How does this thing work

How does this thing work

PostBy: coalloser On: Fri Dec 12, 2008 4:55 pm

Hi Everyone -

I have been reading your posts over the last week or so and have taken away some great advise but I am still having some issues. I have a Stratford Coal stove that seems to be stubborn, or maybe it is just my ignorance. I have no trouble getting it started and can maintain a good fire for a few hours but then I lose it. I open the ash door a crack because that is as far as this Stratford model will allow me, open all vents on the ash door and I can barely resurrect it. Here are my questions -

What is the science behind shaking down? Do I do it until I get a red glow in the ash pan? Do you get the fire hot first then shake down? Add coal first then shake down or shake down then add coal?

Is utilizing my blower killing the fire sooner than necessary?

The stove is located in my basement and my chimney starts there and goes several feet above my roof (i have a two story home). Is this too long and could be contributing to my troubles?

I am getting a lot of what I would call ash patties against my grates. Does this mean my coal is inadequate?

Please help! I am desperate to get this thing to work! I already got the "I told you so" from the wife and would love to prove her wrong on this one
coalloser
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Stratford

Re: How does this thing work

PostBy: Floydman89 On: Fri Dec 12, 2008 5:22 pm

Hi, I'm a Newbee .. but here are my thoughts... I'm sure someone on here with much more experience than I, will chime in.. and help you out...

I have a Hitzer 30-95 on my first floor ... so its different I'd assume than what you have...
About every 8 hours or so .. the temp on the stack will go down...
and the blue flames will die down ... so what we do .. is shake it .. meaning pull back and fourth on the handle... while the ash pan door is open ... and allow the ash to fall into the pan ... once there is a glow of orange.. looking in from the ash door.... its time to stop ... we might get a few hot coals that drop ... after that .. its time to fill the hopper with coal.. and its good to go another 8 hours... we do dump the ash pan once a day... like before we shake it... we never leave the door wide open.... My wife takes care of it more than I .. I haven't shaken it myself in a while .. she has taken over the controls... Once you get the thing figure out.. I'm sure your wife will be surprised .. don't give up....
There could be something wrong with your stove.. like the draft on your chimney.. If we leave our ash door open . .the temp on our stack will go up.. .and really start burning the coal.. and would overheat the stove if left open too long.. Not a good thing..
Floydman89
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 30-95

Re: How does this thing work

PostBy: Ashcat On: Fri Dec 12, 2008 5:37 pm

coalloser wrote: I have a Stratford Coal stove ... I have no trouble getting it started and can maintain a good fire for a few hours but then I lose it. I open the ash door a crack because that is as far as this Stratford model will allow me, open all vents on the ash door and I can barely resurrect it.


After starting the fire and it's going strong, are you filling the firebox with new coal to the top of the fire bricks? My first fire didn't go well because of that issue, and that issue only. If your stove allows you to only open the ashpan door a crack, how are you supposed to remove the ashes? What do yo mean by "it only opens a crack". Do you have a stove name, picture or Model number? Can you be more specific about what "ash patties" are? In my experience, very little ash is created by coal after burning a few hours (2 or 3). It is highly unlikely you'd need to shake the grates after a few hours.
Ashcat
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 983
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Blaschak

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Re: How does this thing work

PostBy: North Candlewood On: Fri Dec 12, 2008 5:51 pm

Pictures are great! Or a link to your stove works too.
Do you have a barometric damper?
Is the blower for your draft?
What coal are you burning size and brand?
North Candlewood
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Eshland S-130
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker A 120
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Chubby
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1602
Baseburners & Antiques: Princess Atlantic Cookstove
Coal Size/Type: Nut Rice

Re: How does this thing work

PostBy: coalloser On: Sat Dec 13, 2008 7:42 am

I am burning Blaschack Anthracite Chestnut Coal from Mahoney, PA. The ash paties that I was referring to seem to be lumps of coal melted together. The blower is not used to control draft but to force the hot air from the stove.

I am working on getting the pictures uploaded




Any help/advise you could offer would be great!
coalloser
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Stratford

Re: How does this thing work

PostBy: gitrdonecoal On: Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:01 am

dont worry, we will prove the wife wrong. more than likely these ash patties you are referring to are called clinkers. these are formed when very, very hot coal is fused together by cooling down, a lot of times it happens when you poke around the fire a lot, or by using poor coal. what you are seeing are the minerals and impurities in the coal fusing together. these clikers can be the size of a quarter and up to the size of a football, which someone on this forum pulled out of his stove. couldn believe it! now you are using blaschak coal, i use it too. its really good coal. do you poke around your coal bed a lot? if and when you need to do this you should only do it lightly.
now do you have a baro dampner? i know charles asked you but i forget if you answered yes or no. these are a neccessity for us coal burners. these allow cool air to enter the chimney and kinda aid (i believe) in creating a draft. it then keeps the heat in the coal bed so it does not excape the chimney and making momma cold in the house :cry: .
now, do you only have dampners on the ash pan door? if you have vents over the fire it will surely kill a fire in no time. these vents are for burning wood, i dunno if your unit is a multi burner, forgive me if it is not. hope all of this helps you out. keep us posted!

john
gitrdonecoal
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90
Stove/Furnace Make: USSC
Stove/Furnace Model: Hotblast 1557

Re: How does this thing work

PostBy: gitrdonecoal On: Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:21 am

oops, you had questions about shaking down. you will only need to shake down once or twice a day for a hand fired, depending on how much you use it. you will not need to shake it down as soon as you get it fired, which if i am reading your post right thats what you are doing.
when you get the fire going leave all your dampners below the coal bed all the way open, or open the ash pan door. as you probably have read, make sure when you are loading your coal you see the danceing blue ladies, about 4 or 5 inches tall. once you got you coal up to the top of the fire brick (coal loves a deep bed) LEAVE ALL THE DAMPNERS/ASH PAN DOOR OPEN FOR A BIT. this is the problem i had when i first started using my hot blast. so when you do this, grab a cold one and relax for about 10 or 15 minutes. dont leave the stove when the ash pan door is open. once you see a good glowing bed of red, orange, a some blue ladies, close off the ash pan door. until you know where to set the dampner, have it open all the way. play around with it a turn at a time.
now you question; shaking the ashes. ONLY shake a enough until you see the first red or orange embers fall into the pan. you might have to get right down and look under the coal bed where the grates are. does it all glow? if not you might have to poke underneath the bed to get some stubborl ashes out. i use a piece of 1/4 rebar with a 90 degree bend in it at the end about 4 inches long to get in there good. poke around underneath until it all is glowing good. DONT shake too much, only until you see the glowing embers into the pan. too much shaking will compact the coal, cut off the air supply, and kill it for sure. its a learning curve. BE PATIENT. dont worry about the wife, buy her some diamonds and she will forget about the stove :P . hope this is all helpful to ya. keep us posted and stay warm.

john
gitrdonecoal
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90
Stove/Furnace Make: USSC
Stove/Furnace Model: Hotblast 1557

Re: How does this thing work

PostBy: coalloser On: Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:51 pm

ok, I have a 6 pack ready and I am going to fire this baby up. I changed the barometric damper to .04 from .02. I am going to start a wood fire and let it burn hot for about 2 hours and then start throwing coal on. Once the coal catches, load her up with ash pan door vents wide open. How long do I wait for 1st shake? I think this where I keep going wrong (ie doing too early). Since the design of the stove restains me from opening the ash door without opening the feed door, would a fan blowing on the vents work?

here are some pics -they are pics from a previous post regarding Stratford stoves but it is exactly what I have
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coalloser
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Stratford

Re: How does this thing work

PostBy: rockwood On: Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:40 pm

Using smaller pieces of wood would burn down quicker so you could add coal sooner than two hours but it's fine to do it that way if you want.
Shouldn't have to shake for a number of hours. Many stoves can go ten hours or more/once or twice a day just before reloading.

If you're thinking about using the fan in the picture to "blow on the vents" That won't do anything for draft to this stove.

I saw a stove design like this once that couldn't have only the ash door open and the only conclusion I could come to was to prevent leaving the ash door open resulting in over firing of the stove.? Is this the reason?
rockwood
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Stokermatic coal furnace
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Rockwood Stoveworks Circulator
Baseburners & Antiques: Malleable/Monarch Range
Coal Size/Type: Soft coal: Lump and stoker (slack coal)

Re: How does this thing work

PostBy: kootch88 On: Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:41 pm

I don't think you will ever be able to burn coal successfully unless you are able to take off/cut off the piece of metal that prevents the ash door from opening without the top (,load) door also open. I have no idea why it was made that way but if you manage to cut that metal flap, you should be fine.
kootch88
 
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Reading
Stove/Furnace Model: Lehigh

Re: How does this thing work

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Sat Dec 13, 2008 8:44 pm

kootch88 wrote:I don't think you will ever be able to burn coal successfully unless you are able to take off/cut off the piece of metal that prevents the ash door from opening without the top (,load) door also open. I have no idea why it was made that way but if you manage to cut that metal flap, you should be fine.


That was my first thought when I saw it. But judging from the size of the ash door I came to a conclusion. It must be so that when you open the ash door (which is huge), the loading door allows overfire air to break what would be a massive draft through the coal bed and overfire the stove. It is a little strange.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: How does this thing work

PostBy: rberq On: Sat Dec 13, 2008 9:23 pm

coalloser wrote: I changed the barometric damper to .04 from .02 ... load her up with ash pan door vents wide open. How long do I wait for 1st shake?


Check your stove owner's manual for the proper barometric damper setting. .04 may still be too low. I'd suggest starting as high as .08, then when you get comfortable with keeping the fire happy, experiment with lower settings. As Ashcat said, keep adding coal until you fill to the top of the firebrick or a little above. Coal wants a deep bed. With lots of air coming in it shouldn't take more than 10 or 15 minutes to get it loaded. Once it is burning vigorously you should reduce the air quite a lot, just allow enough air so the stove is putting out enough heat. In cold weather like this you will probably have at least a few blue flames above the coal; in warm weather you may cut the air so that all the coal on top is black, there are no blue flames, and you can just see some red coals down lower.

Fully loaded (the stove, not you) you should be able to wait 8 to 12 hours before shaking down. Don't shake too little -- that seems to be a common newbie mistake. Coal makes a LOT of ash, and you have to shake down enough to get rid of it, or the chimney draft won't be able to suck enough air through the ashes to keep the fire going. As mudman said, shake and poke until you can see a reasonable glow when you look up from the underside of the grates.

P.S. The interlock between the ash and loading doors seems like a pain in the butt, but the fact you can get a good coal fire going says to me that it won't stop successful stove operation.
rberq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300
Coal Size/Type: Nut -- Kimmel/Blaschak/Reading
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators, propane

Re: How does this thing work

PostBy: Razzler On: Sat Dec 13, 2008 9:36 pm

coalloser Is there a seal around the ash door and the load door? If there is and you can cut that lip off of the ash door and not hurt the seal that would help alot.
Razzler
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman SF 250

Re: How does this thing work

PostBy: Ashcat On: Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:11 pm

What about taking the ash pan door off its hinges, closing the fill door, then re-installing the ash pan door, so the positions of the retaining pieces of metal are reversed? It looks from the pictures that that may be possible. One of my rules for my family (who I occasionally enlist to make minor adjustments when I'm not home) is to NEVER open the fill door without first opening the ash pan door. The design of coalloser's (soon to change his name to coalwinner?!?) stove makes violation of this rule mandatory! Weird. I guess the manufacturer had to make a choice for the buyer between the possibility of overfiring the stove, or getting all the hair burned off the buyer's head. :shock: Not sure they made the right choice.
Ashcat
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 983
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Blaschak

Re: How does this thing work

PostBy: tstove On: Sun Dec 14, 2008 10:06 am

Razzler wrote:coalloser Is there a seal around the ash door and the load door? If there is and you can cut that lip off of the ash door and not hurt the seal that would help alot.

I agree! Get a angle grinder with a cutoff wheel and cut off that metal thats preventing you from opening the ash door or unbolt it from the door if it's not welded on.Just make sure you don't leave the stove for too long when you have the ash door open because you will overfire the stove.
tstove
 
Stove/Furnace Make: russo,gibralter
Stove/Furnace Model: c-55,cfi

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