Coal Grates & Wood Stoves

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Post Mon. Nov. 28, 2005 10:47 pm

I have a fairly new wood stove, and while I know its not designed to burn coal, I am curious. I have an old coal grate in perfect condition, and I wanted to try it out. My stove has its primary air outlet in the front of the stove, at the bottom. So, if I put the grate in front of the outlet, air will flow under the coal, and be forced upward. The flue is 316 Ti in a masonry chimney.

So, is there any harm in trying a little anthracite on the coal grate (after a small wood fire to get it going)? Any advice on how to use a coal grate in general?



Post Tue. Nov. 29, 2005 7:56 am

Many have tried, all have failed. I think you would be wsting your time & coal.


Post Tue. Nov. 29, 2005 7:24 pm

Damn. Oh well, maybe next stove.

What is the limiting factor in the equation? Is it the positioning of the primary air inlets? The grate issue (loading coal & unloading ash)? Just the way they are designed (and if so, what about it)?


John from hanover

Post Wed. Nov. 30, 2005 9:45 pm

Is there any way to use my fireplace to burn coal.???


Post Wed. Nov. 30, 2005 11:08 pm

Sorry John, but No - the only way to burn anthracite in a fireplace is to add an insert. Hitzer stove comapny makes a nice gravity fed one.

To burn anthracite, the coal must completely cover the burn box, if there is any extra space, the air will go around the coal and it will not burn. You must be able to shake the ash out from below, while coal is stacked on top of it.


Post Wed. Nov. 30, 2005 11:24 pm

How about those old 1890's style coal fireplaces, with a grate in the front? How were they able to burn coal, or did they not burn anthracite?


Post Thu. Dec. 01, 2005 10:51 am

Those old fireplaces burned bituminous coal. Bituminous is very soft, while anthracite is very hard and difficult to ignite. That is why air flow makes such a difference. Your fireplace or stove would certainly burn bituminous coal. But I would not burn it inside my house. It is stinky & dirty and will leave a greasy film over everything in your house. There will be a yellowish fog all around your house outside, there will be a greasy film on your car, your neighbors will hate you.

If you decide to burn bituminous coal, you have to be very cautious. Bituminous coal burns so easily, just the vapors from it can burst into flames with the smallest of sparks.


Post Thu. Dec. 01, 2005 12:47 pm

Nope, I am not going to burn Bituminous, or any coal for that matter... at least until I have a coal stove. Bought a new wood stove last year, but since then got interested in coal. I might look at the smaller Harman hand stoked, or maybe the 500 rice burner that everyone seems to love (no extra flue, direct vents).


Post Tue. Dec. 13, 2005 4:18 pm

I intend to register so that the flames that this post will generate can actually find me. I love punishment. I live in San Francisco, California --- not a place known for cold weather. I reside in a small apartment located on the lower floor of a house that I moved in to as a boy in 1957. I am an admitted pyromaniac though I pursue my mania entirely legally. I have a coal fire in my fireplace every day, regardless of the weather --- winter, spring, summer and fall. I have been doing this since at least 1960. I am now retired. In the past year I have burned around ten tons of coal. My walls are not yellow though I sometimes get dust around the hearth. My neighbors might hate me, that's up to them. Coal burning is legal. Sometimes, when starting a fire, there has been so much black smoke coming from my chimney that neighbors have called the fire department. SFFD has responded, inspected the fire, declared everything “on the up and up” and split (several times). There are multiple fireplaces in my house and on occasion I get them all going burning coal. I like the smell of coal. It reminds me of a steam locomotive. I burn up to 100 pounds in a 24 hour period --- but that is with someone awake and tending the fire continuously. If there will be no one in my house awake, I let the fire go out (though it's never "out" because when I get up in the morning, I just throw some coal on the red residue and it relights) and a might only burn around 50 to 60 pounds. On second thought, maybe I won’t register. I don’t want to spend all day becoming emotionally involved defending myself from all of the flames I am going to get. Besides, I have a real fire to tend to . . .

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Post Wed. Dec. 28, 2005 5:44 pm

[quote="Guest"]I have an old coal grate in perfect condition, and I wanted to try it out. [/quote]

Tell me more--are you interested in selling it? Do you have any pictures or diagrams? I am looking for a coal grate I can use to replace my existing one--I don't mind doing a little adaptation, so exact size is not a big issue.

Did it come out of a stove? Is it free standing or designed to be installed (welded, bolted) into a stove?

Randy Kramer

Sorry if this shows up a second time--I thought I was logged in but it appears I wasn't, and I'm not sure this got posted.

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