Started the Fire!!!

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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CompShooter
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Posts: 2
Joined: Mon. Jul. 21, 2008 10:29 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant II 2310

Post Sun. Nov. 02, 2008 8:55 pm

Well, first I want to thank everyone for all the posts on this site. I bought a Vermont Castings Vigilent II this summer. And with everyone's help I finally got a coal fire going in four tries. Let me just tell everyone how I did it and what I was doing wrong.

First of all I open the internal damper and crack the ash pan door, then I put about 10 pieces of regular charcoal on the grates. Not the fast ignite stuff, just plain old Kingsford. I then pour about two inches of fresh coal on top of it. Then I roll about fives pieces of cardboard into a tube shape. On top of the cardboard goes about 6 pieces of kindling. Coal is sprinkled on top of the wood. Not much, just a few pieces.

Next I light another piece of cardboard above the damper in the flue. This is to ensure I get a strong draft going. One time I didn't do this and I was feeding the fire FROM the flue. My house was filled with smoke. Never again!

Once the draft gets going in the right direction I use my propane torch (the kind you use for sweating pipes) and light the cardboard from the front of the stove through the grates. I try to light it on both sides and the middle. At this point I close the front doors and just let it burn. In a few minutes, about 15 - 20, I can actually hear the draft feeding the fire.

In the first three attempts, this is where I made my mistake. I would put some coal on top of the wood and shut the ash pan door. Needless to say, the first three fires would just die down and go out in about an hour.

Now at this point I figured out NOT to shut the ash pan door. I add coal to one half of the stove and let it alone. In about 10 minutes blue flames appear over the new coal. Then I can add fresh coal to the other side and wait. I repeat these steps until the stove is loaded is coal with blue flames dancing over top of them. Only at this point do I now shut the ash pan door.

This seems to work for my stove. Hopefully it will help others in their attempts to start a coal fire.

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

Post Sun. Nov. 02, 2008 10:09 pm

CompShooter wrote:Now at this point I figured out NOT to shut the ash pan door. I add coal to one half of the stove and let it alone. In about 10 minutes blue flames appear over the new coal. Then I can add fresh coal to the other side and wait. I repeat these steps until the stove is loaded is coal with blue flames dancing over top of them. Only at this point do I now shut the ash pan door.
Good for you CompShooter!!

It took me a while to light fire when I first started too. As you found out, the key is to play with the ash door to let in enough air to keep things going, but not too much to overfire your stove. (I typically go from almost fully closed to wide open a number of times until the stove is filled. Only at that point will I actually close & latch the ash door.)
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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traderfjp
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Posts: 1799
Joined: Wed. Apr. 19, 2006 10:32 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing 3
Location: New York

Post Sun. Nov. 02, 2008 10:11 pm

Congrats. Until I went to coal mice I had many failed attempts. I can get a burn going with coal but it's smelly.
Disclaimer: I'm not an expert in any coal or plumbing related field. I only post my own experiences, research and common sense. If you choose to use any of the information in this post or any other post you do so at your own risk.

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Freddy
Member
Posts: 6606
Joined: Fri. Apr. 11, 2008 2:54 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined
Location: Orrington, Maine

Post Mon. Nov. 03, 2008 5:57 am

Congrats! Thanks for sharing. Go forth, be warm!
Orrington, Maine
Fred

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".

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