Lot to Learn

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.
Linc
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Posts: 240
Joined: Mon. Dec. 17, 2007 6:15 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska Kodiak Stoker
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Location: Martville,NY

Post Wed. Dec. 26, 2007 5:47 am

I can see I have a lot to learn. I got the coal stove lit Monday 5:00 morning and I thought I got lucky right off the bat.Wrong.LOL. By 7am I had a real good bed of coals. 8am I put in two scoops of fresh coal. Half hour or so later another couple of scoops. A while later I added more and banked it a bit. Closed down the hand damper about 2/3rds and lowered the thermostat.Nice and comfortable but noticed after noon time that the temp was slowly going down. I opened the thermostat and the hand damper back up. I opened the loading door and saw the fire towards the front had died out but was still burning somewhat at the back half. Pushed the coals from the front to the back area and lit a small wood fire in the front,then raked some of the coals over the wood embers. It worked for a while but it was a losing battle. By 4pm it was dead. Scooped everything out of the fire box and started over.Been dowhill every since.

I'll try again Saturday and see if I can get it right. LOL.

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Richard S.
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Joined: Fri. Oct. 01, 2004 8:35 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite
Location: NEPA

Post Wed. Dec. 26, 2007 6:21 am

Once you get it lit fill it up as much as you can, control the fire with the draft. You don't need much once its lit. Once that burns up but you still have some fire left shake the grates and fill it up again. Generally the less you do the better off you are providing you have it set correctly. you should be able to get at least a 12 hour burn. Most people with hand fired stoves get on a in the morning and in the evening schedule.
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

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Devil505
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Joined: Tue. Jul. 03, 2007 10:44 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000
Location: SE Massachusetts

Post Wed. Dec. 26, 2007 6:47 am

Reprint from another thread.( Make sure you fill your stove to the top of the firebrkicks as coal needs a deep bed to work well. You control the temp by giving it more/less air....not the amount of coal in the stove) This system has always worked for me:

As far as starting up the coal fire, what I do is just get a good wood fire established (just burning well, way b4 it turns to embers) & then I carefully add a few shovels of coal across the whole fire , making sure flames are still coming up between the coal. (No need to wait for the wood fire to turn to embers...just make sure you don't smother the fire by adding to much coal at a time & make sure you don't overfire your stove by giving it to much air)I play with the ash door to make sure the fire keeps going well & wait a few minutes for each coal layer to ignite b4 I add more coal. When the entire fire is covered with coal (still making sure flames are coming up) I carefully add another layer of coal & watch the stove thermometer. Temp will drop a bit when you add a new layer but as soon as the temp starts to rise again, I add more coal. In very short order you will fill your stove with coal. Once filled & at a temp you want....you're done! (I have found that a new fire wants more air than one that has been burning a while so plan on leaving the air inlet open a little more than usual) You'll get the feel for it in no time
War is a game that is played with a smile. If you can't smile, grin. If you can't grin, keep out of the way till you can.
Winston Churchill
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LsFarm
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Posts: 7385
Joined: Sun. Nov. 20, 2005 8:02 pm
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 Wed. Dec. 26, 2007 8:31 am

Your fire probably died from lack of air. Closing off the manual damper should be something done when you have a lot of experience with the stove. Closing the damper allowed the chimney to cool off, and reduced or eliminated the draft in the chimney, which reduced or eliminated the air going through the coal fire.

When you try it again, leave the manual damper open, This will keep the chimney warm or hot and keep it drawing air through the stove. Closing off the manual damper and turning down the 'thermostat' put the coal into an almost no air situation. Control the fire with the air vent under the coal, close any air vents above the coal. You want all combustion air to come through the coal bed.

Once you learn your stove and chimney's characteristics AND you use a draft meter, you could experiment with the manual damper to see if it is needed at all or is benificial to the burning characteristics of your setup.

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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Dallas
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Posts: 744
Joined: Mon. Nov. 12, 2007 12:14 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Modified Russo C-35
Other Heating: Oil Hot Air
Stove/Furnace Make: Russo
Stove/Furnace Model: Modified C-35
Location: NE-PA

Post Wed. Dec. 26, 2007 9:17 am

I believe, when my fire goes into a "coma", it's because of compacted ash below the hot coals. It seems like, if you add the coal in thin layers, it keeps smashing the ash down tighter at each application, where as if you put it all on at once, it kind of forms a self supporting structure. The work around is to shake the fire down good ... maybe several times, to get rid of the ash, while keeping the ash pan clear, for good air circulation through the grates and coal.

Linc
Member
Posts: 240
Joined: Mon. Dec. 17, 2007 6:15 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska Kodiak Stoker
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Location: Martville,NY

Post Wed. Dec. 26, 2007 9:18 am

My owners manual says to only load as high as the bottom of the loading door. I assume that is where banking up the sides and the back come into play? I also think that I will also have to tighten up the closier for the loading door. I think some air gets in there. There are no other air inlets other than at the bottom of the stove. I think I will also have to seal all the joints in the flue.

I don't have any temp gauges so I see that is something I will have to get.

Thanks for all the replies.

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coalstoves
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Posts: 399
Joined: Fri. Feb. 23, 2007 7:37 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman and Liberty
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum and Victory 700
Location: Mt.Carmel Pa. Located on The Western Middle Anthracite Field

Post Wed. Dec. 26, 2007 11:28 am

Linc wrote:Pushed the coals from the front to the back area and lit a small wood fire in the front,then raked some of the coals over the wood embers.
This move insured the death of the fire, coal fires are not like wood embers, Reaching in with a poker and stirring up a coal fire upsets it to no end. Your best bet would have been to open up the flue and the air feed and leave it alone for awhile, it would have fixed itself .
"No Fuel Like An Old Fuel"

Linc
Member
Posts: 240
Joined: Mon. Dec. 17, 2007 6:15 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska Kodiak Stoker
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Location: Martville,NY

Post Wed. Dec. 26, 2007 12:16 pm

I had tried the shaker but no ash came down. So I made a poker from some 409 S/S rod I had laying around. I poked up from the bottom and got some ash cleared from the grates. By that time I think it was a little to late.

Lesson learned on disturbing the coals.

After 19yrs of burning wood,it will take me awhile to get a feel for coal. :oops:

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tstove
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Joined: Tue. Nov. 07, 2006 8:57 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: russo,gibralter
Stove/Furnace Model: c-55,cfi
Location: washington boro pa

Post Wed. Dec. 26, 2007 11:34 pm

Linc wrote:
After 19yrs of burning wood,it will take me awhile to get a feel for coal. :oops:
.

Don't worry to much,after 19 years of heating with wood you can make the switch to coal.After some experimenting with your'e settings and shaking down you'll wonder why you waited so long to switch to coal.I'm glad I did :)

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coaledsweat
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Joined: Fri. Oct. 27, 2006 2:05 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea
Location: Guilford, Connecticut

Post Thu. Dec. 27, 2007 10:18 am

coalstoves wrote:
Linc wrote:Pushed the coals from the front to the back area and lit a small wood fire in the front,then raked some of the coals over the wood embers.
This move insured the death of the fire, coal fires are not like wood embers, Reaching in with a poker and stirring up a coal fire upsets it to no end. Your best bet would have been to open up the flue and the air feed and leave it alone for awhile, it would have fixed itself .
Exactly. Once it gets revved up again, treat it like you just started it, adding a small amount until the fire builds up.
Nothing is impossible for people who don't have to do it themselves.

Linc
Member
Posts: 240
Joined: Mon. Dec. 17, 2007 6:15 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska Kodiak Stoker
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Location: Martville,NY

Post Sun. Dec. 30, 2007 7:14 am

Well,I started today out with totally emptying the stove. Most all seems to be fused ash that are nut sized pieces.I imagine from stirring everything around.

I picked up some coal from a different breaker yesterday. It seems to be doing pretty good so far. I think I may have also found one of the reasons the fire kept dieing out was that there was not any secondary air. According to the owners manual the secondary air should be half open. It was toally closed off. The new fire started to die till I cracked open the secondary air hole.I have it between 1/3 and 1/2 open and the fire is doing great. Now I'm getting more heat than I was before. Time will tell if this cures my problem with keeping a coal fire burning.

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LsFarm
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Posts: 7385
Joined: Sun. Nov. 20, 2005 8:02 pm
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. Dec. 30, 2007 10:29 pm

Normally a coal fire needs to have all the air coming in from below, going through the coal fire. Secondary air that enters above the coal fire, usually steals draft through the fire, and causes the fire to struggle to burn.

Secondary air is used for wood, bituminous coal and right after loading a fresh load of new coal. Not sure why adding secondary air appears to be helping your fire. ??

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?

Linc
Member
Posts: 240
Joined: Mon. Dec. 17, 2007 6:15 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska Kodiak Stoker
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Location: Martville,NY

Post Mon. Dec. 31, 2007 2:52 am

I'm not sure Greg but I got 12 hr burn time and was able to turn down the thermostat. :D

Linc

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coalstoves
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Posts: 399
Joined: Fri. Feb. 23, 2007 7:37 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman and Liberty
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum and Victory 700
Location: Mt.Carmel Pa. Located on The Western Middle Anthracite Field

Post Mon. Dec. 31, 2007 4:26 am

Linc wrote:My owners manual says to only load as high as the bottom of the loading door. I assume that is where banking up the sides and the back come into play I also think that I will also have to tighten up the closier for the loading door. I think some air gets in there. There are no other air inlets other than at the bottom of the stove. I think I will also have to seal all the joints in the flue.
LsFarm wrote:Normally a coal fire needs to have all the air coming in from below, going through the coal fire. Secondary air that enters above the coal fire Not sure why adding secondary air appears to be helping your fire. ??
Greg L
I think poster mistakenly referred to secondary air : Coalstoves
Good Job on a 12 hour burn sounds like you got the hang of it
"No Fuel Like An Old Fuel"

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Devil505
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Joined: Tue. Jul. 03, 2007 10:44 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000
Location: SE Massachusetts

Post Mon. Dec. 31, 2007 7:31 am

Linc wrote:I'm not sure Greg but I got 12 hr burn time and was able to turn down the thermostat. :D

Linc
I agree with Greg. Perhaps it was something else (coal bed packed to tight , ashes, etc) that caused your problem before & adding secondary air was just a coincidence to the problem being solved. I would again try closing off the secondary air. I'm guessing that was not the fix as all air should come through the coal bed for best results.
War is a game that is played with a smile. If you can't smile, grin. If you can't grin, keep out of the way till you can.
Winston Churchill
Shaking & Poking The TLC2000 Video

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