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Athens Wood Pellets intial review

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Fire It Up, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. 4124elad

    4124elad New Member

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    Well you still missed a wonderful oppurtunity by not imparting any real information or adding to the understanding of poor quality pellet fuel in your post.

    So I will.

    The picture in my previous post was of poor quality fuel that created more clinkers than was mananable. Those pellets shut the stove down overflowed the burn pot and created pellet bridges in the drop chute.

    The picture in this post shows a bag that I water tested and the pellets dissolved within two minutes. In the other bag is the complete by product of burning an entire 40 pound bag of the pellets.

    Just checked and the total ash content is exactly a quarter cup. It did not make any clinkers.

    MY COMPARISION IS DOES NOT INCLUDE ATHENS PELLET THOUGH. It was between Future Fuel II distributed by E.P.M. or
    Eureka Pellet Mills of Missoula, Montana. and Greene Team I purchased at Lowes.

    The Future Fuel II was of such poor quality it endangered the safety of myself, my expensive stove, and my home. E.P.M. even went so far as to include the line "MEETS OR EXCEEDS PREMIUM FUEL STANDARD" on the packaging. I consider this to be a case
    of outright fraud or extreme negligence.

    I just skimmed five different owners manuals for various pellet stoves. Did you know the use of poor quality fuel can void your warranty?

    What should the ramifications be for someone who produces poor quality fuel then labels it as Premium Quality?

    The distributor who is currently taking returns of the Athens poor quality fuel is doing what with said fuel? Returning it? Reselling it?

    Smokey how about taking a few minutes to do a test on your pellets and give us a review.

    Here is one way to do it: http://woodpelletsguide.com/home-based-checking-of-quality-pellets/

    Do that and I will concede that you are a ash expert.

    Actually that is a test everyone should do on every ton of pellets before you let them unload them. Or even better go pick out your tons and test them before they even get shipped to you.

    Some ziplock bags and a couple of bottles of water can save a lot of hassle.

    Even better maybe large suppliers like OHARA'S can take a few minutes and test one bag from each ton.

    Then staple the ziplock bag to the ton. Could save them a lot of hassle and make the 290 a ton they want for pellets more palatable.

    If the pellets look like pipe tobacco or worse after the water test then they are not premium and using them in any stove that requires premium is has many ramifications.

    Best of luck and Merry Christmas

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  2. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    I don't have to provide a long detailed explanation of how to test any pellets, my point wasn't to provide a means of determining if any particular brand was or was not premium.

    Just the fact that clinkers will form no matter what the grade of pellet if the ash isn't kept out of the burn pot. People who have a very active fire are going to have less of a clinker problem than those without an active fire, in fact they may never "see" any clinkers because they will:

    1. Be too small to be noticed.

    and

    2. They will have cleaned out the mess in their burn pot long before it can build up.

    Just to spell it out for everyone:

    Anything (yes that means burning true premium pellets instead of also rans) that keeps down the ash level in the burn pot will reduce the clinker problem.

    Oh BTW those clinkers look wimpy, I had one that weighed in at 8 oz. from my pellet stove, even then it paled in comparison to some of the coal produced ones from long ago. 10%+ ash does wondrous things.

    I do agree that mislabeling a product is fraud and that action should be taken (the only problem is that PFI standards aren't the same as the government blessing the standard). Based upon what I've heard even PFI enforcement isn't up and operating at this time.
  3. 4124elad

    4124elad New Member

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    Well Smokey once again you have completely wasted a great oppurtunity to help your fellow man and say anything of any importance.

    I did a search of Future Fuel II hearth.com and do you know what I came up with?

    This http://aolsearch.aol.com/aol/search?s_it=topsearchbox.search&query=future fuel II hearth.com

    The second link is to my post here at hearth.com this site comes up alot when people research something.


    All I am asking is to drop a handfull of your pellets in water and then report back on what you find. Who,what when, where and why. That will be usefull.

    Post some pictures if your capable.
  4. DAGME

    DAGME New Member

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    Lewiston, Maine
    Hello 4124elad,

    I may be out of line here, but there is no reason to be snarky or rude, as several of your comments have been. I've always found him/her to be cordial and informative.


    Maybe he can't do your test right now. Most of us check this site only for a few minutes an hour while we're doing something else.

    I'm going to return to lurking - I do not want to get into a flame war.
  5. hossthehermit

    hossthehermit Minister of Fire

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    Maine, ayuh, by gorry


    Maybe we should start a poll on where we think 4124 elad is from, since he doesn't say. Based on the attitude I'd guess he ain't from around here, ain't nobody around here got anywhere nere as many intelligents as him. Prob'ly we should all be quiet and listen in awe to his superior knowledge.
  6. gw2kpro

    gw2kpro New Member

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    Central Maine
    I was at a party once and saw a dude smoking something that looked about like the contents of that last bag pictured.

    Wonder what kind of clinkers that produced.
  7. gw2kpro

    gw2kpro New Member

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    "Actually that is a test everyone should do on every ton of pellets before you let them unload them. "

    I can see it now........ truck pulls up in the snow, driver gets out... "Sorry it took 2 months, where would you like your 3 tons of pellets?"

    Customer: "Just a minute, I need to get some water and some baggies. Can you hop up on your truck there and tear open a bag on each pallet and get me a couple of handfuls of each? Please don't mix them up.......I've got some tests I need to run on each ton before I want them unloaded."

    Driver: "Sure, no problem, why don't you go in the house there and get your water while I slip 'er into gear, here, no really, I'm not leaving, go on ahead and go back inside, I just forgot something back at the warehouse, be back real soon........."
  8. novah

    novah Member

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    Milton, NH
    I bought four tons of Athens in August. I finished my stove installation on Saturday and dumped a bag in the hopper. Being my first pellet stove, I didn't think they looked too bad. They weren't real dark like others had reported but the longer pellets were maybe 3/8 inch long and there were a lot of crumbles about 1/8 to 1/4 inch. After four hours of running and watching 1 to 3 pellets drop into the burn pot with every auger revolution, I shut it down.

    The next day, I removed the pellets and could see that the auger was filled with powder and crumbles. I vacuumed the auger and dumped in a bag of Somerset that I got when I bought the stove in May. They burned very nicely and the stove seems to be running like a champ. It is a top feed or drop feed design.

    Yesterday, I called the distributor and he wants me to bring a bag from each ton to his shop. If they are as bad as I said on the phone, he will replace them. He didn't say with what but I suspect they will be the new, improved Athens. At this point, I would prefer my money back but I don't expect that to be the case.
  9. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    hossthehermit,

    The pellets are already known to not be premium.

    But just to be a nice bruin and humor 4124 I put a few in a small glass of water.

    They dissolved in under ten minutes and it looks like the pellets were made of ground up or shredded trees, something else we already knew. The shreds look and smell like a mixture of several trees.

    Now so 4124 fully understands, when I say ground up or shredded trees, that means all parts of the tree.

    My father told me decades ago that I'd run into folks like 4124. I discovered over the years that indeed such folks exists (I had one for a boss once and I dealt with several others in large corporations. Frequently they would tell me that things couldn't be done that way or work that way) , the best method of dealing with them is to spoon feed them, it frustrates the he!! out of them.
  10. gw2kpro

    gw2kpro New Member

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    Central Maine
    Thanks Smokey! Now I guess you have done everything required to become an "ash expert".

    Also, when you say "ground up or shredded up trees", in your evaluation does that include leaves, beetles, nests and birds?

    I found a bird beak in some Future Fuel III pellets I got on sale at the mall, does this disqualify them from being premium pellets?

    More importantly, is my stove warranty void?
  11. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Oh by the way 4124 just because your post gets a decent SERP (maybe you should browse through the forums at Web Master World) doesn't mean it is because of your knowledge of any subject matter.

    You might want to try a search through Google instead of AOL and also leave out the hearth.com reference.
  12. 4124elad

    4124elad New Member

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    Well I read through every post here and have tried to post some solutions and direction.

    If Athens pellets are so bad then do something about it.

    Post some evidence that Athens pellets do not meet the specs. or stop slandering a bunch of hardworking people in the woods of our fair state of Maine.

    I have seen no evidence other than a bunch of words in reading the eleven pages so far.

    Posting some drivel about ash has got this thread off track. Maybe that was the point.

    Until last week I thought my stove would burn anything and anyone who had a problem with pellets generally had a problem with every encounter in life and keeps a shotgun near the door.

    Sorry maybe that was SNARKY.

    Point being is some people are taking our hard earned dollars and giving us less than we paid for.

    If your not willing to inconveince a truck driver for a few minutes for your safety then by all means just accept whatever crap they drop on your doorstep. Please do not complain later that the product is not up to par and is causing you problems. The driver will make you sign for your delivery.

    You accepted it without even checking the product out.

    I have rejected many truckloads of inferior products and never had a problem with the driver. Bring me a truckload of mangled up drywall and it is going back. No matter what I always give the driver a ten or twenty buck tip. My Father was a truck driver and taught me to never take them for granted.

    Damage my product while unloading it. It is on the return trip.

    Sell me less than I paid for then you will have me parked on my doorstep.

    If your more willing to jump on me instead of the topic then please feel free to continue.

    I am genuily concerned that the pellet mills in Maine will damage the brand of Maine so bad that I will not be able to purchase a product that meets certain standards.

    If you think you need to know more about myself. I live and own several properties in Rockland Maine. I have a camp on a lake in Rockport, Maine.

    But most importantly I proudly own several large well managed woodlots in Stockton Spring Maine that can very soon supply the local pellet mills with raw materiel. So I do have a dog in this fight.

    If the mills cannot get their act together soon then I wll just go into firewood and christmas trees.

    Once again if Athens pellets are so bad then please put up or shut up.

    I for one would like to have someone show me the evidence.

    It is pretty simple put some pellets in some water.

    If you cannot be bothered then stop slandering the good people of the State of Maine
  13. gw2kpro

    gw2kpro New Member

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    OK, I took a handful of athens pellets and put them in a cup of water for 10 minutes. The resulting picture is attached. Is this good or bad?

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  14. sydney1963

    sydney1963 New Member

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    You are so cute Liter, never pictured you as being green. Happy Holidays!!!
  15. pellet0708

    pellet0708 New Member

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    Maine
    I think we are past having to prove that the original Athens were inferior. the distributors are readily exchanging them, many dealers have stopped selling them, and the company has admitted to early problems, less than premium ingredients and problems with early processing.
    We returned our bags of crumbs but next year I am willing and even eager to try a few bags of the new product because I will do anything I can to help out a Maine company.
    Like someone stated earlier, it would be nice if they responded officially to this forum like the Penninton people did. Shows class and actually got me to purchase some Penningtons to try and they weren't too bad.
  16. 4124elad

    4124elad New Member

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    Well please enjoy yourselfs at the expense of others.

    It does occur to me that in the many months that this thread has been hanging around no moderator has ever chimed in.

    So this has been a free for all in slandering Athens Pellet mills investment.

    Thanks Craig
  17. sparkydog00

    sparkydog00 Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    N. Central Mass
    The pellets speak (slander) for themselves...as soon as you burn them.
    The Athens Pellet mills invesatment should have not sold the good people of the united States an inferior product. It is only recently htey admitted that they were using scrap wood. Proabably under duress.
  18. 4124elad

    4124elad New Member

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    Show me the proof. Quote your sources. The owner of this site is negligent in allowing you to post your unsubstantiated claims.

    Who, what when where and why. Basic reporting.

    Even though I have experienced and provided evidence of improper pellets no where in this thread on this site has anyone provided anything but a few slanderous words as evidence that Athens pellet mills are not selling what they proudly proclaim as Premium Pellets.

    Everyone of you who have posted to this thread are completly and totally nuts.

    I will now champion the Athens Pellet Mill cause.

    Without ever purchasing a single Athens Pellet Mill product I will without any information to go on say that every pellet they have ever produced was of some sort of premium product that will burn. Oops I meant to say that the Athens Products fully meet all standards and if you disagree PLEASE TELL ME WHY.

    If you cannot provide proof that Athens has, is, or will sell an inferior product. Then please keep it to yourself.

    Craig the sole reason I have not purchased any Athens products is becuase of the unsubstantiated rumors you have allowed to flood this free for all internet witch hunt of people who are not capable of flushing a toilet by themselves. It is apparent why they are having difficulties in running a pellet stove. I did not realize that until it was to late.

    Everyone with a second grade education and a computer is free to slander ATHENS WOOD PELLETS here at hearth.com.

    Athens has no legal responisbility to respond to slanderous comment supported by hearth .com . From their point of view it would be like having a conversation with the village idiot. Please give me that point as WalMart does sell computers.

    So if you feel the need to post to this thread please show some evidence that Athens is not selling a premium product.


    That is all I have to say about that.
  19. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Well Craig,

    Simple solution, sell your wood to a plant that does it right, or roll your own pellets and you won't have a problem.

    I'll give you one more clue what I got after dissolving the pellets didn't even come close to looking like a meal made of sawdust or heart wood.

    You do understand that different pipe tobacco products have different colorings (I smoked a pipe for many years), so in the case of the late July Athens I have the dissolved pellet material looks more like several pipe tobaccos than any meal product I've ever seen.

    Oh and one last bit of advice from some old timers. Pride goeth before a fall.

    Liter,

    I don't have access to the equipment needed to check the DNA of the fragments in the dissolved pellets, likely there would be insect and other matter. That in and of itself doesn't prevent the pellet from being premium.

    Happy Holidays
  20. ajwoodman

    ajwoodman Member

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    Me
    I do agree that Athens pellets are pretty bad but like it has been said before,give them a break and hope they get it together. They are a new company and it doesn't do them any good to slander them. I have enjoyed this forum but this has been a real slandering situation. Come on guys, if all you want to do is bicker back and forth, go someplace else and do it. It is really getting old and I do agree that there should be someone watching over this site and should be stopping this crap cause it isn't informative or fun to read. I know you will say, don't read it if you don't like it but the fact is that I enjoy this forum very much. I have learned alot and hope I have contributed a little. Come on guys, it's Christmas, CHILL!!
  21. tumbles

    tumbles Member

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    People are just informing others what these pellets are really like. Would you be telling people to stop telling people how good they are if the opposite were true. I can assure you the majority of us would be singing the praises if this were true. Poeple are just passing on the "truth" and their experiences. Like it or not, its the truth. The truth does hurt and this forum has worked because they "supposedly" changed their product. I too am from Maine and would have loved for them to do well. Maine needs the work and I want to employ Maine people. However, they have to provide a good product. So it's not a groan session but an information session. Like you said, if you don't like, don't read it. Don't put the blame on us, put it on the company who made the pellets (not the consumer). They made their bed, now they have to lay in it.
  22. gw2kpro

    gw2kpro New Member

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    Thanks Smokey. Was just having a bit of fun up here trying to be a little silly.

    The fact of the matter is, unlike some other poster's claims, putting the pellets in water and documenting the results proves nothing at all. I could claim that if you toss 2 kinds of pellets up in the air, the kind that lands first is an inferior product to the kind that lands second, but that wouldn't make it true.

    Without an independent study and published conclusions, the "water test" conclusion touted up here is nothing more then an individual's opinion based on their experience. It has no more validity than anyone else's opinion posted up here on the pellets, in fact it has less --

    I'll take the opinion of how a pellet burns in a stove any day over an evaluation of how a pellet floats in water, what color it is, how it flies through the air, or how it sounds pouring into a hopper.
  23. j00fek

    j00fek Feeling the Heat

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    now that you guys have had a spitting fest in this review thread, a mod would read it and close it... loosing the time lapse review, this would have been good to see the company's progress. next time please spit at each other through private messages and not in a review thread.
  24. pellet0708

    pellet0708 New Member

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    One of the reasons this evokes so much emotion is that most of us bought in such large quanities. These were not sold at the box stores where you could buy a few bags to try. The two places I bought from would only sell by the ton and that's all that was available. So you aren't stuck with a few boxes of cereal that you don't like. Your garage us full of junk and you have to spend and additional day moving it out.

    The second issue I have is that the early batches like I got in July were VISABLY inferrior. (I'm going to try to post a picture.) The entire bag us just crumbles of pellets with the largest being 1/4 inch long and most of those split apart. Most brands have a 1/2 a cup or so of these in the bottom of the bag. So everybody working on the processing line watched these go through get bagged and shipped out. That was not OK. Never having seen a pellet before in my life I knew they didn't look right. The crew at the plant knew what they were bagging and should have fixed it then.

    Not just this forum but the pressure put on them by suppliers and distributors will improve the product and I hope to try them again next year. This forum did not bring them down the product did. For those of you who have never burned them, you have to reason to post here. I found this thread imensly helpful. Without it I would not have known there were better pellets out there and would have thought my stove was the issue. Which it is not, since with different pellets it is burning beautifully.

    It is time for this thread to end but we do need some feedback about the new product when people have experience with it.
  25. DAGME

    DAGME New Member

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    I second "pellet0708's" thoughts. Being new to pellets, I've learned tons from this forum (and this thread), and have learned what to look for in pellets. I for one would like to see this thread continue in a more civil tone.

    These forums are about sharing experiences with pellets - and each user's experience is a piece of data that can be used to put together the bigger picture. It is good to know for us newbies trying Maine Woods Pellet that we were not crazy worrying about all the ash - and that we were not alone.

    Oh, and as for "evidence", check out this forum thread: http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/31336/. Sounds like someone heard about customer concerns and is taking steps to improve - the whole point of this thread! I'll certainly be keeping an eye out and give a second chance in a few years.

    BTW, slander is only the case when statements are patently untrue - sorry, but there is no way this thread even touches the definition of slander.

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