How to Light a Hand Fired Coal Stove

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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Cyber36
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Post Thu. Jan. 10, 2008 2:05 pm

Under 200deg - are you talking stove or pipe temp??

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Devil505
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Post Thu. Jan. 10, 2008 2:20 pm

Cyber36 wrote:Under 200deg - are you talking stove or pipe temp??


Magnetic (stick-on) thermometer on the sheet metal exhaust pipe about 12" above the stove, is where mine is. I find (wherever yoo place it) that the best use of a thermometer is to reflect changes anyway. (is the temp rising or falling?)

On the subject of thermometers, I bought a remote thermometer (designed for barbeque type smokers) that will remotely alarm if your stove gets to hot or to cold. I keep it on my headboard at night.

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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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jpete
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mk II
Coal Size/Type: Stove, Nut, Pea
Other Heating: Dino juice
Location: Warwick, RI

Post Thu. Jan. 10, 2008 5:29 pm

Devil5052 wrote:
Richard S. wrote:[quote="jpete"]When I load it, I PACK it. .


Most of the people that I know that burn hand-fired coal stoves do the same, shake it, put as much coal on it as they can. The key is having sufficient coal left from the previous load.


Interesting. These last 2 posts are something that I have never tried for fear of:
1. Smothering the fire with so much new coal that I would stop the draft
or
2. Build up so much gas (volatils) that I would blow my house down!

So what you guys are saying is that, as long as you have a lively coal bed to add to, you can just dump as much coal as you can fit in there & not have to worry about smothering or puff-backs?
(I've had 3 stoves over the years & had puff-backs in all 3 if I didn't follow my system)
Just goes to show that trial & error is the best way to come up with what works for you....Maybe someday (when I'm planning to shut down anyway,.... & I have the guts) I'll give your method a chance.[/quote]

My loading "routine" is.

1. Open manual damper
2. Shake down
3. Load coal
4. Close damper

I DON'T get blowback and I have never smothered the fire.

It took me a few seasons to get to this point. My first couple seasons I was using chestnut coal because that's what the previous homeowner used. Once I switched to pea coal, things got a lot easier. Judging by what I read around here, I seem to have extraordinary draft so my way may not work for others. I never checked the draft, and I don't have a thermostat on the stove.

Outside temps were in the 50's here this week but I didn't want to shut the stove off so I idled it down and have been getting 24hrs out of a load of coal. We like it on the warm side and it is 72-74* in the house the whole time.
Jeff

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coaledsweat
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Post Thu. Jan. 10, 2008 5:41 pm

jpete wrote:My loading "routine" is.
1. Open manual damper
2. Shake down
3. Load coal
4. Close damper
I DON'T get blowback and I have never smothered the fire.


Firebox design and chimney draft have a lot to do with the explosions. Some installs will be prone to them and others may never have an issue.
Nothing is impossible for people who don't have to do it themselves.

dirvine96
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Post Fri. Jan. 11, 2008 8:44 am

Most of the time I able to just open the ash door shake and then fill it up and walk away. If I have a low fire, I'll keep the ash door open for a couple of minutes and then fill it, banking it from the back to the front. My stove also has a spin damper on the loading door that Hitzer suggests using to prevent blow backs. Mine is open about a 1/2 to 3/4 of a turn.

If the fire is strong, your not going to kill it by filling the box and covering the bed of coals. Not with my stove anyways.

Don

chopper698
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Post Tue. Jan. 29, 2008 7:55 pm

I usually light a wood fire and get it going good until I have a nice bed a red coals and then start dumping coal in a little at a time until its filled up.
I also learned the other day that its good to clean out all the ash after a couple of weeks of burning straight. I noticed it was getting harder to shake
and I wasnt getting that nice glow after the shake down in the ashpan. It was also burning rite through in one spot in the coal bed. So I cleaned it out the other day and man I had some ash bed in there, and I shake my Harman II twice a day. But other than that I pack my stove every morning and every evening all the way to the top.

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Dallas
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Modified Russo C-35
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Stove/Furnace Model: Modified C-35
Location: NE-PA

Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2008 5:02 pm

I had to dump the fire this morning, due to the fact that the grates were locked-up by a piece of "something other than coal" and I felt there were more of the same, which weren't shaking down. By the time I got done, I had a goodly amount of trash and was down to the bare grates.

When building a new fire, I prefer to have a bed of ashes, so that the draft can be targeted toward the area of the new fire, rather than the whole fire box. So today, I tried something different. :idea: :!: I cut a piece of cardboard to fit the bottom of the fire box (to cover the grates). I cut a 6" hole from the center of the cardboard, dropped some Match light charcoal briquettes in the hole and touched it off. As that got going, I added coal to cover that area and some of the surrounding area. The cardboard kept the draft going through the fire, rather than around it and also kept the fresh coal on top, rather than falling through the grates. It worked good. :roll: It took the cardboard at least 30 minutes to ignite ... slowly.

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Cardboard w/hole and charcoal

start2.jpg
Charcoal and a bit of coal

start3.jpg
Coal getting going
Last edited by Dallas on Wed. Jan. 30, 2008 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Devil505
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Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2008 6:12 pm

chopper698 wrote:I usually light a wood fire and get it going good until I have a nice bed a red coals and then start dumping coal in a little at a time until its filled up.
I also learned the other day that its good to clean out all the ash after a couple of weeks of burning straight. I noticed it was getting harder to shake
and I wasnt getting that nice glow after the shake down in the ashpan. It was also burning rite through in one spot in the coal bed. So I cleaned it out the other day and man I had some ash bed in there, and I shake my Harman II twice a day. But other than that I pack my stove every morning and every evening all the way to the top.


Everyone has their own techniques but many of us run our stoves all winter without ever intentionaly shutting down or cleaning out. With decent coal this is relatively easy to do.
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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Duengeon master
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harmon Mark III
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite pea and nut mix. Bituminous lump
Location: Penndel, Pa.

Post Sat. Mar. 01, 2008 3:32 pm

Dallas wrote:I had to dump the fire this morning, due to the fact that the grates were locked-up by a piece of "something other than coal" and I felt there were more of the same, which weren't shaking down. By the time I got done, I had a goodly amount of trash and was down to the bare grates.

When building a new fire, I prefer to have a bed of ashes, so that the draft can be targeted toward the area of the new fire, rather than the whole fire box. So today, I tried something different. :idea: :!: I cut a piece of cardboard to fit the bottom of the fire box (to cover the grates). I cut a 6" hole from the center of the cardboard, dropped some Match light charcoal briquettes in the hole and touched it off. As that got going, I added coal to cover that area and some of the surrounding area. The cardboard kept the draft going through the fire, rather than around it and also kept the fresh coal on top, rather than falling through the grates. It worked good. :roll: It took the cardboard at least 30 minutes to ignite ... slowly.

start1.jpg

start2.jpg

start3.jpg
Hey dallas the cardboard trick works very well it also saves on charcoal :D .......uh uh you only use half as much gunpowder also. toothy
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Dallas
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Modified Russo C-35
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Stove/Furnace Model: Modified C-35
Location: NE-PA

Post Sat. Mar. 01, 2008 3:37 pm

The first time I tried it, it worked the best. :?: Next time, the cardboard burnt up, prematurely. The third time, I wet the cardboard. That worked pretty good. :?

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Devil505
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Post Sat. May. 10, 2008 7:27 am

Starting a new way now. ( I had to restart so often last winter due to "Reading" coal jamming my stove that I found a better/easier way to start a fire) As is mentioned in another thread, I put about 10 Matchlight briquettes in a coffee can (with both sides cut open & pack coal around the can. Then remove the can & light the briquettes. But I found it much faster to add a little wood (very little) on top of the briquettes & then, when the wood is burning well, carefully add a little coal on top of the wood fire. (making sure not to smother the fire)
The briquettes alone don't burn hot enough to get the coal burning quickly so adding a bit of wood kindling speeds things up allot!
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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coalkirk
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Stoker Coal Boiler: 1981 EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: anthracite/rice coal
Location: Forest Hill MD

Post Sat. May. 10, 2008 7:42 am

You've got to try the lump charcoal. It lights quickly and burns hot. I used it last night and had the coal lit in about a minute. I just hit the lump charcoal with a mapp gas torch for about 30 seconds, turn on the combustion blower and it takes off.
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. Winston Churchill

"I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me." —General George S. Patton

Burning rice coal in a 1981 EFM DF520, nut coal in a hand fired Jotul 507.

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Uglysquirrel
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Post Sat. May. 10, 2008 7:55 am

After reading all these good things on starting fires, now I'm startin to look for the Match Light sales in the Sunday papers. My wife said stuff is cheaper when stuff is in high demand (she is clearly smarter than me), so the Summer may be the time to pick this up.... Ugly

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Devil505
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Post Sat. May. 10, 2008 7:57 am

coalkirk wrote:You've got to try the lump charcoal. It lights quickly and burns hot. I used it last night and had the coal lit in about a minute. I just hit the lump charcoal with a mapp gas torch for about 30 seconds, turn on the combustion blower and it takes off.


What is "lump' charcoal & where do I get it Terry?
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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Devil505
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Post Sat. May. 10, 2008 8:01 am

Uglysquirrel wrote:After reading all these good things on starting fires, now I'm startin to look for the Match Light sales in the Sunday papers. My wife said stuff is cheaper when stuff is in high demand (she is clearly smarter than me), so the Summer may be the time to pick this up.... Ugly


You wont need much of the stuff. One small bag will last all year, since you only use around 10 briquettes each time. (with good coal, one bag will last a decade! :lol: )
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

Visit Hitzer Stoves

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