Not sure about the current interest in burning corn at all.....

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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
Kind of amazed about it actually. Corn has some serious drawbacks versus commercially available pellets in hardwood or softwood.

First off, corn is a regional commodity so it you don't reside in the 'corn belt', getting field corn to roast can be an expensive proposition.

Secondly, field corn out of the field is rarely dry enough to burn. Corn has to be at or below 15% RM to combust properly. Wet corn won't burn no matter what you do and it will gum up a stove very quickly. Corn also has to be cleaned (screened magnetically) to remove field trash that could destroy your fuel feed mechanism if it got stuck inside and it needs to be air cleaned to remove earwings that won't burn at all and just foul the burnpot.

Finally, at current crop prices here in corn country which are averaging a bit over 5 bucks a bushel (new crop), it's not viable cost wise (BTU realized to compete with commercially produced pellets and most modern stoves today will have internal issues roasting corn unless the corn is mixed with pellets anyway. There is also the storage issue. Corn comes loose not bagged like pellets so you must have some sort of secure storage (free from mice that love to eat corn) and out of the weather (so the corn don't get wet).

Been running corn for years but the corn I combust is basically free for me. If I had to purchase corn (cleaned and dried to 15% or less from the local cooperative), I'd be running straight pellets.
 

maraakate

Member
Sep 27, 2021
198
Lancaster, PA
Can't answer for others, but the interest for me is that they can potentially give out a higher heat output. I bought a bag of shelled corn from the feed store today to try it out and it does emit a lot more heat than my current pellets. So I may keep a bag around for getting the room up to temp quickly on those really cold nights when I get home late.

Price of pellets can be pricey around here almost reaching the same price as burning corn. This may be another reason some people are curious about it this year? It is for me.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
Try mixing the corn with pellets. I typically mix 2/3rd corn to 1/3rd pellets.
 

maraakate

Member
Sep 27, 2021
198
Lancaster, PA
Yeah I'm burning a mix right now and it just amazes me how much hotter it burns and how quickly it gets things up to temp compared to the AWF pellets alone. It looks like if you keep on top of your maintenance and the stove burns it OK it's not all that bad throwing it in there. With that said, where I'm at current prices don't make it ideal for burning 24/7 so the mix seems like a good way to go.
 

Lordtimothy200

Burning Hunk
Dec 29, 2018
139
Nebraska
Straight out of the field I have never had corn over 15 percent moisture around here. For me pellets is way way to much work for me. With my corn set up, I only need to fill my bin on the side of the house once every two weeks. I am kind of lazy.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
Field out back is coming off at19. I need to sneak out there and pick about 20 ears for the squirrels.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
Hard clinkers will always be an issue burning straight corn, why I mix 2-1. My 6039 has a motorized stirrer to keep the fuel agitated.
 

rickwai

Minister of Fire
Nov 1, 2011
1,313
ohio
$5 /bu is still way worth burning corn. Comes out to $178/ton. Everybodys set up is different, but we have a gravity wagon that we tarp and keep under a lean-to. That takes care of keeping weather and keeps mice out. I made a simple chute adapter for the wagon to fill 5 gal buckets then pour the corn thru a simple gravity screen cleaner. Top tray 1/2" hardware mesh and a angle 1/4" mesh on a angle to get fines and bees wings. It is still a little dusty but not bad. No magnetic cleaner. We have been doing it this way for 10 yrs and the St Croix has never had a problem.
I can only speak for a St. Croix, but straight corn in this stove is not anymore cleaning maintenance than a pellet stove. I run this stove 24/7 for weeks at a time if needed, dropping the clinker on the fly not having to shut the stove down. The clinker block comes out like a small brick, just drops into the pan. It is nice now that I found a 2nd ash pan so I can pull one and put a empty one back in on the fly.
The St Croix does not burn pellets well, They were designed as a corn burner and do in very well. Interior of my stove is snow white to a tan in color from the ash then there is some granular black ash, but it is different than black wood ash, you can get it on your hands and it just brushes off, it dont make a mess of your hands.
Plus we pulls the wagon over to my buddies farm and he loads it from his bin and we pull it home. Cant buy anymore local than that :)
I did buy 1 ton of Somersets for $199.00/ton plus 5% off for using there card at TSC in August for the basement stove. Typical pellet price here is $250-300 /ton. So yes $178/ton for corn is well worth it for me.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
The issue today is, most of the newer stoves are not corn capable, either by design (the way the burn pot is made) or the combustion air is insufficient to burn corn because corn takes more combustion air to burn properly and people living in suburbia or in a city have no access to shelled corn anyway and of course corn gives off nitric acid vapor so it eats metal and if you don't maintain your unit as in spring cleaning and oiling the combustion chamber before the summer sleep, your stove will turn into a rust bucket quick like and the nitric also eats the stainless inner liner in the venting so it needs to me cleaned when the stove is put up for the summer. Why I take mine apart every spring and pressure wash it inside with Purple Power and a good rinse. Like I said previously, getting some thin spots but it's been doing the job for 20 years now. I'll need to replace a few sections this spring.

With me corn is the absoluter cheapest fuel because it's free...lol
 
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Lordtimothy200

Burning Hunk
Dec 29, 2018
139
Nebraska
I have had the same experience as rickwai. Almost the same set up but I am too lazy to do the 5 gallon buckets. It would have to be over $8 a bushel before I would have to make a hard decision to do something different.

It moisture tested out just under 15 coming out of the field this year. Was thinking about air drying it down a bit to 12 or 13 percent. However it would be just another project I don't have time for.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
I have had the same experience as rickwai. Almost the same set up but I am too lazy to do the 5 gallon buckets. It would have to be over $8 a bushel before I would have to make a hard decision to do something different.

It moisture tested out just under 15 coming out of the field this year. Was thinking about air drying it down a bit to 12 or 13 percent. However it would be just another project I don't have time for.
15 is just at the borderline of no good as in poor burning and lots of deposits. Why I like mine, it's never over 10.
 

rickwai

Minister of Fire
Nov 1, 2011
1,313
ohio
I have to replace my 2' end piece every 5 yrs or so. I just have a 6"piece, 45 ell then a 2' thru the wall. I clean it pretty good in the spring then finish with a couple bags of pellets and that seems to neutralize the corn acid.
I agree Flip, Most newer "multi fuel" stoves dont burn corn well at all. The Mt Vernon AE and PC45 are the only 2 others I have experience with. Neither are worth a crap for corn. Pc45 makes tons of ash with corn
 

rickwai

Minister of Fire
Nov 1, 2011
1,313
ohio
15 is just at the borderline of no good as in poor burning and lots of deposits. Why I like mine, it's never over 10.
I have never tested mine. I have not had a problem yet.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
I have never tested mine. I have not had a problem yet.
I don't either but the person I get mine from, it's all no germ seed corn packaged so it has to be very dry (below 10% RM) or it won't keep (gets moldy) in the bags.

I really like the stuff I get because it's exceptionally clean. It has to be, to be commercially sold. Nothing but 100% junk corn...lol
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
I don't believe many stove builders even consider their units to be corn capable from the get go.

When I bought and refurbished the 6039 I did (pictures of the finished stove today on my other thread), I was gonna sell it but I've decided to install it in the workshop simply because it's corn capable whereas most aren't and it's not like I have an issue getting corn anyway so I might as well use it. Waiting for a 3 foot length of venting so I can hook ot up. The previous owner gave me the venting (which needs cleaned of course, it's filthy like the stove was) and once I receive the 3 foot length from Venting Pipe (it shipped on Wednesday and should be here Monday. I'll proceed with hooking it up. Of course I bought another Tripp Lite Isobar, faceplate mount surge suppressor as well. I'm 100% sold on them. Got a remote digital millivolt T'stat too.

Kind of wish it was Cal Rod ignition, I would have bought a WiFi millivolt T'stat so I could start it from the hose but it's not (old school gelled fire starter or hand sanitizer and pellet start.

Cannot have everything I guess.

Interestingly, both the boards (the one in the house and the refurb one) have lugs on the boards to install a Cal Rod ignitor but I don't have a clue how they mount or of there is a special; burn pot or what. If they are burn pot mount, I can easily modify it (pot), bit I don't have a clue about them.

If anyone has a recent build with Cal Rod ignition, I'm all game to install it.

Obvious to me that both units are capable, just don't have the ignitor or know how it installs. Like I said, I can fabricate or modify the pots, no big deal.