Homemade Outdoor Wood/Anthracite Furnace Info Wanted

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.
Post Reply
New Member
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon. Nov. 18, 2013 3:24 pm

Post Mon. Nov. 18, 2013 9:31 pm


I live in the center of the NE PA Anthracite area; I'm surrounded by it. You can pick it up virtually anyplace, it is all over the ground; besides being mined nearby.

Oil is getting way too expensive; we are going to make our own outdoor furnace to burn wood and anthracite, which will be hooked into the existing forced hot air venting system. My husband knows how to create an outside setup for wood burning; but, from what I have been hearing, anthracite burning requires something a bit different, because it needs alot of air in order to burn. So....I could use any ideas, tips, info on burning anthracite; plans, on how to construct a furnace ( burner? )

I'm new to the Forum, and have not yet read every topic, but I will get to it. Buying one is completely out of the question, because my husband is Retired on a low income; so, we have to make it ourselves ( he is very skilled ( masonry, stone work, metal work, heating, air conditioning, electrical, mechanical, electronic, etc, etc. ) so this will not be a problem for him to construct.
We are not originally from this area, and have never been around coal heating, have never used it, so know basically nothing; other than that anthracite burns cleaner, hotter and longer, than other coal.


User avatar
Posts: 3636
Joined: Sun. Feb. 17, 2008 1:08 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF 3000
Coal Size/Type: rice, bagged, Blaschak
Other Heating: Gas boiler backup/main
Stove/Furnace Model: VF 3000
Location: Chattanooga, Tenn

Post Mon. Nov. 18, 2013 9:38 pm

Welcome to the forum, you have come to the right place. He will have to be talented indeed but if the skills are there, the people here can educate him. Coal needs a tall column of fuel, air underneath, and a means to shake the ashes down. That will be the challenge. Wood needs air over. I will let more educated people take it from there. Good luck.


User avatar
Verified Business Rep.
Posts: 1867
Joined: Thu. Dec. 01, 2011 6:09 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: 2014 Chubby Prototype
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Anthracite
Location: Sooner Country Oklahoma

Post Mon. Nov. 18, 2013 9:49 pm

Welcome to the forum... Just my 2 cents for what it is worth. Do you have a fireplace in your home? You can pick up a good used coal stove for very little money. Even FREE sometimes on sites like Craigslist. I susepct the cost of the stove would be cheaper than building your own Homemade Outdoor Wood/Anthracite Furnace . Even if you had to put in a new chimney. Just a thought.

Please keep us posted on your progress and don't be shy about asking questions here either!
It is the small things in life that push us over the edge........

User avatar
Posts: 2230
Joined: Tue. Oct. 11, 2011 6:53 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite
Other Heating: Heat Pump/Forced Hot Air Oil Furnace
Location: Harrisburg, PA

Post Mon. Nov. 18, 2013 10:15 pm

I'm sure there are a bunch of coal stove shops and coal heating specialists in your area. Ask around. I'm sure you could get a good used wood/coal burning stove or furnace for little $$$. You could probably save more money your first heating season than you spend on a used stove.
No matter where you go,......there you are.

User avatar
Posts: 219
Joined: Sat. Jan. 07, 2012 9:14 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: Anthra Rice
Other Heating: 3 Fireplaces
Location: Lanc Co PA

Post Mon. Nov. 18, 2013 10:36 pm

Welcome to the forum!

All the furnace/boiler makers have spent millions on design and research. And have been manufacturing
many years to improve their design
They did this to make the efficiency very high and made them safe to use and easy to maintain.

I just do not see how a homemade unit will be efficient or safe enough to even think about trying.
If you try, it will take either a long time or a lot of money.
That money could have been spent on a true and tried unit.
The amount of time spent, well if it takes a couple years to build, then the amount of heating costs spent
on oil or whatnot, could have been used on a quality unit.

Read, read some more and ask questions.
Take advice on buying a used stove to get started on coal.

User avatar
Posts: 8301
Joined: Wed. Nov. 16, 2011 9:51 am
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Overmodified/Bored out Clayton 1537
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Awesome Size
Location: Olean, NY

Post Tue. Nov. 19, 2013 3:09 am

I agree... I admire your ambition, but without some experience burning anthracite, designing and building an outdoor furnace (that would do it well) seems to me would be a massive under taking and be time consuming and expensive.. Getting it right the first time probably wouldn't happen, since coal is a bit more fickle to burn than wood. You should be burning coal, especially where you live!! :D For starters, putting the appliance outside is already cutting efficiency. Some heat will be lost outside before making it into the house.

A better option would be to find a used appliance. I bought mine used on Craig's list for $650. I could never build my own for that much or less. As mentioned, leave the designing and manufacturing up to the manufacturers. You will be much further ahead finding a good used unit that can be put inside the house somehow. There are a wide variety of options, fireplace insert, free standing stove, appliance in the basement.

I take it you already have duct work installed for forced warm air heating? Give us more information about your house (size and layout, do you have a basement, where is the current furnace, how many gallons of fuel oil do you burn)

User avatar
Verified Business Rep.
Posts: 3115
Joined: Sun. Apr. 22, 2012 9:28 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404
Location: Duxbury, MA./Hanson MA./Brockton, MA

Post Tue. Nov. 19, 2013 6:03 am

Building a coal burning furnace is going to be more money than buying a used one for sure, its not as simple a making a large box to throw wood in. as previously mentioned the grate system is just one of the "key" elements needed for coal and not only does that system need to move/shake or worst case sliced manually with a tool (it needs to be made of cast iron for sure!) which involves foundry work... because it outside and you may not be worried about any dust from shaking/slicing with the ash door wide open, you could use 1"x1/2" bar stock welded in place with gussets (but it WILL warp) and the gussets would make manual slicing difficult.

If you don't have a good quality coal stove in your home now, you should! how about some info on the house, sq', layout, chimney's/flu's, etc? You may be able to heat your entire house with a good coal stove (or at least the stove could take over 75% of the burden for VERY short/easy money!)... I see Chubby's, I see Crane 404's, I see Warm Mornings, I see Coal Russo's, even old VC Vig's (though I hate the later two) for $100-$200!

Just buying the materials to build a coal/wood furnace is going to be more than it would cost to pick up a used one (refurbishing is mostly only labor!)... this is where "hubby" can SHINE!!! :clap:

Post Reply

Return to “Stoker Coal Furnaces & Stoves Using Anthracite (Hot Air)”