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Stoking in the middle of the night

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by chutes, Dec 3, 2008.

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  1. chutes

    chutes Member

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    That seems like a pretty easy-to-remember rule of thumb. I'll give one of those large splits a try today while I'm awake and can watch my results. Thanks AP.

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  2. chutes

    chutes Member

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    In this particular case, I think AP is talking about starting the first overnight burn with large splits - or at least that is what I was asking about. If, by using large splits on my last load before bed, I can extend my burn, it might also solve my problem about losing more temps than I would like.

    I agree with you about finding the sweet spot, and with your other responses. Like you, my wood is seasoned, but I found good results by tossing new splits onto the fire and adjusting upward a bit. I think I did 1/2 and you did 1/4. I'm going to give 1/4 open adjustment a shot today. If I can open it less than 1/2, I can probably extend my burn a bit. Thanks!
  3. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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    I'm finding that loading some nice 4"-6" diameter oak rounds N/S in my Endeavor are holding up much better overnight that quartered or smaller splits. I had a much thicker coal bed this morning at 5:00AM after bedding down the fire last night around 9:30PM. I did experiment with closing my air down completely last night, but it resulted in a huge stream of smoke trailing off towards the neighbor's house. I had to open up the air some to eliminate the smoke and resume a clean burn. I just don't think I will be able to completely shut this thing down and maintain a clean burn. Though I do plan to experiment more this weekend.
  4. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Feeling the Heat

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    Yep- thread drift.
    I was just hoping to keep exploring the original topic of "stoking in the middle of the night" rather than completely drifting to "overnight burn times" which has already been extensively covered in other threads.

    Like the snooze alarm, I need to be able to dependably acomplish a "snooze stoke" :)
  5. bokehman

    bokehman Feeling the Heat

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    It's really pretty simple, secondary combustion happens at 1100+ degrees, so if you put in wood and have a coalbed that is hot enough to keep the upper part of the firebox over 1100 degrees you will not have to touch the air. If on the other hand you are adding wood and you have left your coalbed to the point where it is too depleted to maintain 1100+ degrees you will need to open the air and re-start the primary fire until there is enough heat to sustain 1100+ degrees with the primary closed. The side effect of doing this though is it quickly sends a substantial amount of your new load straight up the flue reducing the overall burn time once you do eventually damp down. To bypass this problem you could put in 10 sticks about 1" round and burn them fast over the coalbed. After 10 minutes while they are still have heavily active flame break them up, load up with large pieces of 2+ year seasoned wood and damp down.

    In other words, if your firebox is sufficiently hot there is no need for extra primary air, or to char the new load.
  6. CowboyAndy

    CowboyAndy New Member

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    I have noticed that in my furnace, in the morning, i get alot of coals towards the back, but generally get covered with a good layer of ash so they arent putting out as much heat as they should. An overnight stoking would be just what the doctor ordered for me, except I dont want to get out of bed at 1am!
  7. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Feeling the Heat

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    So that would tell me that's it is more a matter of waking up earlier to catch it before it burns too far down for a "middle of the night stoking".
    I shall alert my bladder :)

    As 10 minutes is too long, this isn't the answer I/we are looking for.
    The answer- what we are looking for, and a couple already found- is where exactly to set the air so that it a) burns well, b) doesn't get too hot while still c) not have to wait around at all.
  8. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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    I'm admittedly nervous to attempt this. The last time I added split in the midst of a burn cycle, my temps spiked up from 600F to around 800F.
  9. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Feeling the Heat

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    But that's the purpose of this thread- finding the sweet spots!

    I have experienced the same thing, so clearly we have to wait longer in the burn cycle.
    The quest is to find the perfect time to add wood so that you don't have to adjust the air, and yet still keep things under control enough that you don't have to hang around.

    Try, try again :)
  10. bokehman

    bokehman Feeling the Heat

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    Most efficient is with the damper closed. Anything else is sending heat up the flue and lowering burn duration.
    It look like you've answered your own question. If a magic sweet spot existed the stove wouldn't have air controls. If you want something akin to cruise control on a car (that increases and decrease the fuel supply as required to maintain a pre-set speed) you need a stove with a thermostat (Blaze King, etc) or EBT (Pacific Energy).
  11. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Chutes,
    Yes that is correct. If they are seasoned and fit through the door, thats how you will achieve longer burn times. And yes fill in around them with whatever smaller splits you can. The smaller splits not only fill in extra space for more burning equaling more time & heat, but also the smaller splits will help get the stove up to temp faster. Where as the larger ones you will find will actually cause the stove temp to drop some until they start burning well.
    Try it, and I think you will see this works well. Keep in mind, if the wood is not good and dry, you may have quite a few coals in the morning, which is a good thing, but you may have to pull them up front in a mound if that is where you intake air enters and open the air about 1/4 and you will get another hour or two of heat from the coal pile burning off.
  12. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Feeling the Heat

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    Oh yeah- if I had known then what I know now... shoulda, woulda, coulda... hindsight is 20/20.. yadda yadda.
    As it was I took the recommendation of my installer and still feel fabulously lucky that I ended up with as great an insert as what I did.
    Next one will definitely be an EBT, but that ain't happening any time soon.

    So the only alternative I am left with is to continue to refine my "middle of the night stoking" technique.
    And to that end I find a discussion about what works for others to be valuable and enetrtaining, and worth continuing.
  13. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    First, I'm glad I misread the title of this thread :)

    Second, someone already mentioned having a youngster. I get up in the night several times. When it's around 3 I go throw on some more wood.

    Third, I'm starting to notice that my bladder is getting trained to wake me up at 3 anyway, so I don't see it being a problem. The key is to make sure I've done the proper prep work to make it to 3. it has to be good wood and nice big splits. I tried to throw some pine on and it doesn't make it that long. live and learn. When I wake up at 6 it's ready for more wood. that 6 hours that I make it initially doesn't provide me with a good burn for 6 hours, but just leaves a bed of hot coals that light up the new wood instantly. This is in my fireplace, so I have a ton of thermal mass to keep the room warm after the fire dies down.
  14. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I was answering the Chutes post prior immediately prior to mine, not the OP. I don't care what anyone says about air controls, I use mine liberally.
  15. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    I still think as long as you have a nice coal bed, and the splits get some flame coming off of them before you do so, you can just close the air down all the way or close to it. Wasn't it someone in this thread who left their air open a bit the other night and shot the stove up to 850? The way I see it, as long as you have good wood, you might smolder for a short period, but the secondary air will be enough to get it going well.
  16. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    How do you not know? Don't know your stove? Don't know your wood?
  17. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Feeling the Heat

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    No and no.
    This is only my second year burning and I have a lot to learn.
    That's why I am here having this discussion.
  18. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    I must be bad, I don't personally know all my wood either.
    I haven't had a chance to inspect each and every piece & species.
    Giving a guy crap for being cautious is just wrong.
  19. chutes

    chutes Member

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    I think that your question is to Cearbhaill, but speaking for myself, I would say that I am getting to know my stove better every day. I am so pleased that this forum exists, as the advice from more experienced people gives me the confidence to try new things to improve the efficiency of my stove, keep me and my kids warmer, etc. This forum is simply awesome for a first year burner such as myself. Seriously. Thanks to everyone who is contributing in a helpful way to this discussion.
  20. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I had my wood in the house for a drink last night- trying to get to know it better. Man can that red oak put down some tequila. Burned like crazy afterwards too.
  21. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    HAHAHA, I had some pine over that had some seriously sticky fingers. Literaly, I was wondering what it had been doing before it came in the house.
    Then last week a few Maples came in and they were real saps.
  22. chutes

    chutes Member

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    LOL! I'll have to try that. We're putting up the xmas tree tonight, so I bought the fixins for spicy Bloody Mary's. Thought I'd have a few of those before switching over to Long Trail or Sammy. Hope my wood likes spicy Bloody Mary. Guess I should know that by now....
  23. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    No it isn't. Worrying is for broads. The manufacturer, the dealer, the installer, and the grown ups here are all pretty much on the same sheet of music. How many times does it need to be said before the "crap giving" ensues?

    I appreciate your concern, however.
  24. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I had a Long Trail on tap last night (we drink after dodge ball) that was friggin incredible. You know how good beer on tap can have varying quality... well, I was disappointed that I was driving last night and only had one. This place also has Shipyahd Prelude on tap. Manoman.
  25. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Take the hint Redd.
    You don't comprehend so quick do ya?
    Your in the wrong place to be trying to make yourself feel more manly. Now go back to your corner and measure it again.
    And millimeters don't count as inches.
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