Shaking Down a Harman

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.
hamiltow
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Post Wed. Feb. 13, 2008 7:37 pm

When people talk of shaking down until red coals begin to drop into the ash pan, are they doing this with the ash door open to look inside, or does that produce too much dust?

I'm assuming that it is best for dust control to shake with the ash door closed, but the air vent open.

What do you Harman guys do when you go to shake it down in the AM. How do you know when you are getting the red coals to the bottom.

If you have good draft can you shake with the ash door open looking inside without a dust bowl?

???

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LsFarm
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Post Wed. Feb. 13, 2008 8:26 pm

When you open the ashpan door, you are feeding unlimited air to the fire, it should in a few minutes get much hotter, heat the chimney up and have a very strong draft...
Also it is a good practice to feed air to the fire, to wake it up before shaking.. if you shake down a dormant or idling fire, you risk having the fire go out.. as a rule never shake down a cool fire.

So usually you can leave the ashpan door open, and watch the ash and eventually the few hot coals fall down into the ashpan. As long as the fire is hot and the draft pulling well.

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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Devil505
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Post Wed. Feb. 13, 2008 8:54 pm

hamiltow wrote:When people talk of shaking down until red coals begin to drop into the ash pan, are they doing this with the ash door open to look inside, or does that produce too much dust?

I'm assuming that it is best for dust control to shake with the ash door closed, but the air vent open.

What do you Harman guys do when you go to shake it down in the AM. How do you know when you are getting the red coals to the bottom.

If you have good draft can you shake with the ash door open looking inside without a dust bowl?

???
Shaking your stove down (while not difficult to do) you only get good at after some experience & is the key to learning how to use a hand-fired stove. (With a Harman, make sure you don't allow shaker handle to travel to the stops or you may dump your fire) Here's my procedure:

1. I open the ash door to liven up the fire & get a good draft going. (Depending on outdoor temp & coal bed state, usually just like 5 minutes.....shaking down a stove without doing this will almost ensure smothering a marginal fire)
2. Close the ash door ( to cut down on dust) & shake down until I see the coal bed drop an inch or so. (with bad coal..."bridging" may prevemnt any movement of the coal bed)
3. Wait 30 seconds for dust to settle & then open the ash door to check for red embers in ash pan. (probably wont be any yet) Lightly poke the coal bed down (with poker) while twisting tool tip to break up clinkers/bridging) This will settle the coal bed down a few inches.
4. Close ash door & continue shaking down. (Probably between4-8 shakes)
5. Wait 30 seconds & then open ash door & check for red embers in pan.
6. Once embers are found (only shake until you find embers, not full coals or you are wasting coal) fill stove with fresh coal leaving a section uncovered to burn off volatils
7. Empty ash pan while fire is livening with ash door open
8. Once new coal is flaming, fill untouched section with fresh coal & close ash door when fire has reached temp you want.
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

hamiltow
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Post Thu. Feb. 14, 2008 6:58 am

Very informative.

Thanks.

It drives me nuts having a stove in the basement and a chimney that isn't through the roof yet, while I sit here listening to the propane hot air furnace busily burning my hard earned $$$.

Next year !

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LsFarm
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Post Thu. Feb. 14, 2008 9:12 am

OOHHH I HATE that sound!! :x :x When my propane boiler would star up, the 'whump' of the flame lighting would wake me up... instantly grumpy,, thinking, well there goes another $5....

Now with the boiler out in the outbuilding, I only hear the circulator pumps start, the pipes expand, and I think 'AHH, cheap coal heat, keeping the house comfortable for 1/4 the price... " :D :lol: :lol:

Yeah, I know I think too much.. that's why I have insomnia so often... I have to work myself to exhaustion to get a good night's sleep.

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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dutch
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Post Thu. Feb. 14, 2008 10:46 am

With my stove in the basement, i'm not overly concerned with dust,
so I usually let the stove go with with ash door open for 5-10 mins,
gets temps up, as others have stated. then I shake slowly, back and
forth, watching what falls.. when I start to see the glow in the ash pan
of the hot coals above, I'm close to being done. I usually throw some fresh
coal on,, and let that get going good before I close the door. Once that is going
good.. I might give another quick shake, to try to see the glow on 50-75% of
the bed, then I know I have good airflow up thru the majority of the bed.
I think some times I get lazy in shaking, and after a few days, I find my fire
slowly becoming less efficient, and more centered in an area instead of the
whole bed bright and vigorous. Shaking until I see a good red glow reflecting
in the ash pan assures me a long vigorous fire.
And yes,, once in a while I get a live coal that will slip thru, but never more than
1 or 2..
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.

69Drag
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Post Mon. Mar. 03, 2008 9:50 am

I'm gonna tack on another question about this if that's ok.

I figured out the trick about getting things heated up prior to shaking. I've been really close to losing the fire if its not hot enough. My question is with the eveness (word?) of the embers dropping from front to rear. Sometimes a bunch of ash will be falling in the front or rear of the grates and the other end is dropping embers. I'm wondering if I don't shake enough ash from the end that's dropping all the ash, if that area of the bed will not be up to par with the end that's dropping embers. Know what I mean?

John

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dutch
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Post Mon. Mar. 03, 2008 12:12 pm

John,
I think there is something to that, as I have sometimes found a portion of
the bed not burning at all. I have been trying to concentrate on shaking until
I feel I have an even amount of airflow up into the entire bed. Sometimes I
load 1/2 of a load of new coal, to get that going good, then I shake a little
more when I don't have to worry about losing any fire.
I also went thru a period of losing almost 1/2 the bed during the burn and when that is
happening, I am finding a lot large clinker stuff coming thru the grates when I shake, but
not easily. They seem to build up over time and I worked very hard last week
to shake any of that buildup of stuff down thru(although scary at times to lose a lot
of active coal also), and now I have a much
happier fire. You know the fire is good, when after 10-12 hrs you open
the ash door and get an instant excitement in the bed. Within minutes
the stack temps climb quickly. If the fire isn't very healthy, it can take
30 mins for the fire to come alive and get going good, before I shake
and reload.
So, to answer your question, I think it's a good thing to shake until you
feel comfortable that your entire bed is clear of excess ash.

anybody else feel the same way?
8-)
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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Dallas
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Post Mon. Mar. 03, 2008 12:21 pm

Being older than the mean age of the group and having a different perspective of things, I don't have any problem POKING THE FIRE :!: I find that the ash hangs on the sides, at the firebrick, or "bridges" and needs a little help to drop. I don't like to shake much further than a "red glow", as I don't like to see the intense heat on the grates.

69Drag
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Post Mon. Mar. 03, 2008 12:48 pm

I do some poking too. Soft dead pockets develop that don't always shake out so I use a poker to try and work that stuff down near the grates before I shake. It burns its absolute best the first couple days after firing it up. Picture perfect even all the way around. Then after that I start chasing dead or weak spots that develop.

John

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Devil505
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Post Mon. Mar. 03, 2008 2:48 pm

Change to my earlier post:

I now have gone back to shaking my TLC down with the ash pan door open. (with a good draft being established first)
I used to do it this way & have just gone back to it. It is much easier to see the embers falling, real time)
So......Either way will work fine as long as you have a good draft going.
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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MountainPreacher
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Post Sun. Mar. 16, 2008 3:30 pm

Dallas wrote:Being older than the mean age of the group and having a different perspective of things, I don't have any problem POKING THE FIRE :!: I find that the ash hangs on the sides, at the firebrick, or "bridges" and needs a little help to drop. I don't like to shake much further than a "red glow", as I don't like to see the intense heat on the grates.
Now this makes good sense! The dead spots that form around need poking through to get the ash out. However, how then are you guys getting the coal in that area to burn? I've had it almost a 50-50 deal in my stove with burning/not burning coal bed. I have taken kindling and let it burn itself out to get hot coals on top of the side that is not burning - this works great. However, it makes a mess splitting scrap lumber from time to time too. So, do you poke out the ash in the dead area and shovel some good hot burning coal into it?
Harman Mark II In Northeast Pennsylvania, Obama is NO savior, he can't even make a cabinet!

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Dallas
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Post Sun. Mar. 16, 2008 3:39 pm

MountainPreacher wrote:Now this makes good sense! The dead spots that form around need poking through to get the ash out. However, how then are you guys getting the coal in that area to burn? I've had it almost a 50-50 deal in my stove with burning/not burning coal bed. So, do you poke out the ash in the dead area and shovel some good hot burning coal into it?
It won't hurt to leave some "ash bed" in the stove, as it keeps the coal from falling through. If you have some good hot coals burning and part has "burned out", just cover the whole bed with new coal. As the fire gets going, the burn will migrate to the whole bed.

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Devil505
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Post Sun. Mar. 16, 2008 6:33 pm

MountainPreacher wrote:
Dallas wrote:Being older than the mean age of the group and having a different perspective of things, I don't have any problem POKING THE FIRE :!: I find that the ash hangs on the sides, at the firebrick, or "bridges" and needs a little help to drop. I don't like to shake much further than a "red glow", as I don't like to see the intense heat on the grates.
Now this makes good sense! The dead spots that form around need poking through to get the ash out. However, how then are you guys getting the coal in that area to burn? I've had it almost a 50-50 deal in my stove with burning/not burning coal bed. I have taken kindling and let it burn itself out to get hot coals on top of the side that is not burning - this works great. However, it makes a mess splitting scrap lumber from time to time too. So, do you poke out the ash in the dead area and shovel some good hot burning coal into it?
Like Dallas says, just fill in the whole bed with fresh coal. The dead hole will eventualy catch by itself & you don't need to put hot coal in there. Just fill the hole with fresh coal.
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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MountainPreacher
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Post Sun. Mar. 16, 2008 8:11 pm

Devil5052 wrote:
MountainPreacher wrote: Now this makes good sense! The dead spots that form around need poking through to get the ash out. However, how then are you guys getting the coal in that area to burn? I've had it almost a 50-50 deal in my stove with burning/not burning coal bed. I have taken kindling and let it burn itself out to get hot coals on top of the side that is not burning - this works great. However, it makes a mess splitting scrap lumber from time to time too. So, do you poke out the ash in the dead area and shovel some good hot burning coal into it?
Like Dallas says, just fill in the whole bed with fresh coal. The dead hole will eventualy catch by itself & you don't need to put hot coal in there. Just fill the hole with fresh coal.
THANK YOU for your replies!

Ok. Well, right now I have about a 60/40 situation with my coal bed with the 40% being dead/out. SO ... I just let this puppy fire up a bit with the door open (typically, I let the stove temp get up to 400, then fill). Poke/shake some and then load up - correct? I also unplug the fan to let the stove heat up better.
Harman Mark II In Northeast Pennsylvania, Obama is NO savior, he can't even make a cabinet!

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