost. But I'm convinced that the lump charcoal is the best/easist method. Some have said "coal mice" are better but since I also always have lump charcoal on hand for those steaks and such, it's a no brainer for me.
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

Re: Best Way To Start Fire With Charcoal?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Wed Feb 20, 2008 8:31 am

coalkirk wrote:
treysgt wrote:Who'd have thought there would be so many ways to light a coal fire - I'll add yet another :)

I do not use match-light or even regular briquettes - I use 'lump' charcoal. Mainly because that's what tastes best for grilling steak, so I have plenty on hand. But also, it burns MUCH hotter than briquettes - so kick-starting the coal is that much easier. It gets so hot that you do not really want to put too much in. I have found the following works best for me.

If you visually divide the bottom of your grate surface to three rows - a front, a middle and a back - load the front and back rows with an inch or two of coal (not charcoal). The middle will still be bare grate, with coal bordering it. I load that middle section with a couple of sticks of fatwood, end to end, then cover that with lump charcoal, again about 1-2 inches. In the ash pan I wad about 4 sheets of newspaper. Light it, which lights the fatwood which lights the row of lump charcoal. Keep the ash door open. In 3-4 minutes the charcoal is already cranking, so a few shovels of smallish nut coal goes on. Another 5 minutes gets a few more shovel fulls and 5 minutes later it gets loaded to the firebrick and I close up the ash door.

I found the cone or mound method worked too, but sometimes left a 'cool' side or section that burned slower than the rest. This center row always produces an even, fully lit bed - fast. Good luck!


Lump charcoal is the best. It does burn hotter and lights as easily as the match light stuff. I use it in my stoker and hand fired. Of course if I'm on the ball, I only have to light the stoker once per season. I did accidentally let it go out once this season and had to relight. I started a thread on this in the fall but there were so many other methods offered it kind of got lost. But I'm convinced that the lump charcoal is the best/easist method. Some have said "coal mice" are better but since I also always have lump charcoal on hand for those steaks and such, it's a no brainer for me.


You may be right about need charcoal to burn hotter. I'm in the middle of starting the fire & it is real slow compared to my wood fire starts. Just waiting for the actual coal to catch & then the speed of filling should pick up....hopefully!
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Best Way To Start Fire With Charcoal?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Wed Feb 20, 2008 8:37 am

Going well enough now so that I can sprinkle a light coating of coal over the fire. What I did (again, my first time with charcoal) was put about 12 briquets in a bag & surround it with coal. After the charcoal lit I sprinkled a bit of coal over the charcoals. I think I did it too soon as the charcoal didn't appear hot enouh to easliy light the coal, so I sprinkled about 6 more briquets on top. Tnhat seems to have done the trick. Fire is spreading just with coal now.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

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