Shaking Down/Reloading A Mature Fire

Re: Shaking Down/Reloading A Mature Fire

PostBy: Devil505 On: Fri Oct 24, 2008 5:19 pm

EasyRay wrote:I use both. Nut is easier to come by, but if I can get Pea I'll take it. They both burn nice in my stove.


I'd like to try it to Ray, but there's no point if I can't get i easily
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Shaking Down/Reloading A Mature Fire

PostBy: EasyRay On: Sat Oct 25, 2008 3:42 pm

I used the pea when I first started the stove. It seems to catch quicker. I had seventeen bags of pea left over from last year. Thats all I have for this year so at night I put a layer of pea over the nut. Its much easier to handle than nut.
If you get a chance,try some, I'm sure you'll like it.
EasyRay
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman TLC 2000
Coal Size/Type: Pea,Nut or Stove

Re: Shaking Down/Reloading A Mature Fire

PostBy: Devil505 On: Sat Oct 25, 2008 3:45 pm

EasyRay wrote:If you get a chance,try some, I'm sure you'll like it.


I'd like to try it. Sounds like the ideal mix is pea for longer, cooler fires & nut when you need more heat. Not going to even try it though, if I can't get it locally. :(
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

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Re: Shaking Down/Reloading A Mature Fire

PostBy: rberq On: Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:11 pm

Jeffb227 wrote:My problem is that this takes about a minute to minute and a half of shaking before I see embers. I think I'm shaking too much and packing the coal so tight that it won't breath. Should I just shake for 10-15 seconds and not worry about the embers falling?


Jeff, I don't think you are shaking enough. I have had problems like you describe, the fire gradually dying down after a day or two, and it has always been from too little shaking, meaning a deeper and deeper bed of ash building up. I usually have to go well past the embers-dropping stage, to where I have small chunks of burning coal drop into the ash pan. After that I usually poke up through the grates from the bottom to loosen the packed ash, and sometimes do a little more gentle shaking, until I can see at least a little glow across most of the grates when I look up from the bottom.

Coal makes a LOT of ash. Every time that I have congratulated myself on how little ash has shaken down, it turns out I didn't shake enough, and I come close to losing the fire 12 or 24 hours later.

P.S. If you are burning pea, try nut. That's all I burn, and I have never had a problem with it compacting too much, whereas I have trouble keeping the fire going properly with pea. This however varies a lot from stove to stove and chimney to chimney.
rberq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300
Coal Size/Type: Nut -- Kimmel/Blaschak/Reading
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators, propane

Re: Shaking Down/Reloading A Mature Fire

PostBy: Devil505 On: Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:18 pm

Figured I'd bump this up since so many new people have their stoves lit now.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Shaking Down/Reloading A Mature Fire

PostBy: BM-80 On: Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:16 am

rberq wrote:
Jeffb227 wrote:My problem is that this takes about a minute to minute and a half of shaking before I see embers. I think I'm shaking too much and packing the coal so tight that it won't breath. Should I just shake for 10-15 seconds and not worry about the embers falling?


Jeff, I don't think you are shaking enough. I have had problems like you describe, the fire gradually dying down after a day or two, and it has always been from too little shaking, meaning a deeper and deeper bed of ash building up. I usually have to go well past the embers-dropping stage, to where I have small chunks of burning coal drop into the ash pan. After that I usually poke up through the grates from the bottom to loosen the packed ash, and sometimes do a little more gentle shaking, until I can see at least a little glow across most of the grates when I look up from the bottom.

Coal makes a LOT of ash. Every time that I have congratulated myself on how little ash has shaken down, it turns out I didn't shake enough, and I come close to losing the fire 12 or 24 hours later.



......................................................................................................................................





I gotta agree with rberg. I've got a Hitzer 983 with very good draft. I'm burning nut and have had my fire going about 3 weeks now, and I had a few "trial runs" before that. My stove operates well in warm weather or cold weather. I've got an 1800 sq ft, 2 story house and this heats the whole house very well, even when it got down to 10 degrees. I LOVE this thing!!

I did have one experience about a week ago where the fire almost went out. I performed what I called "fire repair" (which was adding small, ignited chunks of hardwood in lots of places, and also raking/repositioning the coal, and digging thru the coal bed to see what happened. What I found was LOTS of excess ash in all levels/layers of the coal bed. Even a novice like me could understand that the fire was choking on the ash and couldn't breathe. As the fire rebounded, I kept shaking about once every hour or so....I could not believe the amount of ash that I continued to get out of the stove...about 3 or 4 ash pans in 3 or 4 hours. It was clearly loaded up with ash.
Now, when I shake I do it more agressively ... I go beyond the first glowing embers and I watch to see what drops. If I'm still getting a lot of ash I keep shaking a little longer.

BM
BM-80
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 983 insert

Re: Shaking Down/Reloading A Mature Fire

PostBy: Devil505 On: Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:06 am

BM-80 wrote:Coal makes a LOT of ash. Every time that I have congratulated myself on how little ash has shaken down, it turns out I didn't shake enough, and I come close to losing the fire 12 or 24 hours later.


All of which brings me back to finding it imperative to poke a mature fire from the top to break through bridging & find & fill air pockets that waste valuable coal appliance "Real Estate." In almost 30 years of hand fired operation, with a few different stoves & coal brands, I have never found shaking to be sufficient to clean out ash & make room for a full load of coal.
(often times, when I first poke into a fire, the entire top of the coal bed moves as one mass until I break it up with the poker. Shaking, merely cleans out the ash UNDER the bridged top of the fire.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Shaking Down/Reloading A Mature Fire

PostBy: Devil505 On: Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:10 am

Figured with these frigid outdoor temps, higher stove temps causing more ash fusing/clinkers in our stoves & a much greater amount of ash building up in our stoves (to rob their heat output)....I'd reopen this thread to mainly send a copy of this post to my daughter who is new to coal burning this winter too.



Very Cold Temp Operation/Shaking Down
:

The main problem now is ash build up leading to lower heat output from our stove due to less coal & more ash in the firebox. You can't heat you home burning ash......You need to get rid of that ash & replace it with fresh coal! ;)

Some people will actually shut down, clean out & restart their stoves at regular intervals. This will obviously work well, but I'm way to lazy to do it that way! :lol:

The other way is to perform a very aggressive shake/Poke/Shake/Poke shakedown procedure to get rid of as much ash as you can......BUT not compact your coal bed so tightly that you'll smother your fire or reduce airflow so much that reloading will take way to long to perform. It's definitely a balancing act as to be aggressive enough to get rid of ash but stop short of smothering your fire.
Practice makes it easier but even us "Old Pros" will screw up from time to time.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Shaking Down/Reloading A Mature Fire

PostBy: Lightning On: Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:26 am

I'd like to share my shaking and reloading technique for those of you that have the V shaped firebox with the grates in line, one in front of the other. These are furnaces such as the Clayton 1537G that I have and many others by US stove like the hotblast. I think I've stumbled onto a procedure that is working very well and maintains a long even burn time of 12 hours. I should mention my current fire is going on 7 weeks now.

Firstly, I'll open the ash pan door and shake with quick, somewhat violent, choppy shakes back and forth with the handle from about a 5 O'clock position to a 7 O'clock position. I'll continue this until I see a fair amount of orange embers falling from the sides of the grates. Next I'll add fresh coal, about 3 shovels (21 pounds total with my shovel) in the back, center then front. Then I'll take my rake tool, and level the coal bed out, which will be pretty close to the top of the firebrick at this point. It may take 4 shovels when I'm running her a little hotter on the colder days. Next I prop the load door open about a quater inch.

Now here is the real difference. I'll use the tools pictured below. From underneath the fire, I run the slicer tool between the grate and the grate frame, front to back on each side clearing any ash caught there. Then I'll take the round stock steel poker tool and poke it up thru the center holes in the grates.

Lastly, I wait for the fresh coal to catch while the ash pan door is open and let my pipe run up to 250 degrees, then close the ash pan door (takes about 15 minutes) then I continue to leave the load door propped open so volitiles can burn off without a puff back. When my flue pipe falls under 200 degrees or so, I'll close the load door. That part takes another 45 minutes. During that time of course I'm busy getting ready for work or if its evening, I'm chillin (warmly) :D

I've used this procedure at 12 hour intervals for about a week now and I'm very happy with the results. Hopefully this might help someone out there having issues with maintaining their coal fire :)
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Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut Size / White Ash

Re: Shaking Down/Reloading A Mature Fire

PostBy: DennisH On: Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:35 am

With as many shaking techniques as there are those of us burning coal, I thought I'd try what I've read a couple of you do. This is my first full season of burning coal (only got my furnace finally installed in Feb 2011), and I'm very pleased with burning coal and my technique. But this morning, @ 5degF here in the U.P. of Michigan I decided to try the "open ash pan & let 'er get roaring hot" technique before shaking down. My coal bed was actually doing pretty well, having burned 10 hours overnight. So, letting her get roaring hot again was easy, shaking, and reloading, and all is well. Just reinforces what I've read on the forum. Never shake a less-that-robust fire, and load only when it's very hot. At 6am, there's nothing like a bit of ballet from the Blue Ladies!! :D
DennisH
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Yukon-Eagle Klondike IV
Other Heating: Propane

Re: Shaking Down/Reloading A Mature Fire

PostBy: SteveZee On: Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:45 am

Lightening,\

Pretty good vairations on the pokers/slashers/grate slicers. Sometimes one of those is the key to saving a high ash firepot. Every once in a while, usually after burning hot and long for several days, I'll get bridged ash, or semi-clinkers of fused ash growing on the side of the pot. If I knock these all down at once, it can be a real pain to get the fire back strong again in a short time. I can shake the heck out of it but it will sometimes linger for a couple hours. Going up from the bottom through the grates is the best way to circumvent this scenerio. It happened to me yesterday afternoon and I had to go to my sisters for dinner at 6pm. I screwed around with it from 5 till 5:45 without much luck. the more I shook it, the lower the pot went till I wondered if i was going to lose it. I threw in a scoop of matchlight and another of coal and even this wasn'ty seeming to cut it. Then I used an old machete up through the bottom just before i had to leave. I though that when i got home I'd be building a new fire but low and behold, it was ripping along and I only had to add coal to it. Sometimes less screwing around with it is better I guess?

I will give this evaluation on grate types. I have both the round dump grates and prismatic bar grates in my two stoves and while the round dump work well and seem to burn the coal to a finer ash, they also can clog up like this over time. The prismatic bar grates (Glenwood cookstove) never have this problem and shake down much faster. While they do let more burning coal embers pass if your not careful, they are the better grates in my opinion for clearing the ash quickly and effectively. They never clog and shaking takes only 5 seconds or so.
SteveZee
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Glenwood Modern Oak 116 & Glenwood 208 C Range

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