I'm Roasting...and It's Not Turkey

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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joeq
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Posts: 3980
Joined: Sat. Feb. 11, 2012 11:53 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: G111, Southard Robertson
Stove/Furnace Make: Thermopride
Stove/Furnace Model: oil fired
Location: Northern CT

Post Sat. Nov. 03, 2012 7:56 pm

Help! (kidding). Temps here in Ct dropped below freezing last nite, so I fired the Surdiac up for practice , and comfort. Started @ 7pm, Up and running about an hr and a 1/2 later. Went to bed @ midnite, woke up @ 6am to a toasty warm upstairs hallway, checked the stove downstairs, which was glowing nicely. Couldn't resist a little poking and scraping, then about 3 hrs later, the fire was 3/4 out. Had to mess with it a little to get it back up. The rest of the day, trying to regulate the thing was a little trying. (No damper yet.) The outside temps rose to about 50, and my house was a sweltering 85 downstairs, and 95 up. (I've heard references to this with some members here who "enjoy" this.) Not me. Also heard a reference to a "Small" farmhouse of 3500 sq/ft! My whole house would fit in his basement.
Now comes the fine tuning of the stove, and the learning stages so hopefully I'll be able to reap the benefits, without the aggravation. Now to the NEPA threads explaining manual vs automatic dampers.
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63roundbadge
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Posts: 187
Joined: Fri. May. 23, 2008 9:43 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Kodiak
Location: Lehigh Valley PA

Post Sat. Nov. 03, 2012 8:12 pm

My previous EFEL was similar, it had a dial thermostat damper that worked quite well. I miss the convection properties of the hood and the secondary indirect flue routing to the chimney. It gave off more heat before it went up the chimney.

Not sure if you're new to coal, but coal is slow to respond to air changes as opposed to wood. My Alaska Kodiak at present takes sometimes >4 hours to throttle up or down.

Windowstats can be your best friend early and late in the season. They can also let in the more humid air overnight naturally vs. an electric humidifier. That can be a topic in itself elsewhere...

It's easier to cool down than heat up I've found.

Happy heating!
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LsFarm
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland
Location: Michigan

Post Sun. Nov. 04, 2012 10:26 am

Lesson to keep: Don't mess with the coal fire, anything you do, usually causes disruption to the fire. Unlike wood, coal likes
to be left alone !!

Doesn't your stove have a thermostaticly controled air flap in the back? has the knob to adjust a bimetal spring that pulls on a chain to lift an combustion air flapper ??

If so, try using it, it will control the heat output much better than you using the manual air control.

Greg L.
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

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joeq
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Posts: 3980
Joined: Sat. Feb. 11, 2012 11:53 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: G111, Southard Robertson
Stove/Furnace Make: Thermopride
Stove/Furnace Model: oil fired
Location: Northern CT

Post Sun. Nov. 04, 2012 6:45 pm

63RB, not sure what a windowstat is, but I'll have to check them out, and yes I'm new to any solid fuel burning. but I do know that coal is a slow responder, some stoves more than others. I like the looks of your Kodiac.
Kevin, my stove has an automatic/mechanical thermostatically controlled regulator "flap" on the bottom rear of my stove. I'm still not understanding it tho, cause it has a thermocouple factory mounted against the rear of the heat exchanger, which is connected to a "gearbox" that regulates the opening of the valve. However, there's also a mechanical cable, that can be used to adjust the opening opening mechanically. No matter where I set the control knob, (to a hotter setting...IE. more open), the thermocouple will "over-ride" it, and close it. All in the name of experimenting I guess. My next priority is to get some type of damper, to aid me in a little better consistency. Thanx men.
I got coal in my Christmas stocking. (Yey!)
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Davian
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Joined: Thu. Dec. 01, 2011 6:26 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Morso
Stove/Furnace Model: 1410 Squirrel
Location: N. Vermont

Post Sun. Nov. 04, 2012 9:08 pm

LsFarm wrote:Lesson to keep: Don't mess with the coal fire, anything you do, usually causes disruption to the fire. Unlike wood, coal likes
to be left alone !!

Greg L.
Yeah, it takes a while to get used to that concept...and to the concept of adjusting the air flow and waiting 20-30 min to see a distinct change in the glow of the coals/temp. Coal hates to be bothered when its heating so just sit back and look at it and avoid poking it.

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joeq
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Posts: 3980
Joined: Sat. Feb. 11, 2012 11:53 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: G111, Southard Robertson
Stove/Furnace Make: Thermopride
Stove/Furnace Model: oil fired
Location: Northern CT

Post Sun. Nov. 04, 2012 10:40 pm

What if the coals are "slowing down", dull red, and lots of ash build-up on the sides? Don't the lower grates need to be cleaned to allow airflow through the coals? This morning I awoke to low glowing coals, and lots of klinkers around the edges, with the hopper still 1/3 full of coal. After toying with it, and getting it glowing "white-hot" (almost), 2 hrs later, altho the hopper was empty, the coal pile was full, yet the (unsupervised) fire went out.
I got coal in my Christmas stocking. (Yey!)
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Ross
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Posts: 53
Joined: Fri. Oct. 24, 2008 7:43 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 713
Coal Size/Type: Pea
Stove/Furnace Make: Surdiac
Stove/Furnace Model: Gotha 713
Location: Plainville, CT

Post Wed. Nov. 21, 2012 9:59 am

LsFarm wrote:Lesson to keep: Don't mess with the coal fire, anything you do, usually causes disruption to the fire. Unlike wood, coal likes
to be left alone !!
I have a Surdiac Gotha 713 and this man speaks the truth! Leave it alone!

I set the control between 2 and 4 on the side. I shake it and fill twice a day. That's it. I run it cooler then most people because I find I have diminishing returns as I crank it up. My house is under 2,000 sq ft and the stove (located in the basement) keeps it in the low 60's most of the winter. I use my electric (gasp!) heat to supplement when needed.

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joeq
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Posts: 3980
Joined: Sat. Feb. 11, 2012 11:53 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: G111, Southard Robertson
Stove/Furnace Make: Thermopride
Stove/Furnace Model: oil fired
Location: Northern CT

Post Wed. Nov. 21, 2012 4:53 pm

i'm trying to understand this logic, but if you 1st start your stove in the winter, and your grates are "sparkling clean", wouldn't the coal bed breath better, than when it's clogged with ash. When you guys say leave it alone, that's what I'm doing, for about 6 hrs (or less), and the fire is almost dead in the morning. As I've stated before, I'm still a rookie with this stove, and I'm hoping to find the "perfect"setting between the intake damper opening (adjustment), and the stove pipe damper opening. I'm not giving up the ship yet, and thanx again for your advice. P.S. I'm being "forced"on a tropical vacation for the next week, so I won't be able to play on my forums for that time. I'll miss them/these. bye the way...
Happy turkey day to all . :up:
I got coal in my Christmas stocking. (Yey!)
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Ross
Member
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri. Oct. 24, 2008 7:43 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 713
Coal Size/Type: Pea
Stove/Furnace Make: Surdiac
Stove/Furnace Model: Gotha 713
Location: Plainville, CT

Post Wed. Nov. 21, 2012 11:18 pm

Sounds like you are leaving it alone just fine. I'll tell you when I shut my stove down to clean it the grates are never very clogged. There are always s couple clinkers jammed in here an there but mostly clear. I wonder if the higher temps you are running at cause that. I use a baro damper and have it set very light.

Enjoy your vacation!

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Freddy
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Posts: 6604
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. Nov. 22, 2012 6:47 am

joeq wrote:not sure what a windowstat is,
A "windowstat" is our fun way of saying "Open the windows & let some heat out of the house!".

The idea of the bi-metal spring is thus: As the stove gets hot, the spring expands and the flapper door closes letting less air in. Less air makes less heat. As the stove (and house) cools down, the spring contracts pulling the flapper open allowing in more air and making more heat.

I think your stove is similar to a stove a friend used to have. It has a hopper that you fill & as the coal burns fresh coal falls by gravity to feed the fire? The one he had liked to have the ashes shaken down after 7 or 8 hours. It would not go 12 hours unless shaken once. Also, we made a poker that he'd use to come up under the grate & scrape in between the grates as just shaking wouldn't always do the trick.

Oh, and don't let the ashed get up to the grate. If they get that deep they block the air flow. And.... if your stove is designed the same, you have internal "pipes" that go from the sides of the burn area to the back where they meet at the stove pipe. These pipes need to be cleaned now & then.
Orrington, Maine
Fred

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

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SteveZee
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Glenwood Modern Oak 116 & Glenwood 208 C Range
Location: Downeast , Maine

Post Thu. Nov. 22, 2012 10:28 am

Freddy wrote:
joeq wrote:not sure what a windowstat is,
A "windowstat" is our fun way of saying "Open the windows & let some heat out of the house!".

The idea of the bi-metal spring is thus: As the stove gets hot, the spring expands and the flapper door closes letting less air in. Less air makes less heat. As the stove (and house) cools down, the spring contracts pulling the flapper open allowing in more air and making more heat.

I think your stove is similar to a stove a friend used to have. It has a hopper that you fill & as the coal burns fresh coal falls by gravity to feed the fire? The one he had liked to have the ashes shaken down after 7 or 8 hours. It would not go 12 hours unless shaken once. Also, we made a poker that he'd use to come up under the grate & scrape in between the grates as just shaking wouldn't always do the trick.

Oh, and don't let the ashed get up to the grate. If they get that deep they block the air flow. And.... if your stove is designed the same, you have internal "pipes" that go from the sides of the burn area to the back where they meet at the stove pipe. These pipes need to be cleaned now & then.
What Freddie said I would say pertains to your situation pretty well. What they mean about leave it alone doesn't mean you can't shake/clear the grates. It just means to do it with the smallest amount of "stirring" to the coal bed. A small poke to break up any ash bridging is fine but other than that leave it be and slice the ash/grates from below with minimal disturbance to the coal bed.
Whenever I shake and fill my stove, I usually open the MPD and put the stove in direct draft mode and open the primaries to full for about 15 min. This may not apply to your stove but I burn stove sized chunks and that's the way we roll. ;)

Ross
Member
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri. Oct. 24, 2008 7:43 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 713
Coal Size/Type: Pea
Stove/Furnace Make: Surdiac
Stove/Furnace Model: Gotha 713
Location: Plainville, CT

Post Thu. Nov. 22, 2012 7:03 pm

Interesting that on my Surdiac I only break up bridges about once a week (or less). The rest of the time I just shake using a poker in the 3 holes designed for that. I don't have a need to get in between the grates, not much accumulates there. I get mostly fine ash that falls down between them with plenty of small clinkers that pass right through the grates. Again I think I am running my stove at lower temps then others.

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EasyRay
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Posts: 468
Joined: Thu. Nov. 16, 2006 8:44 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman TLC 2000
Coal Size/Type: Pea,Nut or Stove
Location: Central Connecticut

Post Thu. Nov. 22, 2012 8:38 pm

Ross wrote:Interesting that on my Surdiac I only break up bridges about once a week (or less). The rest of the time I just shake using a poker in the 3 holes designed for that. I don't have a need to get in between the grates, not much accumulates there. I get mostly fine ash that falls down between them with plenty of small clinkers that pass right through the grates. Again I think I am running my stove at lower temps then others.
I know you could run it a little hotter. I can smell it coming down to RT 177. :lol: :lol: :lol:
Regards, Ray

Ross
Member
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri. Oct. 24, 2008 7:43 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 713
Coal Size/Type: Pea
Stove/Furnace Make: Surdiac
Stove/Furnace Model: Gotha 713
Location: Plainville, CT

Post Fri. Nov. 23, 2012 7:49 am

EasyRay wrote: I know you could run it a little hotter. I can smell it coming down to RT 177. :lol: :lol: :lol:
Not far from the truth!

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