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How full do you load?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Kevin Dolan, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. Kevin Dolan

    Kevin Dolan Burning Hunk

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    I have a jotul 400 and was wondering how people with similar smaller fire boxes load their stoves for a long burn?
    I have played a little with loading n/s with smaller pieces but usually load e/w with 16 inch splits. My fires are usually 3 five inch splits but want to try to fill up the box for longer burn. I do have seasoned wood, less than 20% moisture and looking for others experiences in loading up.
    Thanks for any input,
    Kevin

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  2. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    Rake your coals forward method is thought to give you a longer burn. As you let your coals burn down so that you only have enough coals that when you rake the coals forward towards the front dog house air just under the front door (if your stove is like that) , just enough so only the front half of the stove has coals about 2 " deep or so. This leaves the back half of the stove with no coals so you can load a big chink of wood back there in the back with no hot coals under it. Then keep loading on top of it and load the rest of the stove. Try and leave space up front to put a small pile of kindling that will burn hot and fast on those hot coals. This gets the stove quickly up to temps so you can quickly get the stove air shut back down for a long burn. Messing around for a long time waiting for temps to rise in the stove seems to burn up wood you could be using for the all night burn. I like to use good dry white oak to make kindling as it seems that when small 1" thick pieces are laid on those hot coals white oak burns so hot it quickly gets temps up compared to lesser wood types. Lastly once that kindling pile has burned down and stove temps are good and hot I have been known to open the door and put a another big spit where the kindling once was.

    There are other ways to do it this is just one.


    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/rake-coals-forward-and-stove-start-up-pictures.80659/
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  3. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I fill my stove to the top, I have with all my stoves. You just don't want to be laying wood on the glass, although it likely will fall forward as it burns down. You also don't want to push up on the baffle. The Castine really isn't designed for N/S loading, by design, you will do much better with E/W. So fill er up!::-)
  4. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Kevin if you can do it put a large round in the back and then put the rest on top of and in front of it. That is loading East West ! The large round will burn the longest and give you more burn time and heat life. We used to have a smaller stove and would put a big chunk of wood in the rear then cover it completely with normal splits at the same time putting smaller pieces in all the voids. We would fill that thing to the grills and it would get us to about 4:30 am from a 10pm loading with coals left over. You definatly want to rake the coal forward as Huntdog said as well.

    Pete
  5. NSDave

    NSDave Member

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    I have to say that I was searching this very thing last night; as well as looking for the post Huntingdog1 reposted. I've been building bigger fires and watching as I have time; and I can see when the fire settles down at a certain air setting and the temps..

    If I'm jumping in here I apologize;

    Even though I know everyone here does this; I'm concerned that a much fuller load would overfire; ( Newb )
    Am I right in thinking that I should pack tight after racking the coals forward? I've been starting top down with 3 smaller uglies ns and then 2 e/w splits on top, but I've got room for 2 or 3 more pieces easily
  6. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Your box is meant to be filled but that does not mean with anything. You should figure out what split size your box likes starting with large splits and working down. I can stuff logs in mine but I won't get much heat so I use 4-6" splits and then fill the voids with smaller splits leaving enouph space for air to get through the box. At night I will put a large 8"-10" round in the back of the stove loaded East West then fill it up with normal splits to get through the night. If your over firing with a smaller load you most likely have a bad gasket or too small of splits. The more smalle splits you use the more gas output and the hotter it will get which can easily be to hot if your not careful.

    Pete
    freddypd likes this.
  7. NSDave

    NSDave Member

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    thanks Pete; makes sense; I've been experimenting with bigger splits as well. I'm not over firing, but the way I'm running now I'm hitting 650ish ( IR therm ) stove top. Thats also starting to shut down air when my stack ( Probe dbl wall ) hits 400 F. maybe start shutting the air sooner?
  8. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    I think the rake your coals forward is safe as not all your wood is going to be on hot coals so less chance of everything taking off all at once over heating the stove.

    But you can pack your stove full but like Pete said know what your loading in there. I posted a post on Big Chunk Technology that basically I loaded big chinks on a really hot and thick coal bed but I didnt pack her full but got a nice long burn out of it.

    Packing full with smaller stuff that is high btu's wood and really dry lets say oak or hickory and loading it up on too big of a coal bed your gonna risk getting the stove really hot if you dont get the air shut down earlier.

    I think what happens is with a load like I described is a person may just let the stove heat up like they normally do thinking , oh I can slam the air back down on her but in the pack it full situation if you let the stove get really hot before cutting the air back , shutting the air back doesnt help much as the stove is already super hot and alot of out gassing of very dry high btu fuel all at once. The heat keeps building fast as there is very little open space in the stove and what little bit of open space acts like a super heated burn chamber. The hotter this little space gets the more efficient it gets heat out of the smoke gases making the stove even hotter.
  9. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

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    Most of the time I load as much as I can get in there.

    Think of it as a fuel tank. Having a full tank doesn't cause you to speed.. flooring the accelerator does. Your air controls are your accelerator.

    We often talk about airing down in X number of minutes etc.. but each and every load is different, and learning the stove is just like learning to drive in that you don't always use the same amount of throttle on every road, up, down, curves, traffic, all require a different reaction.. same with the stove.

    And just like driving you have to pay attention and react to the situation, until you get on the interstate and set the cruise..

    The wood I am burning now is mostly big honkin' splits of a huge dead standing persimmon tree we took down in the spring, it burns OK, but nothing like the cherry or oak I will start burning in a few weeks. The stove definitely acts different between those woods, but I still go for a full tank most of the time.
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  10. NSDave

    NSDave Member

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    That's a great analogy!

    So I guess what I need to get a feel for is when to back off the accelerator; reload the stove on full air, get some flame and cut it back; If the glass starts to get dirty ; or the fire smolders, open it up a little more? I'd been going on stack temp, but maybe I should pay more attention to stove top?
  11. Kevin Dolan

    Kevin Dolan Burning Hunk

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    Hunting dog, thanks for the advice. I will try the coals raking forward to make room for a bigger piece at the back. When I have done this before I never put kindling in the front and so had to wait for the temps to get back up before shutting down a bit for overnight.
    Great replies and info which I will be putting to use.
    Thanks,
    Kevin
  12. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    Putting aside the fact that some stoves (ones with tall fireboxes) specifically weren't designed to be filled up, I can't remember the last time I filled one of my stoves to the gills. It's almost impossible to control the burn rate of an insulated firebox stuffed full with pinon pine. The primary way I control burn rate is piece size, avoiding small pieces except for the start-up fire. So I think we need to say for the record that this "full-up" stove-loading technique primarily applies to hardwoods.

    I question the statement that "fireboxes are meant to be packed full." Any stove designer worth his salt has to make sure the stove burns well with a variety of wood types and load sizes.
  13. tlc1976

    tlc1976 New Member

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    I load mine up full for night, then turn it down once it gets going. I'd rather not do it that way because it builds a lot of creosote that way, but that's the only way to guarantee some heat and coals by morning.

    When I am home and awake I prefer to just build a small fire with 3 pieces in a pyramid shape. That way I can run it wide open which burns the cleanest and most efficient, and doesn't overfire either.

    It also depends what I am burning. I like to save the ironwood for the really cold nights, because one piece of ironwood puts out more heat than the same sized piece of anything else I burn.
  14. charly

    charly Guest

    I just put 3 average size 16 inch pieces of wood in the Fireview for over night burns. Get the stove top up to 250, flue pipe temps are usually around 400-500, then close the draft down to just under one , close the bypass and let the cat do it's work. Low slow burn and no creosote to worry about. That's what I really like about this stove, no worries sleeping that it will run away. Set it and for get it. The soapstone is still throwing heat in the morning with plenty of coals. Always coals for a reload. Why did I wait so long to buy a Fireview;lol
    Huntindog1 likes this.
  15. luv2byte

    luv2byte Member

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    If you fill it up full as can be, then don't you worry about over firing & getting far too hot? We usually put a max of three good size pieces in because of worry of over firing. Three big pieces gets the sucker pretty warm. We have a stove top thermometer that is to the right of the damper control, we avg 600-700 but with three large pieces we can get up to 800 if we do t watch it. We also usually keep the oxygen control down to almost closed (meaning barely a hair open).
    We have the fantastic lopi freedom insert.
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  16. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

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  17. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I also have a freedom, but I load the the thing as full as I can get it! I see temps around 800 and sometimes into the low 900's in the middle of the top. It is very controllable, in fact it will never reach those temps until I pull the air back and let the secondary burn take over.
  18. WellSeasoned

    WellSeasoned Guest

    The F400 is a smaller of the medium sized boxes. As others have said, rake coals forward and place a medium round in the rear, kindlin on the coals and pack tight if the cold temps outside require this. Again as said in an earlier thread, don't pack with skids peices tight:confused:
    The castine is a heat pumping stove. 7oo deg F can happen when this thing is really cruising, even with the air waaayyy down. You can expect loading before bed and by morning having a coal bed to work with, and stove top temps still in the mid 200's. As far as loading N/S, 9" is the longest you'll fit. I like this for a hotter faster start up.
  19. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    This is a great thread thank you all.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    For the longest burns in the F400 I would pack it tightly with the larger splits and longest burning wood in the back of the stove. Use smaller splits to fill in the gaps.
    Pallet Pete likes this.
  21. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    If your splits are 3 inches shorter than your firebox allows, and you use 5 or 6 splits in a load, technically you are shorting a full load by 15 to 18 inches of split :)

    So on the Oslo, which can take a 22 in. split, you'd be shorting the load by a whole split + some if you're using 18 in. splits. When I pack it on a cold night, I pack it, stuff it full, to the gills, wall to wall and right up to dang near the burn tubes, and if I really want to get crazy I'll fit some oak kindling, pallet wood, or some other such stuff in the nooks and crannies just for good measure.

    Stuff it full, you get the picture eh? I ain't never had an overfire situation, I mean, she's run up to 700 degrees a few times but it's rare.
  22. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

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    So far we've been burning pine, I load it up with 8-9 splits because it's been working out good. Once the temps drop the Liberty will draft even better, if it were -10 loading it up with 8-9 splits of Beech might cause it to overfire.

    For me it makes a difference what type of wood we are burning and the temperature outside.
  23. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    For longer burns, I use larger pieces. But for tonight, its average/medium splits. I would normally do 8 (4 top/4 bottom). But, again,, not needed on weekends really. Longer burns, Larger splits. Shorter (hotter) burns, smaller/med splits. But try and pack them.

    Here is a pic. Pics would prob help give you a visualization. I need to scoop ash tomorrow. I let it the coals burn down quite a bit, as we got a good amount of Solar gain and temps today were mild.


    2012-11-17_20-44-27_375.jpg
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  24. Mo Par

    Mo Par Member

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    Since putting in the baffle in the Grandma Bear I burn 2 splits east / west in the stove during the day. For overnight 5 splits will burn 10 to 12 hours.

    Attached Files:

  25. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    If thats a Grandma Bear, then those are some LARGE splits. About 8"? Or so?

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