Starter Bags

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.
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ceccil
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Post Fri. Oct. 24, 2008 7:31 pm

I finally tore apart one of my starter bags to see what makes them tick. Just some broken up Cowboy coal and some shredded up paper. I went to Lowes and bought two bags of Cowboy coal for $6 & some change per bag, broke up the charcoal to smaller pieces shredded some paper and in 15-20 min. I had made 10 starter bags. Taking a guess, I could probably make 200 bags from the two bags I bought. Using shredder to shred up junk mail and such for the packing. I even intentionaly shut the stove down pulled all of the coal off the grate and restarted with one of my bags to test. Seemed to work as well as the store bought. If I bought 200 bags at the store at 1-1.50 thats a big savings :D
Jeff
Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain


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Qball
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Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker Koker
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Location: Rhode Island
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Post Fri. Oct. 24, 2008 9:37 pm

I use Cowboy Coal now. What size bags did you use, lunch bags? Just mix the shredded paper with the broken up Cowboy Coal?

Thanks
Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours.
~~Yogi Berra

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beatle78
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Post Sat. Oct. 25, 2008 6:55 am

could you post some pics?

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Adamiscold
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Post Sat. Oct. 25, 2008 7:44 am

Sounds like money well saved.
Adam

http://www.homepower.com <-- Great magazine.

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ceccil
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Post Sat. Oct. 25, 2008 12:41 pm

The bag I tore apart had a handfull of shredded paper on the bottom, then about a handfull of charcoal on top of that, then another hanfull of shredded paper on that. Cut excess off the top of the bag, roll it up semi tight and place one staple in it to keep it closed. I just used a brown lunch sac. I'll cut the side off one and post a pic in a little while. The cowboy coal is larger than the stuff in the starter bag so I put a bunch in an old pillow case and smashed it up some with a hammer. I will still need to come up with better way of smashing it up because there were a lot of fines in it. Just make sure you do the smashing outside. It does create some dust.

Jeff
Jeff
Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

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ceccil
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Post Sat. Oct. 25, 2008 1:13 pm

Here is a pic of the Cowboy charcoal and one of the bags I made up.

Jeff
Attachments
DSC00004.JPG
Cowboy Coal
DSC00005.JPG
Starter Bag
Jeff
Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

mufwapo
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Post Sat. Oct. 25, 2008 5:48 pm

The starter bags I was buying for 70 cents each had tightly crumbled (but not shredded) paper around some charcoal and there seemed to be some type of chemical on the paper. It was wrapped in a small sandwich bag. When you light them they just smolder. Even with the blower on there isn't any visible flame but they light coal every time. I'd rather make my own though if I could get them to work.

choyt002
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Post Sat. Oct. 25, 2008 6:12 pm

I have also looked in the starter bags I buy for .80 cents each. same thing but there is deffinatly something on the paper it is white in color but must be a chemical of some kind. The bags smolder for a few then they pop and throw sparks like the 4 th of july I don't believe the paper and cowboy coal would throw sparks like that. If just the paper and cowboy coal lights the rice that's great. I will make some and save 80 cents a bag. thanks for the info
Chris H


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ceccil
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Post Sat. Oct. 25, 2008 6:46 pm

You are correct about the bag, when I light the store bought bags they just smolder with a red orange glow. I do believe they are treated with something. The ones I made did burn. I'll be doing a little more research to see if I can find out what it is. I'm not sure what they are charging for the bags in my area right now but the last time I bought them I think they were a $1.00 ea.

Jeff
Jeff
Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

mikethebutcher
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Stoker Coal Boiler: alaska
Coal Size/Type: rice
Other Heating: propane
Location: east stroudsburg,PA

Post Sat. Oct. 25, 2008 8:30 pm

getting the bags for about .70 cents in mt. pocono area
been using them for about 4 years
tried making my own with coal and broken up road flares....did not work well :oops:
i am better off buying them...if you guys come up with the cemical on the paper I think that would do the trick

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europachris
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Post Sat. Oct. 25, 2008 9:03 pm

So, if the little boxes are called "coal mice", what should we call these, "coal rats"???? :lol: :D
P1000419.JPG
Couldn't resist....
I just made one up tonight so the stove is ready to light tomorrow morning - still too warm today to light it. Put some shredded paper in the bottom, a good handful of natural lump pieces about the size of pea coal, and some more paper. It fits perfectly across the grate, so hopefully it will hold the rice in place without it sliding off into the pan.
P1000422.JPG
Perfect fit - no need for the strip of metal to wedge in there to hold the coal back.
Chris
Economic Stimulus = Supporting your local Miners
I love the smell of Illinois bituminous in the morning.
Have you hooked a clinker today?

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ceccil
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Post Sun. Oct. 26, 2008 2:04 pm

I tried another one yesterday just to make sure. This one didn't light right off. Burned up all of the paper then pretty much went out. Had to hit the coal with the torch for a min. then it took off. Can anyone even venture a guess as to what the bags may be treated with. I couldn't find anything when searching online. It really doesn't matter if this works or not. I can still use the coal to light the stove, or better yet throw it in the BBQ, toss on a couple steaks and toss back a couple of beverages!! :cheers:

Jeff
Jeff
Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

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europachris
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Post Sun. Oct. 26, 2008 3:11 pm

Yeah, mine didn't work so well, either. The paper bag sitting on the grate holes prevents any air from getting to the shredded paper/charcoal inside. Once the paper bag on the bottom burned away, I was able to hit the 'guts' with the torch and once the air hit the shredded paper, it really took off.

I'm wondering if the paper needs some potassium nitrate? Soak the stuff in a solution of it, let it dry, and then make the bag. I'll bet that's what it is.....and I think it can be found in your local home canning supply store, hardware, etc.

Chris
Economic Stimulus = Supporting your local Miners
I love the smell of Illinois bituminous in the morning.
Have you hooked a clinker today?

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Qball
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Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker Koker
Coal Size/Type: Rice
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Post Sun. Oct. 26, 2008 5:15 pm

I used a little shredded paper, small strips of cardboard and put some of the fire starter gel that I got at Agway. I also saw the same stuff at Wal-Mart, about $6 a bottle I think. Then I put the cowboy coal on top. Took right off and used only one match.
Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours.
~~Yogi Berra

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k9 Bara
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Stoker Coal Boiler: 1996 EFM 520 DF
Coal Size/Type: Buck / Reading
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Post Sun. Oct. 26, 2008 8:06 pm

Great thread guys, thank you. I tried the shredded paper and cowboy package. We are out of lunch bags so I used a paper towel. Worked great first time. :D :D .... and the 500 is breathing again. :P
Thanks,
George


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