Finally Burning Coal

A Coal stoker furnace or stove controls most operations including automatically feeding the coal. They are quite similar to any conventional oil and gas units and easily operated for extended periods of time. They commonly use rice coal but may use larger sizes like buckwheat. They can be used as primary heat, supplementary heat or have a dual set up with your existing oil/gas furnace.
User avatar
Vampiro
Member
Posts: 211
Joined: Tue. Feb. 07, 2012 11:10 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson S260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: #45 BAD HWH
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mk1
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite, Pea Coal
Other Heating: POS gas boiler
Location: Transylvania

Post Wed. Feb. 08, 2012 12:45 am

Hi all,

Finally I'm burning coal :junmp: . I was rather fortunate to find a bucket a day water heater under a crawl space in this old house. Everything was there, the shaker grate handle, the flue pipe, the manual damper....it was just a great find. Currently I am restoring an AA 260. I'm having fun with it so far. I'm almost finished with the welding, and can't wait to clean and paint it. Before that there is some work to do, and what I really can't wait to finally heat the house with the 260. The exterior utility room get's awfully cold, and as soon as I found that bucket a day, I decided it would be a great idea to hook it up to a radiator, of which I found in another crawl space :funny: . Today was a great burn, and the utility room was mighty toasty. I had added another section of chimney which gave me ample draft, as the last fire didn't burn so hot.

For now I had ordered a ton of pea coal. This should get me through the winter for heating the utility room, and doing testing on the 260. As for the 260, I had bought it from a member on here a while ago. This is a new profile for me, but I've been on here before, but today is a new start for coal, and a great one at that. I was lucky to experience coal when I was 6 on up, and I don't mind hand firing at all, as I've fired older Titusville, Farrar & Trefts, and also Kewanee hand fired boilers. Those were some great times. Not to many young people like myself have experienced that, and I am grateful to have been a part of history and to have learned all those great skills. You folks on here are great. There is so much I have learned from these forums. :D

What good is a thread without pictures.
Attachments
AAcrane.jpg
Moving the Axeman into place
AAdrilling.JPG
Drilling out existing rusted bold for a replacement bolt for the support leg stand.
AArestore2.JPG
leg support
AArestore.JPG
Just completed some wire wheeling so I had to paint the area to prevent rust.
AAhavingbeer.JPG
Hey! It stole my beer! Must have been real thirsty LOL {:0)
45BAD.JPG
Here's the 45 bad I found in the crawlspace.
45Badfire1.JPG
45 blue flames and all alive
45BADfire2.jpg
Another picture of the fire
45BADfire3.jpg
Another picture of the fire. Nice blue flames {:0)


User avatar
Townsend
Member
Posts: 567
Joined: Tue. Nov. 21, 2006 7:38 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Coal Size/Type: Pea / Buck
Location: Connecticut

Post Wed. Feb. 08, 2012 6:53 am

Vamp, congrats on your chubby find and your Axeman progress. You'll really be pleased when you light up that 260!

What is the 260 replacing?

Steve

User avatar
Vampiro
Member
Posts: 211
Joined: Tue. Feb. 07, 2012 11:10 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson S260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: #45 BAD HWH
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mk1
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite, Pea Coal
Other Heating: POS gas boiler
Location: Transylvania

Post Wed. Feb. 08, 2012 10:25 am

Townsend wrote:Vamp, congrats on your chubby find and your Axeman progress. You'll really be pleased when you light up that 260!

What is the 260 replacing?

Steve
Thanks Steve. The 260 is going to replace a gas boiler and water heater. They will be retained for a backup. Pex tubing is rather cheap nowadays. Would it be worthwhile to convert from single pipe steam to hot water?

franco b
Site Moderator
Posts: 8449
Joined: Wed. Nov. 05, 2008 5:11 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: V ermont Castings 2310, Franco Belge 262
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Modern Oak 114
Coal Size/Type: nut and pea
Location: Kent CT

Post Wed. Feb. 08, 2012 10:37 am

For longer boiler life I would convert. Steel boilers and steam don't last as long.

User avatar
Townsend
Member
Posts: 567
Joined: Tue. Nov. 21, 2006 7:38 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Coal Size/Type: Pea / Buck
Location: Connecticut

Post Wed. Feb. 08, 2012 11:07 am

Yea Vamp, maybe you'll only get 80 to 90 years out of the steel boiler with steam as opposed to a 100 to 110 with hot water!!

Vamp, if you have one pipe steam in your home currently I will highly advise you to keep your steam system and size your radiation needs for a replacement boiler. I was in the same place as you not long ago and weighed the decision to replace my single pipe steam to hot water. It's not even close in terms of savings, neither short term or long term. A quality steel boiler set up for steam will likely outlast you in terms of service if you maintain it properly and burn all year long.

I purchased a used Axeman Anderson 260 and refurbished it for steam. It is unbelievable for steam production. In most other units the fire chamber is not surrounded with water, as it is in the Axeman. For steam I think this a great feature. It keeps the boiler water at a high temp and when the fan kicks on it is a very short amount of time until its producing steam. Another great feature is the low height of the boiler. If you research steam and near boiler piping you'll learn about what is called an "A dimension". This is a critical measurement that explained briefly is the need for a minimum of 28 inches from the boiler normal water level to the height of the lowest horizontal steam carrying main line. Many steam basements are somewhat low already so piping space is critical. With the Axeman its low height gives you some room to work with to get said dimensions. Also, for steam to work properly you need a proper "header" for efficient dry steam take off to your main lines. Do not skimp in this department. Please take a look at my refurb of an Axeman 260 and how it is set up for single pipe steam like you have. I know I am biased but I can not tell you enough how pleased I am with the set up. Here is the link:

New (to Me) Axeman 260

Vamp, if you haven't already done so I would recommend some steam heating books by Dan Holohan. Steam heating is a lost science and Mr. Holohan does a tremendous job explaining what is needed for these great old systems to work properly.

http://www.comfort-calc.net/Steam_FAQ.html

If you do a few simple steps now in terms of piping requirements you will be extremely warm and happy for many years to come.

I'd love to see picks of your steam set up and piping if you can post them.

User avatar
Townsend
Member
Posts: 567
Joined: Tue. Nov. 21, 2006 7:38 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Coal Size/Type: Pea / Buck
Location: Connecticut

Post Wed. Feb. 08, 2012 11:18 am

Vamp, what year is your 260?

User avatar
Vampiro
Member
Posts: 211
Joined: Tue. Feb. 07, 2012 11:10 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson S260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: #45 BAD HWH
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mk1
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite, Pea Coal
Other Heating: POS gas boiler
Location: Transylvania

Post Wed. Feb. 08, 2012 6:23 pm

Thanks for the info and replies. :D

Franco, as far as a steel boiler not lasting long when running steam, I disagree. I personally know of a 1929 Titusville series W Tico coal boiler was in outstanding material condition when they cut her up. Throughout the years running on steam, it only lost from .005 to .010" of thickness from from the original design. I believe it started out at .720 and at the end of it's life was .710 to .715 after 77 years of service. Good water treatment and care goes a long way for the life of any boiler. I know of 97 year old steam boilers that are still in operation, and again are in outstanding condition. Of course these have been well maintained. For further evidence you can look to many of the steam locomotives that are still in operation as well. Some of course require overhauls and so on, but they are a testament to the outstanding standards of that time. As for my boilers, I treat the water always.

Steve, in regards to switching from steam to hot water, I really would like the boiler to be in the exterior utility room. Radiator height inside the house is an issue for the boiler to be located in the exterior utility room as some of the radiators are below the boiler NOWL. This would cause them to fill with water, be ineffective and probably result a flooded system. I believe there is room to raise the radiators above the water level of the boiler. The other issue would be the header. The exterior utility room, for steam would require the main steam pipe to go out and across at a height of about 7' or so and a length of about 12', then down and across a few more feet into the main steam header. Of course this would all be insulated. The return would travel under ground to the boiler in the exterior utility room. I would run heat trace along the return line, insulate it, and also put a remote temperature sensor on the line in order for the heat trace to turn on at a set temperature. Other ideas would be a condensate return tank with one active pump and one backup. The float system would pose a problem, as the boiler would probably require make up water, and that additional water in the system will eventually flood it after a few cycles. That would require expelling the condensate from the system, and would be a waste.

The current steam boiler is located in the basement. I for one do not like the steam header and wonder why it is they piped it this way. I would change it to a nice dropped header, but I do not wish to waste any more money on the system.

As for my Axeman Anderson, it was built in 1953.

Thanks again :cheers:

User avatar
firewoodman
Member
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat. Dec. 19, 2009 9:10 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Axman-Anderson, Fisher W/B
Stove/Furnace Model: AA-130
Location: Carbondale, Pa.

Post Wed. Feb. 08, 2012 8:50 pm

Don't skimp on your near boiler piping!!! Use the biggest steam main you can(expensive...but worth every penny!!!) and make that steam climb as high as you can before it leaves the boiler. Can't beat a axman for a steam supplier in a old house!!!


User avatar
Vampiro
Member
Posts: 211
Joined: Tue. Feb. 07, 2012 11:10 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson S260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: #45 BAD HWH
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mk1
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite, Pea Coal
Other Heating: POS gas boiler
Location: Transylvania

Post Wed. Feb. 08, 2012 10:20 pm

firewoodman wrote:Don't skimp on your near boiler piping!!! Use the biggest steam main you can(expensive...but worth every penny!!!) and make that steam climb as high as you can before it leaves the boiler. Can't beat a axman for a steam supplier in a old house!!!
I hear that. Thanks for the tips. In addition to the larger pipes, I would definitely like to install a drop header too. That is if I keep the steam. Still figuring out what to do.

Just banked the fire for tonight. The temp for tomorrow is supposed to be a little warmer. Utility room was toasty again tonight, I'm grateful for that BAD 45 I found. Sure keeps me warm. Only worked on the AA for a little while, mostly cleanup today, so when I get some more pictures I'll post them.

User avatar
Vampiro
Member
Posts: 211
Joined: Tue. Feb. 07, 2012 11:10 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson S260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: #45 BAD HWH
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mk1
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite, Pea Coal
Other Heating: POS gas boiler
Location: Transylvania

Post Sat. Feb. 11, 2012 12:33 am

Here's some more pictures.
Attachments
EmptyCoalbucket.JPG
So far I've burned a whole bucket over about 3 days.
Coallip.JPG
I keep some coal on the lip of the fire door. This way when I need to add coal to the very front of the fire I just gently push it off the lip with the shovel. Works great every time.
P1020836.JPG
Using up the last of the coal from the bucket. Don't worry, there's plenty more coal {:0)
Shovelin'.JPG
Some shovelin'
Shaker.JPG
There are 3 grates connected to the center shaker.

franco b
Site Moderator
Posts: 8449
Joined: Wed. Nov. 05, 2008 5:11 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: V ermont Castings 2310, Franco Belge 262
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Modern Oak 114
Coal Size/Type: nut and pea
Location: Kent CT

Post Sat. Feb. 11, 2012 11:06 am

Vampiro wrote:Franco, as far as a steel boiler not lasting long when running steam, I disagree.
My opinion was formed by the many cheap steel boilers installed in the 1950s. When installed as hot water they lasted and with steam they did not. Cast iron no problem.

User avatar
Vampiro
Member
Posts: 211
Joined: Tue. Feb. 07, 2012 11:10 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson S260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: #45 BAD HWH
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mk1
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite, Pea Coal
Other Heating: POS gas boiler
Location: Transylvania

Post Fri. Feb. 17, 2012 12:59 am

franco b wrote:
Vampiro wrote:Franco, as far as a steel boiler not lasting long when running steam, I disagree.
My opinion was formed by the many cheap steel boilers installed in the 1950s. When installed as hot water they lasted and with steam they did not. Cast iron no problem.
Very valid point as there was some crappy boilers put out. Thank goodness there were companies like Axeman Anderson, Oil City Boiler Works, Titusville Iron Works, Farrar & Trefts, Kewanee and others who still knew how to make em' strong and ensured they lasted long. :box:

User avatar
Vampiro
Member
Posts: 211
Joined: Tue. Feb. 07, 2012 11:10 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson S260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: #45 BAD HWH
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mk1
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite, Pea Coal
Other Heating: POS gas boiler
Location: Transylvania

Post Fri. Feb. 17, 2012 1:09 am

Another great burn tonight. The utility room was toasty again. Well, the 45 BAD looks different now. I also accomplished some more tasks with the AA260. Did some welding, and more wire wheeling as well. Enjoy the pictures.
Attachments
260progress.JPG
Here's the 260M. Did some more wire wheeling and painted the area's to ensure they are preserved. Can't wait till the boiler is all finished.
BAD45Paint.JPG
Here's my BAD45 with new black and silver paint. I have some touch up work to do, but it looks great so far! {:0)
BAD45Paint2.JPG
Another pic of the BAD45
Almost empty.JPG
Another bucket of coal almost empty.
45BADFire.JPG
BAD45 all fired up.

User avatar
Townsend
Member
Posts: 567
Joined: Tue. Nov. 21, 2006 7:38 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Coal Size/Type: Pea / Buck
Location: Connecticut

Post Mon. Sep. 24, 2012 9:47 pm

Vamp, how is that 260 coming along?

User avatar
Vampiro
Member
Posts: 211
Joined: Tue. Feb. 07, 2012 11:10 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson S260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: #45 BAD HWH
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mk1
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite, Pea Coal
Other Heating: POS gas boiler
Location: Transylvania

Post Sat. Sep. 29, 2012 9:23 pm

Hi Townsend,

The 260 is almost ready, though the installation will be delayed until some construction takes place.


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