For the first time, today I was unable to crush a piece of ash (clinker? green coal?)that got caught up in my left grate. The more "leverage" I tried to get to crush it, meant a wider space for ash (and fire) to fall through. With alot of ash already in the corner of the ash pan, the eventual outcome was a grate that was frozen in place--unable to be moved in either direction. I never did find the offending piece, despite poking along the margins of the grate. What I had to do was use the poker to spread the ash more evenly in the space that remained in the ash pan, and forcibly pull the pan out of the stove--not easy when that full, and with live fire too. I simply dumped that 1/3rd of the fire, filled the bare grate (and the rest of the box) with fresh coal, and went to work. Fortunately, I still had a nice fire throughout the box when I came home twelve hours later.
If I get a grate that stuck again, I think my first order of business will be to empty the pan of any ash in it at that time, so if I have to completely dump that area, at least there'll be pan space to move the ash/fire to. Any other thoughts about avoiding or dealing with this problem?
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