How do you deal with excessive coaling from oak and other high-density species?

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Dmitry

Minister of Fire
Oct 4, 2014
1,146
CT
I have started to burn oak this year. It is dry, feels nice, and burns great. The only thing I don't like is the amount of coals after burning a full load. The coals are hot and very quick to start the other fire. But it takes up some extra space in the box.
The more burn the more coals are piling up.
I used to leave the door open for some time with no wood in to burn the coals away. Are there other tricks to deal with this situation?
 
I feel ya. I get coals from time to time that need to be taken out to keep burning. I use my stove shovel, put the hot coals into a Dutch Oven, cast iron, then I set them outside, on non flammable material. Its low tech, but it works like a charm!
 
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Yes I rake coals forward and put a long piece of bark that I save over them to burn some down if they build up. Works great.

I also don’t reload until STT is about 250-300.
 
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As the stove gets ready to reload, open up the air a bit.
 
The deep bed of coals won't provide as much heat as splits burning. But if you don't need heat let them burn down. I like reloading a a deep bed of coals as your not starting a new fire.
 
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Toss a single Pine split on the excessive pile of coals and run the primary air wide open. Works like a charm to burn down the coal pile. Makes usable heat as well. Give it a try.
 
Toss a single Pine split on the excessive pile of coals and run the primary air wide open. Works like a charm to burn down the coal pile. Makes usable heat as well. Give it a try.
No pine here . Do you think splits from maple or other less dens wood will do the trick ? I understand you need fire going to burn them.
 
Yes, a less dense piece of wood will work. Stir the coals before adding it. Itll allow the ash to drop out and bring the larger pieces to the top.
 
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I save bark for this exact reason. We burn a lot of oak and during the very cold weather when trying to keep up we can get some coal mountains. Take the goals forward and add a few big pieces of bark or scraps with the air wide open. You'll get 20-30 min of usable heat, clean up your extra bark/scraps, and burn down the coals in the process. Works like a charm.
 
+1 for bark or small low density splits. I save boxes and boxes full of bark when splitting or they peel off splits in the stacks. Aspen and other low quality wood is great for burning down coals and shoulder season.
 
I got a box elder log mixed in with some oak a few years ago and burning coals is about all it's good for. I think I could throw a split 40 yards it's basically balsa lol. Not worth the effort at all. I put the splits aside as I find them.
 
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I always seem to find myself needing heat at 7pm. A full load won't get me through the night, and I can't wait 3 hours to load. That's when box elder is perfect! It'll give you a quick burning, hot fire that'll burn down your coal bed, warm your toes, and leave you ready for a full load for the night.
 
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Yep that's what the lesser species of wood is best for and why I put it aside. Shoulder season quick hitting fires, coal burn down, or when you just want to add a log or two to boost before you go out etc.

I know it may sound silly to folks without access to hardwoods to complain about burning oak all year but it is actually kind of a pain in the ass during shoulder season with the long burns and coals. Having a variety of wood species available every year really smooths out the season and gives flexibility. Bark included.
 
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I always thought if I had too many coals it meant I choked off the air too much? Like if I load with red oak at night and shut the damper all the way I would have too many coals in the morning. If I leave the damper open just a little more then not too many coals in the morning.
 
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Air plays a role for sure but certain species produce more coals than others. Oak is a notorious coal-er whereas pine or box elder leave nothing but ash.
 
I always thought if I had too many coals it meant I choked off the air too much? Like if I load with red oak at night and shut the damper all the way I would have too many coals in the morning. If I leave the damper open just a little more then not too many coals in the morning.
Same for results me in the Jotul f400.
 
Having a variety of wood species available every year really smooths out the season and gives flexibility. Bark included.
Exactly why I cut, split and stacked that Silver Maple tree I took down a few years ago. At some point, you can just have too much Sugar Maple and Hickory. Burning Silver Maple right now and probably will almost 100% until it begins to fall into the teens overnight, then Silver Maple will probably just burn during the day time.
 
I'm struggling with the super deep coal beds (basically a bed of fist sized chunks) during this frigid snap, and have been trying the process described here. My wood is cherry and white oak (MC well in range). A couple variables for me is an older drafty home (thus reloading more often) and a wife that is willing to load the stove while I'm away for work but not willing to monitor it. I fought the coal burn down for hours last night, before I gave up and reloaded before bed. We have an electric furnace, and as I was laying in bed trying to sleep, every time that thing kicked on I got more pissed 😆. I know this works (I do it) but its hard checking the stove every 20 minutes to rake and throw more bark in. I didn't have a problem before this actual winter arrived. And don't get me started on my family using water and not returning the faucets to drip mode for the overnight lol.
 
One thing I love about my wood furnace. It will eat the coals if allowed. They only need to be leveled out. I can have a massive pile from burning all the dense high BTU splits.
It exhausts at the bottom rear of the stove with bypass closed. Intake air sweeps across the coals and exits. This with a pile of splits on top makes it sound like an oil furnace fired up. I can even put pounds of more super coaling wood on and the current coals will burn down.
 
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I'm struggling with the super deep coal beds (basically a bed of fist sized chunks) during this frigid snap, and have been trying the process described here. My wood is cherry and white oak (MC well in range). A couple variables for me is an older drafty home (thus reloading more often) and a wife that is willing to load the stove while I'm away for work but not willing to monitor it. I fought the coal burn down for hours last night, before I gave up and reloaded before bed. We have an electric furnace, and as I was laying in bed trying to sleep, every time that thing kicked on I got more pissed 😆. I know this works (I do it) but its hard checking the stove every 20 minutes to rake and throw more bark in. I didn't have a problem before this actual winter arrived. And don't get me started on my family using water and not returning the faucets to drip mode for the overnight lol.
Small splits or kindling, preferably a non coaling species, does the same thing as bark. More than a couple of pieces, get it going hot.
 
98% of what I burn is oak of some variety. What I do is get my house warmer that what I would really want. Then I have time to let the coal bed burn down. I have a non catalyst stove so as the load burns down I open the air slightly multiple times and close to reload time I rake the coals forward to the primary air. By the time the house is cooled off the air has been totally open for quite awhile and has burned the coals down. Works every time except for at night when I cant/dont mess with the air.
 
I'm struggling with the super deep coal beds (basically a bed of fist sized chunks) during this frigid snap, and have been trying the process described here. My wood is cherry and white oak (MC well in range). A couple variables for me is an older drafty home (thus reloading more often) and a wife that is willing to load the stove while I'm away for work but not willing to monitor it. I fought the coal burn down for hours last night, before I gave up and reloaded before bed. We have an electric furnace, and as I was laying in bed trying to sleep, every time that thing kicked on I got more pissed 😆. I know this works (I do it) but its hard checking the stove every 20 minutes to rake and throw more bark in. I didn't have a problem before this actual winter arrived. And don't get me started on my family using water and not returning the faucets to drip mode for the overnight lol.
Are you able to increase the air intake as the fire starts to die down? That works for me, in addition to raking to the front during reloads.