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Long burn question

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by corey21, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    With this weekends weather forecast i am going to try some things that i have not done. Last year most of the time i would only load 3 or 4 splits at a time. This year i would like to be able to fill my stove up for long burns. I guess i would start by raking all coals to the front and then tightly packing the stove east west. Any hints or advice would be helpful. Using big splits i should add.

    Thanks

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  2. madison

    madison Minister of Fire

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    Stuffing a stove with anything other than fully and properly seasoned wood and you will more than likely end up with a lot of coals. Resist temptation to shut down the air control early.

    ? Do you really need a stuffed firebox in SW virginia in early october ?

    I have yet to ignite
  3. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    Just trying to learn my stove more for when i really need long burns here.

    I have done had 2 fires. This weekends forecast is for cold weather.
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    For sure you would not want to load the stove just yet. It is not that cold. But remember that if you rake the coals forward and then in the bottom rear, you need a large split or a fair sized round. That will tend to make your fires last longer (works great for overnight) and still get useable heat from it.
  5. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    My fire would burn front to back or the whole load at once?
  6. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    This topic is for the stoves that operate with the secondary baffles or air tubes.

    This has been discussed a few times but being that its a start of a new burning season this may need to be gone over again.

    I remember Corey you having trouble last year with the poor quality of wood. You were pretty upset with it. But I think once you knew it was the wood causing you the trouble things were a little better knowing that could be fixed. As most of the these stoves have been EPA certified. They wouldnt have passed if they couldnt operate like they were designed to do.

    It needs to be said that very dry wood solves alot of problems. Quicker start ups, temps building quicker, secondaries fireing off earlier and secondaries fireing at lower air input settings. This all point to longer burn times.

    Rake your coals forward is a technique thats been used for a some time and discussed many times . I just like to talk about what it really does for you and the stove as if you better understand it helps you tweak your process.

    As operating these stoves it all about the heat. You have to build heat in the stove to get the stove into the operation temperature range for the secondaries to light off. Then you are burning the smoke gases and this cleans up your stoves emissions. Plus gives off extra heat and some say and I would say it gives off much more heat, the burning of smoke gases. Your firebox is complete enclosed with fire brick to help the heat build up in the firebox as the bricks reflect heat back into the box and some bricks also have insulation properties to help maintain the heat levels at lower input air settings.

    If your wood its not really dry lets say 18% or less this process doesnt work as well. 18% to 22% I would say you can get by with but your gonna be struggling with the stove alot more. It will take longer to heat up as the wood will not light off as quick. The moisture in the wood being even just a slight amount will be trying to cool the fire box as its is being boiled off and we all know the vaporizing of a liquid has a cooling effect also. This is a big deal when you trying to maintain very high firebox temps to turn you stove into a smoke burner. Plus your gonna try and turn down the stove to a very low setting for a over night burn then your fighting the moisture in the wood even more when the stove is at a lower setting. As a matter of fact you will not be able to shut your stove down as far if your wood is not the best of quality as in dry I would say 18% moisture or less from my experience measure with a moisture meter from a newly split split so you can get at the center of the wood. Higher moisture means shorter over night burns as you will have to leave the air open a little farther.

    Another aspect of the not so good wood is that you will be burning more of your loaded up stove to get your stove to the temp levels needed to fire off the secondaries meaning your burning the smoke vapors. But wait you need alot of that wood for your all night burn and you just used alot of it just to get the stove up to temp. Not much of it left now. That not so good wood is becoming a pain in the you know what.

    I will be back in a minute got to get some supper.

    Ok I am back, Rake your coals forward will accomplish a few things for you. If your wood is not ideal but usable it will allow you too get your stove up to temps quicker and provided longer burns. As you rake your coals forward you will now have the back of the stove empty and empty all the way to the bottom of the stove . You now have more head room in the back of the stove to load 3 high in most stoves and maybe more in bigger stoves. 3 high of good medium to large size splits in the size range of around 5" or more approximately. Importantly that back row east/west orientation is not sitting on a bed of hot coals to get it going quickly as you dont want that row going quickly. THen in my stove I can load the next row , which I call the middle row in my stove of a east/west load, row 2 as my stove can get 3 rows total. So now before loading my second row from the back I level out my coals a little and push them back towards that back row just to make the bed of coals as level and low as I can, so I can get 2 more splits about medium size load one ontop of the other in the second row from the back. Difference here is sonce I am load on the coals I dont have as much head room so I can only get 2 splits plus this row will burn quicker as its sitting on the brunt of the heat which is the hot coals.

    Now the last row closest to the front of the stove which my stove has a front loading door. This row is for some nice high quality kindling. This is what will get the temps up in your stove really fast and let you get your stove shut down quicker so your not burning so much of your wood taking away from your over night burn. Now I found last winter that when I made kindling out of some wood that has high btu's rating like white oak this stuff split to like 1/2 to 1/4 inch thin pieces will really accelerate the heating of you stove. Getting those temps up quick and getting the secondaries firing will help the stove get to a point you can start slowly working the air input control down in smalls steps like a 1/4 of the way at a time. Then letting the stove settle out then back it down 1/4 the way again , repeating this till its to the lowest setting you can get and still have secondaries firing or to a setting your looking for.

    This is a balancing act of reducing air into the stove as reducing the air will actually help the stove heat up as the stove is burning better but not reducing too much at any one time or too soon to smother the fire. Its almost like an art form and learning your stove as some would say. Reducing the air helps as your slowing down the air flow thru the stove and reducing the flushing of the precious heat up the chimney. These stoves are designed to to operate at really high firebox temps which at the higher temps allows the stove to operate with very little air input. As the burning should mainly be from burning smoke gases and the main wood pile in the stove is doing very little burning thus getting you high heat and longer burn time. This is why moisture is your enemy it counters all of that. Very little air flow thru the stove allows heat to radiate and increase efficiency of the heat getting out into the room.

    So if you think use dry wood and think heat and getting temps up in the box is what gets my secondaries going. That once the secondaries are going that will provide even more heat. and you can start getting the air shut down in increments and that closing the air input down helps build the heat also even tho it doesnt make sense, its works.
    Christopix, Joful, Realstone and 3 others like this.
  7. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    Thank you.

    One good thing i know my wood is much better then last year because the first 2 fires this fall were hotter.
  8. theonlyzarathu

    theonlyzarathu Member

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    My experience is a little different using my Pacific Energy Summit. I'm not sure what is described as really aged wood though. The stuff I am using is aged between 6-7 months. I find that there are two elements that are significant to get the secondaries buring very quickly. And by very quickly, I mean within about 12 minutes of starting the stove, even before I'm really getting any heat at all since the stove top isn't even hot yet. These two items are a) the size of the "logs" going into the stove, and b) the amount of oxygen I can get into the fire and amount of combustbiles that start burning quickly.

    For a) I use a Bailey's Smart Splitter. Its in the house. My wood is provided to me already spit, but I further spit it using the smart splitter into really small pieces starting about 1 inch square. These catch fire quickly and burn hot quickly. I gradually build up to log size piece as the coal bed gets larger.

    For b) I always start the stove with a bed of wood splits that are about 2.5 x .5 inches thick(with the Smart Splitter its easy to spit stiff like this). This gives me a combustible base that gets startted burning with the starter wood. Additionally I always start the stove with two split logs on the sides, and then I put the kindling starter pieces between them in a criss-cross square. Then I put the larger pieces across the two log pieces. Now I have fire going with a combustible base and combustible sides, and the air comes right under the fire. It very gets hot very very fast, and the secondaries start burning very very fast.
    Christopix and Huntindog1 like this.
  9. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    Thank you that help me a lot.

    If i am getting this right after everything is going fire will burn front to back?
  10. Jjm457

    Jjm457 Member

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    I also live in SW VA, and just like you, will experiment,, since Sunday looks cold and wet.
    Joe
  11. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    Someone correct me if i am wrong but with a east west load the secondary burn will bake the wood from top down. Making my burns long.
  12. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    Looks like a good technique for starting a cold stove with no coals to help. Plus it reminds me of a couple more points to make.

    If your wood is not as dry as you like split it smaller. Also stack a small amount for like 3 stove fulls next to stove to dry out some more.

    Also some people when using bigger splits , splits that have triangle type shape will stand the splits up on one of the sharp edges of the triangle shaped split. This thinner edge sticking down into the hot coals catches quicker to get the fire going quicker. Some guys since their wood is really dry might only load like 3 really large splits in their stove and stand them up on that edge to get them to catch quicker.
  13. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    With a morning in the 40s and a high in the low 50s and wet here Sunday a lot of folks in Virginia will get to start practicing. Stove is ready for the season but I am gonna try to hold out. May not make it.
  14. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    34 Is the forecast for Sunday night here.
  15. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Eeeek!
    corey21 likes this.
  16. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Toasty! We're in the 20°F's overnight now. Indian Summer's clearly over. <>
  17. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    I think your right.
  18. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Right. I imagine with secondary tubes, the top of the load will get lit also. With my cat stove (E/W burner) the load will get lit on top a little on start-up but will burn mostly front to back. With the bigger splits in the back, your burn will be more even than if you were to load everything on top of hot coals without raking the coals to the front. Off-gassing is slower and more even. I usually let the coals get pretty low and then build the load top-down with the Pine kindling on top in the front. Some newspaper or a couple pieces of SuperCedar is all that's needed to get the load started. I'll hold the chunk of SuperCedar with a hemostat, light it at the stove door, then place it on the kindling and put a couple really small Pine kindling on top of the burning SuperCedars.
    corey21 likes this.
  19. My Oslo heats my home

    My Oslo heats my home Minister of Fire

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    As mentioned many times, the big ticket item is dry wood. Along with hearth.com advice it will bring you to trial and error. It took me a couple of years to get where I felt really comfortable.
    Huntindog1 and Backwoods Savage like this.

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