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Different types of coals/ash from burning different woods?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by gman1001, Jan 9, 2006.

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  1. gman1001

    gman1001 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Messages:
    61
    Loc:
    Sales
    Howdy,

    New to this forum and to wood stoves. Needless to say I love it.

    1st 1/2 of winter I burned mostly seasoned ash and very dead red oak. Smaller sized splits from standing dead stock on my land.

    The ashes produced from this mix were very fine and I would not have to empty stove very often at all.

    NOW

    I burn seasoned suger maple, larger splits. The stuff burns HOT, big difference to the stuff I was burning before - but I am left with very large 1/2 dollar sized coals that really dont break down into ash. After a day or two I have to empty the stove.

    Maybe I'm reloading the stove to quick? Not sure.

    Can anyone impart thier knowledge upon me.... My Jotul 3TD is small, so a huge buildup of coals makes using the thing a real mess.

    Tx!

    G-

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  2. Willhound

    Willhound Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Messages:
    441
    Loc:
    Northern Ontario, Canada
    Different woods do definately have different coal/ash characteristics. I run into the same thing when burning birch versus pine.
    I think it is to do with the density and cellular make-up/structure of the wood.
    Perhaps dryness/seasoning too.
    I've seen charts that show btu value of various wood, don't know that I've seen one that shows what ashes are left over.
  3. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    824
    I don't know about the types of wood but do know the front of my stove is fine ash powder from getting air from the airwash, while the back is where I find my glowing embers and coals as it doesn't burn as fast or hot being so far away from where my air comes in.

    Here's a tip. When you reload, scoop out all the ash in the very front only, which should only be fine powder ash and put them in your ash can. Then, scrape everything to the front that's still in there so the back is bare stone, metal, firebrick what have you. The glowing embers really like being in the front with a fresh supply of oxygen blowing over them from the air wash and start to burn and glow real hot. I reload, crack the door open, and the fire starts in the front and works its way back. When you go to reload, you'll find that your previous large pile of coals, glowing embers, and ash, is now only a small pile of fine powdered ash and you've burned and utilized everything from the previous fire. Scoop out the front, move everything forward, and repeat.

    There are a few benefits of doing it:
    One: You burn any unburned wood/coals getting you a bit more btu's
    Two: You're keeping your unit constantly clean and transferring more heat since ash is an insulator
    Three: Powdered ash takes less room, you need to empty your can less often
    Four: Spreading all your embers all over the place and then loading on top of them is bad. Instead of focusing your heat, you're spreading it all around so all your new wood starts to smoke like crazy for longer periods of time, which is lost heat and more creosote. Pushing everything to the front instead & then loading all your heat is focused, and the hot embers getting air from the air wash get superheated. Instead of all your logs taking a while and blowing out a lot of smoke before they ignite, you're only dealing now with only the ends of the logs or one end piece of wood that's smoking. You get less smoke, quicker ignition, more heat, and less creosote.

    If you load your wood side/side it helps to pile your coals & embers into two seperate piles in the front instead of one continous. The opening between the piles lets the air from the airwash blow through the opening and helps the fire spread through your unit. You don't need to make the two piles if you load front/back as the spaces between the wood do the same.
  4. Herb

    Herb New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2005
    Messages:
    13
    I've found that the wood burns more thoroughly when there is just a bit of secondary air coming to it, as opposed to fully closed for an overnight burn. The fully closed stove leaves more unburned coals.

    I like the idea about pulling the hot coals forward, instead of spreading them around. It makes sense that they're hotter, and the wood will ignite faster. You learn something new.......
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