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"packing" the stove

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by pfmg, Dec 7, 2005.

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  1. pfmg

    pfmg Member

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    Being new heating with a wood stove, this site has been very helpful, thank you.

    This might be a silly question, but when you guy are talking about "packing" the stove trying to get the longest burn you can, how much are you packing into it?

    I have a castine and basically put 3 or 4 smaller splits and a slightly larger one in it. But there is always room for more. I have a good 3- 4" clearance top of the pile to the lowest part of the top of the stove and a good 4-5" of clearance at the front. I didn't think i should have the wood touching or within an inch of the top, but i don't know.

    Anyone have pictures of a "packed" stove :)

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  2. bruce

    bruce Member

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    i pack my harman top to botton as much as possable, it will take 20" wood but i cut it all 18 for good air circulation and cumbustion, thats how to get the long burn times
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    My definition of packing a stove involves putting so much wood into the firebox that no more will fit. If there's any room left around the sides or between the chunks, I'll try to jam smaller pieces in there. It may be gauche, but it gets the job done, i.e., gives the stove enough fuel to get through a cold night.
  4. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    So how close to the glass does everyone pack their stoves? 2 inches, 3? Anyone concerned with touching the glass with the splits?

    I pack it from bottom to top, just touching the secondary combustion air plate, but don't go any further towards the front of the stove than the fire "basin" in front of my primary air outlet, which is about 3 inches in from the door. (There is a shelf just inside the door that projects a few inches into the stove, then it goes down 3 inches and that's the "basin" area I refer to)

    -- Mike
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    With the small firebox in the 3CB, one really doesn't have much choice if the goal is a "long" burn. My best burn times are with the stove packed with as much as I can fit in, as long as it's not too close to the glass. But I pack it right up against the secondary chamber. I let it burn with a lot of air for about 10 minutes, then throttle it down to a low burn.
  6. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Same here. I usally let the stove burn the coals down a bit starting around 9pm and then around 10:45 I'll add 3 or 4 splits or 3" rounds on the coal bed...let that light off for 10 minutes, then I "stuff" the stove as BeGreen describes. I load the logs straight in with the ends pointed at the glass. The lower logs I load parallel to the front glass. The reason for this is to provide some air space for a better burn.

    At around 6:15 in the morning, I'll scoop out the ash and a bit of unburnt coals. I usually have enough coals left so that if I add some splits, the stove lights off within 30 seconds or so. I avoid the glass because a log burning against the glass can leave deposits on it when the stove is on low.
  7. michael

    michael New Member

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    That's a good idea about pointing the split ends towards the glass to help circulate air.

    I try to start stuffing the stove around 10:00-10:30 to let the load catch properly. If I'm burning a monster chunk I may stick it in a little earlier because of the sheer mass. I burnt just such a chunk last night and it almost completely filled the entire stove box. The stove was 350* this morning :)
  8. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    Don't worry about your glass too much or how close. It's not really glass, it's see-through ceramic invented by NASA but I call it glass too. I usually have my logs 1/2" - 1/16" away from it when I light a fire but make sure NONE are touching it when I close the door. When I've packed my insert with logs sideways I've had the top split slide down and hit the glass occasionally (4 times this week so far) and let it burn right there against it. It's not recommended to go too close because it interferes with the air wash feature.

    It takes on a whole new meaning when you realize it's ceramic. It can be heated white hot and have ice cold water thrown on it, won't do anything to it. Your stove has a lower melting point than it, so your stove will melt before the ceramic window will. It is much stronger than normal glass and takes a lot more than a piece of wood falling against it to break it, and if you do somehow manage to break it, it doesn't shatter only cracks so doesn't interfere with safety or your stove/inserts operation. The only thing that it can't handle is if there's a piece of wood in the way and you try to force the door closed on it, also if you use a razor to clean the crap off it, it can be come etched at which point high temperatures can turn that etching into a crack. Your ceramic window usually has a lifetime warranty.

    The see-through ceramic is amazing stuff, if you want to know about it Tom Owen the one who answered and updated us all to EBT does a good job describing it on his site http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/howindow.htm

    I pack mine as much as I can for a number of reasons. First, Marty informed me of the term I get partial charge efficiency when I don't. A smaller load causes the unit to run inefficiently. If I put anything under 4 logs it's not enough for my secondary burn to kick in and hardly enough to even warm my unit up. 4 log splits and I can have 2 logs burning hear the secondary burn to kick it off, and once it's off I get more heat. Packing it full gives me more efficiency because if you haven't noticed the outtermost of logs burns easily and fast. With 4 splits, the outside layer burns and 4 just isn't enough to get the secondary burn kicked in and my unit warm being as big as it is. 6-8 though, the outtermost of the logs burn as a chain and is enough to warm my entire unit helping to evaporate water out of the logs, more importantly it gets my secondary burn up to speed in no time and that puts everything in turbo. My unit gets up to speed in usually an hour and a half to two hours when packed, when I don't pack it, it's more like 3 hours. I'm taking a guess here I estimate I get twice the heat burning 6-7 logs than I do 4, in the vicinity of around 13%-25%. Probably because my secondary burn kicks in an hour or more sooner and maybe as others were saying the air flow also has to work to find its way out.
  9. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    My manual says not to pack the firebox completely full. There should be a couple inches of air space below the baffle.
  10. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    Rhone,

    You just gave me new respect for my glass. (I mean, my clear ceramic!) I'll try to get a few more splits in tonight, which will put the wood closer to the glass. I always have coals 8-9 hours after packing it, maybe it will last even longer.

    As for packing the stove, I have to agree. You need a certain critical mass for the secondary to get going. If I put one or 2 splits in, all I get is a 400 degree smokey mess. Throw the third split on top, and it comes to life, heats up to 6-700, gives off great secondary, and lasts long. I find myself loading the stove with 3-4 splits, not jut one at a time.

    -- Mike
  11. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Expected to get to 11 degrees tonight and it is windy
    I think I could have squeezed a few more pieces in but this is almost a full load

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  12. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    how big is the fire box? (sq ft)
  13. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    I'll have to measure it when I get home but its big
    The Morso 3610 is a BEEG stove

    It will accept 24" logs but I cut mine at 20" (I split the manual way, at least till tax return time)
  14. ChrisN

    ChrisN Feeling the Heat

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    Reviewing the thread I'm wondering how big, people generally make their splits. I am surprised that when fully loading fire-boxes some say they get 6 or 7 pieces in. I process all my own wood and keep the splits as big as possible. Most of my rounds are 10" to 14" in diameter, 18" to 20" long simply split in half. I'm lucky to get two of these pieces in the box (2.7cuft) with maybe one or two smaller filler pieces. I've always assumed that the fewer large pieces will burn longer and at least as efficiently as several small pieces. The same goes for the length: My pieces are all too long to fit in front to back and must go in parallel to the front door. Does the esteemed forum board feel size matters when burning wood?
  15. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Smaller splits allow you to pack the wood in the stove with less air space
    Less air space = more wood
    More wood = longer burn times
    Longer burn times = warm in the morning :coolsmile:

    I would think if your only getting a few pieces in there is alot of air space and air doesnt provide much heat
  16. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    I , myself get better burn times with say 3 bigger logs than i do with 6-7 smaller logs. I will get more "heat" with the smaller log load but for less burn time.
  17. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I think the bigger chunks burn longer. I have plenty of both (lots of limbwood, since I'm taking whole trees down to about 2"), and I try to save the big ones for the cold nights. I think you probably get a faster, hoter fire with the small ones, though. Doping all this out is a long-term process that helps you refine your burning habits and presumably increase your efficiency and convenience.
  18. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Firebox is 15" deep by 10-12" high and is 24+" wide
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The concern here is not the fragility of the ceramic glass. I tried packing the stove fuller, almost to the glass, and found that it created a heap of trouble when I went to refill the stove (front loader). Considerable hot coals and ash spilt out when the door was opened. Fortunately this was on an all brick floor and I got the hot mess cleaned up quickly. But this could be pretty dangerous with a marginal hearth and say a carpeted floor surrounding the hearth. So I would only pack it close to the glass if the stove design permits one to do this safely.
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