Lighting Harman Magnfire

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.
User avatar
elvinpw
Member
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri. Jan. 11, 2008 12:35 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnafire
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark II
Location: Dresden, ME 04342

Post Sat. Jan. 12, 2008 8:13 am

Matthaus wrote:I use regular coal, ususally use 4 bickettes, break each brickette into 4 pieces or so and put a little isopropyl alchohol on them. Then make a slight trough in the coal on the grate with my little coal shovel, dump in the coal, cover it slightly with coal. Light it with a match close the door and walk away.

It works every time and doesn't stink up the house :)
Huh? I'm a newbie. Can you explain this again? What exactly is a brickette? Are you usig rice, nut, pea, or stove coal? Are you saying you saying yousurround the isopropyl treated brickettes with regular coal? Then light with a match?

Thanks for all the help you can give me. I've yet to light my first coal fire, [you could say I'm a coal virgin] and I hate to have to store all the wood kindling for ignition in addition to the coal if I don't have to.
Women are much like fine English Tea. You never really know how good they are until you get them into hot water. - - - Margaret Thatcher

Visit Hitzer Stoves

User avatar
Matthaus
Verified Business Rep.
Posts: 1929
Joined: Mon. Oct. 02, 2006 8:59 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110 Dual Fuel, natural gas
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Lil' Heater (rental house)
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Buckwheat Anthracite
Location: Wilkes Barre, PA

Post Sat. Jan. 12, 2008 9:08 am

Welcome Elvin! :)
I'm talking about charcoal used for grilling, such as Kingsford and the like. If you get the non match light it doesn't stink and smoke. I am using buckwheat and sometimes rice coal in my stoker stoves. The charcoal gets placed on the grate with a slight covering of regular coal, then I sometimes add a little more once it gets going.

For a newbie the easiest method is the coal mice seen listed in the "lighting a coal" stove thread. They are available from your stove dealer and also on ebay. I started out using them but then discovered the charcoal and iso idea. A small mapp gas torch also is helpful to have on hand to help the fire along if it starts going out during the lighting process (just don't use it in conjunction with the coal mice!). The main thing is don't get discouraged, when I first started it took a little bit to get a feel for what will light the stove easily.

Have fun and let us know how it went your first time. :)

One source of starters on ebay
**Broken Link(s) Removed**
Matthaus
Leisure Line Stove Company
http://www.leisurelinestoves.com/

User avatar
CoalHeat
Site Moderator
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 Sat. Jan. 12, 2008 4:31 pm

On my hand-fired I use a similar technique. I ball up a few pieces of newspaper, place them in the stove. Then fill a large empty coffee can with charcoal briquettes. I saturate them with either charcoal lighter fluid (hard to find in the winter, it's close to mineral spirits but I can't remember which solvent it actually is), or lamp oil (I'm slowly draining all the oil lamps we have around here). The important thing to remember is not to use any other fluids or solvents. Some evaporate very quickly and can cause a flash fire when ignited. The idea is to ignite the charcoal, not turn the stove, you, and your house into a fireball! Then I dump the can on the newspaper, and close the loading door. I light it from under the grate using a propane torch.
Once the charcoal is burning well I start to add small amounts of coal a few minutes apart until the fire is burning well.
Then I fill the stove in several stages, 5 minutes or so apart.
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."

User avatar
CoalHeat
Site Moderator
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 Sat. Jan. 12, 2008 4:38 pm

Charcoal Lighter Fluid is Stoddard Solvent, The proper name is Petroleum Naptha.
Knew it would come to me sooner or later.
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."

User avatar
elvinpw
Member
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri. Jan. 11, 2008 12:35 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnafire
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark II
Location: Dresden, ME 04342

Post Fri. Jan. 18, 2008 11:45 pm

Hey Thanks Guys!

You've just saved me about 5 years of trial and error. :-) That all sounds very functional and efficient. I bought 2 rather large (maybe about a quart each) of Kinsford charcoal lighter fluid for about $6 for BOTH at Sam's Club, (I'll check the actual contents when I get home from work tonight around midnight). About how many nut size pieces do you soak to start? 6-8? 10-15? And how much fluid do you use to soak them? Fill a coffee can? 1/2 a coffee can? My stove was delivered last night and I've been staring at it ever since. Just have to complete the Roof termination kit for the new metalbestos chimney, and connect the black pipe to the metalbestos chimney inside. We're due another storm here this weekend in Maine, then predicted down below zero on Monday for a few "unseasonably cold" days, according to the local meteorologist. I'm PRAYING I can get this hooked up and functional before then! Could be a real Baptism by Fire, so to speak . . . .

Thanks for the gas map torch lighter idea also. How much should I pay for this, $5 -10 or $15? Just approximately, and do I get this at a harware store, Home Depot, or Lowes? Sounds like a great time saver.
Women are much like fine English Tea. You never really know how good they are until you get them into hot water. - - - Margaret Thatcher

User avatar
CoalHeat
Site Moderator
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 Sat. Jan. 19, 2008 9:55 am

elvinpw wrote: About how many nut size pieces do you soak to start? 6-8? 10-15? And how much fluid do you use to soak them? Fill a coffee can? 1/2 a coffee can?
You need to use charcoal in the coffee can, not coal, just wanted to make sure. A large coffee can or similar container. Fill it full, dribble on the fluid, making sure the pieces on the bottom get some fluid as well. Dump it in the stove on top of the newspaper and light from under the grates.
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."

User avatar
elvinpw
Member
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri. Jan. 11, 2008 12:35 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnafire
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark II
Location: Dresden, ME 04342

Post Mon. Feb. 04, 2008 10:33 am

Okay, hey thanks to all of you people here being patient to us newbies. Let me preface this with the fact that I have NEVER burned coal, nor even wood or used a wood stove. So, safety was a primary concern for me.

FINALLY I got the rest of my Selkirk Metalbestos chimney hooked into black double wall pipe to my Harman Mark II Magnafire. I've been burnng antracite pea & nut coal all weekend. I thought it might be easier to get the pea started rather than the nut size. I have been buying the 40# pastic bags for $6.29 - $6.89/ 40# bag. (Bagged, the price is about $269 - $317 here locally, per ton). Wow! I LOVE my new stove!

The first light I was a bit nervous and it took me about a 1/2 day to summon the courage to actually LITE the thing. But I took all you's advice and have 2 pair of welders gloves handy, 2 pair of safety glasses handy for use when loading. I also have 2 large fire extinguishers, (althought I hear your comments about using baking soda to suffocate the fire if possile to make less mess). I have a carbon monoxide detector right on the floor behind the stove, (isn't carbon monoxide heavier than air, and thus usually concentrates along the floor?) and another in the next room.

My first light I used wood kindling and about 18 charcoal brickettes used for BBQ that were wet with BBQ Lighter Fluid in a plastic pail before placing into the stove. Here was the method I used, feel free to critique this:

As per manufacturer's directions I crumpled 8 whole newspaper pages and stuffed them from left to right. This packed a good (fairly tight) layer of crumpled newspaper across the top of my grates. After this I layered some kindling, first horizontal, then perpendicular to the first layer. Then I placed a few scrap cut-offs scavenged from my barn where I had several boxes of wood pieces I always thought I might be able to use some day, (Maine-iacs are known pack-rats). So I had maybe 6 or 8 short pieces of 2x4 and 4x4.

Once I lit the newspaper the kindling lit nicely and I had good flames in seconds. Fortunately my draft was good and the smoke exited nicely. My first light I believe I left the flames too long. I was waiting for the "bed of coals" the manufacturer suggests for lighting the coal. I then carefully laid in about 18 BBQ brickettes, slowly, 6 at a time, until I had them glowing nicely. I then added antracite pea coal about an inch thick, carefully leaving some HOT COALS exposed so as NOT to ignite that explosive gas everyone talks about.

In retrospect, I believe I had the door open too much, set off an adjacent smoke alarm and nearly soiled my pants, and got my stove temp way too hot. My stack temp, measured about 2 feet up from the back of the stove rose to about 350 degrees, and my stove temp was about 550 degrees approaching 575! In response I kinda closed everything up and shut down the draft. This caused the stove to begin shuting down and my temps decreased precipitously over the next 20-30 mnutes. Following this I was a little reluctant to "open her up" again so I think I UNDER fed the draft and the fire went out in about 4 hours.

My SECOND light I began adding the coal a littel quicker, in thicker amounts, maybe a full inch or so thick, just as the flames from the kindling were reaching a peak. I didn't wait for the hot wood embers as before. Again, I used the BBQ (bituminous???) coal (previously wet with BBQ lighter fluid in a plastic pail OUTSIDE the stove area) to provide hot coals to get started.
But NOW I've learned that by cracking the ASH CLEANOUT door about an inch or so, the draft provides air to that fresh anthracite coal to act like a bunson burner to get it lighted. I've learned that once I get the flames going good from the kindling, I pour the coal on, close the door, and open the bottom ash cleanout, just an inch or so, and those anthracite coals begin sizzling and snapping. I't like a propane torch on those coals! :-) Does this mean I have too much draft? I only do this for about 5-10 minutes until I see the coals lit and turning red before I close the door and control things with the draft knob.

Also, I noticed if my temps start dropping, I just open/crack, the ash door, and in about 5 min, the coals start glowing, and the temps begin rising. I use a thermometer on both my stack and my stove.

So . . . . . .

My stack temps have been running between 200 & 300 degrees F, and my stove temps have been running between 400-550 degrees, as measured from the top of the stove. Does that sound right? The air coming out of my 18 foot metalbestos chimney is pretty much clean without any black or color. So I uess I seem to be getting a pretty clean burn. My neighbors wood stove looks MUCH different, and MUCH dirtier. I'm VERY happy with the exhaust.

I have emptied the ash pan only twice in 3 days. The first time it was barely 1/4 full, the second time it was pretty much FULL. Does that sound right? For 80# of coal burned?

Also,I went through about 2 40# bags in 3 days; and my fire has burned out by morning. I suspect my draft may be a bit high. I have a barometric damper, but not sure how to set it without a manometer, (I'm on the list). So I have the weight all the way INSIDE the pipe so the damper door stays pretty much closed. I have leveled the damper door both vertically and horizontally across the hinges. In addition, I checked carefully to note the top says UP and has an arrow pointed upward. I've read here in these pages this is a common problem.

Now I'd like to learn how to use LESS coal, and keep it burning all through the night.

Again, without reading and studying these pages carefully the past few weeks, I would NEVER have been able to do any of this.

Thanks again to all who contribute to these pages! This site has been a GODSEND!

:-) :-) :-)

PS My furnace has run very little this weekend. My oil man is going to be very unhapy with me.

:-) :-) :-)

Cheers!
Women are much like fine English Tea. You never really know how good they are until you get them into hot water. - - - Margaret Thatcher

User avatar
Rick 386
Member
Posts: 2474
Joined: Mon. Jan. 28, 2008 4:26 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA 260 heating both sides of twin farmhouse
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Hyfire II w/ coaltrol in garage
Coal Size/Type: Pea in AA 260, Rice in LL Hyfire II
Other Heating: Gas fired infared at work
Location: Royersford, Pa
Contact:

Post Mon. Feb. 04, 2008 11:55 am

Elvin,

You have a Graingers store located down the road from you in Portland. You can order the Dwyer Model 25 from them. It is item # 2T650

If they have it in stock you can pick it up directly or have them ship it to you. Then you can set the draft and have the ability to constantly monitor it.

I picked up my own last Friday from the local store. They had a couple of them.

Rick
Master of "Trial and Error."

Visit Hitzer Stoves

User avatar
coaledsweat
Site Moderator
Posts: 9827
Joined: Fri. Oct. 27, 2006 2:05 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea
Location: Guilford, Connecticut

Post Mon. Feb. 04, 2008 12:00 pm

elvinpw wrote:My furnace has run very little this weekend. My oil man is going to be very unhapy with me.
Something tells me this love affair is over. :)
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 Mon. Feb. 04, 2008 3:33 pm

2- 40# bags in 3 days is not bad at all. That's less than 30# a day. Does the fire just go out or is there nothing but ash left in the firebox?

User avatar
LsFarm
Member
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 Tue. Feb. 05, 2008 11:11 am

Hello elvin, welcome to the forum. As you have learned, coal takes patience, and technique. Once you get it figured out, you will really love the fuel.

For the barometric damper. Use the 'rough' scale on the 'V' bracket, set it at .04-.05". You will be in the ballpark.. anything in that area will work with a hand feed stove. Right now with the weight all the way back you probably are near a .09-.12" wc, way too much draft.

You can control your stove will just the spinner draft control on the ashpan door, but with a baro installed the chimney draft will be much more consistant, making using the spinner draft easier and more predictable.

Like you have learned, just get a fire going, add some coal, keep the under fire draft open, let the coal get glowing, then fill 'er up.

As for not making it through the night, are you FILLING the firebox?? I mean a mound in the middle, with the edges of the coal pile up to the top of the firebrick?? You cannot add too much coal... coal burns from the bottom up, and your spinner knob controls this air to the fire... So fill 'er up.

Then, you will need to experiment, because every house, stove, chimney and their interactions are different. If your house is really tight, it will be harder for your chimney to draw air out of the house through the coal bed.. If you house is drafty, then you will have to turn the spinner knob down more to control the heat output from the stove. And this will also control the rate of coal use from the stove too..

You want to find a comfortable 'idle' setting for your spinner draft knob.[I'll guess around 1/2 to 3/4 turn out, depends on chimney and house] This is an amount of air that will keep the fire going, not going out for lack of air, but not creating a lot of heat either, next you need to find the 'really cooking' setting, [I'll guess around 3 turns out, again depends on chimney and house]. This is the setting you would use to warm the house up after you had it idling for the day. This setting will give you hot but not dangerous stove body and flue temps.. Other members with the same stove will chime in with these numbers, but I'd go with stove body, not over ~550-650*, flue pipe [outside of pipe] ~300* Again, these are rough numbers. You will have to develope a feel for what you are comfortable with.

Once you find your idle and full out settings, you can experiment with what gives you 'X' hours of burn with 'X' setting... Write it down. You may remember the settings this season, but will appreciate the list next year.

The weather changes most of these settings.. really cold windy weather will create more draft, so less air is needed, this difference will be less with the baro set properly. really warm weather will lessen the draft, you will figure it all out.

Take care, I hope the above helps some...

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?

User avatar
Devil505
Member
Posts: 7110
Joined: Tue. Jul. 03, 2007 10:44 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000
Location: SE Massachusetts

Post Tue. Feb. 05, 2008 12:13 pm

[quote="elvinpw"]Okay, hey thanks to all of you people here being patient to us newbies. Let me preface this with the fact that I have NEVER burned coal, nor even wood or used a wood stove. So, safety was a primary concern for me.

I join the others in welcoming you to the forum. Believe it or not I think having no experience with wood fires will make your learning about coal burning easier! Coal & wood burn compltely differently & you will not be bringing alot of "wood burner" bad habits to your learning process. Good luck & I think you will find more expertise here than you will believe, but experience takes time so don't get discouraged.
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

rberq
Member
Posts: 5015
Joined: Mon. Apr. 16, 2007 9:34 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300 with hopper
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Nut
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators (fuel oil); propane
Location: Central Maine

Post Tue. Feb. 05, 2008 7:36 pm

Hello, elvinpw. Three things jumped out at me from your posts.
(1) baro adjustment - LsFarm covered that - as long as you have it leveled and plumbed you can set it pretty well without the manometer.
(2) filling the firebox completely to make it burn overnight - LsFarm covered that too.
(3) Emptied the ash box only twice in three days - that seems too little considering how much coal your burned - every time I have congratulated myself on how little ash I had, it turned out I had not shaken down enough. With my Harman, I shake twice daily and I have to empty the ash bin twice daily. I start shaking with fairly long strokes to drop out the large quantity of ash at the bottom, then go to short choppy strokes to vibrate out the ash but not to dump too much burning coal. But I always shake until I have SOME red burning coal in the ash pit. Then I look at the underside of the grates and if there's a lot of dark in some areas I poke up from the bottom with a bent metal rod to help clear the ashes that didn't drop. I like to see some red glow through the grates distributed fairly evenly over maybe 15 or 20 percent of the grate openings. Then I reload and go away for another 12 hours.
Simple answers for simple minds.

rberq
Member
Posts: 5015
Joined: Mon. Apr. 16, 2007 9:34 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300 with hopper
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Nut
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators (fuel oil); propane
Location: Central Maine

Post Tue. Feb. 05, 2008 7:45 pm

P.S. I also use charcoal briquettes for fire starting, like you would use for grilling steak. But I use the regular not the match-light due to the smell. A little newspaper, a little wood kindling (I use the lowest quality cedar shingles from Home Depot), a good shovelful of charcoal, and once it's blazing I load on coal frequently, as much as it will take without smothering the charcoal, lots of air.

But you will only be starting it once or twice a year, after all. It's a point of honor to start the fire in October or November and keep it going until the tulips bloom.
Simple answers for simple minds.

User avatar
elvinpw
Member
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri. Jan. 11, 2008 12:35 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnafire
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark II
Location: Dresden, ME 04342

Post Tue. Feb. 05, 2008 8:38 pm

Rick 386 wrote:Elvin,

You have a Graingers store located down the road from you in Portland. You can order the Dwyer Model 25 from them. It is item # 2T650

If they have it in stock you can pick it up directly or have them ship it to you. Then you can set the draft and have the ability to constantly monitor it.

I picked up my own last Friday from the local store. They had a couple of them.

Rick
Hey thanks Rick for the tip! I've already looked them up on "anywho" and found them on Warren Ave in Portland. Know RIGHT where they are. Ony thing, is that they list themselves as "wholesalers" and sometimes those people get a little squirrely when a mere mortal tries to give them money. I'm all over it! Thanks a lot for the lead! :-)
Women are much like fine English Tea. You never really know how good they are until you get them into hot water. - - - Margaret Thatcher

Visit Hitzer Stoves

Post Reply

Return to “Hand Fired Coal Stoves & Furnaces Using Anthracite”