How long can I keep it burning? Kitchen/laundry stove

Redbopeep
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Baseburners & Antiques: Antique Shipmate 134 Marine coal and wood
Coal Size/Type: nut size

Post By: Redbopeep » Sun. Dec. 10, 2017 3:34 pm

OK, my Shipmate antique galley stove is a kitchen stove with a relatively shallow and small firebox because it was meant to burn wood or coal either one. When I'm burning wood, I can keep the stove going for days on end. When I'm burning blacksmithing coal it's the same. But with the nut size anthracite I get a wonderful fire for between 2 and 8 hours and then those lovely red coals seem to become a solid mush of red...with no air for the rest of the coal above to light and continue burning. If I leave it be, that solid mush of red becomes ash eventually -- it does burn but it just kills the fire as it dies down. Variations on a theme -- the shaker (note, my stove doesn't have a shaker but really just the handle where you can jiggle the grate back and forth to shake out the ash--maybe that's what everyone has, I don't know...) the shaker doesn't suffice to break this up -- it will make some cracks in the mass but not big enough or it will allow large chunks of coal down into the ash area wasting lots of good coal. I've used my shovel in various ways to pile coal (leaving some holes that go all the way through to the ash box, I've made clear paths to air in the front of the firebox (thru to ashpan) I've poked holes with a wires from below (and above) and generally I've also just let is sit and see what it will do. Messing with it seems to end the fire sooner rather than later. Feeding coal into the top of the firebox doesn't help it just sits there once a certain amount of burning down below has happened. Letting it sit just means it's going to go out.

What is the proper way to keep a fire going indefinitely in a kitchen stove? Thanks!
Last edited by Redbopeep on Sun. Dec. 10, 2017 3:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.


Redbopeep
Member
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed. Oct. 04, 2017 5:47 pm
Baseburners & Antiques: Antique Shipmate 134 Marine coal and wood
Coal Size/Type: nut size

Post By: Redbopeep » Sun. Dec. 10, 2017 3:36 pm

The reason this is a concern is because I am used to being able to get consistent heat from this stove for cooking, baking, and heating. Now it's not working out with the anthracite the same as blacksmithing coal (nut on the former, variable pea-sized on the later) and I do not get it. We also need the heat!

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Sunny Boy
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Posts: 15733
Joined: Mon. Nov. 11, 2013 1:40 pm
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Anthracite Industrial, domestic hot water heater
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood range 208, # 6 base heater, 2 Modern Oak 118.
Coal Size/Type: Nuts !
Other Heating: Oil &electric plenum furnace
Location: Central NY

Post By: Sunny Boy » Sun. Dec. 10, 2017 5:17 pm

The nut should breath better and let ash fall through better.

A very common problem with combo stoves is in their design coal use is an after-thought to sell more stoves. But few manufactures bother to find out what the old time stove makers did to make a good combo stove, so they build a wood stove and tack on the word "coal" only in their advertising.

You may be getting clinker build up, or simply, those grates are not good at coal ash clearing. In which case you'll need to do more to help clear ash. And you might be getting clinker formation, that red hot mass where the coal seems to stick together when it's run too hot.

Don't run the fire that the firebed turns into one big bright orange mass.

And try busting up those ash clumps in the bottom of the firebed from underneath, so that the ash can drop into the ash pan and fresh coal can be added on top.

Have you tried using a right-angle tipped poker up through the gaps in the grates to help agitate and drop more ash ? Many coal stoves came with one like the lower one in this the picture.

Paul
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Redbopeep
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Posts: 30
Joined: Wed. Oct. 04, 2017 5:47 pm
Baseburners & Antiques: Antique Shipmate 134 Marine coal and wood
Coal Size/Type: nut size

Post By: Redbopeep » Sun. Dec. 10, 2017 6:16 pm

I will try to find a right-angle tipped poker. Don't have one, nope.

What exactly are clinkers? as I try to restart the fire I see partly burned coal -- which isn't necessarily burning with the new fire -- and I wonder if that is clinkers or not. I thought clinkers were rocks or other matter that did not burn -- not something I can create all on my own by making the fire too hot! The red coals that are pretty solid with no air between seem to eventually all turn to ash dust if I just leave the fire alone.

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Sunny Boy
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Posts: 15733
Joined: Mon. Nov. 11, 2013 1:40 pm
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Anthracite Industrial, domestic hot water heater
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood range 208, # 6 base heater, 2 Modern Oak 118.
Coal Size/Type: Nuts !
Other Heating: Oil &electric plenum furnace
Location: Central NY

Post By: Sunny Boy » Sun. Dec. 10, 2017 8:33 pm

You can get pokers like them off eBay. That's were I've gotten several including the one at the bottom of that picture.

Or, it's easy to make one. Just bend up some 1/4 inch rod from the hardware store. Then heat, bend, and flatten the end. Then file it to a point.

Clinkers are coal ash that have fused together because of excessively high heat. Depending on the natural content, some types of coal are more prone to clinker than others.

There's a point at which clinkers are still "crumbly" and coal grates can grind/break them up to drop through onto the ash pan. But, if they sit exposed to high heat in the bottom of the firebed too long they grow firmer and become too hard for even the best coal egrates to break up. Then after a few days the bottom of the firebed fills up with those hard clinkers and there's less and less space for fresh coal that can burn. Then the heat output of the stove slowly drops off as the clinkers take up more space.

Paul

Redbopeep
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Posts: 30
Joined: Wed. Oct. 04, 2017 5:47 pm
Baseburners & Antiques: Antique Shipmate 134 Marine coal and wood
Coal Size/Type: nut size

Post By: Redbopeep » Mon. Dec. 11, 2017 12:04 am

It doesn't sound like we have clinkers. Our ash just isn't dropping down and clearing. After the box cools I can rake through the ash and it drops. I'll make or buy the right angle poker.

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Sunny Boy
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Posts: 15733
Joined: Mon. Nov. 11, 2013 1:40 pm
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Anthracite Industrial, domestic hot water heater
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood range 208, # 6 base heater, 2 Modern Oak 118.
Coal Size/Type: Nuts !
Other Heating: Oil &electric plenum furnace
Location: Central NY

Post By: Sunny Boy » Mon. Dec. 11, 2017 3:12 pm

Hopefully it's just ash buildup. Learning when, and how much, to clear ash is one of the most common problems for newbies with coal. If you put a layer of fresh coal on top of the firebed a couple of minutes before starting to shake ash the added weight helps push the ash down through the grates while shaking them.

For a range firebox learn to do the tending in three steps.
1. Open dampers for a couple of minutes to get the fire going strong.
2. Add a layer of fresh coal all over the firebed that you can still see a lot of glowing firebed through. NEVER bury the firebed in fresh coal or you could get an explosive puff-back.
3. When that layer of coal has stopped popping and it's burning well, then shake & rake the ashes.

When you do shake the ashes, keep going until you see small embers starting to drop into the ash pan and there's a dull orange glow in the pan. If there's dark areas in the pan - happens most commonly at the corners where it doesn't clear ash as well - then scratch and rake up through the grates with poker until you start to see some glow there, too.

Then, when you've cleared ash, top off the firebox with more coal if need be. Coal burns best with as deep a firebed as possible. Keep the firebed deep right up to the top of the firebox sides.

With the small fireboxes that ranges typically have, you'll need to tend it much more often if you run it near maximum heat. Or, damper it down to extend the tending intervals.

Basically, the more heat you want out of it, the sooner you'll have to refuel and shake ash.

Let us know how it turns out.

BTW, we love pictures of stoves. If you can, please post some of your Shipmate setup. Coal stoves on boats is a very rare topic here and I'm sure there are members who would find it very interesting to see the compact setups used in boat galleys. ;)

Paul

Redbopeep
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Posts: 30
Joined: Wed. Oct. 04, 2017 5:47 pm
Baseburners & Antiques: Antique Shipmate 134 Marine coal and wood
Coal Size/Type: nut size

Post By: Redbopeep » Tue. Dec. 12, 2017 11:30 pm

Well with Sunny Boy's tutorial, I'm now into 34 hours of continuous burn. That is more like what I'm used to with wood or (non-anthracite ) blacsmithing coal I've used before.

Changes I made-
I'm shaking the grate more frequently (every 4 hrs or so when I add coal).

I am more vigorously shaking the grate to get much more ash thru.

I am more aggressive with my poker (up from the ash tray).

Thanks for the help. I got quite a bit of baking done today but realize the next time the fire is out that I should vacuum clean the cavity between the oven and exterior of stove since there is a lot of soot there from my wood burning days and that soot is probably insulating the stove preventing the oven from getting as hot as it otherwise would.


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Sunny Boy
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Posts: 15733
Joined: Mon. Nov. 11, 2013 1:40 pm
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Anthracite Industrial, domestic hot water heater
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood range 208, # 6 base heater, 2 Modern Oak 118.
Coal Size/Type: Nuts !
Other Heating: Oil &electric plenum furnace
Location: Central NY

Post By: Sunny Boy » Wed. Dec. 13, 2017 9:24 am

Your welcome. Thanks for reporting back that it's working for you.

With anthracite, the stove's flues won't need cleaning as often as they will with wood. But, some fly ash will settle in there and need cleaning out maybe two or three times a winter. It's not as bad as creosote in that it doesn't cost everywhere in an even thickness. It mostly drops out of the exhaust stream and lays on horizontal surfaces when the exhaust is going slower through the flues.

Anthracite fly ash is more like common dust - much easier to brush it loose for the vacuum cleaner to easily pickup where it drops to.

Paul

Redbopeep
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Posts: 30
Joined: Wed. Oct. 04, 2017 5:47 pm
Baseburners & Antiques: Antique Shipmate 134 Marine coal and wood
Coal Size/Type: nut size

Post By: Redbopeep » Fri. Dec. 15, 2017 12:39 am

Well 2 more days burn going fine. That's like around 8o+ hrs and still good. I'm now loading a bit of coal every 4 hours. Just cleared out the ash tray this morning.

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Sunny Boy
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Posts: 15733
Joined: Mon. Nov. 11, 2013 1:40 pm
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Anthracite Industrial, domestic hot water heater
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood range 208, # 6 base heater, 2 Modern Oak 118.
Coal Size/Type: Nuts !
Other Heating: Oil &electric plenum furnace
Location: Central NY

Post By: Sunny Boy » Fri. Dec. 15, 2017 8:00 am

Good - keep doing that and you'll be a member of the "one match club". :D

Paul

Redbopeep
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Posts: 30
Joined: Wed. Oct. 04, 2017 5:47 pm
Baseburners & Antiques: Antique Shipmate 134 Marine coal and wood
Coal Size/Type: nut size

Post By: Redbopeep » Fri. Dec. 15, 2017 5:27 pm

Fingers crossed about the "one match club" :) However, one of my firebricks just shifted and is now leaning in away from oven towards the coal (and has a couple bits of coal behind/between it and oven. That means I may have to let the fire go out sooner rather than later to deal with the firebrick. I suppose I could let the fire die down but not go out and then pull the brick and keep it out. I'm considering removing that brick anyway because I need a half-thickness one there to enable more heat transfer to the oven along that side... I digress. I made the firebricks from a refractory cement several years ago because I couldn't get ones that were the right size. Too thick.

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Sunny Boy
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Posts: 15733
Joined: Mon. Nov. 11, 2013 1:40 pm
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Anthracite Industrial, domestic hot water heater
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood range 208, # 6 base heater, 2 Modern Oak 118.
Coal Size/Type: Nuts !
Other Heating: Oil &electric plenum furnace
Location: Central NY

Post By: Sunny Boy » Fri. Dec. 15, 2017 7:03 pm

Usually the outward pressure of the coal in the firebed keeps bricks in place. Can you push the brick back the firebed hold it until warmer weather ?

Paul

Redbopeep
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Posts: 30
Joined: Wed. Oct. 04, 2017 5:47 pm
Baseburners & Antiques: Antique Shipmate 134 Marine coal and wood
Coal Size/Type: nut size

Post By: Redbopeep » Sun. Dec. 17, 2017 2:59 pm

Paul, the firebrick managed to shift because the little holder that presses down on top of it was loose and (recall this is a boat!) we were moving around a bit. It got a chunk of coal lodged behind it and with each move/shift the coal got further down pressing the firebrick away from the oven wall and tipping over the coal.

We have a set of welders gloves aboard so I let the fire bed get shallow (about 3" deep) and then pulled the brick out yesterday morning. I just stored it in the base of the oven and will wait until the stove goes out to put it back. Or, I'll leave it out for a while as I want a thinner brick there anyway.

So now at 6 days and learning how to manage the heat pretty effectively. 😊

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Sunny Boy
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Posts: 15733
Joined: Mon. Nov. 11, 2013 1:40 pm
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Anthracite Industrial, domestic hot water heater
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood range 208, # 6 base heater, 2 Modern Oak 118.
Coal Size/Type: Nuts !
Other Heating: Oil &electric plenum furnace
Location: Central NY

Post By: Sunny Boy » Sun. Dec. 17, 2017 5:24 pm

Not a good idea to leave a firebrick out of a range firebox with coal. It can get localized heat stress and crack the firebox wall with that brick out. The thicker cast iron curved firepots of heating stoves can survive with no liner, but the thin flat walls of range fireboxes are never recommended to use coal without a firebrick liner.

Can you let the firebed level drop again and shovel the remaining coal out of the way to other parts of the firebox so you can slip that brick back into place ?

Paul


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