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  1. Cross Cut Saw

    Cross Cut Saw Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2012
    Messages:
    404
    Loc:
    Boulder, CO
    How deep do you usually keep your coal bed?

    When we're doing nice long burns that can be allowed to die down without freezing the house we usually end up with a decent amount of coals, I'd say the average is just over enough to cover the bottom of the stove, maybe 1" deep, if more we usually burn them down to that amount.

    We've been having to load more often and at higher temperatures to keep up with these bitter temperatures so even after letting them burn down for 1/2 an hour or so the coal bed has been about 4" deep. Our stove box is very big so I haven't really had to put less wood in than normal, it just gets a little closer to the top.

    To be honest it's kinda nice how quickly that many coals light the fire, I know my wife is having a lot more success, she's been running this thing like a rock star while I'm at work.

    Anyway, just curious...

    Stay warm!>>

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  2. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Messages:
    2,238
    Loc:
    Soutwest VA
    Well i woke up this morning stove room 75 and i had a 2 inch deep coal bed next load lite off good.
  3. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2011
    Messages:
    462
    Loc:
    SE CT
    There is a lot of heat in those coals just let them be there. Even if you are putting in a bit less wood you are still getting the heat from the coals. I keep a half cord in the basement and when I grab an arm full to bring upstairs the moisture meter is in my pocket and nothing comes upstairs that does not read below 17% by the time i use it it is between 9 and 12 so burns nicely and the moisture is in the house not the basement or wood stove.
  4. Excavator

    Excavator Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    234
    Loc:
    Central NJ
    agreed ;)
  5. joescho

    joescho Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Messages:
    363
    Loc:
    Northeastern PA
    I was just looking at that this morning. I've got a lot of ashes and coals. I really need to clean it out as its getting pretty deep. Its just too cold right now to not have a fire going. I think my area may get into the mid 20's over the weekend. Maybe I can sneak a little then. The only bad part is I know most of those ashes and coals will still be hot so I'm going to have to figure something out.
  6. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2011
    Messages:
    462
    Loc:
    SE CT
    Repeating someone else's suggestion get a cheap ash shovel and drill a bunch of 1/4 inch holes in to make a sieve of sorts. Then move all the coals to one side shovel the ash the move them to the side you shoveled and get the ashes out there. My coal bed so deep and hot this morning when I used a cheap shovel to move them around to put a couple of splits on they burned the paint off the shovel instantly..LOL So if anyone is doubting the heating value they come over and see the smoking shovel I threw outside.
    lopiliberty likes this.
  7. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,708
    Loc:
    SE MI
    I pull all the coals to the front and open up the air. I can easily get the stove back up over 500°. I can have a huge amount of coals, though. My stove is really wide and burns from the middle out. If that ain't enough, I'll put a small split on top to make more heat while it burns down.
  8. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    15,452
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    1-2 inches.
    Cross Cut Saw likes this.
  9. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,443
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    Pull the coals up front. Throw on some bark or thin splits. Open the air up.

    It takes a bit more attention, but you will burn them down, extract more heat etc. I do it all the time.
  10. Cross Cut Saw

    Cross Cut Saw Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2012
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    404
    Loc:
    Boulder, CO
    I have the ash pan installed on my PH so getting the ashes out is no problem, I just shovel the coals back and forth and then stack them in the front to burn down a little. When it's this cold out I'm reloading at 400::F so I know I'm not at the end of a burn cycle and I'll have more coals. My wood is in the upper teens and low 20's on the MM as well so that contributes to it...

    I don't have too many really, just wondering what most people have when they reload.
  11. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Messages:
    7,227
    Loc:
    N.E. Penna
    I did that to one and never had much luck with it. I believe I used 1/2 in holes and I still couldn't get the ash to come through any better than filling the regular shovel, and shaking it a bit to get the coals to fall off somewhere else in the stove
  12. NortheastAl

    NortheastAl Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2012
    Messages:
    676
    Loc:
    Putnam, NY
    Trilifter7 and pen like this.
  13. tlc1976

    tlc1976 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    Messages:
    68
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Exactly what I did years ago, and with same results with the larger holes. Was still easier to just work the regular shovel.
  14. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    3,829
    Loc:
    Michigan
    How exactly are you doing this? You split ever piece of wood you bring up and check M/C before burning it? It sounds like you're checking surface moisture which means little to nothing.
  15. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,443
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    Holy smokes that's a lot of work! Resplitting and testing everything!

    LOL, I've never used a moisture meter once in all my years burning. Of course I don't even have a thermometer on my stove, either.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  16. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    I have no problem with having 4" of coals in the stove. As ddahlgren stated, there is lots of heat on those coals and they will help get the new load burning quickly.

    As for separating coals and ashes I've just never understood the situation and never had a problem. Simply using the poker we can move the coals where we want them then scoop out the ashes. Sometimes it seems folks make an easy job to be work.
  17. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2011
    Messages:
    462
    Loc:
    SE CT
    I found that in my first month of burning wood I was way too worried about ashes and filling the ash can too much.I pretty much ignore the ash until it gets to be a bit much though found coals burn down to almost nothing if you keep a fire on top of them. Now two hours before bed I burn fairly hot and fast to make a big coal bed reload a let the stove settle in and then go to bed. With only a 1.3 cu.ft. fire box that is hard to fill I never get an overnight burn and consider Avalon's claim of up to 8 hours to be fantasy. I hope for a good bed of coals and have some small splits ready to put on the coals as soon as I get up.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  18. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    Jan 5, 2010
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    2,082
    Loc:
    Richmond, VA
  19. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Jan 12, 2012
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    1,926
    Loc:
    southern ontario
    I remove ash whenever I want, just before reloading. Insert the shovel right inside the doorpush the front end against the bottom of the stove, and push straight in until coals have stopped tumbling offf the top of the shovel, and only ash is. Carefully extract shovel, slowly lower into ash pan, remove and repeat. I can get essentially all the ash out of the stove with almost no coals, and certainly none that are of any size. If one as big as an inch falls into the bucket, I pick it up with the edge of the shovel and put it back in the stove. Easy peasy.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  20. DuckDog

    DuckDog Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    Messages:
    142
    Loc:
    Eastern Ontario
    Now that we are seeing some real cold days and nights I start my fight with coals.
    On days that I work from the office I am away from 05:30-20:00. My problem is that I need to load the stove full at night and full in the morning. Night is 21:30 and morning is 05:00. This is only a 7.5 hour cycle (flue temp 400+). With a full load I need 10+ hours to cycle (flue temp 250-300). I am always loading new wood onto 4" of coals. Starts good but reduces amount of wood I put in and builds up an ungodly mess of hard clumpy ash and coals. My wife is home at 17:00 and usually throws a couple splits in to keep things going until I get home. Then the cycle starts again. In conditions like this, at least twice a week I remove 1-1.5 gallons of hot coals, clumped ash and ash. It is the only way I can maintain some sort of order in the stove. Hate to waste unused btu's but whatever.
  21. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    3,829
    Loc:
    Michigan
    I use the poker and move the coals to one side or push them all to the back of the stove, take the needed amount of ash out, move them back over to the clear side and repeat. It's always been a pretty easy process.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  22. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2011
    Messages:
    462
    Loc:
    SE CT
    Your post got me thinking. i now see the sense in a soapstone stove or any with a large thermal mass. I have a radient heat floor in the shop that is som much grater in thermal mass that any stove. The floor is about 32 tons and if the furnace goes out for 2 days I might lose 4 degrees but on relight it might run for 10 hours to catch up and for me that is a 36 buck hit. if it does not runs about 1 hour to 2 hours a day so 3.5 to 7 bucks a day depending on outside temps. Sometimes not at all!
  23. ohlongarm

    ohlongarm Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    Messages:
    723
    Loc:
    Northeastern Ohio
    My coal bed this morning 5am ,burning osage orange and a little locust was about 4 inches deep,hedge will create large lumps of coal,my house after below zero wind chills was a comfortable72*.Now 12 hours later I burned off this coal bed by playing around raking them forward and putting small splits on top,giving the air full throttle.Talk about a blast furnace I kept my house at 75*plus for 12 hours burning off the bed.Now I'm ready to re-load on a 1 inch bed for the next 12 hour burn. The only reason I was able to do this today is because I had to stay around the house and wait for a repairman.Still 12 hours of too much heat on a coal bed and about 6 little splits.
    Cross Cut Saw likes this.
  24. wkpoor

    wkpoor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,854
    Loc:
    Amanda, OH
    I only pull out about 2 shovels full every 5 -6 days. The first 12" of the fire box is always pure ash and the coals remain in the rear. I have a kiddie garden hoe I use to rake them forward to make room for the next load. By the time that load has burnt down what I raked forward is pure ash again. very easy cycle to deal with. Once a month I bump the covered ash can in the field.
  25. Fins59

    Fins59 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2009
    Messages:
    75
    Loc:
    Wisconsin - Wausau area
    I guess this info is only for stoves with grates. Over the years I have had my share of burned out, twisted grates. A few years ago I showed one to a friend and he said that's caused by leaving too many (too deep?) hot ashes in stove. He said his Dad (old timer farmer) told him this years ago.

    So since then I have been minding my ashes. I empty the drawer every day. Grates are looking fine. I have 3 grates in my Johnson Wood Burner and they cost $104 EACH, so I ain't takin any chances:)

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