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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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grizzly2
Member
Posts: 842
Joined: Tue. Feb. 12, 2008 7:18 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 30 - 95
Coal Size/Type: pea and nut/ anthracite
Other Heating: Jotul #3 wood stove in garage. Oil backup in house. Electric backup in house.
Location: Whippleville, NY

Post Mon. Feb. 18, 2008 10:05 am

Several knowlegable coal burners on this site have suggested I get somthing used to start with so that I might make a better decission before I make a big investment in a new stove.

I have been watching ebay for 2 or 3 weeks and see three brands that come up often and sell reasonably, and might fit my needs.

Are Efel, Russo, and Franco Belge good coal stoves (if of course if they are in good condition) :?:
The only redeeming value of winter is that I can have a fire in my stove.

User avatar
Dallas
Member
Posts: 743
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 Mon. Feb. 18, 2008 10:08 am

I had an Efel wood burner, which was great. I've got a Russo C-35 coal stove, currently, which is a "heater", but the ash pan is small.

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Richard S.
Mayor
Posts: 12712
Joined: Fri. Oct. 01, 2004 8:35 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite
Location: NEPA

Post Mon. Feb. 18, 2008 10:19 am

The Franco Belges are good units but not very big, you can heat about 2 or 3 rooms with one.
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

- Albert Einstein

Visit Hitzer Stoves

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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 Mon. Feb. 18, 2008 10:34 am

I'd keep looking, not only on ebay, but your local paper, and craigslist.com too.

There have been a lot of Harman Mark I, II, and III stoves show up this year as well as a few SF 150's and 250's... All very good hand feed units... I don't think I've ever seen a Hitzer in the papers though.. ??

I'd say away from the Franco B stoves.. they seem to be finicky to burn well and are subject to cast iron pieces cracking and burning out... The Russo stoves appear stout, but if the ash pan is small, you would have to keep up with ash removal more often.. Can't say about the Efels,, but they appear to be small..

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
Richard S.
Mayor
Posts: 12712
Joined: Fri. Oct. 01, 2004 8:35 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite
Location: NEPA

Post Mon. Feb. 18, 2008 10:51 am

LsFarm wrote: I'd say away from the Franco B stoves.. they seem to be finicky to burn well and are subject to cast iron pieces cracking and burning out...
My experience is quite the opposite. They burn quite nicely, my cousin was even burning a mixture of buck and rice in his if that tells you anything. He probably could have burned straight rice if the grates were a little smaller. He got the coal for free which is why he was using it, normally you'd want to use pea. The issues with any grates or more commonly the back plate inside the stove getting warped are due to overfiring. It's a small stove an people try and get too much heat out of them and end up ruining it.
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

- Albert Einstein

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 Mon. Feb. 18, 2008 1:47 pm

Since I've not actually owned one, I can only surmise how they are to opperate from the many posts and threads about burning problems, draft problems and cracked cast iron..
Like on this thread: Advice on Franco Belge 10.1475

But I have seen the Harman SF150 and a Mark II in action,and have poked, prodded, and toasted my hands in front of them.... They are not finicky and are tanks.. I think you would have to forget to close the ashpan door with a full load of coal for 8 hours to hurt one.

If you can find any stove that is not broken, warped, or cracked, and is at a very reasonable price, learning to operate it is good experience..

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?

Visit Hitzer Stoves

User avatar
Richard S.
Mayor
Posts: 12712
Joined: Fri. Oct. 01, 2004 8:35 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite
Location: NEPA

Post Mon. Feb. 18, 2008 2:11 pm

LsFarm wrote:Since I've not actually owned one, I can only surmise how they are to opperate from the many posts and threads about burning problems, draft problems and cracked cast iron..
Again not my experience, my cousin has three of them. One his parents used for about 20 years. One he purchased and one we gave him. All three work, the one that is 20 years old and used properly has probably only had a few grates replced. The biggest issue with them is the internal hopper. There are two plates front and back which are basically the hopper. What happens is if you overfire it the fire will go into the interanl hopper and royally screw these plates up. Not really a safety concern because its still enclosed but it will destroy these plates in hours. Generally you have a large amount of coal there and it will all start burning and the stove is simply not meant for that. The hopper is meant to be self-feeding type deal.
Like on this thread: Advice on Franco Belge 10.1475
Only probelm I see there is he can't get it to go longer than 12 hours, that's all you can rwally expect from it. These are not large stoves, I think they are only in the 40 - 50 K range.
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

- Albert Einstein

User avatar
grizzly2
Member
Posts: 842
Joined: Tue. Feb. 12, 2008 7:18 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 30 - 95
Coal Size/Type: pea and nut/ anthracite
Other Heating: Jotul #3 wood stove in garage. Oil backup in house. Electric backup in house.
Location: Whippleville, NY

Post Tue. Feb. 19, 2008 6:42 pm

Looks like a lot of people like Harmon. It also sounds like people who have seen a Hitzer believe it to be very well built. So far I have not talked to one person on line or in person who has actually owned one. I read somewhere, maybe here, that they are a low production item from a small shop. I am leaning toward these two manufacturers if I don't find somthing used that I like for a fair price and within a reasonable driving distance. I am in no big hurry. Just want to have it up and running by next fall.

Thanks again for all the input. More comments and suggestions are welcome. :)
The only redeeming value of winter is that I can have a fire in my stove.

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