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What do your coals look Like

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Benny4117, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. Benny4117

    Benny4117 New Member

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    Love this site and i have been learning a ton......I had a request/questions i am hoping everyone can help me with. I hear everybody talking about lengthy burn times and having plenty of coals after. From reading i understand everyone has differnt definitions of "burn time". So i was wondering if we could get some pics of what your coal beds look like after various burn times.
    The reason im asking i am getting nowhere near the burn times that i expected from my stove (regency i3100 large insert) and wondering if i am doing something wrongor if what i am experiencing is normal Just would like some visual aids:) .

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  2. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum Benny.

    If I can remember, I'll see if I can take some pictures of the coal beds we have. No promises, but I'll try to remember.


    Most likely with what you are describing, it is the wood. This is usually 99% of the problems especially when people just begin to burn wood. For sure the coal bed will be larger because of wood not dry enough. In addition, if the wood is not drying enough it can be very difficult getting the stove up to the right heating point.

    Until we learn how to burn water, there is not substitute for burning good dry wood and to get the wood dry enough takes time; sometimes a long time. If you visit the Wood Shed part of hearth.com you'll find lots of information on this. Basically you will find it takes most wood a year to dry and that time does not start until the wood has been cut to length and then split and stacked. The stacking must be done out in the wind because the air is what will do the drying for you. This is also why it is best to dry the wood outdoors before moving it into a wood shed. In the shed, there is not much moving air so wood simply can't dry much in there.

    I'll also add that some wood can take up to 3 years after being split before it is ready to burn. One of the best firewoods there are is oak; yet oak gives up its moisture very reluctantly. We give it 3 years in the stack before burning. But then, we also give most of our wood 3 years or more to dry before burning. The benefits of doing this is that it will actually take less wood to give the heat you need and you won't have trouble getting fires going or getting the stove up to temperature.

    Good luck.
  3. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Funny you've never mentioned this before Dennis :cool:

    Ray
  4. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    Reverend Dennis, preacher of the Church of Firewood What's Happening Now.

    :p
  5. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Dry firewood will fix anything from a broken heart to the crack of dawn.
  6. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

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    Dry Firewood, never leave home without a clean towel, say please and thank you, be kind to animals.


    ;)
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  7. Benny4117

    Benny4117 New Member

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    Yeah i figured it could be the wood. Im getting into ash that i cut and split this spring. The trees were already down and didnt appear green (I was told that if you have to burn less than seasoned wood that ash is the best) But being a newbie i didnt have the largest wood supply as of yet., so i stacked that wood at the end of my pile to try and use last. I did buy a moisture meter at Lowes and was getting reading from 15%- 20% on the centermost of a fresh split?

    I believe i have read somewhere on this site that taking a reading on colder wood could give a false, lower reading due to the warmer temps those meters are calibrated at......any truth to that? or can anyone validate? I do bring wood into cold garage a weeks worth at a time so it is cold when i bring in the house. Would that impact meter readings?

    But i still would love to see some pics and notes stating how long of a burn that was after....just too see what i should be getting once the wood issue is resolved of course.
  8. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    You are correct that ash is one of the best woods to burn, and if you're getting 20% or less on the center of a fresh face of not-frozen wood, then you're in good shape with regard to moisture content. I am not sure how freezing will impact the moisture meter results, but I've also heard it can.

    After 8 hours, I have a few glowing log remnants, or chunks roughly the size of softballs, which will usually re-ignite when I open the door. After 12 hours, golf balls or smaller. Stove top temp after 8 hours = 350 - 400F, after 12 hours = 150 - 200F.
    Mitch Newton likes this.
  9. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    Here is my coals from all maple wood.

    Attached Files:

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  10. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    How much wood (how full was the box)?? And how long of a burn?? If that's 12 hrs, then that's pretty good. If that's 4 hrs, that's terrible. IMO
  11. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    It was a load I started when I got home 4pm. This maple doesnt burn for a long time like oak or hickory.
    Its just a little bit too much moisture as the wood was just cut last May and split and stacked.We had a really dry summer. (extreme drought)
    I am thinking its not hard maple but its not bad. It will pop a little.
    So it was maybe 3/4 full stove load. This pic is at 5.5 hours as I let it burn at a higher rate for a while to take the chill off the house tonight.
    I didnt take the pic to show coals of a all night burn. But at the time I had raked them some and was letting them burn down some.

    Here I raked them forward and put a big piece in the back bottom and another piece on top of it.

    Attached Files:

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  12. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    Here I load the second row of two more splits.

    Attached Files:

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  13. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    The third and final row I just took a 1 wedge split and propped to up on its thin edge down on the coals.

    Attached Files:

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  14. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    And she takes off.........................

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  15. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    Here is what I had tonight after 15 hours or so(7 am to 10:30 pm) and what I loaded the stove like on the reloaded. The stove was full of ash up to the bottom of the door, this is what I had left after taking out a couple gallons of ash.

    Attached Files:

  16. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    "Burn time," you're right, has no set definition. But for the most part, it means you still have enough red-hot coals in the stove to light off some more wood without having to resort to kindling or a firestarter. (That is assuming sufficiently dry wood.) What it doesn't mean is that the stove is still burning hard and cranking major heat.

    Burn time, however you define it, is directly dependent on the size of the firebox, and secondly on the wood you're burning. Some, like maple, give up their heat quickly. Others,like oak, give it up more slowly. Oak has about the same BTUs pound for pound as hard maple (sugar maple or rock maple), but burns more slowly. So you don't get as much heat as quickly as you do from hard maple, but you can get moderate heat much longer. I like hard maple to get the stove heat going quickly, but oak for overnight burns.

    In my case, I have a really, really small stove. If I load up with oak or other heavy-duty hardwoods, like beech, I have almost no discernible heat from the stove by morning, but enough still-hot coals that I can get a fire going from them using splitting debris and coaxing it along like a Boy Scout on a camping trip by adding gradually larger bits. Takes a while, and I would never claim my stove has an 8-hour "burn time." But as somebody who has to basically start all over again every morning, I'm pleased when I don't have to use a firestarter.

    And you do have to turn the primary air gradually down to next to nothing to get the longest burns.
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  17. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Wife says I repeat the mantra over and over in my sleep; 'Three years for Oak, two for the others.' ;lol
    Should we know this dawn of whom you speak? ==c
  18. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    Maybe take some pics of what you are getting at the end of a burn cycle and let others comment?? Coals and burn times will be effected by wood type, moisture, stove, chimney draft, outside temp, wind speed, etc... so it clearly is tough to match another stove exactly. When it is continually below 10 or 15 degrees I get heavy coaling because I am filling often to keep up. Above those temps I get a nice even, low coal bed that raked forward allow for a full load and nice quick restart.

    The obvious and first solution is wood quality and this is often the toughest for new burners getting started. Some suggest picking up a bundle of kiln dried firewood or even s pack of bio bricks and see what that offers. At least then you will have a baseline for burn time and coaling.

    Sorry for no pics - I reloaded before I signed on. My Hearth addiction is superceded by my "warmth" addiction :) Typical morning protocal: Get coffee started, rake and load stove, press coffee, sit down to the morning news, great coffee, wood heat and a little Hearthing!
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  19. crh704

    crh704 New Member

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    Here is what I typically have in the morning. I loaded up at 10pm and the photo was taken around 7am.

    Edit-i was burning red oak and maple last night

    Attached Files:

    corey21 likes this.
  20. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

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    Here is mine. Loaded last night at 9:00pm, shut down 100% for low heat night burn.
    Next pic 9:00am reload with two decent red maple splits and a smallish BL round.
    It will be a hotter burn and therefore shorter. S/b ready for reload around 2:00pm
    Last pic is 2min after reload, pic order a bit mixed up. image.jpg image.jpg

    Attached Files:

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  21. 10-cc

    10-cc Member

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    I noticed that when I leave a lot of hashes in the box it will slow down the process of burning the coals down. The more hash
    I have the more coals residu will buid up, the hash just blocks the oxygen to the coals. Try to remove as much hash as you can, I know it gets dusty. Stoves with a grate have less of this problem as the hashes fall down to the pane eg: vc encore.
    When the stove is hot all the dust goes up and land on whatever..
  22. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Well Benny, I already forgot about the picture until I brought up this thread again. I'll plead that I've been very busy and awfully absent minded... Good to see others have posted some pictures though so you get an idea.

    You are correct on the MM that I believe they are calculated to be the most accurate around 70 degrees. It is also extremely easy to get a false reading depending on the placement of the prongs. Even then, I've seen 2 people get 2 different readings off the same piece of wood using different meters. In short, I have very little faith in the MM. I've never owned one nor do I ever intend to own one. My MM will simply be leaving my wood out so Mother Nature makes it right for burning in our stove.

    Now about that ash. Forget everything you heard about it. It simply is not true. The fact is that ash is a lower moisture content than most hardwoods. The other fact is that it is still too wet to burn right after being cut. Sometimes you can luck out and find one down that is also low in moisture but I would never count on it. We have burned many, many cord of ash in our home and one winter we had some bad luck and had to buy wood. I thought I was buying from someone who had good wood. Not so. Freshly cut and split. Yes, we got by that winter but were never comfortable in the house. Fought the fires constantly. Also cleaned our chimney many, many times that winter. Never again! I've also cut some dead ash and burned it 2 years later. Sorry, still not great, but burnable. Another year would suit it really nice.

    If you take any advice off this forum, the best I can give you is to get yourself 3 years ahead on your wood supply. That will solve your problems for sure.
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  23. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Dennis, do you completely discount the size of the split as a factor in seasoning time?
  24. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Most of our splits are not really large anyway so they all get seasoned the same amount of time. Same goes for the rounds. This is a picture of a winter's supply of wood in the barn. You no doubt can tell none of the splits are very large.
    Winter's heat-1.JPG
  25. Mitch Newton

    Mitch Newton Member

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    Definitely the propped up gets some air flow.

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