Stoker Vs Stove Coal in a Hitzer

Hand fed coal boilers and furnaces using bituminous coal to heat your home or business. Hand fed stoves as the name implies require manual feeding and air adjustments.
Mound City
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Posts: 26
Joined: Fri. Nov. 03, 2006 2:53 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Home Made
Coal Size/Type: Bituminous Stoker Coal
Location: Extreme Southern Illinois

Post Fri. Nov. 03, 2006 4:30 am

The bituminous coal from Illinois that I mentioned in the previous post will not allow me to use a stove with a stoker nor a gravity fed hopper. I inquired about the Hitzer today as I felt it could burn the coal in my area. The company representative informed me that I couldn’t use a gravity hopper with this bituminous stoker coal as the fire would spread to and ignite the coal in the hopper. He suggested I purchase a hand fired stove such as the Model 354 and install an 8” chimney. Also, in his experience, I couldn’t burn the 1 – 2 inch stoker coal in their hand fired stoves. He found that when the barometric damper (thermostat?) dropped to the low fire setting, it created conditions for a smoldering fire; subsequently, the small stoker coal melted into a lump and released volatile gasses. He was fearful the gasses could ignite and blow the stove pipe off – or worse. He suggested that I burn stove coal in the Hitzer 354. He said that he had good luck using the large coal. The representative also stated that I could burn any amount of bituminous coal that I wanted as I didn’t need to fill the stove as I would with anthracite. He said the soft coal would still burn and I could adjust the stove output by adjusting the amount of coal I added.

I really wish to use the smaller coal as it was much easer to transport and handle. And I wanted to achieve a 12 hour burn. Twelve hours would allow me time to arrive home from work and tend the fire. I’m not sure that I’m going to achieve my goal as I have it planned. This site has much information and has helped me with my project and ideas. Thanks for the information!


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Berlin
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Posts: 1847
Joined: Thu. Feb. 09, 2006 1:25 pm
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal
Location: Buffalo/Adirondacks, NY

Post Fri. Nov. 03, 2006 10:54 am

your best bet is to build your own stove. nothing out there I've found is specifically designed for bituminous; so I built my own twice. don't worry about the "smouldering" stage of soft coal, this will happen whether the fire is burning slowly or when you have just refilled the stove, in which case it the gasses will ignite from time to time and, if the stove is not sealed well it will "puff" this is why you want to seal the stovepipe joints and use at least 3 screws per joint. you will also want to design your stovepipe connection so that it has T's instead of elbows for easy cleaning of the fluffy soot that will buildup with coal use. if you are interested in building your own stove I can draw you up plans from mine and email them to you, if you can weld decent it wont take more than 3-4 evenings to weld up a proven, well designed (imho) stove that isn't half bad looking either.
Burning western Pennsylvania Bituminous in WNY using model 77 stoker furnace. BITUMINOUS equiptment: 2 hand fired stoves of my own design, Many Combustioneer Model 77 stokers, stokermatic furnace, Many Will-Burt stokers, & and Two Iron firemen.

Mound City
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Posts: 26
Joined: Fri. Nov. 03, 2006 2:53 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Home Made
Coal Size/Type: Bituminous Stoker Coal
Location: Extreme Southern Illinois

Post Sat. Nov. 04, 2006 3:05 am

Thank you, Sir. I appreciate the information and the offer.

I am not very adept at welding, but my father welds as a hobby. I bet he would really like attempting to build a stove. Dad’s 84 and just finished remodeling his home – now he’s bored and looking for another project! I would really appreciate the plans. And it would give us something to do as a team.

In the meantime, there aren’t too many stoves available locally, mostly US Stove company products. I’m looking for a stove to burn coal for a year or so and then install an outside furnace/boiler. But there again, I may really like the stove and just continue using it. The stores in my area carry WonderCoal. Do you have any thoughts on that stove? I searched the forum and located a thread concerning WonderWood, but it really didn’t mention WonderCoal. I noticed in your post that you’ve found no stove that is specifically designed to burn bituminous; but I was wondering if WonderCoal would burn it reasonably well. It seems to be a really simple stove – just a box with grates, fire brick and a blower. I’m not really sure why I’m asking about WonderCoal because the thought of building a stove is really cool. I guess it’s just a backup plan in case we can’t finish the stove for some reason.

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LsFarm
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland
Location: Michigan

Post Sat. Nov. 04, 2006 8:44 am

Berlin is the Bituminous expert, his stove design sounds like it really
handles the bitum coal very well. He has been very helpful to
me with my struggles to burn poor quality bituminous.

I've tried to burn bituminous in a firebox designed to burn coal
and wood. It will burn, but not trouble-free like anthracite is.

Bituminous coal makes flames and makes black sooty smoke.
Mainly when it is first loaded on an exsisting fire. The door is open
when you load, so into the room goes the soot.
Anthracite has little blue-white 'ghost flames' and no soot, just a very
little fly-ash in the flue.

Bituminous has LOTS of ash, and often this ash will fuse together
in the firebox and make a sheet or clump called a clinker. This can
seal off the grates and smother the fire from below. [no oxygen]

Anthracite burns to a finer ash, that often is like a powder, it just
falls through the gaps in the grates. The AFT is very high.

Using Bitum in a stove designed for Anth [which virtually all are]
will require more tending, letting the fire go out and emptying the
firebox of clinker , and emptying the ash pan more often.

Bituminous has lots of soot that could actually clog a flue pipe, I've
seen a 2" thick blanket of soot on the walls of my boiler and 1" in
the flue pipe. Like Berlin mentioned on this forum, if burning Bitum,
it is advised to use 'tees' not elbows in the flue pipe and put
clean-out covers on the unused opening. This makes cleaning the flue much easier.

BUT if your local coal is the only thing available, I would still burn it
over wood. It is hard to get a small to medium size stove to burn
for an 8-12 hour burn without a lot of creosote, and wildly varying
heat outputs. Any coal will burn at a much more consistant temp
and last a lot longer.

Greg L
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

Mound City
Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri. Nov. 03, 2006 2:53 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Home Made
Coal Size/Type: Bituminous Stoker Coal
Location: Extreme Southern Illinois

Post Sat. Nov. 04, 2006 2:35 pm

I was wondering if bituminous caused smoking/soot to enter the room. Salesmen, to whom I’ve spoken, tell me that very little smoke enters the room – I’m glad to hear from someone using coal that smoke does enter the room. I don’t consider that a bad thing, but now I know to expect some odor and soot in the house.

Using tees instead of 90 degree elbows is a really good idea. Thanks for the tip!

How often do you inspect/clean your flue?

Berlin, based upon information from You and LsFarm, I feel I would be much better off using your stove design. Would you contact me concerning your plans?

Thanks again for all the help guys.

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Richard S.
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Location: NEPA

Post Sat. Nov. 04, 2006 2:44 pm

Berlin wrote: if you are interested in building your own stove I can draw you up plans from mine and email them to you.


That would be a nice second edition to the How-To forum. :)
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

- Albert Einstein

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LsFarm
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland
Location: Michigan

Post Sat. Nov. 04, 2006 4:00 pm

Hello, Mound, If the stove is designed right, and the chimney has a good draft, you could load the stove with Bitum without getting very much if any smoke, soot or smell in the room.

You would do like the airtight wood folks have to do. You open the draft control, and let extra air into the fire, this will increase the heat output and increase the flue temps. This increases the draft in the chimney.

Then [and only then] you slooowwly open the door and let the draft pull in the remaining fumes from the firebox. Once the door is open, then you can load the firebox.

A bituminous fire after it is burning looks and smells little different than an anthracite coal fire, it is only during the adding of fresh coal that the differences are really noticable and objectionable.

Bituminous when first added to a hot fire acts like it has been soaked in kerosene or used motor oil. Each lump of coal will have flames shooting out of it or off of it. These flames as described earlier are heavy yellow flames with thick oily soot. Look at Berlin's avatar. The other thing is that the flames are a large volume of hot sooty air. If the draft of the chimney can't keep up with the large increase in the volume of air in the firebox, it will get out the doors into the room.

You DON'T want this soot in the house, it is very hard to clean up!

So, the trick to loading Bituminous is to do it fast, and completely in one motion. Berlin told me he dumps a full 5 gallon pail of fresh coal on his fire at a time. Then closes the door and leaves it alone for an hour plus.

Both Anthracite and Bituminous coal gas-off flamable fumes when first added to a hot fire. There have been several posts on the forum about the sudden igniting of these fumes surprising and giving a scare to the forum members. Bituminous makes a lot more of these fumes and flamable smoke than an Anthracite fire. So caution is advised, a curious person can end up with singed [sp?] eybrows and hair!!

So virtually every time I burn a pure bitumnous coal fire I get a pretty good 'woof' from the boiler when the fumes light-off.

The trick to preventing the sudden burn is to have one end or corner of the firebox not covered by the fresh coal, it's open flame/hot coals will light off the fresh coal steadily instead of suddenly. Therefore less chance of the 'minor explosion'.

As Berlin mentioned all flue joints should have at least three screws and be sealed with high temp chimney sealant. Otherwise you will get soot leakage into the room.

Greg L

,Mound City = prehistoric indian mounds east of St Louis/ Cahokia??

,
Last edited by LsFarm on Sat. Nov. 04, 2006 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

ktm rider
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Posts: 321
Joined: Thu. Jan. 12, 2006 12:27 am
Stove/Furnace Make: AHS Multifuel
Stove/Furnace Model: CO 55 with oil backup
Location: Western Md.

Post Sat. Nov. 04, 2006 8:17 pm

I agee with what LsFarm says but I think the smoke coming out when loading has alot to do with the quality of the Bit. coal and the design of the boiler itself. We have good quality coal in my area ( for the most part) and when I get good coal and first load it on a hot fire I do get some smoke but very little, if any coming out the door. This might have to do with the flue size also. I have an 8" but first used 6" and I did get some smoke before changing to the 8".

I loaded mine this evening with a 5 Gallon bucket and then went out and looked at the top of the chimney and I didn't see any more smoke than I get with a pure wood fire. Once the coal gets burning good there is no smoke at all, just heat vapors.

Now, I have also had some crappy bit coal that smoked a yellow greenish smoke and continued to smoke through the whole burn cycle and it didn't burn worth a you know what. It depends alot on the quality.

AHS has a smoke flap that goes right inside the top of the door opening. I don't have it on mine though, it is an accessory. But, it will keep alot of that smoke from exiting out the door when it is open it.
Father, Farm owner, Bow Hunter, GNCC racer


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Jersey John
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS 1500
Coal Size/Type: Nut, Pea
Other Heating: Regency Wood Stove
Location: Oak Ridge, New Jersey
Contact:

Post Sat. Nov. 04, 2006 10:02 pm

Berlin wrote:your best bet is to build your own stove. nothing out there I've found is specifically designed for bituminous; so I built my own twice. don't worry about the "smouldering" stage of soft coal, this will happen whether the fire is burning slowly or when you have just refilled the stove, in which case it the gasses will ignite from time to time and, if the stove is not sealed well it will "puff" this is why you want to seal the stovepipe joints and use at least 3 screws per joint. you will also want to design your stovepipe connection so that it has T's instead of elbows for easy cleaning of the fluffy soot that will buildup with coal use. if you are interested in building your own stove I can draw you up plans from mine and email them to you, if you can weld decent it wont take more than 3-4 evenings to weld up a proven, well designed (imho) stove that isn't half bad looking either.


I just purchased Lincoln Electric MIG kit and would enjoy my hand at building a stove. Though I am not yet proficient with my welding abilities, I used and oxy acetline torch years ago, and enjoyed the process.

Would think that others would be inclined to trying a design of yours as well. Please do include some drawings and breakdown of materials when and if you post your instructions.

Mound City
Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri. Nov. 03, 2006 2:53 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Home Made
Coal Size/Type: Bituminous Stoker Coal
Location: Extreme Southern Illinois

Post Sun. Nov. 05, 2006 3:08 am

LsFarm wrote:If the stove is designed right, and the chimney has a good draft, you could load the stove with Bitum without getting very much if any smoke, soot or smell in the room.

You would do like the airtight wood folks have to do. You open the draft control, and let extra air into the fire, this will increase the heat output and increase the flue temps. This increases the draft in the chimney.

Then [and only then] you slooowwly open the door and let the draft pull in the remaining fumes from the firebox. Once the door is open, then you can load the firebox.


Hello Ls, I can load wood rather quickly and that does save me from excess smoke entering the room. How do you load a coal stove with a side door quickly? Best I can figure I would have to shovel the coal into the firebox and that would take some time. I can’t figure out how to dump a bucket of coal through a loading door that’s maybe 20 inches off the floor unless I give the bucket a good fling. Throwing a buck of water on a fire comes to mind. One thing’s for sure, that would spread the coal throughout the firebox. Am I missing something here on how to load a stove properly?

Mound City
Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri. Nov. 03, 2006 2:53 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Home Made
Coal Size/Type: Bituminous Stoker Coal
Location: Extreme Southern Illinois

Post Sun. Nov. 05, 2006 3:25 am

LsFarm wrote:Mound City = prehistoric indian mounds east of St Louis/ Cahokia??


Actually, it’s the name of the Illinois town where I currently live – I’m across the Ohio River from Paducah, KY. We do have Indian mounds. Several of my neighbors have them in their yards. Most are about 5-7 feet in height and have never been disturbed. Wickliffe, KY, which is about 15 miles from my house has many of them and is home to Wickliffe Mounds State Park and Museum.

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LsFarm
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland
Location: Michigan

Post Sun. Nov. 05, 2006 8:01 am

Hi Mound, I'll look up the city, I've been to an Illinois state park of Indian Mounds, but I don't remember which one. It was only about an hour from St.Louis though.

The trick to loading a bucket full of coal in through a side door is to get a coal bucket, They have an extended lip on one side, to act like a pouring lip. It looks like a big metal baseball cap turned upside down. The lip acts like a chute for the coal to slide down into the firebox.

If you build a version of Berlin's stove, he designed his for fast loading.

If or when you decide on an outdoor boiler, get in touch, that's what I designed and built. Take a look at the 'pictures of my stove' thread. There are a few photos of it there.

Greg L
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

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LsFarm
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Posts: 7385
Joined: Sun. Nov. 20, 2005 8:02 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland
Location: Michigan

Post Sun. Nov. 05, 2006 8:11 am

Here's a link to a coal loading bucket on ebay. A picture is worth a thousand words.
**Broken Link(s) Removed**greg L
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

Mound City
Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri. Nov. 03, 2006 2:53 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Home Made
Coal Size/Type: Bituminous Stoker Coal
Location: Extreme Southern Illinois

Post Mon. Nov. 06, 2006 3:11 am

Thank you Sir, I remember those hods from my childhood. I checked out your boiler pics. I like them. I appreciate your responses and I'll be checking back with you as I proceed with getting a stove ready.

Randy

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Berlin
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Posts: 1847
Joined: Thu. Feb. 09, 2006 1:25 pm
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal
Location: Buffalo/Adirondacks, NY

Post Sat. Nov. 11, 2006 1:46 pm

I got some time and drew up some quick plans for my stove, if you would like them please pm me and I can send them to your email, they are pdf files.
Burning western Pennsylvania Bituminous in WNY using model 77 stoker furnace. BITUMINOUS equiptment: 2 hand fired stoves of my own design, Many Combustioneer Model 77 stokers, stokermatic furnace, Many Will-Burt stokers, & and Two Iron firemen.


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