Lighting Nut Coal

Modern and vintage hand fired coal stove are similar to a wood stove and in some cases can burn either. They need to be regulated and fed by hand usually every 12 to 24 hours depending on your usage. They require no power to operate making them ideal for rural settings with long power outages.
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SMITTY
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - (custom built by Jim Dorsey, Taunton MA - RIP 4/18/13)
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Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler
Location: West-Central Mass

Post Sun. Dec. 26, 2010 6:00 pm

I think 10 lbs. might be too much for the first layer. I only toss about 4 shovelfulls on for the first layer ... and it's a small shovel.
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encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with
greater confidence than an armed man."

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Poconoeagle
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Post Sun. Dec. 26, 2010 6:13 pm

hmm my coal hod holds bout 30 # of nut and 1/3 of that just covers the grates in the kodiak currently burning ;)

try the cowboy or fatwood method coldcoal
"Do it Right the First Time" dont leave it for the next guy, as YOU may be the Next guy!!

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coldcoal
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Post Sun. Dec. 26, 2010 7:12 pm

Poconoeagle wrote:
coal like thick! deep! the air rushes around each nugget up , up, up, thru the layers thus drawing vital oxygen thru the thick deep bed.....
makes sense...
SMITTY wrote:I think 10 lbs. might be too much for the first layer. I only toss about 4 shovelfulls on for the first layer ... and it's a small shovel.
makes sense too, so which is it? I would think just a layer, and 10 pounds btw is one layer in this big ol stove, and let it cook and add to it like pocono said. This indeed goes against the 'deep' idea. I mean It has never lit for me yet so I don't know if one lit piece even lights another, but I would assume there's some spreading. All I got was red glow soon out, white crust around cooled coal later, cracks in half easily.

So, just to fill ya in on my angst here, this all happened as I decided to buy bulk wood. That is to say since I like to use an axe and chop (great workout) I bought 3 foot stumps, a cords worth, cheap! All rotten, crumbled to the blow, nothing burns. He vanished since, no calls back, after saying he would be here 4 days ago to replace. Since then I have been living on downed trees and rotten wood and radiators. THEN, since it is a coal stove, I decided to get risky even without a carbon detector and try it. The rest you have seen today, lol, and all because the years first snow storm is here. Well I can tell ya this, radiators don't cool this snow covered house! I never had the stove off in my years here to see this, now I see this, and it's bone chilling! (wood windows)

So now I need the forum pyro/scientist. With no cowboy coal, good hardwood, torch, or kingsford... what would you do?!?

Thermite would burn a hole right thru the bottom of the stove, and I have no shavings to make it anyway, so something less intense perhaps. Mix sawdust, wax, tobasco sauce... c'mon, there must be something!

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Richard S.
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Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite
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Post Sun. Dec. 26, 2010 7:20 pm

When you get to this point you should stack it on:

Image

You're not going to smother it, it may take a long time for it to start burning once you stack it in there but you have to have patience.
coldcoal wrote: The difference this time is I'm not stirring anything .
You never stir coal when trying to light it, don't even look at it funny. ;)
My firebricks are almost to the top of stove, taller than the front door, so 3 inches or so?
You want to get as much as you can n there within reason, obviously you don;t want to stack it up against the glass. Look at the picture smitty posted:
coldcoal wrote:I have no CO detector, probably saved my life since it didn't light! (Another plus of wood)
Wood gives off CO too, anything that burns give off CO including natural gas and oil. The specific issue with coal is it produces fly ash and this will settle on any horizontal surfaces like in the flue pipe and the bottom of the chimney. This has to be cleaned out, how often depends but most people go the entire season... others have to do it once a month.
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

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Richard S.
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Post Sun. Dec. 26, 2010 7:24 pm

coldcoal wrote:
makes sense too, so which is it?
You need a thinner layer to start, once it's lit or reloading fill it to max.
THEN, since it is a coal stove, I decided to get risky even without a carbon detector and try it.
There is no particular CO risk with coal with proper maintenance cleaning the fly ash out, matter of fact it's the safest fuel you can use bar none. It doesn't explode, it doesn't easily burn and it most certainly isn;t going to cause a chimney fire like wood.
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

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labman
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Coal Size/Type: nut
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Post Sun. Dec. 26, 2010 7:29 pm

These guys on here helped me get past this stage. I use cowboy charcoal with some lighter fluid. 5 min. and add some coal. works every time
Ken S.

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SMITTY
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - (custom built by Jim Dorsey, Taunton MA - RIP 4/18/13)
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (SOLD!)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler
Location: West-Central Mass

Post Sun. Dec. 26, 2010 7:33 pm

Just to clarify -- I didn't mean to imply that Poconoeagle is doing it wrong .... he's a vet burner and has been on here for a long time. What I should have said was ... you can try layering LESS on each time to see if that works. Whether that's 3 lbs. or 30 lbs. you need to find what works for you. Every stove & every chimney is different, so what works for one may not work for another.

Without charcoal and just wood, the only thing I can recommend is get that wood fire rip snorting hot ... and burn enough of it so that you have several inches of hot coals on the grates. Don't try to throw coal on while the wood is flaming -- better to wait until it's burned down to solid red coals, THEN put layers of coal on.
The laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are
neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. ...Such laws make things worse
for the assaulted and better for the assailants, they serve rather to
encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with
greater confidence than an armed man."

- Thomas Jefferson, quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria in "On
Crimes and Punishment."

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coldcoal
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Post Sun. Dec. 26, 2010 7:36 pm

Richard S. wrote:When you get to this point you should stack it on:

Image

You're not going to smother it,
I added more there, a layer with spaces, not a stack. BUT this was too weak a fire anyway due to what I'm burning. I know what you have to do. You need a wood fire that is self sustaining. I.e. ash door can be closed, like you''re just using it to heat, as it keeps the stove above 350 steadily. Then you sneak in the coals and open ash door and get the caught in the inferno. Then I can see thick stacking working, or any layering. Making that wood fire with downed softwood is the issue, so I have to chop up a piece of furniture or something for that, no spare 2x4's around.

Where this differs from what I read on E-how, and even here in some cases, is it's is a far cry from "use kindling to start a fire, that can be sticks, newspapers, cardboard". In fact it should say "Start raging grand hardwood fire full steam, add coal once sustaining for 20 minutes, open ash door". That's the reality here. My kingsford attempt was the best, but I didn't have enough for a whole layer, and yeah like wood I stirred it to make it spread. I did see 2 blue flames then though.

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PC 12-47E
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Post Sun. Dec. 26, 2010 7:39 pm

coldcoal wrote:Smitty, yeah I had kingsford in there, it lit! But would not light the coals, so not so easy. I think a propane torch might do it, but that's about it. Just as well, I have no CO detector, probably saved my life since it didn't light! (Another plus of wood)
Many forum members have presented you with several ways to get your coal stove up and heating your house...........
1) Its not going to start with several handfuls of wet sticks from the back yard.
2) Give the propane torch a try.....but I have gone down that road..... :? :(
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coldcoal
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Post Sun. Dec. 26, 2010 7:41 pm

SMITTY wrote:
Without charcoal and just wood, the only thing I can recommend is get that wood fire rip snorting hot ... and burn enough of it so that you have several inches of hot coals on the grates. Don't try to throw coal on while the wood is flaming -- better to wait until it's burned down to solid red coals, THEN put layers of coal on.
Yes agreed, you should see the 20 foot branches I broke up to make that last fire though, but yes I see that as the next step in the morning worse case. Softwood doesn't ember right though, you have a small window of hot embers even with a stove full, I think that's the biggest issue. I'm looking more into what's around in the house to burn at this point. Something must be axe-able.

8-)

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titleist1
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Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite
Location: Cecil County, MD

Post Sun. Dec. 26, 2010 7:47 pm

I'm wondering if your gasket around the loading door is letting in too much air above the fire and that is what is killing the coal fire. Wood wouldn't care about that over fire air, but coal certainly would.

And by the way, you have a Mark series Harman stove, I didn't see where anyone else had mentioned that. If you have 3 grates it is a Mark III, if two grates either a Mark I or II. There should be a UL plate on the rear of the stove with that info on it.
I drive a VW TDI, heat my home & workshop with two coal stokers and have two vintage JD diesel tractors....
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Poconoeagle
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Post Sun. Dec. 26, 2010 8:13 pm

chairs! the legs of chairs burn good!! ya don't use them while your standing by the stove shivering ! and then the table legs! they burn good too cause eventually ya end up on the floor in a fetal position and it much easier to get to the sugar bowl on the table if its at floor level! :D

just kidding but at least you got to see a blue lady or two! that enough to keep going.!

you will succeed for sure. maybe a neighbor has some charcoal???? :shock: 8-)
"Do it Right the First Time" dont leave it for the next guy, as YOU may be the Next guy!!

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Hambden Bob
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Coal Size/Type: Rice-A-Roni ! / Nut
Other Heating: Pro-Pain Forced Air
Location: Hambden Twp. Geauga County,Ohio

Post Sun. Dec. 26, 2010 8:26 pm

Oh My God.....Pocono,you are the Wild-Man ! But,really,there's got to be hardwood scrap in the garage,the barn,the basement,hell,check the attic. Check your outlet pipe into the thimble of the chimney,check the draft control on the door,is the chimney clear? Do you have a bernzomatic torch? Is your coal Wet/Frozen? Are you half frozen? Just what is going on there? Stay with us,and we'll stay with you ! :o
Remember,There's No Sight Like Anthracite !......Hambden Bob

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titleist1
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Joined: Wed. Nov. 14, 2007 4:06 pm
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite
Location: Cecil County, MD

Post Sun. Dec. 26, 2010 8:30 pm

The heck with the table and chair legs....I'd start with the Christmas tree!! :) :)
I drive a VW TDI, heat my home & workshop with two coal stokers and have two vintage JD diesel tractors....
The EPA just loves me!!

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coldcoal
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Post Sun. Dec. 26, 2010 8:51 pm

UPDATE!

Ok so yes I found an old 2x4 piece of shelf. It, tiki torches, bamboo sticks for tomato garden, and I had a real fire that burned to embers.

I had the layer of coal at the bottom, wood atop, and let it go to ember. Added more coals when embers and opened door. It seems to have lit...maybe. I have a glow of red around a saucer sized blue ring in the middle, dark coals fill the rest of the stove. I'm 2 layers thick, the stove is only reading 200 degrees, now what!? Stack and smother, wait 20 mins and see if it spreads? Ash door still wide open.

update to update, it seems to be spreading, red coals around blue a bit wider, still steady at 200 degrees.

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