OK to poke a fire in a BK?

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BC_Josh

Member
Oct 23, 2023
126
Nelson, British Columbia
Hi. I know BK basically wants folks to not poke their fires, but is that under no circumstances whatsoever?
It's just that sometimes, there are "husks" of half burned log splits that don't burn all the way through. Usually, I stack it right and it's not an issue but like in this photo I am showing on the left side, a big split is not burning through much, sometimes, it happens. I just want to poke the whole thing so it burns down evenly.
BTW, I do start a fire, then leave it on high for twenty min's before turning down.

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No problem. Disengage the cat, wait a min or 3, poke til your hearts content, close door and reengage once the dust settles. I usually open the door just enough for the poker to fit through, to keep as much heat in the box as possible.
 
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The middle always burns out first on mine too. Then I have two separate fires. Once each of those becomes just a single remnant it stops burning so I usually have two femur sized remnants to make part of the next load.

If you just can’t resist fussing with it, I don’t see a problem with opening up the stove for some poking.
 
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Thanks for the replies.... I thought maybe it has something to do with sudden shifts to the catalytic burner that wasn't good for it?

They say not to open the stove or poke the fire until it's time to reload on this BK video anyway (at the 10:28 second mark):

 
Thanks for the replies.... I thought maybe it has something to do with sudden shifts to the catalytic burner that wasn't good for it?

They say not to open the stove or poke the fire until it's time to reload on this BK video anyway (at the 10:28 second mark):



For sure it’s a negative thing for your catalyst to open the door because it introduced a rush of cold air in the vicinity of a hot cat. Thermal shock to some degree and that damage may be small with each hot door opening but it’s not zero.

Really, do you think you’re accomplishing anything by poking? So long as the load mostly burns up by the end it’s fine to just let the thing run.
 
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I sometimes put some kindling or a small split in the bottom sides. That burns away early, leaving some extra air space which helps to reduce the tendency for the fire to separate in the middle. Usually I don't bother; the separation doesn't cause a problem.
 
The center portion of the load burns out first in my King. I use a poker and move everything to the middle and reload large amounts to each side and also on top of the hot coals. Makes for easy transition to continued operation. If you plan on lettting the fire go out, you can also just turn up the thermostat and that will burn the sides down faster.

BKVP
 
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It is only on a rare occassion that I have some log splits off to the side that really aren't burned through very much. Thought it would be nice to poke 'em occassionally.... but I hear ya; the catalyst doesn't appreciate the cold air... ok. Thank you. BUT.... (I say but).... sometimes you want to light another fire when the cat thermometer is still at mid point, but there are hardly any coals... So, I'm assuming at lower temp's the cat is OK to open the door.
 
As noted, center will burn through first, but all should be consumed. If stove dies with any serious chunks left behind, it's a sign you're trying to burn too low and slow for your conditions. Those "conditions" include your draft and quality of wood.

As noted, turning the stove up when you get down to these last remnants is a good way to continue getting as much heat as possible, while ensuring they're completely consumed. The thermostat moves to open air a bit on its own, as the fire wanes, but its movement is much more limited than what you can do by turning the knob.
 
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I often have pieces left on the perimeter (sides and back) of my Chinook as I am getting to the end of a load.

My procedure:
  1. Open the air all the way until the remnants glow brightly or burst into flame
  2. Disengage the cat
  3. Wait a minute just because
  4. Use a poker or shovel to distribute the remnants evenly across the stove floor
  5. Load
My wood this year is a little wetter (20%MC) than last year (thanks, record wet September) and I need a bit higher temp on the coals before loading to ensure fast takeoff.
 
I often have pieces left on the perimeter (sides and back) of my Chinook as I am getting to the end of a load.

My procedure:
  1. Open the air all the way until the remnants glow brightly or burst into flame
  2. Disengage the cat
  3. Wait a minute just because
  4. Use a poker or shovel to distribute the remnants evenly across the stove floor
  5. Load
My wood this year is a little wetter (20%MC) than last year (thanks, record wet September) and I need a bit higher temp on the coals before loading to ensure fast takeoff.
I almost bought a Chinook but opted for the Sirocco since I wanted the legs instead of pedestal. If I'm not mistaken, the models all have the same firebox, just different packaging/look. At any rate, it's nice to load hot instead of having to rebuild a whole fire from cold. Also, don't you just love your BK stove, QuarryHouse? I sure love mine!
 
I believe all the .2 models have the same firebox but I am no expert. I really do love the stove - it's been a revelation for me to easily have a 20 hour burn time, with the ability to turn the heat up and down. 24 hours if I stack it correctly. It drafts well enough that opening the stove doesn't introduce smoke into the living room. The only thing I don't like about it is the fact that the stove is dead black inside for 90% of its run time. I bet if Blaze King put an LCD panel on the front with a yule log burning they'd increase sales :)
 
I believe all the .2 models have the same firebox but I am no expert. I really do love the stove - it's been a revelation for me to easily have a 20 hour burn time, with the ability to turn the heat up and down. 24 hours if I stack it correctly. It drafts well enough that opening the stove doesn't introduce smoke into the living room. The only thing I don't like about it is the fact that the stove is dead black inside for 90% of its run time. I bet if Blaze King put an LCD panel on the front with a yule log burning they'd increase sales :)
We do offer that concept in a linear gas fireplace!

BKVP
 
No, I have a 20.2. I have a small house (1,000 square feet) and didn't need anything bigger. If BK made a smaller stove I probably would have bought it. I had to re-do the surround with steel studs and concrete board to pass inspection for the clearances as it is.
Interesting.... I didn't have to put any kind of shield on the wall for my Sirocco 20.2. I just had to have a floor pad for it, which I got a local steel machine shop to fabricate, by cutting out a 1/8th of an inch piece of sheet steel (and finish it with a product that stops it from rusting). I did this instead of tiles or a thicker pad because it's in an area of the house where I want to walk over it often (and I also put a fire-proof mat down on the end of the pad as well. Works great.
 
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I had drywall with wood studs and only about 8 inches of side clearance from the stove. They wanted 12 inches clearance from the side of the stove to anything flammable, including the studs, so I ripped out the drywall, replaced the wood studs with steel and, just to be extra compliant, replaced the drywall with painted Hardieboard. Looks better than you'd think - you can get it pre-painted from Hardie. And I got the 26% tax credit on all the installation work - materials, etc.
 
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Ok, let's revive the Blaze King wood stove tetris challenge. I'll start it off...KE40!

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Just stuff it full. It's not about total weight, but density of the photographed load!

BKVP
 
Ok, let's revive the Blaze King wood stove tetris challenge. I'll start it off...KE40!

View attachment 319744
No, no, no. First, you need square splits to really pack it. Second, you need oak for max BTU's! ::-)

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Here's a pic snapped the other night, but I guess I should've finished loading before I took the photo. ;lol
 
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Triangles, rectangles, and hexagons pack much better than circles. Everybody does triangles, and rectangles aren't hard. There should be major bonus points for anyone using hexagons.

But for max BTUs, it may have to be NIELs shaved to rectangles. Anybody who does hexagonal NIELs automatically wins, and we take up a collection for therapy for their OCD.
 
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I will be running a splitter this weekend!
 
Yes, 7" of hot coals...

BKVP