Poking

Re: Poking

PostBy: Devil505 On: Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:29 am

I'm really surprised here. :confused: :gee:

Seems to me the last time we had this discussion there were some people who adamantly opposed poking of any kind!?! (I guess some coal burning books say not to do it)

Do we have a consensus here now that poking is needed for hand fired operation?......No disagreement?? :discuss:
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Poking

PostBy: Gary L On: Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:36 am

I think I was one of those opposed in a previous thread but the thread was about saving a dying fire.

Poking does not help me when the fire is on its way out but as long as I have a good burn going it does help to loosen the ash packed in the corners and to drop the top crust for a more productive shake down.

I still think each stove has its own mind and burns a little different depending on the design and the set up you have.

From what I am seeing I sure do like the hand fired stoves that have deep, cylindrical fire boxes and no corners.

Gary
Gary L
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Russo #1
Stove/Furnace Make: Russo

Re: Poking

PostBy: coalvet On: Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:43 am

Gary you are correct about the deep round fireboxes, my Crane as you know has a deep round design and I never have to poke the fire either from the top or the bottom, of course the the type of shaker grate also has a lot to do with it!

Rich
coalvet
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane Model 404
Coal Size/Type: Nut
Other Heating: NG Boiler

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Re: Poking

PostBy: Devil505 On: Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:44 am

Well....I guess an "Old Dog" can learn new tricks!....

I've been running my stove hotter than ever b4 this week & find the hotter I run it, the more bridging, fusing together & less powdery the ash is.
To overcome this, I think I will begin each shake down with some pretty good poking FIRST, to break through the mass the coal bed seems to have turned into!
(yesterday...the day after a re-start..when the ash is usually powdery, when I moved the shaker handle, the whole coal bed moved like one mass!!)
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Poking

PostBy: Gary L On: Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:10 am

When I tend the stove in the morning after 8-10 hours of burn I often have what I describe as a crater dome. Red burning coals cover the top but as soon as I poke the top crust it falls a couple of inches.

Then I am able to do a productive shake down and remove the ashes. If I don't poke the top, my shake requires allot more rotation until this dome falls. I can feel a hollow spot in the center where all the fuel has been burnt to powdered ashes.

Gary
Gary L
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Russo #1
Stove/Furnace Make: Russo

Re: Poking

PostBy: Millworker On: Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:50 pm

Clearly the consensus here is that poking is a productive part of the coal tending process. I too poke a red hot coal bed, I fell it helps "aerate" the coal bed, break up clinkers, help me gauge how hot I am burning by examining the ash fusion rate, and forming pockets for fresh coal to in-fill.

Anyway, to the more interesting topic....now that it is butt cold and I am running the stove hotter, my gloved hand that holds the poker literally smokes as I am poking the coal bed :!: It's equally scary and friggin' awesome :junmp:
Millworker
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Startford
Stove/Furnace Model: SC100

Re: Poking

PostBy: BIG BEAM On: Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:55 pm

If you ever are lucky enough to see an old coal furnace that has been left in a cellar with the tools they usually have a poker of some sort standing on a wall next to them.
DON
BIG BEAM
 
Stove/Furnace Make: USS Hot blast
Stove/Furnace Model: 1557M

Re: Poking

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:47 am

Poking hot fire, good.
Poking cool fire, bad.
CapeCoaler
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove

Re: Poking

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:24 pm

Anyway, to the more interesting topic....now that it is butt cold and I am running the stove hotter, my gloved hand that holds the poker literally smokes as I am poking the coal bed :!: It's equally scary and friggin' awesome :junmp:[/quote] How cool is that! I wish I had something equally cool to write but I don't. :(

If I notice any dark shadows in the ash pan after a thorough shaking I poke around there to loosen any ash bridges or clinkers which maybe forming. I use an 20 inch piece of threaded ¼ inch stainless steel rod that the guy at the hardware store screwed a wooden handle on. Total cost - $5. This size fits nicely between the grates, releases the ash while minimizing the damage stirring can do to a coal fire. Poking when needed definitely helps the fire burn more uniformly. Lisa
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I
Coal Size/Type: nut/pea

Re: Poking

PostBy: wsherrick On: Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:43 pm

Here's a shot of the bottom of the fire pot of my stove. The design of it makes shaking and cleaning the fire very easy. The grate is a typical round shaker grate with the iron ring and a pull out dump bar. As you can see the bottom of the firepot has teeth to allow air into the bottom of the fire and also I've found that the ashes easily sift out around the edges of the grate, thus; leaving the bottom of the fire open to get plenty of air and at the same time leaving a little layer of ashes to protect the grates from the fire's direct heat. This stove is so easy to take care of, but; as with all things from the, "Good Old Days," it is up to you to do the work and to figure how to properly maintain and operate it. It never needs poking. I hope you can see the pictures. If they are too dark I will try to post some better ones.
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wsherrick
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Glenwood Base Heater, Crawford Base Heater
Baseburners & Antiques: Crawford Base Heater, Glenwood, Stanley Argand
Coal Size/Type: Chestnut, Stove Size

Re: Poking

PostBy: Devil505 On: Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:54 pm

lowfog01 wrote:Poking when needed definitely helps the fire burn more uniformly. Lisa


Nice to have some feminine input in this forum now! My middle daughter (36) & her husband are burning coal (for the first time this year) & I've been trying to get her to come on here but she refuses.........& tells me "Get A Life!!" :lol: :lol:
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Poking

PostBy: Jack Magnum On: Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:57 am

Devil505 wrote:I'm sure there are other threads regarding this procedure but I can't find them, so I figured I'd just start a new thread.
Poking always seems to be controversial & I know some coal burning books warn that you should never poke a coal fire. I have burned coal for many years, in three different stoves & found that I NEED to poke the fire to puncture air pockets (that are wasting valuable coal bed real estate) & to get rid of ash. Some people poke UP from under the shaker grates with a tool, while others (due to stove design) find it easier & cleaner to poke DOWN from above. However you do it, I don't believe it is possible to efficiently operate a hand fired coal stove unless you poke! (You can clean out ash by shaking alone I guess, but I think you'll end up wasting allot of perfectly good coal in doing so, & possibly limiting the life of you shaker grates by exposing them to too much heat)
These colder outdoor temps necessitate us running our stoves hotter, which really creates much more ash than normal, so it's even more important to get the ash out to make room for fresh coal!(There seem to be an overabundance of problem posts lately, regarding low heat output & most of these problems are because members are not getting enough ash out to make room for the coal. Your coal stove does a much better job of heating your house when you are burning COAL rather than trying to burn ASH! :lol:


Here are a few of my poking rules that I always go by:

Main Rule...Never poke into a fire until it is livened up! (open the ash door)

1. Never poke into a load of fresh coal. (leave it alone....It knows what to do!) :lol:
2. A new fire creates pretty fine (powdery) ash & doesn't need any poking for a few days. (this is obviously coal type/source dependent) I have no idea why the ash gets coarse (over time) but it does.
3. If poking from the top, twist the poker as you poke down
4. if poking from under the grates, don't be so forceful that you damage the shaker grate teeth

Just my 2 cents!! :lol: (welcome any & all thoughts)
Devil,
How long does it take you to do a complete poking ? Are you poking just the edges or all thru the coal bed ? My farmer friend says he never pokes his and I tried to tell him these stoves all have their own likings but He just laughs at me. :D
Jack Magnum
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Poking

PostBy: Devil505 On: Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:16 am

Jack Magnum wrote:How long does it take you to do a complete poking ? Are you poking just the edges or all thru the coal bed ?


I poke the entire coal bed Jack & it literally just adds seconds to my shaking down procedure.
I've found it beneficial to do this with all 3 coal stoves I have owned. (I'm sure it's coal related but I have never burned any coal that just turns to powder & never forms "Bridges")
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Poking

PostBy: grizzly2 On: Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:10 pm

[quote="wsherrick"]Here's a shot of the bottom of the fire pot of my stove. but; as with all things from the, "Good Old Days," it is up to you

What a wonderful old stove. Is it a serious home heater for you, or a hobby :?: My grandmother had a parlor stove in her living room and heated the half house she lived in with it. :up:
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: Poking

PostBy: Jack Magnum On: Fri Jan 23, 2009 12:12 am

Devil505 wrote:Well....I guess an "Old Dog" can learn new tricks!....

I've been running my stove hotter than ever b4 this week & find the hotter I run it, the more bridging, fusing together & less powdery the ash is.
To overcome this, I think I will begin each shake down with some pretty good poking FIRST, to break through the mass the coal bed seems to have turned into!
(yesterday...the day after a re-start..when the ash is usually powdery, when I moved the shaker handle, the whole coal bed moved like one mass!!)
Is that what you want for the whole bed of coals to move in unison ?
Jack Magnum
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Visit Hitzer Stoves