Sifting out charcoal/embers from ash

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Monosperma

Member
Jun 4, 2011
109
Colorado/NewMexico
Generally, when my stove needs shoveling, I find there is a mix of ash and pieces of charcoal. If I burned recently, the charcoal will still be glowing. Is there any point in trying to save this charcoal as fuel, or is it a waste of time? Does anyone bother with doing this? I am contemplating buying a cheap ash shovel, cutting the bottom out, and lining the bottom with chicken wire, just for this task. What is the experience and input from the forum?

p.s. Someone else has already had this idea and is selling the tool. http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=ember+sifter&_sacat=0&_from=R40
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
I try to save as much as possible, but can't get it all. Don't sweat it, but make sure it is in a metal container with a tight lid and move it outside so any CO that might escape does not stay in the house. Let it cool a few days before disposing of it.

Matt
 

Ryan Clark

New Member
Oct 12, 2012
13
Eagle Bridge, NY
I have an OCD thing going on when it comes to shoveling. I like to use as much of my hard split wood as i can. I have a piece of 1/2 x 1/2 inch hardware cloth that i put over the coal bucket. The ash falls in and the coals get put back in the stove. I do this with hot and cold ashes. It takes a little extra time, but i'm ok with that. Not sure on the added gain, but it makes for easy heat in a hot stove!
 

corey21

Minister of Fire
Oct 28, 2010
2,249
Soutwest VA
I just rake the coals to one side shovel ash on the other side place the ash a metal container then repeat on the other side then ash container goes outside on concrete.
 
S

StihlHead

Guest
I use metal Corona buckets and I scoop the ashes into them. I leave them outside under the patio cover for at least a day to cool off. I nailed 1/4 inch hardware cloth to a wood frame that is the size of my wheelbarrow and I use that as a sieve. I put the sieve over the wheelbarrow and dump the ashes from the buckets onto it. I use a short handle hoe to sift the charcoal out. I toss that back into the wood stove. I use the wood ash for garden fertilizer (great source of potassium), and I also use it as fines with 3/4 minus rock to fill in the potholes in my gravel driveway. If I am burning naily construction wood, I use a magnet on a stick to get all the nails out when I sieve the ashes.
 

David Tackett

Member
Oct 17, 2012
178
Waynesburg, Kentucky
I put my ashes in my garden. I just dump them over the garden all winter and then they get tilled into the ground in spring. I try to save as much coals as I can when cleaning my stove.
 

Huntindog1

Minister of Fire
Dec 6, 2011
1,879
South Central Indiana
I had some of that metal gutter guard stuff that looks like expanded metal pattern. I took a piece of it and cut a 20" piece then bent up the sides down by the scooping end to have like a channel to shake the ash back and forth to separate the coals from ash. Actually I dont use it very often but have it if needed.

I usually just push all the ashes back to the back of the stove then lightly rake the tops of the big coals forward and the light weight ashes will usually stay in the back.
 
N

nate379

Guest
I'd imagine that makes a heck of a dust cloud in your house?

I have an OCD thing going on when it comes to shoveling. I like to use as much of my hard split wood as i can. I have a piece of 1/2 x 1/2 inch hardware cloth that i put over the coal bucket. The ash falls in and the coals get put back in the stove. I do this with hot and cold ashes. It takes a little extra time, but i'm ok with that. Not sure on the added gain, but it makes for easy heat in a hot stove!

Usually when I clean out my stove (roughly every 4-6 weeks) it's pretty much just fine ash and no chucks.
 
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rideau

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2012
2,168
southern ontario
Like Corey 21 just rake the coals to one side and scoop out the ash. Have no problem separating. And, like Nate 379, fundamentally all I have in my stove when I rake is very light fine ash, some few coals if I have not let the fir burn down completely. If I started trying to sift that stuff in the house, I'd be cleaning ash up forever. And sifting outside the wind would blow it all over.
 

Huntindog1

Minister of Fire
Dec 6, 2011
1,879
South Central Indiana
Dust clouds are not an issue if you do it in the stove with the tools listed above buying one or making one.

The reason is that the stoves draft will suck any dust up the flue. Same thing with my ash pan under my pedestal stove, when I open tha little hatch to drop the ash down to the ash drawer not much ash gets out into the room as the draw of the stove sucks the light weight dust up the flue. It's not perfect but works pretty darn good.
 

corey21

Minister of Fire
Oct 28, 2010
2,249
Soutwest VA
Dust clouds are not an issue if you do it in the stove with the tools listed above buying one or making one.

The reason is that the stoves draft will suck any dust up the flue. Same thing with my ash pan under my pedestal stove, when I open tha little hatch to drop the ash down to the ash drawer not much ash gets out into the room as the draw of the stove sucks the light weight dust up the flue. It's not perfect but works pretty darn good.


I tried my ash pan one time and that was the last for me.

Mine is way to shallow.
 

Huntindog1

Minister of Fire
Dec 6, 2011
1,879
South Central Indiana
I tried my ash pan one time and that was the last for me.

Mine is way to shallow.

Ever tried doing two loads ? As shoveling out into a bucket can really get the house dusty if your not carefull.
 

trguitar

Feeling the Heat
Dec 2, 2011
265
Harvard, MA
I just use a stainless steel ladle -- what you'd use to take food out of a deep-frier. Works great. And the price is right, too.
 

corey21

Minister of Fire
Oct 28, 2010
2,249
Soutwest VA
Ever tried doing two loads ? As shoveling out into a bucket can really get the house dusty if your not carefull.

No never done 2 i do agree if im not careful it can get messy.
 

PapaDave

Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2008
5,739
Northern MI - in the mitten
Being a little more careful isn't too difficult. It only takes ......maybe an extra 30 seconds.!!!
Push the coals to the side, scoop up shovel full of ash, then carefully slide ash off shovel into bucket. Very slight puff of ash when done this way.
Unless, of course, my nosy dog decides to "help".:mad:
 
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hoffa

Member
Jan 5, 2012
18
Ont Canada
I made a tool I call the AshGrabber.;) Just a home made ash shovel with higher sides and alot of 1/4 holes in the bottom. Just shovel and sift in the stove, move coals to one side and remove the ash with another shovel. Works pretty good for me.
 

corey21

Minister of Fire
Oct 28, 2010
2,249
Soutwest VA
Being a little more careful isn't too difficult. It only takes ......maybe an extra 30 seconds.!!!
Push the coals to the side, scoop up shovel full of ash, then carefully slide ash off shovel into bucket. Very slight puff of ash when done this way.
Unless, of course, my nosy dog decides to "help".:mad:

Same here if i do it slow and easy no mess made.
 

Flatbedford

Minister of Fire
Mar 17, 2009
5,252
Las Vegas, NV
I go by the push coals to the side, and shovel ash method. I'm not too concerned about losing few coals. Everything goes outside in a steel bucket and is dumped in a steel trash can or dumped a snow pile.
 

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
27,811
Michigan
I've never understood why ashes are such a problem for folks. And even if you do get a few hot coals in with the ashes, it is no big deal so long as you dispose of them properly. And as for the ash dust, it is foolish to have any as it is not needed nor are any special tools needed. Just learn to do it right. Learn it once and it will never be a problem again.
 
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egclassic

Feeling the Heat
Jan 1, 2011
261
SW Ohio
I made a tool I call the AshGrabber.;) Just a home made ash shovel with higher sides and alot of 1/4 holes in the bottom. Just shovel and sift in the stove, move coals to one side and remove the ash with another shovel. Works pretty good for me.
I bought a new ash bucket/shovel set this year. I took the shovel that came with it and took my Vari-bit (step drill) and drilled rows of 1/4"-3/8" holes in it. Have not had many fires yet this year but, I tried it once and seems like it will work very well. I tried the chicken wire route, but it did not work well at all.
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,266
Southern IN
Usually, I just open the air when the load is almost done and try to burn down the coals as much as possible so it is easier to separate the ash. Of course if you are firing hard to maintain indoor temps, you don't have this luxury.

I use metal Corona buckets and I scoop the ashes into them. I leave them outside under the patio cover for at least a day to cool off.
A pretty ingenious system you have there, but just a couple of cautions... Is your Corona bucket is a beer-cooling bucket? I was using a Bud Light bucket I found, and was getting an odor when hot coals were in there. Then I read a thread here that stated that electro-plated steel can give off toxic metal fumes when heated. !!! You don't want to be breathing that, IMO.
As far as the ashes cooling off, I have still seen hot coals in an ash bucket after several days...be careful. :oops:
I've never understood why ashes are such a problem for folks. And even if you do get a few hot coals in with the ashes, it is no big deal so long as you dispose of them properly. And as for the ash dust, it is foolish to have any as it is not needed nor are any special tools needed. Just learn to do it right. Learn it once and it will never be a problem again.
Everyone is different but I just don't like shovelling ashes out and having to be careful. To me, it's a big pain in the butt. And you are going to have a hard time convincing me that no ash dust escapes, as you claim. Granted, it may not be much...
That's one thing I sorely miss about the Keystone; The grate/ash pan setup is great on that stove. Just swirl a poker through the rubble a couple time...ashes gone and coals still in the stove. Then just pull the pan every few days and dump. No muss, no fuss. A truly elegant piece of stove engineering. :cool:
What needs to be invented is a heat-proof Teflon-coated shovel that the ashes would slide off easily...that would help. Maybe I can find an old frying pan at the thrift stove and do some engineering of my own... ==c
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,266
Southern IN
I wouldnt use a teflon pan for this, teflon over I believe 400 degrees releases a poison gas
Yeah, it seems to me that I've heard some bad stuff about non-stick cooking surfaces lately...
 
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