Coal Explosion: Seen From Space (Sort of)

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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Posts: 955
Joined: Sun. Oct. 14, 2012 7:52 pm
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: New Yoker WC90
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Woods and Bishop Antique Pot Bellied Stove
Coal Size/Type: Stove/Nut/Pea Anthracite
Other Heating: Munchkin LP Boiler (Back-up)
Location: Mid Coast Maine

Post Thu. Oct. 18, 2012 3:28 am

The one thing I love about pot bellied stoves is that you can burn just about anything in them; wood, coal, pellets, corn, etc...

A few days ago (before I rebuilt my Vogelzang Stove), in an effort to unofficially burn everything possible in my stove on a single day, I got things going with a toasty bed of wood coals and then added some nut coal to that. After that I decided to add a little pellets to the mix to get a little more heat going and let the coal burn down a bit better. It is a favorite trick of mine, embed some wood in the coal so that as the fire burns down, it hits the wood, gets nice and hot again and keeps the coal burning for nice long burn times.

The first cup of pellets was fine, and I was enjoying watching the fire swirl around in the fire boxy in this crazy personified dance that it was doing. But upon tossing in the second cup of pellets, things did not go so well. The instant I put it in, I knew it was a mistake. The fire instantly went out and a dark, black smoke lazily rose from the fire. Now anyone who has ever burned coal knows; you don't just put a coal fire out instantly. I knew in that instant I had smothered the coal gas and that it was building up to a flashpoint.

I grabbed my poker and frantically started churning the coals wanting to stir in the pellets and get the coal gas to vent off. I was only partially successful.

As the wife and kids looked on, the accumulated coal gas ignited and sent a fire ball that blew the fire box door all the way open, singed my arms and then went up the chimney. You could hear it reverberate in three loud percussion type booms as it roared upwards and into the sky that I am pretty sure, could be seen from space. Surprisingly NASA never called to see if we were alright however.

We were.

Stove held
Chimney held
Wife held her true feeling back regarding her intelligence upon marrying me

However NoSmokes bloomers did not hold however when he (that would be me) thoroughly soiled them from said event

I decided after that event maybe I should use a little more discernment when it comes to using pellets. I think wood and coal will work just fine! :-)

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Posts: 6603
Joined: Fri. Apr. 11, 2008 2:54 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined
Location: Orrington, Maine

Post Thu. Oct. 18, 2012 6:42 am

Holy Moly! Ouch! Good thing you had all the pipes secured. In the future try to find less exciting ways to impress the family.
Orrington, Maine

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".

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Post Thu. Oct. 18, 2012 9:34 am

People pay good money for hair removal :D

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Posts: 1844
Joined: Wed. May. 20, 2009 8:09 am
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90 Chimney vent
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Other Heating: Buderus Oil Boiler 3115-34
Stove/Furnace Model: Keystoker 90 Chimney Vent
Location: Wynantskill NY, 10 miles from Albany

Post Thu. Oct. 18, 2012 3:35 pm

A few years ago I poured part of a coffee can of pellets into the Buderus hand fed, directly into the small amount of burning coal. OMG :oops: You would have thought I poured gas into the stove, those pellets took of like nothing I ever saw, thank God they burned out and I am here to tell the story. Do not put wood pellets in a coal stove!

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Rob R.
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Posts: 11343
Joined: Fri. Dec. 28, 2007 4:26 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy
Location: Chazy, NY

Post Thu. Oct. 18, 2012 8:27 pm

Anyone that has run a hand-fed coal stove has had at least one boom.

Remember this thread? (I loved the title): Don't Do This...the Last Days of Pompeii..

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