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Rake the coals forward? Why?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by evilgriff, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. evilgriff

    evilgriff Burning Hunk

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    The coals were not as much an issue with my Intrepid II as the stove was usually out- fires did not last as long-This Sirocco has coals all of the time. What is the theory behind raking the coals forward? I understand raking the coals frees them from the ash, it's the forward part I am asking about. I know there is a reason or you would not be doing it this way.

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  2. GrampaDennis

    GrampaDennis New Member

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    I'm not 100% sure it's the case with your stove, but most stoves get more air in the front. Raking the coals to the front will get more air to them, making them perk up and help light the wood in your reload.
    Anybody else got something to add?
    raybonz and BrowningBAR like this.
  3. evilgriff

    evilgriff Burning Hunk

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    Grampa, that makes sense. Also, right now I am using the BK plug lifter as a rake. Anyone use something else?
  4. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    I also think raking the coals forward extends burn times a bit. The wood in the back of the firebox is not sitting on hot coals, which delays their ignition a little while....but I could be off base wight that, only an observation.
  5. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    So the whole load don't off gas at the same time.
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    It also burns the coals down as the new load ignites helping with the problem of ending up with a stove full of coals.
  7. burnt03

    burnt03 Burning Hunk

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    Is the raking forward more for loading EW?
  8. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    I'll pull them forward and open the air up for a few more hours of heat. The big box I have ends up with a lot on the sides that need to be burned up. If I have a big pile in the front, I'll find the right sized split to put E/W in the back to level it out and load N/S.

    Search 'coal rake' and you'll get some ideas.

    Won't happen with his stove ;)
  9. David Tackett

    David Tackett Member

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    When I pull my coals forward I lay a log in the back EW then lay the rest NS in the front on the coals.
  10. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Many stoves have an airwash that drops air right down the glass. When it hits the coals in front, the air current warms up and makes it easier to touch off the new wood. At least that is how I see it.

    Matt
  11. Treacherous

    Treacherous Minister of Fire

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    I do that as well.
  12. flyingpig

    flyingpig Member

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    I think that it helps the stove to run longer with more even output by limiting the burn only on the front row wood and burn front-to-back. When I rake coal bed evenly, the new splits will gas out like crazy in the beginning due to more contact with hot coal, but burn down quicker. Now I'll rake hot coal up front and lay new splits E-W.

    I also found out that my glass in cleaner with E-W. Looks like wood gases out more on both end so N-S will put it right on the glass.
  13. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    I notice the same thing also about the glass.
  14. evilgriff

    evilgriff Burning Hunk

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    Expecting 60 degree day tomorrow. no burning for me. I am going to try E-W after I clean the glass and see how I do. Might be time to break out the welder and make a custom rake just for fun.
  15. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I've been pushing the coals from right to left and making a pile. Then, load north south, with some also on pile. It seems to burn the coals down. Really too soon to tell though.
  16. wkpoor

    wkpoor Minister of Fire

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    A childs garden hoe makes a perfect coal rake.
  17. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    Rake Coals forward helps with over fire issues, not all your wood laying on hot coals at the same time.
    Also helps with longer burn time as you can stack wood in the back of the stove not on hot coals. This wood will last longer for a longer burn time.
    Your Sirrocco has a cat so long burn time isnt an issue. This is mostly for non-cat stoves.

    If you load North/south then rake coals to the left or right so half the stove can be loaded, not on any hot coals.
  18. etiger2007

    etiger2007 Minister of Fire

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    When I view the firebox the next morning after raking the coals forward sometimes the back fire brick looks like new and sometimes it is black. I just dont want a dirty burn late in the burn.
  19. burnt03

    burnt03 Burning Hunk

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    How could you prevent that? I'll start a fire in the morning and it's rolling good. Drive by my house later (3-4 hours or so) and sometimes it'll be smoking and I have to call my wife and get her to turn up the air.
  20. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    I hate to bust the no smoke thing but i don't worry about that no more i just keep an eye on the stove not the top of the chimney. Besides compare a EPA stove emissions to a older style stove.
  21. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    Corey your right these stoves will not be perfect. But your most likely same as me you live out in the country, so who gives a dang if a little smoke gets out. But there are people doing stoves in the burbs and neighbors get to be butt wipes. So they have to be more concerned. Its been said on this board many times that if the smoke is light then its most likely water vapors coming out of your flue.
  22. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    That is true never thought at first about the suburbs wood burning.
  23. Uncle

    Uncle Member

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    What is off gas?
  24. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    Wood gives off wood gas so for short people say the wood off gases.
  25. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    Off gassing- when wood gets hot it gives off vapors. At first it gives off water vapor, but a little later it will start to give off flammable gases. The flammable gases and smoke are what burns in the secondary flames at the top of the firebox or in the catalytic combustor. If you put a load of firewood on a hot bed of coals, after about ten or fifteen minutes you will start to get a whole lot of gas all at once and this can either overheat the stove or overwhelm the stove's ability to burn the gases, resulting in gases escaping up the chimney. Something like 25 to 50% of the heat in the firewood is contained in the gases and smoke, and burning the gases and smoke is what makes an EPA stove more efficient than an older stove. Burning the gases and smoke also greatly reduces the pollution that a stove puts out, which is the reason the EPA got involved in stove design. By raking the coals to the front of the stove I can load some of the wood behind the coals rather than on top of them, thus I can avoid the problem of too much off gassing too fast.

    Raking coals forward also helps me avoid coal buildup. If I keep loading new firewood on the coals from previous loads, I can get coals building up more and more each load. Eventually I will have to rake the coals forward, lay a flat split over the top, and let it burn. I may have to repeat this a couple of times before I have burnt the coals down enough to allow me to fully load the stove again.
    Uncle, corey21 and Huntindog1 like this.

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