ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: SAU On: Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:22 am

VigII is the vigilant man. I didn't see the ash buildup on your front grates like I get on mine, Vig. So far I'm recharging twice a day but it hasn't been real cold. Like eelhc, I have to clean out the front grate with the slicer because it becomes plugged up and from my limited experience, the stove must have that breathing area open. With PRB bit mine seems to run at about 700 for six hours or so and starts to drop off after that.

I've had a few of occasions where I ran it hard overnight while I was gone on 12 hour shift work. I've been able to get it to refire every time, but once I decided to clean it out because it just wasn't burning as well as it had been. I found some pretty serious clinkers in there which is what prompted me to use the slicer much more often. If the stove has never burned as hot as it should then I imagine you have a different problem but if it started off hot and now it just isn't the same I would try letting it burn out and see just exactly what you have laying on top of the shaker grate. I know a lot of the guys here say not to poke the fire, but I'm finding that if I poke down at the front of the fire, at the same angle that the front grate will force you to, and go all the way through the shaker grates as you are doing so, I think you will find the stove is more efficient. sorry about the run on sentence but you'll figure it out if you read it slow. :oops:

VigII, do you ever have ash buildup in the front grate like I'm explaining?
SAU
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings/Nordic Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: VIGILANT II 2310/Erik Jr. HH

Check your local Craigslist...

PostBy: eelhc On: Wed Nov 26, 2008 1:03 am

rewinder wrote:Keep us informed on how your new stoker works eelhc, I like the idea of re-furbing one! Ya I'm a cheapskate!!!

In the mean time I keep scouting around for coal kits for these old girls for spare parts. New grates are available but pricy! The grates in the Vig are fine, but one of the last few times I used the resolute 20 odd yrs ago, I was too lazy to dump the ash pan, and i warped them some.


Cars, tools, electronics, power equipment, coal stoves... I rarely buy new. Check your local Craigslist!!! In 1 week my local Craigslist had 2 Alaska stoker listings. The first one was really a good deal $475 with a power vent... I was the first one have a look but the amount of rust scared me off and it sold to someone else. After thinking about it a bit I was regretting letting it slip when another listing showed up on Craigslist. This one was in better shape without the power vent for $500. With little negotiation I snapped it up for $475. Here's a pic:

Thinking of purchasing a Alaska Kast Console...
Image

The New Hampshire Craigslist has quite a few coal stoves listed..
http://nh.craigslist.org/search/sss?query=coal stove

Here's a nice Efel for $600 including 300lbs of coal:

http://nh.craigslist.org/hsh/919059407.html
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.


Looks like lower heating oil prices and the current state of the economy has a lot of coal, pellet and wood stoves on the market. The woman i bought the stove from was glad to have the cash and i was happy to help her out.
eelhc
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnum Stoker

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: rewinder On: Wed Nov 26, 2008 1:20 am

Wow ellhc that's a big'n!! You're not afraid to tackle anything--LOL!!!

What's the btu rating?

I 'll keep my eye on Craig's, thanks.

Asked the wife what she thought about getting another coal stove, she said " Are you crazy, these are doing a fine job!" I'll just have to surprise her i guess.

Time to stoke and go to bed------------------------
rewinder
 
Stove/Furnace Make: VT Castings--early models
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant, and Resolute

Visit Hitzer Stoves

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: oliver power On: Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:34 am

BM-80 wrote:
mrpete64 wrote:I think that I am...coal retarded!! After using my vermont casting wood stove, for 35 years, maybe I am not "cut out" to use coal. I keep getting coal ash build up in my Vermont castings coal stove. I shake the hell out of it...clean it twice daily...and still cannot get it to work correctly. Some times it works great...and top stove temperature is around 450.
Any suggestions on what I am doing wrong?
Thanks!
Mr. Pete--->


I had a Vermont Castings Vigilant coal stove about 3 years ago. I tried and tried but had only very limited success with it. I thought that burning coal was a joke and could not understand how the whole country used to rely on coal for so many years... Then I got a REAL coal stove (Hitzer) - what a difference!!
I'm not trying to anger/insult any Vigilant fans out there. But I have also known others who had the same difficulty with the Vigilant (as well as some who have had great success). It's just that I have heard/seen more complaints about the Vigilant than all others combined.
Good Luck!! If you get it to work properly, you're a better man than me.

Bob M
oliver power
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: KEYSTOKER Kaa-2
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93 & 30-95, Vigilant (pre-Vigilant-II)
Baseburners & Antiques: MANY (Mostly when burning wood)
Stove/Furnace Make: HITZER / KEYSTOKER
Stove/Furnace Model: 50-93 & 30-95 , Kaa-2

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: oliver power On: Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:41 am

When it comes to coal burning , I cut my teeth on the Vermont Castings Vigillant. I do have to admit , the Vigillant was a difficult stove to run. Being my first coal stove , I thought it was me. Then I bought a HITZER 50-93. I said the same thing , WHAT A DIFFERENCE!! After cutting my teeth on the Vigillant , I could run the HITZER blind folded. I was so happy with the HITZER 50-93 , the following year I bought the 30-95 model for the shop. Both are very good stoves. I'd never recommend the Vermont Castings Vigillant as a main heat source for heating a home.
oliver power
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: KEYSTOKER Kaa-2
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93 & 30-95, Vigilant (pre-Vigilant-II)
Baseburners & Antiques: MANY (Mostly when burning wood)
Stove/Furnace Make: HITZER / KEYSTOKER
Stove/Furnace Model: 50-93 & 30-95 , Kaa-2

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: BobQ On: Wed Nov 26, 2008 6:26 pm

I have a Vigilant and find it very easy to use, I think the older ones were the ones that earned the bad reputation, mine is the newest version and is easy to maintain and keep running, I use pea or nut, I can't decide which one I like better. On the warm days it will idle down around 200 deg. If any questions feel free to ask! I do think Veg pea burner is the expert however! also when recharging mine I seam to break all the rules, I shake it and open the ash pan to get it burning well, thats with the damper open, then I dump a whole bucket of coal in, wait about five min, close the ash door and damper and off to work I go. I have not used the knife for slicing yet but will try tonight.
BobQ
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Wed Nov 26, 2008 6:35 pm

With all the complaints, I wish I knew what the problem was :?: :!: ;) After all, as the add (and eelhc) states: It's so simple a CAVEMAN can do it :D :lol: :D :lol: Must be hard to get up the hill on the learning curve or I just figured out how to use a wheel. I've never had another stove to burn coal in. So to say, I cut my teeth - and I still have em, and I really don't have major issues with the Vigilant. It is my main source of heat unless it's really cold or I have to be away for longer than a day. Then I'll light the stoker :P

Kidding aside, it probably has a lot to do with coal quality and draft. Learning coal/Vigilant took me most of the first year. When people have comments about a stove they love, they state the model. What model/vintage Vigilant did you have :?: That information is paramount to relate your statements to the current model 2310. There have been a few variants over the ~35 years the Vigilants have been manufactured. What model did you have Oliver Power, BM-80 :?: We need to talk apples to apples to maintain an accurate relationship to the model commented upon as the Vigilant has evolved. You know evolution .. happened to the caveman :lol:

Sorry for the thread drift. It's about managing ash in a Vigilant - what ever the vintage, it needs to be spoken to.

SAU wrote:VigII is the vigilant man. I didn't see the ash buildup on your front grates like I get on mine, Vig. So far I'm recharging twice a day but it hasn't been real cold. Like eelhc, I have to clean out the front grate with the slicer because it becomes plugged up and from my limited experience, the stove must have that breathing area open. With PRB bit mine seems to run at about 700 for six hours or so and starts to drop off after that.

I've had a few of occasions where I ran it hard overnight while I was gone on 12 hour shift work. I've been able to get it to refire every time, but once I decided to clean it out because it just wasn't burning as well as it had been. I found some pretty serious clinkers in there which is what prompted me to use the slicer much more often. If the stove has never burned as hot as it should then I imagine you have a different problem but if it started off hot and now it just isn't the same I would try letting it burn out and see just exactly what you have laying on top of the shaker grate. I know a lot of the guys here say not to poke the fire, but I'm finding that if I poke down at the front of the fire, at the same angle that the front grate will force you to, and go all the way through the shaker grates as you are doing so, I think you will find the stove is more efficient. sorry about the run on sentence but you'll figure it out if you read it slow. :oops:

VigII, do you ever have ash buildup in the front grate like I'm explaining?


I've seen the ash build up there and only occasionally do I give the front grill a good shake with the hook on the end of the knife after I shake the fire half way down the grill. I do as in the video every other day or so, depending on how many Lbs are going thru it. I agree SAU, if you see the drop in heat output over several days, it's time to look closer to the grates. Somethig(s) is plugging it up.

I don't poke before a small recharge or shaking. Even then, I concentrate it around the sides and edges to push ash, not more that once or twice in the middle. Do you do full in/out strokes with the handle? When I shake down, I occasionally do short strokes, say 20 or so, so as not to rattle the fire. It sometimes bridges when I do this: the fire won't settle in the fire box. Sometimes it's one side or the other, other times it's the whole firebox that bridges. When this happens, I finish the shaking until the handle feels "loose": not too much going thru the grates. Watch the fire height and the pan. Then I open up the front doors, clear the ash below the grill like in the video and do a good poking along the grill support (below bottom of grill) down into the grates. There shouldn't bee any fire in that spot then. You can see if there's any clinkers in there and that's the time to break them up. Mostly I've found if I burn too hot too long, I'll get clinkers. If I don't do anything different than in the videos, I don't get clinkers but just hard single pea coal size chunks. Most of the time now, I'm running 640 - 700 for the duration of the burn. I close the internal damper shortly after blue flames appear and when the stove is at least ~400 after a full recharge.
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: rewinder On: Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:40 pm

you're right in thinking that the older Vigilant units with the coal conversion kits can be cranky. I never had trouble 25 yrs ago keeping them going, but now with a baro and added door gaskets at the horizontal grate, it runs hotter longer, with less burn back ect.

But after watching VGIIPB's videos I can see that the new ones have a much deeper fire depth, and resulting longer higher heat output. The hopper in mine feeds the fire very well, but the total active depth is less because the hopper limits the height. It can probably run lower at idle because of this.

I like VGIIPB's fire box size reduction mod for warm weather tho, very clever!

I like the bigger ash pan and it's lower door on the VigII, the older ones had the pan right under the grate. Also VC made another Vig model between the old coal kit add on and the VigII. I think it was called a multi-fuel. It was hopperless and had same grate system as the new ones but no seperate ash pan door.

That said, I'll keep my eye out for a used VigII. My old 1gen resolute is in our 24" sq family room and a bigger Vig would blow us out. The old Vig is in the other end of the house and it's main function is to pump heat to the main house via a doorway fan.

Well this is all off topic from ash build up isn't it??--LOL

Any how here's what I use in the doorways of both rooms with the stoves in them.--Not pretty but functional and quiet.

Paul
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Stove/Furnace Make: VT Castings--early models
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant, and Resolute

Re: To VigIIPeaBurner

PostBy: oliver power On: Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:58 pm

Not sure which model vigillant I had. I know it wasn't the newest version. I got to where I could run it ok. I also knew that no one else I'd known could keep it going around the clock. Like I've mentioned in other post; I thought it was a good little stove , till I bought a HITZER. Night and day difference.
oliver power
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: KEYSTOKER Kaa-2
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93 & 30-95, Vigilant (pre-Vigilant-II)
Baseburners & Antiques: MANY (Mostly when burning wood)
Stove/Furnace Make: HITZER / KEYSTOKER
Stove/Furnace Model: 50-93 & 30-95 , Kaa-2

The Vigilant is work but it's been a good stove to learn on.

PostBy: eelhc On: Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:47 pm

No doubt the Vigilant I is a lot more work than the stoves specifically designed to burn coal but it isn't all that hard.

Up until a month ago, I had not burnt an ounce of Anthricite in my life. The Vigilant I stove was left in the house along with ~200#s of coal from the previous owner. A friend suggested that I might try it this Winter (oil was still above $3/gal back then).

I poked around Google and discovered this forum. Read everything I could, got a lot of help from Paul (Rewinder) and now I feel like an old pro at running what's supposedly a "stove never meant to burn coal".

After burning coal for a few weeks, I'm completely converted so I went and bought a used stoker for next year (paint + tune up).

Keep working at your Vigilant... What I've learned is that tending a coal fire is more art than science but not a difficult art to learn.
eelhc
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnum Stoker

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: BM-80 On: Thu Nov 27, 2008 9:05 am

To VigII PeaBurner...

Well, I first of all< I believe I had a Vig I, not a Vig II. Also, I felt (and still feel) that the people I bought the stove from were selling it because THEY ALSO had difficulty getting it to work right. When I bought the stove, I could not figure out why they were selling it......later I kind of felt I knew why. Anyway, I've already said that anybody that can achieve success with it is "a better man than me" I mean it.

All that being said, I would like to relate a story that many people might be identify with, paticularly those that ask the question "What am I doing wrong??" The main purpose of this story is to entertain all of us.

I know an older guy named Larry who is very involved in the sport of boxing. He used to box when he was younger but for the last 30 years he has been a trainer and has achieved pretty good success with quite a few of his fighters. He is especially known as a "conditioner". Larry will think nothing of throwing on his sweat pants and running shoes and going for a nine mile run WITH his boxer in order to "motivate" him. He has, of course, made some mistakes along the way. When Larry was asked what was the biggest mistake he ever made when conditioning a fighter his response was this:

"Conditioning the WRONG fighter!"


Happy Thanksgiving from Bob M
BM-80
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 983 insert

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Thu Nov 27, 2008 1:17 pm

BM-80 wrote:To VigII PeaBurner...
...8<...He has, of course, made some mistakes along the way. When Larry was asked what was the biggest mistake he ever made when conditioning a fighter his response was this:

"Conditioning the WRONG fighter!"


Happy Thanksgiving from Bob M


A Happy Thanksgiving day to all as well. Even though I'm stuck at work and my high school football team, picked to win, is getting the bgees kicked out of them in the first quarter :mad:

BM-80, does the "Conditioning the WRONG fighter!" analogy apply to the operator of a given stove or does it describe effort put forth to operate the wrong stove? Both?! I'm hoping the stove. In that case, I agree. I don't have first hand knowledge of how hard it is to clear ashes or keep a burn in the earlier models. Just have to learn the right sequential tricks.

I wouldn't have purchased one of the older versions having seen a few of my fellow burners struggle with them. It seems others have applied the necessary ingenuity to surmount the stoves shortcomings. Rewinder lists the link to the answers in his earlier post. I looked hard at the VigII before purchasing it. Honestly - wife would only accept the Vigilant. She's not a fan of flat welded steel with some brass stuff stuck on it to dress it up. Doesn't bother me either way, but I'd rather be living happy :roll:

BM-80 and everyone .... Good luck and enjoy the day with friends and family :) Life is short; live it loud, lively and (of course) WARM :D
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: BM-80 On: Thu Nov 27, 2008 10:18 pm

Hello Vig II Peaburner...
Yeah, the analogy is about the stove. (What's the biggest mistake made in operating a stove?? Answer: Operating the wrong stove!) But don't worry, I had a Vig I..... the Vig II is much better. Many people LOVE thier Vig II and I agree with your approach: just keep asking questions and trying different things in differing sequence until you discover the "formula" for your application. As you already know, each individual situation is different - you need to discover what works for you. Don't worry, success is just around the corner

Well, I got home from a GREAT Thanksgiving meal and just walked thru the door. I've been gone for about 10 hours and the house is a toasty 74 degrees. And, as usual, the worlds 's friendliest pitbull is stretched out in front of the hearth and worshoping the coal stove. Much to be thankful for.... Happy Thanksgiving to all !
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Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: SAU On: Fri Nov 28, 2008 1:21 am

I worked today too Vig, will do turkey day tomorrow. The stove was nearly out today when I got home so I figured I'd give her a good cleaning. It makes a huge difference with this bit. HUGE DIFFERENCE.
SAU
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings/Nordic Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: VIGILANT II 2310/Erik Jr. HH

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Fri Nov 28, 2008 7:04 am

SAU, enjoy your Turkey-day Today! Well earned :!:

Some bit oriented questions:
o What percentage do you estimate that shaking the grates helps clear the bit ash?
o How much do you have to poke/knife the grates?I've never seen bit ash first hand. Is there much of a difference from anthracite ash? I know there's variation to hard coal ash, just wondering if in general there's a difference between the two.
o Do the clinkers look/form differently than those formed in an anthracite fire? Others have posted pictures of them but I don't think I've seen any from bit.

Thank SAU and be sure to enjoy your day - I'm heading back now .....
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Visit Hitzer Stoves