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Pellet Baskets?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by tiber, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. tiber

    tiber New Member

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    BrowningBAR steered me to woodheat.com which will do a chimney install for a reasonable price without getting bent out of shape. I want a wood stove, my wife is sold on the box-on-the-wall (thermostat) so naturally she wants a pellet burner. This got me looking at those pellet basket things. I almost went for the pellet burner but the whole heat-without-power is a major plus for me.

    Anyone using a pellet basket in a wood stove? Our local hardware store had 40lbs of generic pellets for $4, so I said "what the heck" and bought a bag. In my fireplace I took some fatwood (3 sticks) and threw about 1 pint of pellets into an aluminum turkey pan. I attempted to light the pellets. It didn't kick off, it just smoldered endlessly. Not sure how well these baskets would work.

    Any experience?

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  2. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I tried one in my fireplace, they were very hard to get going and produced a lot of smoke in the process, but once it took off it gave off good heat and burned for maybe 4-5 hours on half a bag of pellets.
  3. spirilis

    spirilis Feeling the Heat

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    I had the same sort of question when I started looking into firing my woodstoves. So far I've resolved to buying those BioBrick-like products, which are similar to pellets (but built into a brick you can burn in a woodstove/fireplace) -- the local version I found was WoodBrickFuel, made in Leola, PA. Check into those -- http://www.usrecycledwoodproducts.com/distributor.html , see if you have a local distributor, there are other varieties I've heard of called Liberty Bricks, Envi-logs, Eco Brix(?), etc...

    I bought a bag of pellets too, not doing much with them but I might experiment a bit this winter. My initial research brought to my attention this gadget from Canada -- http://www.bradleyburner.com/
    Price is a bit steep IMO. Here's my thread about it: http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/41139/

    IMO it would seem the idea of a pellet basket isn't a bad one, but, it makes more sense to me to combine the concepts between that and the Bradley Burner up above; have a pellet basket supplying air all around, and vented angle-irons in the middle distributing air to the middle of the pile. Haven't cared to put out the money to try this, though.

    PS- I'm a Linux user too (systems administrator actually), nice avatar :D
  4. tiber

    tiber New Member

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    Oh I had to. Penguins are cold. So am I! Right now I'm a SuSE junkie but I actually cut my teeth on Solaris and SCO. But the penguin is so much cuter than the SCO Joshua Tree.

    Or maybe it's a woodburning forum and I should change my avatar...

    You know what that bradley burner is, right? It looks an awful lot like U style fenceposts for chickenwire. Just cut them up and lay them in the bottom of your firebox and tada!
  5. spirilis

    spirilis Feeling the Heat

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    Haha yeah, I was gonna say, I could build one of those from a short stop at ACE hardware and a little time with my pneumatic cut-off wheel...

    Maybe get one of these: http://burnwoodpellets.com/ and lay the angle-irons inside. Might not be a bad experiment!

    I keep thinking though, it's not all that different from burning hand-fired coal, right? Gotta shake out the ash here and there, and need to feed it air from underneath (or all around, really, in this case)... and, just like coal, hard to get started! Just doesn't burn as long, lol
  6. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    Burning pellets in a wood stove is an absolute waste of money. I have both a pellet stove and a couple of wood stoves. They both have their merits, but trying to combine both (burning pellets in a wood stove) is a bad idea. The results are dismal and pellets are way to expensive to be burning in this manor. Remember, pellets weren't designed to be burned in this fashion.

    Overall, pellet stoves are less work, but wood stoves generally can produce more heat, don't require electricity, and are cheaper to operate.

    I've found the Blaze King catalytic wood stoves are about as close as you can come to being as maintenance free as the pellet stoves. The BK stoves have incredibly long burn times, can hold up to a cord worth of ashes before they need to be cleaned out, and even have a built in thermostat for nice even temps. Most (all?) other wood stoves require more attention from the owner and need to be reloaded more often.

    If you're going to get a pellet stove, do yourself a huge favor and get a Harman. They cost a little more, but they burn so much nicer and have excellent features as well.
  7. keeping warm

    keeping warm New Member

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    I'm using a Bradley Burner right now. Working well, all stainless steel construction.
  8. spirilis

    spirilis Feeling the Heat

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    Can you tell us some more about your setup? Stove/insert, chimney setup, how hot does it burn with a full load of pellets (and how long does it take to heat up), how long does a full load last? Kinda curious. I'm using compressed sawdust bricks this year but it's nice to have a perspective of the alternatives. Also where does your stove feed its air? My upstairs stove is weird (feeds air from the left & rear) but the downstairs stove is too small for the bradley burner.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Are you the manufacturer of this product?
  10. hookthefish

    hookthefish New Member

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    I have experimented with a pellet basket in my US stove add on furnace (16" X 26" burn space). I made the basket from an old fire place screen. The pellets burned really hot with hardly any ash (1/4 cup of ash per bag of pellets). The only thing I didn't like was it burned for 3-4 hours ( to quick for me). I then tried mixing nut coal with the pellets, WOW! I got a 6 hour burn and could have gone longer If I continued to add pellets.
    I'm so impressed with a pellet basket I'm now going to make a better basket using 1/4" expanded metal I got from http://www.metalsdepot.com/
    Simple to make!
    I have used Envi blocks but I like the pellet basket better do to less ash.

    US stove add on furnace & James Town pellet stove.

    Attached Files:

  11. leroym

    leroym New Member

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    Hi all,

    New guy here. I realize this post is nearly 2 years old but I thought maybe the "author"
    or anyone else has tried updating the expanded version?
    If so I would like to know what the results are.

    There's a lot of good reading here, glad I found it.

    LeRoy
  12. tiber

    tiber New Member

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    I screwed around with it in cooking pans quite a bit. The biggest problem (as noted elsewhere) is airflow. I found that by burning only pellets, I wasted quite a bit of them. I eventually found out that by getting a good coal bed going and tossing them in, it worked better. There's no real good way to do it that I have found, but the screens people have seem to be doing better than me screwing around with cookie sheets. I largely stopped messing with it due to coming into quite a bit of free wood. Home Depot was charging $250/ton for pellets last year, this year it's $200. Its still cheaper to buy wood then pellets.
  13. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I bought the expanded metal Pelletbasket last month. Good for shoulder season days when you only need to knock the chill off for a few hours. Bit of a pain for reloading and restarting if you want to continue the burn. I think it would be more efficient in a small stove.

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