Best Way to Start Fire With Charcoal?

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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Devil505
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Post Wed. Feb. 20, 2008 7:43 am

Going great now!! One thing I definetly like better is that my window is staying clean as a whistle!! A litle slower to start than my wood fire but, overall, much easier to do. (*Another thing I like is I only had to us about 20% of the small bag of Matchlight to get it started....The stuff is expensive!)
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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Devil505
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Post Wed. Feb. 20, 2008 9:31 am

I just figured how to use the coffee can trick for next time. (The bag idea is to slow) If I cut the top & bottom off a coffee can & then sit it on the grates, fill it with Matchlight briquets, surround the can with coal & then slide the can up & out it should work fine. I'll try that next time this crap coal jams my shaker grates.
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.
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rberq
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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 Wed. Feb. 20, 2008 10:58 am

Yeah, sorry, I forgot to mention the part about cutting both top and bottom out of the coffee can! Glad you read between the lines.
Simple answers for simple minds.

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Devil505
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Post Thu. Feb. 21, 2008 7:31 am

Observations:
Since this was the first time I started a coal fire with charcoal, I have a few observations.( I used the technique of making a small pyramid of Matchlight charcoal in the middle & then surrounding this with coal to about 1/2 full stove)

I will definetly start all future fires with charcoal as it is much easier than wood & my window was not blackened by creosote.
A couple of differences (charcoal vs wood) I would note are the following:

1. Seems to take a bit longer to get the coal bed burning...maybe an additional 30 mins (however,this is offset by the time saved in not having to build a wood fire first)
2. Coal bed takes about 24 hrs to fully engage as the fire works it's way from the center out. (I actualy like this as it would appear that I'm getting a steadier/slower heat from the stove as opposed to the fast rush of heat I usually get when starting with wood as the wood catches the whole coal bed sooner)
3. I was amazed/pleased to see the coal bed had dropped a few inches over night! (I put in about 1/2 hod full to fill the stove back to the firebrick top with no shaking down)
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

CapeCoaler
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Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
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Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove
Location: Cape Cod, MA

Post Thu. Feb. 21, 2008 10:00 am

Williams coal Braintree/Marshfield has hardwood charcoal in 20 lb bags if you want to try the good stuff.
Anybody use them for bulk coal?
When I called they were at 280/ton Blaschak picked up. It is cheaper on Cape at 250/ton so I have not made the trip.
I am not an engineer, train or otherwise!
I stay at a Holiday Inn at least once a year!
Most of all I do have common sense and a practical application of logic.
Oh, add humor, on the dry side, along with a wee bit 'o sarcasm.

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Devil505
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Post Thu. Feb. 21, 2008 12:43 pm

CapeCoaler wrote:Williams coal Braintree/Marshfield has hardwood charcoal in 20 lb bags if you want to try the good stuff.
Anybody use them for bulk coal?
When I called they were at 280/ton Blaschak picked up. It is cheaper on Cape at 250/ton so I have not made the trip.
Where do you buy Blaschak for 250/ton?
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

CapeCoaler
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Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove
Location: Cape Cod, MA

Post Thu. Feb. 21, 2008 1:24 pm

Not sure what brand/mine the bulk is from but will find out tonight from them when I stop in. Burns nice though.
I am not an engineer, train or otherwise!
I stay at a Holiday Inn at least once a year!
Most of all I do have common sense and a practical application of logic.
Oh, add humor, on the dry side, along with a wee bit 'o sarcasm.

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coal-cooker
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Stove/Furnace Make: Crane/Harman
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Location: Coopers Mills, ME

Post Sat. Feb. 23, 2008 2:07 pm

We've used this ancient indian secret for years :D Wife puts few balls of news paper instove with 15 or 20 match light briquetts and lites paper. As soon as charcoal is going good she starts adding small amounts of nut coal sprinkled over the charcoal and within ten or fifteen minutes can have a great fire going in the stove. Just have to add slowly as to not smother charcoal.
Justin S.

Burning anthracite nut & pea coal in an old Crane Coal-Cooker since 1985.

There is nothing like a bin full of coal to give you that warm fuzzy feeling. OH, I forgot to mention the fridge full of beer.

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Devil505
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Post Sat. Feb. 23, 2008 5:32 pm

coal-cooker wrote:We've used this ancient indian secret for years :D Wife puts few balls of news paper instove with 15 or 20 match light briquetts and lites paper. As soon as charcoal is going good she starts adding small amounts of nut coal sprinkled over the charcoal and within ten or fifteen minutes can have a great fire going in the stove. Just have to add slowly as to not smother charcoal.
No doubt I am sold on starting coal fires with charcoal from now on! So much easier & nice clean window.
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

CapeCoaler
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Posts: 4427
Joined: Sun. Feb. 10, 2008 3:48 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove
Location: Cape Cod, MA

Post Wed. Feb. 27, 2008 11:23 pm

Finally got to ask what brand\mine their coal came from.
Bulk nut from Blaschak and Centralia Sales. Bring a truck, trailer or buckets. Just call ahead if you need them to load the bulk in your truck or trailer.
Bagged Pea, Nut and Stove from Centralia Sales 50lb bags. Bagged Pea was $8 for one bag.
The coal burns real nice. They get loads directly from the breakers.
Ask for Weldy. Mention you heard about them from this board.
Iron House
95 Corporation Rd
Hyannis, MA 02601
(508) 771-4799
I am not an engineer, train or otherwise!
I stay at a Holiday Inn at least once a year!
Most of all I do have common sense and a practical application of logic.
Oh, add humor, on the dry side, along with a wee bit 'o sarcasm.

JJLL
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Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Harman SF-360 Boiler

Post Thu. Feb. 28, 2008 2:53 pm

Devil5052 wrote:Going great now!! One thing I definetly like better is that my window is staying clean as a whistle!! A litle slower to start than my wood fire but, overall, much easier to do. (*Another thing I like is I only had to us about 20% of the small bag of Matchlight to get it started....The stuff is expensive!)
It can get a little expensive. May I suggest using wood pellets to start your stove? I lay down a 4-5 inch layer of coal, then I pour a 1-2 inch layer of pellets on top. I grab my propane torch and light up the pellets. Once they get nice and hot, I put on another layer of coal. A coal, pellet, coal sandwich :) It works, is easy to light and cheaper than charcoal.
With guns, we are 'citizens'. Without them, we are 'subjects'.

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BugsyR
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Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker
Location: Madison TWP, Pa

Post Thu. Feb. 28, 2008 3:49 pm

I might be a rookie at this whole coal burning thing and then to top it off I'm considered a girlie man with a stoker BUT...

I could have sworn that step 1 to starting any fire was written right on top of the beer can:

"Pull Tab To Open"

:D
Mike... "Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it."

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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 Thu. Feb. 28, 2008 4:09 pm

That is a critical step. Can't be skipped! :D :cheers: And who ever came up with the girlie man thing is not well informed. I may not have to shovel coal every day, but when I do, it's 250 lbs at a time. Not one of the hand fired units requires that much shoveling at once. toothy
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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BugsyR
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Post Thu. Feb. 28, 2008 4:28 pm

Okay I'll stop using that title...

Hey Kirk, you do know what step 1 is for shoveling coal right????

"Pull Tab To Open"

Got beer on the brain....It's wing night also!!! WooHoo!!!
Mike... "Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it."

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LsFarm
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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 Thu. Feb. 28, 2008 5:03 pm

Yeah, I just laugh at the 'girlie-man' title... I load 1500# of pea coal into my hopper each week,, that's 40+ 5 gallon buckets of coal lifted to shoulder height.... I hope I never meet the 'girl' that can do that job without stopping to rest... I certainly don't want her to get mad at me..!! :? :shock: :D

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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