Managing Low Slow Burns

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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Lightning
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Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Overmodified/Bored out Clayton 1537
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Post Sun. Mar. 26, 2017 7:57 pm

So I thought I would give this a try. Tonight I put a blanket of fines (6 pounds) on top after shake and load in an attempt to keep the stove size idling healthier. It's been getting a little too warm in the house with the mild temps outside and it's difficult to keep stove size happy at real slow burn rates. Anyone else try a blanket of fines?
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windyhill4.2
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Post Sun. Mar. 26, 2017 8:29 pm

When I want my stove to put out less heat, I usually go from shaking 2 times per day to only shaking the ashes out at nite when the heat demand will be greater than daytime demand. Works good for me. :)

I never tried topping the bed with fines.
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Lightning
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Post Sun. Mar. 26, 2017 8:30 pm

It recovered quickly. The blanket seen here effectively doing its job of containing heat and gases in the fuel bed. Its only allowing them to come up around the sides where the blanket is thin to none.
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Lightning
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Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Overmodified/Bored out Clayton 1537
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Post Sun. Mar. 26, 2017 8:35 pm

windyhill4.2 wrote:When I want my stove to put out less heat, I usually go from shaking 2 times per day to only shaking the ashes out at nite when the heat demand will be greater than daytime demand. Works good for me. :)

I never tried topping the bed with fines.
Cool, yeah I'm at 24 hour tendings currently also. I do it in the evening, like you, for the nighttime cool down. :)

The plan with the blanket is to keep the heat and gasses contained in the fuel bed longer by forcing them to find a longer pathway out. I'm hoping to alleviate the dead spots in the fuel bed from trying to run the stove size too slow.

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oliver power
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Post Sun. Mar. 26, 2017 8:59 pm

Hi Lightning,

No doubt, the blanket of fines will slow the burn rate for a while. A layer of ash also slows the burn rate. Have an uncle who used ash in the military. Everyone liked when it was his turn to tend the fire, as they always woke up to a warm barrack. He never told his secret, so he says.

While playing with the D.S., I've noticed a weaker draft when over fire air is all the way open. This over fire air not only weakens the draft, but also, suppresses the weaker draft when traveling over the coals. Not to mention, the over fire air is taking un-wanted heat up the chimney as well.

I found cutting the primary air, and increasing the over fire air made a difference in keeping stove temp down. A drop in fuel consumption was noticed as well.

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Lightning
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Post Sun. Mar. 26, 2017 9:22 pm

Interesting story about your uncle, Oliver. So he would put a blanket of ash on top? That seems crazy lol, but logical to work. :)

I don't have a problem slowing the burn per say, it's that slowing the burn with the stove size has some undesirable side effects. Dead spots in the fuel bed and some very long revving periods before shake down to bring it back up to health.

I actually use extra secondary air during warm spells to keep my draft from failing. Another thing that seems crazy but has completely solved my draft failure issues.

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oliver power
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Post Sun. Mar. 26, 2017 9:31 pm

Lightning wrote:Interesting story about your uncle, Oliver. So he would put a blanket of ash on top? That seems crazy lol, but logical to work. :)

I don't have a problem slowing the burn per say, it's that slowing the burn with the stove size has some undesirable side effects. Dead spots in the fuel bed and some very long revving periods before shake down to bring it back up to health.

I actually use extra secondary air during warm spells to keep my draft from failing. Another thing that seems crazy but has completely solved my draft failure issues.
Gotcha, Dead spots in the fuel bed. Understood. Too spread out of a fire bed to burn even with low, low combustion air. Yes, I can see that happening.

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Seagrave1963
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Post Mon. Mar. 27, 2017 8:46 am

I have done something similar to the OP but used rice coal over nut. Seems to work very well and when the the evening approaches, we just open the primary air up and the heat comes back quickly.

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Sunny Boy
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Post Mon. Mar. 27, 2017 9:02 am

Banking a fire with ashes is an old method of slowing and holding a fire over night. My father told me that was one of his jobs setting up the coal furnace for the night. Come morning just open the dampers, shake the ashes down and the fire recovers nicely so that you can start adding fresh coal.

It's also very common to bank wood fires, too. I'd often do that at night when I used my fireplace and we do that with our camping fire pit. If buried in ash right, there's plenty enough fire left to easily get it going quickly the next morning.

I don't bank the coal stove fire with ashes or fines for over night, but I do use a shovel of fines placed in the middle of each round cover opening to slow a too-hot fire. Acts like putting a large piece of coal in the center and it works great at slowing, while still adding fuel. And it's a good way to get your money's worth of heat out of all those fines you paid for. ;)

To slow and extend overnight fires, when I'm getting the stove "ready for bed", I use a higher concentration of smaller pieces of coal. It works similar to blanketing with fines in that it gives a high concentration of smaller pieces not only increase the fuel density in the firebox, the tighter air spaces also add air flow resistance up through the firebed. Both contribute to slowing and lengthening the burn time. Using a blanket of fines just takes that to another level and slows it even more.

But, as Lee said, you have to leave some open space around the outer edges. Cover the firebed completely with fines and you risk smothering and putting the fire out.

Paul
So many stoves - so few chimneys. I must be coal-stone crazy.

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Post Mon. Mar. 27, 2017 9:21 am

My box stove is 35 ish yrs old so things aren't so square and tight, it requires using the small 'nut and pea mix that comes in the Tractor supply bags of 'nut instead of the stove size I normally use and closing the primary tight. A little more secondary air, an adjustment on both the baro and the mpd as well depending on the wind.
...now the Vigilant is a different story, I just close the bi-metal flap and do nothing for a couple of days.
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freetown fred
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Post Mon. Mar. 27, 2017 10:25 am

I switched back to straight nut & got done with the stove mix. That didn't work worth a crap when tendin once a day in this weird weather. Took way to long to re-coup. Course I got a real simplistic, functional stove, not one of those silly ass--ya gotta mess with them all the time kind!! ;) I'm with MA! :)
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warminmn
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Post Mon. Mar. 27, 2017 11:48 am

Its easier to open a window :lol:

I too use over fire air to slow it down if I need too. If its in the bag it goes in my fire, so I don't have any fines in a pail to put on top. I should burn the bag too :)
I'm just an old chunk of coal now Lord but I'm gonna be a diamond some day - Billy Joe Shaver

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freetown fred
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Post Mon. Mar. 27, 2017 11:51 am

Now you're getting to damn simplistic W!!! Of course, you also have a no muss, no fuss stove!! ;)
"A people that values it's privileges above it's principals, soon loses both"--Dwight D Eisenhower

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Lightning
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Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Overmodified/Bored out Clayton 1537
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Post Mon. Mar. 27, 2017 11:57 am

freetown fred wrote: Course I got a real simplistic, functional stove, not one of those silly ass--ya gotta mess with them all the time kind!!
Who visits their stove more than once a day in this weather? :lol:
Not me....

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Post Mon. Mar. 27, 2017 12:01 pm

and there are a certain # of stoves that are just the right size and layout that if you want you can do your shake and rev. cycle then get ahold of the corners of the long way on the bag and drop the whole thing cross wise or long wise, on the long narrow edge, right on top of the fire. if you have your base fire going good enough by the time the bag burns off and the coal slumps the fire just keeps right on rockin the blues and you walk away cause the bi-metal is going to handle it from there. :idea:
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