New guy, can't get fire started and last!

New guy, can't get fire started and last!

PostBy: Fatttfire On: Wed Dec 10, 2008 10:25 am

I have a old Fisher wood stove, with a shaker basket. My parents used it for years when I was young! I usually heat totaly with wood, b/c I have a 30 acre lot and plenty of it. I decided this year to give coal a try. I heard that soft coal made a mess, so I looked around, and found hard nut coal, for a good price ( $227 a ton ) So I load up my dump truck with a load of nut coal. I made a good hot fire in my wood stove, and the shaker basket was half full with Hot coals, and still some large chunks of oak, burning good. The temp on my therm read 550* I add 1 ash shovel full of nut coal, to the hot coals. It was like the coal, put out the fire. I gently racked the coals, and and spread them out. I closed the door, and open the air inlets all the way. The damper is fully open also. About 1/2 hour later, I went back down, and the temp gauge read 450*. Once again I add one ash shovel full of nut coal, we are talking basically a dozen pieces. Once again it was like a was trying to put out the fire. I gently racked around the pieces so they weren't so pilled up. I shut the doors. About an hour later I checked the fire, and it was 250* and almost out, but a little blue flame. Now is this normal? Am I doing something wrong? I am used to haveing a stove top temp of 600* and being toasty warm. With these temps with coal, I couldn't even get toasty. So whats wrong, or is it just me and this is what I should expect?

Thanks,

Jason
Fatttfire
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Fisher woodstove 1970's

Re: New guy, can't get fire started and last!

PostBy: dtzackus On: Wed Dec 10, 2008 10:31 am

Jason,

Welcome to the world of coal. I burn wood when it gets cool at night, then when winter sets in I burn straight coal. Wood will burn at a lot higher temp where as coal will burn between 200 - 300 degrees and put out a lot more Btu's. The blue flame is the coal burning, most people call them the blue ladies in here. Depending on the temperature of the day and size of your fire box, you may have to shake once or twice a day. Shaking is an art form that I haven't perfected yet, but normally just shake till you see orange ambers in your ash pan.

Enjoy and Welcome!

Dan
dtzackus
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Gibraltar LCC
Stove/Furnace Make: Gibraltar
Stove/Furnace Model: LCC

Re: New guy, can't get fire started and last!

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Dec 10, 2008 10:36 am

First everything you know about burning wood is not applicable.

The basics a re simple, once you get it going fill it up to the max and let it burn. You control the fire via the draft and you can get 12 hours burns on most stoves. Generally speaking once its lit walk away and don't poke, prod or even look at it funny. :D

Does your stove have a underfed draft? Coal needs air from the bottom unlike wood.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

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Re: New guy, can't get fire started and last!

PostBy: dtzackus On: Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:28 pm

Richard,

Is my fire like my wife? "doesn't like to be poked or proded."

lol

Dan
dtzackus
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Gibraltar LCC
Stove/Furnace Make: Gibraltar
Stove/Furnace Model: LCC

Re: New guy, can't get fire started and last!

PostBy: Fatttfire On: Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:53 pm

If I pile it up once it is burning blue, it seems to put it out. So i tried a little at a time, that didn't work either, and it seemed to go out. I get it to burn for maybe 2 hours, then it is completly out, like as in no hot coals, even in bottom, if I dig around. Silly question I know but i have to ask, could it be the coal?

Jason
Fatttfire
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Fisher woodstove 1970's

Re: New guy, can't get fire started and last!

PostBy: Fatttfire On: Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:58 pm

Also, coal puts out more BTU's that wood. Why is my stove top temp so low when burning coal? I know I must not understand exactly how a BTU is measured, but give me a clue, b/c I have none!

Jason
Fatttfire
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Fisher woodstove 1970's

Re: New guy, can't get fire started and last!

PostBy: Devil505 On: Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:07 pm

This thread should help Jason. If you follow the lighting procedure, your coal will light.

How to Light a Hand Fired Coal Stove
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: New guy, can't get fire started and last!

PostBy: Razzler On: Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:41 pm

Jason, Do you have some pictures of your stove, fire box, grates?
Razzler
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman SF 250

Re: New guy, can't get fire started and last!

PostBy: grizzly2 On: Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:47 pm

dtzackus wrote:Richard,

Is my fire like my wife? "doesn't like to be poked or proded."

lol

Dan


Yes. If you get too agressive, they will both cool off in a hurry. :bop:
grizzly2
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 30 - 95
Coal Size/Type: pea and nut/ anthracite
Other Heating: Jotul #3 wood stove in garage. Oil backup in house. Electric backup in house.

Re: New guy, can't get fire started and last!

PostBy: Dann757 On: Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:35 am

I'm really new too, but have gained on it due to great friendly advice here. Maybe you need stove coal , bigger than nut? I'm learning that the coal has to have the air exposure and underflow. My fires went out too, but I just had a couple going for days on end. I was told not to poke the fire, I ended up, due to the design of my stove and grate issues, poking the underside of the grate through the ash door once in a while. I look up under the grate and if I can't see red, I know there's ash plugging the teardrop holes in it. My bent steel bar poker fits right up through the holes and causes the ash to flow right out. When I see reds I stop. I've had a couple instances where it seems the balanced fire I want; the coal burning completely, turning to ash on the bottom, staying plenty hot in the middle, and accepting a layer of fresh coal on top, and settling itself down as it goes, would keep burning. A couple times this balance has been thrown off and it seems the reds all turn into one mass of ash and fire, and it becomes resistant to the flow of air and difficult to revive. Best advice I got was don't poke the fire, don't add more coal until it's all red in there; and I just 'salt' the top of the fire once in a while with new coal lumps. Hope to see pics of your stove! The fire itself will turn my poker red hot, but the stack temp on my stove has been under 200* consistantly.
Dann757
 

Re: New guy, can't get fire started and last!

PostBy: LsFarm On: Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:00 pm

I don't believe your Fisher wood stove will burn coal.. you must have a way to have a grate under the coal fire, with ALL the combustion air coming from under the grate through the fire.. The grate needs to have an ashpan under it, and air controls usually on the door of the ashpan area.. The air vents on the door MUST be closed so only under the fire air can flow through the coal bed from underneath..

If you look at the cut-away drawiings on the Harman, Baker, and other hand feed stove sites, you will see that a coal stove must have an ashpan and an ashpan air inlet..

If you can't get air to under your fire without ANY over the fire air,, you won't be able to burn hard coal.. you might be able to burn some bituminous, but it preferes under the fire air too.

Greg L
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

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