Godin Stove Coal Not "Settling"

Very popular in the 70's and 80's there is many brands of smaller hand fired coal stoves from many European countries. These can also date back to the turn of the last century. Imported stoves would include such brands as Franco Belge, Saey and Efel among many others.
djackman
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Post Thu. Jan. 24, 2008 11:49 pm

I recently setup a older Godin top loading "parlor stove" in the basement to add secondary heat to the house - Jotul wood stove upstairs is primary. I've been burning coal that a friend had leftover when he bought his house, I think it's the "nut" sized coal the stove is supposed to use. Chunks are about ping-pong ball sized on average some smaller some larger.

The problem is that after overnight when I shake it down there is a "dome" of ash build up under the still burning coal. On top of the grates are pieces of burned coal that haven't broken down into dust. It's like the coal is burning "up" and not settling down onto the ashes.

I've "solved" this problem by making a 4" round tamper to push the still burning coal down from the top and break up the ash dome so I can fully shake down the stove. But I don't think this is correct.

My stack temp (surface) runs ~150-200 with it damped down, runs up to 250-300 after a few minutes with the ash door open. I'm getting good 8-12 hour burn times on a load of coal.

After burning coal for only a week I think I might dump the wood stove next season. More _even_ heat, less work, less ashes.
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godin_2.jpg
3 years w/ wood stove -> 1 year w/ coal stove -> coal boiler installed 10/3/08.... it's evolution baby!


New York Bear
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Post Fri. Jan. 25, 2008 7:42 pm

That is an interesting looking stove, never seen one quite like it. Is it a good heater, how much coal does it use?

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LsFarm
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Post Fri. Jan. 25, 2008 8:19 pm

Hello djackman, welcome to the forum. Personally I wouldn't 'tamp down' the ashes, this will make them more solid and this will restrict airflow to the coal fire.

The mound of ashes left behind after shaking the grate is probably the result of the grate design.. If I remember correctly the grate is round and swivels back and forth... I'm not sure about this, but I looked at one of these stoves for someone, and I remember thinking that the shaking motion wasn't going to be very effective.

Not all coal pieces burn to a powder, some will stay hard and crunchy, and need to be ground up by the shaking action. Your type of grate design won't grind these pieces very much. You may need to make a stiff-wire poker to poke into the ashes from below. Accessing the bottom side of the grate through the ashpan door, and poking up through the grate openings. This usually dislodges the packed ashes and allows them to fall into the ash pan.

If you find the ashes getting deeper and can't shake them down, you may need to let the fire go out ocassionally, clean out the firepot, clean off the grate, and start a fresh fire.

Nice little stove, I hope you can get it sorted out.

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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CoalHeat
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Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert
Location: Stillwater, New Jersey

Post Fri. Jan. 25, 2008 9:17 pm

djackman wrote:
After burning coal for only a week I think I might dump the wood stove next season. More _even_ heat, less work, less ashes.


You've inadvertently stumbled upon the "secret" of coal burning. Happens to all of us woodburners if we are lucky!
Welcome.
Heating a circa 1832 farmhouse with a Harman Magnafire Mark I & a 1959 EFM 350 (heating DHW).
100% Oil Free!
"It's what we learn after we think we know it all that counts."

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Charlie Z
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Post Fri. Jan. 25, 2008 10:10 pm

They're neat stoves and my wife would like one for the kitchen. We're developing the coal burner compulsion to add to our first successful coal venture...

You might try pea (that does look like nut). Clinkers might be 'bridging' across the small chamber? Maybe try more vigorous and/or frequent shakes until you sort out what it wants.
"There's a time for thinking, and a time for action. And this, gentlemen, is no time for thinking!" - John Candy, "Canadian Bacon"

djackman
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Stove/Furnace Make: 1980 vintage Tarm
Stove/Furnace Model: FT22 (aka 202) installed!
Location: Long Island, NY

Post Sat. Jan. 26, 2008 1:25 am

Thanks for all the replies!

Lsfarm - yes, circular grate with a twisting action. Not the best design. The French are better known for things aside from coal stoves.... Not sure of age of stove but windows in door are mica/quartz not glass.

NYBear - burning about 1/2 a 5-gal bucket of coal a day, heating a 1200sq/ft split ranch. Areas on level above basement stay ~68-75, upstairs (over garage) stays ~60-65 if I don't run the wood stove. That's with outside temps in the mid 20's at night around freezing during the day. House is pretty well insulated.

Found the (only?) coal dealer on Long Island who carries bagged coal, going to pickup a bag of Reading Pea and see if it makes any difference with the ash dome forming.

One other thing - the stove has two ports in the back of the firebox, one behind the grate and one at the top of the stove. There is an adapter on the back of the stove for the pipe that looks like it can be installed with the pipe opening at either port. I've attached a pic as I got the stove. Not sure if it matter which end is up.
Attachments
godin_burn.jpg
godin_back.jpg
Which way should this thing go?
3 years w/ wood stove -> 1 year w/ coal stove -> coal boiler installed 10/3/08.... it's evolution baby!

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CoalHeat
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Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert
Location: Stillwater, New Jersey

Post Sat. Jan. 26, 2008 7:50 am

Interesting little bugger, I say go with pea size, it should work better. Where does the transmission next to the stove connect to it? :)
Heating a circa 1832 farmhouse with a Harman Magnafire Mark I & a 1959 EFM 350 (heating DHW).
100% Oil Free!
"It's what we learn after we think we know it all that counts."

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europachris
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Post Sat. Jan. 26, 2008 8:59 am

You've got that adaptor "thingie" the right way, from what I recall from seeing brochures and other Godin information. While the French are not my favorite people for various reasons, there are a few things they have done well with over the years - the Godin stove being one of them. Second is the Reneka Techno espresso machine, which while it costs about what a decent coal stove does, is a wonderfully designed appliance (and shares none of the quirky design of a Citroen).

Thelin makes a pellet stove, the Gnome, that looks very much like a Godin stove. Cute little thing, but it sure doesn't heat much. My uncle has one at his home in CT. I told him to ditch both his pellet stoves and put in coal furnace to supplement/replace his oil furnace. He has the perfect setup for it. Anyway, going off topic here......

Try the pea as was suggested, also. Maybe mix the two
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I love the smell of Illinois bituminous in the morning.
Have you hooked a clinker today?


djackman
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Stove/Furnace Make: 1980 vintage Tarm
Stove/Furnace Model: FT22 (aka 202) installed!
Location: Long Island, NY

Post Sun. Jan. 27, 2008 10:39 pm

Finally got good pics of what happens.

Shook it and not much came down, you can feel the lack of resistance on the shaker lever. Opened up the door/grate and pulled out two handfuls of burned but not crushed coals.... a few pokes up thru the cleanout grate frees up the "clog". Then you hear the burning coal trickle down for a minute or so. If you look from the top (fill opening) it's a nice big pile of white hot coal.

Will pickup some Pea this week and see what happens.
Attachments
godin_stuck_1.jpg
godin_stuck_2.jpg
3 years w/ wood stove -> 1 year w/ coal stove -> coal boiler installed 10/3/08.... it's evolution baby!

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CoalHeat
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Baseburners & Antiques: Sears Signal Oak 15 & Andes Kitchen Range
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert
Location: Stillwater, New Jersey

Post Mon. Jan. 28, 2008 9:02 am

europachris wrote: is a wonderfully designed appliance (and shares none of the quirky design of a Citroen).
Citroen08b.jpg
Heating a circa 1832 farmhouse with a Harman Magnafire Mark I & a 1959 EFM 350 (heating DHW).
100% Oil Free!
"It's what we learn after we think we know it all that counts."

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europachris
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Post Mon. Jan. 28, 2008 9:23 am

techno_g.jpg
Reneka Techno - Yeah, not nearly as weird looking......


No air suspension, either.....
Economic Stimulus = Supporting your local Miners
I love the smell of Illinois bituminous in the morning.
Have you hooked a clinker today?

lincolnmania
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Post Mon. Jan. 28, 2008 9:39 am

i know people here say not to poke a handfed fire, but we have the same problem with the kenmore stove........poke it lightly so the ash will drop to the shaker grates......you don't wanna go nuts with the poking and shaking, you need a layer of ash at the grates so you don't melt them with hot coals, it takes practice.....i'm a girly man for a reason, i'm not good at keeping the kenmore goin, that's skips job lol

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coaledsweat
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Post Mon. Jan. 28, 2008 10:18 am

You can poke around in the fire when it is good and hot. When cold it is not a good idea, you may kill it.
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coochy77
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Post Mon. Jan. 28, 2008 5:05 pm

Seems to me that your problem might be that your fire is entering the coal reserve on top of the firs box. It looks likethe combustian takes place in the lower part of the stove (firebox) and should not move up the cylinder to whre the fresh coal is waiting to fall into the fire. It might be that the top of the stove where you load your coal is missing a gasket and this may let air into the stove that lets it burn till the top. I never used a Godin, but it seems that the fire should only stay in the firebox and never move up the hopper. This would cause your inability to shake the stove and why the coal is not setteling into the firebox. It would also explain why you have a mass of burned coal in your stove. You need to shake the stove more often so that the coal moves down into the fire and not burn in the hopper .
Larry

godinfan
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Post Mon. Jan. 28, 2008 9:15 pm

This is my first posting here so bear with me. I just happened to stumble upon this forum. Anyway, I am a big Godin fan. I have two Godin stoves (Grand Round and Petit Round) and I would not trade them for anything else. They are the absolute easiest coal stoves to light and the simplest to keep going. Even when I was sure that the fire was going out I've been able to revive the little bit of life that was left in those coals. Truly amazing stoves. Friends that come to my house always admire them and are jealous!

A little bit of history about how I came across my stove. I bought this house in the mountains and the stove was already there. I thought to myself, what a bizarre looking wood stove, plus what the heck is that little round movable grate at the bottom for? Searched on the net and the only sites I found a few years ago were all in French. Anyway, I do know just enough French to figure out that it was a coal stove and not a wood stove. So, about this stove, it was literally in brand new condition. I think the previous owners tried to light it once and gave up. I have to admit, the first time I tried it was a miserable failure too and I was seriously thinking about pulling it out and replacing it with a "normal" wood stove but I persisted and tried a few more times. I quickly got the hang of it and now I can have a nice fire going within minutes and coals go in just 10-15 minutes later. No fuss, no muss! Absolutely wonderful stoves! Since then I've bought a second one (Petit) but have not hoked it up yet pending the completion of my addition but I can't wait to fire up that little puppy.

About your problem. You are doing absolutely everything right. Keep on using nut coal. It's the right size coal for that stove. I have the same problem about the coals not falling on the grate. No big deal. At first I used a poker to just give it a light poke from the top and the coals would fall down. I found out that it's not needed. Now I just let them fall down by themselves. They will come down. Just give it time. Once in a long while I still do use my poker, but I find that I very rarely need to use it. Just feed coals, shake the grate, empty the ash bin. Doesn't get any easier than that! Never had any problems with shaker or anything else. These stoves are as simple as they get and put out wonderful heat.

The reason I came across this forum is because I was googling for Godin sites here in the US. Still cannot find any. Blows me away how such a great stove can remain such a secret. Anyway, if anybody knows of any place that sells parts for these stoves I sure would like to know. I don't need any parts at this time (5 years of trouble free operation) but I figure that someday I might need a new mica window or ??? so it's good to know ahead of time before the need arises.


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