Experience Pays Off

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: 7110
Joined: Tue. Jul. 03, 2007 10:44 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000
Location: SE Massachusetts

Post Tue. Jan. 29, 2008 5:38 pm

I'm writing this to the newbie coal burners here just to point out how experience is your best tool. In shaking down my Harman TLC-2000 today I couldn't get any red embers to fall into the ash pan but, being in a hurry, filled the stove up with fresh coal anyway, just leaving the small flaming section undisturbed. With the ash door wide open, I noticed that the stove temp was not climbing & that the little flaming area was not livening up. (Years ago I might have panicked & tried a bunch of things to save what looked like a dying fire) What I did was just leave the stove alone! After about 40 mins with the ash door wide open , I had a roaring fire again & was able to finish shaking it down, top it off & I'm done.
The lesson here is when in doubt...leave things alone! (You have a better chance of smothering a salvageable fire by playing with it than just leaving it alone)
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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Richard S.
Posts: 12715
Joined: Fri. Oct. 01, 2004 8:35 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite
Location: NEPA

Post Tue. Jan. 29, 2008 6:06 pm

Well I'm certainly no hand fired coal expert but I do consider myself somewhat of an expert on open wood fires especially when you have poor wood, damp, live etc.. Guess the same applies to them as it does to coal. Nothing worse than spending half an hour coaxing some fire out of some less than desirable wood only to have some jackass come over and start kicking it and stomping it when its just starting to get going. :evil: Leave it alone....
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

- Albert Einstein

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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 Tue. Jan. 29, 2008 6:19 pm

When I only have a small fire left. Which is not often.... I usually stick a small fan on slow speed in front of the open ash door and that will cut down on the time to bring it back. Just remember to stay with it and not walk away with the fan going and the ash door open. You may get a little dust from the fan.
Regards, Ray

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Posts: 202
Joined: Mon. Dec. 11, 2006 4:38 pm
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Alaska Channing III
Location: UPstate NY

Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2008 8:24 am

I've learned to be patient also, but one trick I tried successfully was
to throw in a piece or 2 of hardwood,, just small 8" long by 2" sq pieces,
and eventually they get going and increase draft, and the coal all starts to
catch. it's amazing that a fire can almost catch downward. and yes,
time, just leave it be if you have time.
currently running a Channing III in our basement,
feeding into cold air return and circulated with
forced air furnace.
love the even warm heat!
upstate NY, near Syracuse.

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Posts: 8327
Joined: Sat. Feb. 10, 2007 9:48 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Baseburners & Antiques: Sears Signal Oak 15 & Andes Kitchen Range
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert
Location: Stillwater, New Jersey

Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2008 8:35 am

Time and patience. If the fire's really low a few pieces of properly placed charcoal gets it going again, I'll also cover the baro with foil for a little while.
Heating a circa 1832 farmhouse with a Harman Magnafire Mark I & a 1959 EFM 350 (heating DHW).
100% Oil Free!
"It's what we learn after we think we know it all that counts."

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Posts: 5849
Joined: Mon. Nov. 14, 2005 8:40 am
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon
Location: Cuba, NY

Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2008 9:58 am

When I started my other burner in my stoker, I just shoveled some coals over to the burn plate, threw some new coal on top and turned it on, it looked like it was going out, but I left it alone and it eventually started getting hotter and took off after about 20mins.
- Dave
Hyfire I & Keystoker 90K heating an 1890 Victorian
- Amsoil Authorized T1 Certified Dealer

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greg white
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat. Aug. 19, 2006 9:40 am
Location: Michigan

Post Sat. Feb. 02, 2008 7:22 am

Good topic here,i too will use a couple sticks of wood if I am in a hurry or cold.
I have also learned not to shake a cold(low) fire,best to get some sticks or leave ash door open,NOT UNATTENDED,while it gets some life back.A low fire does not like to messed with,it must be treated gently.The sticks are the answer for a low fire on my stove,plus air,like said above I think it gets the draft going.
well this is my .03 cents.
Harman hand fed SF 150 in the shop(my house)

Posts: 828
Joined: Fri. Jan. 26, 2007 9:55 pm
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: efm af-150 1982
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: alaska kodiak stoker 1986
Hand Fed Coal Stove: warm morning 1980 kenmore
Location: newtown/zerbe pa

Post Sat. Feb. 02, 2008 10:10 pm

took me a few tries to get the fires lit at first when we had all hand fed stoves......i found it best to get a good wood fire going (we use lath.....got a whole pile of it out back) and while the wood fire is going good and you got some hot coals, put some coal on......let the coal catch then add more.......the stokers can be a real pita to get lit too

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