Stove vent and loading/reloading newbie?'s

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velocity1

New Member
Dec 5, 2021
58
Connecticut
Hi All,
Thanks to all the great advice on here i hired a better experienced company at giving a shot at installing my stove. To the direction given here they agreed in relocating my thimble higher up as opposed to using the rear vent option on my stove. Came out great and stove has been doing well. It vents into a brick chimney with a new liner. Chimney is short but meets hearthstones minimum requirement of 16 feet. This is the first time i have ever used a wood stove before so learning as i go and keep coming back here to look at older threads to get some tips but do have some questions i need further guidance on.
1. The Hearthstone Manchester has a row of vents on the top of the stove that allows heat to come out from convection. Since these holes are on top of the stove some of the heat goes straight up to the ceiling. I have the stove in my mud room and im trying to get as much heat to move forward as possible versus up as Im trying to get the heat to move across the first floor of our cape. Has anyone covered these holes up with a sheet of steel? Is that even worth it? There are also front vents as well on this stove. I added a pic of top vents as fyi.

2. Loading and reloading, I have only been using the stove for 2 days now so still experimenting and trying to figure it all out on what's best. At first i started a small fire and then threw a few medium to smaller splits on it and just kept adding wood through out the day as it burned down. At night i didn't load it as much as I see others load for the overnight burn but I got about 7 hours of loosely packed splits (loaded at 9:30 and by 4am it was just about down to coals, in the teens at night). Over the course of 2 days I had a ton of coals which was basically up to the dog house which is quite a few inches deep, I'm thinking because of the way i was loading and burning it. I always had the air intake closed off by about 90% when it was good and hot . Last night instead of loading I just let the coals burn down and tried to clear some of them and some ash this morning and start with a more packed load. Here's a pic 20 minutes after I loaded it and then an hour later. It seems to burns fast even closed off at 90%, do you guys pack the stove more than this? I can only really do e/w as n/s the stove is not deep enough compared to the split lengths I have. Should I pack it closer to the window and higher?

thanks all

1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,593
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I can only speak to your second question.

In general I find my stove works best in terms of heating, longer burns and less coaling by burning in cycles . . . and around this time of year I tend to load the firebox to the gills (looks like you have more space and can still keep the wood away from the "glass" front if you stack the wood a bit better).

Burning in cycles vs. throwing on a stick or two here and there works much better in terms of reducing coaling and keeping the heat levels up. Generally I will wait until the coals are the size of a large jawbreaker, maybe a bit larger (really depends on my heating needs to be frank) before reloading. Since my stove has a grate and ash pan I routinely stir the ashes up a bit to allow the finer ash to drop into the ash pan, while retaining the larger coals. I then reload, bring 'er up to temp and then cut back the air to enjoy the heat, light show, etc.
 

velocity1

New Member
Dec 5, 2021
58
Connecticut
I can only speak to your second question.

In general I find my stove works best in terms of heating, longer burns and less coaling by burning in cycles . . . and around this time of year I tend to load the firebox to the gills (looks like you have more space and can still keep the wood away from the "glass" front if you stack the wood a bit better).

Burning in cycles vs. throwing on a stick or two here and there works much better in terms of reducing coaling and keeping the heat levels up. Generally I will wait until the coals are the size of a large jawbreaker, maybe a bit larger (really depends on my heating needs to be frank) before reloading. Since my stove has a grate and ash pan I routinely stir the ashes up a bit to allow the finer ash to drop into the ash pan, while retaining the larger coals. I then reload, bring 'er up to temp and then cut back the air to enjoy the heat, light show, etc.
Thanks for the info! I'm starting to realize my "seasoned" wood i had delivered isn't so seasoned so I think thats part of my issue. Grabbed a meter and split some pieces and even without putting a meter on it the split side you can see wet marks in some pieces. I think those read around high 20% range. I picked through my pile and have some dryer stuff so been trying to use that but still have some wetter stuff mixed in my loads.
This being my first wood stove ive been overly cautious about temps and them rising to where i cant control etc. and i think that may also be adding to my issues after reading some posts here. When i reload on coals I was closing the bypass pretty quick, within a few minutes since i was worried with the amount of flames i was getting was going to cause an over fire. I think this was just not allowing the wood to catch so when I closed the bypass it was for the most part smoldering when I cut back the air. I've also been having my cat probe climb to the high end of the active range almost every load and sometimes spilled over to the too hot zone. It seems like no matter where i cut the air in the active zone it always climbs to the high end, is this from wetter wood or just because im not allowing the wood to burn long enough when the bypass is open? Im assuming because no flames and all gas in the firebox when the bypass is closed and aired down it was basically pushing to cats too hard?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,488
South Puget Sound, WA
Don't cover the convection holes, but consider getting the blower option for this stove, especially if the stove faces the doorway into the main part of the house.

Or for more even heat in the house put a table or box fan in the house, placed on the floor, pointing toward the woodstove in the mudroom. Run it at low speed. It will blow the cooler air down low, toward the woodstove. The denser cool air will be replaced with lighter warm air from the stove room. Running this way you should notice at least a 5F increase in the house after about 30 minutes running.
 
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BigJ273

Minister of Fire
Feb 15, 2015
578
Maryland
Use thicker splits. They will burn slower and put off a more consistent, steady heat. I also burn in cycles load the stove up and let it burn down to coals. Then reload, starting the process all over again.
 

velocity1

New Member
Dec 5, 2021
58
Connecticut
Thanks guys! I placed an order the other day for the Hearthstone blower kit but unfortunately they said it could take 5-7 weeks to receive as they're backordered. I'll give the fan trick a try, I was doing it reverse (wrong) and had a stand up fan in front of the stove a few feet blowing up into the main house which did not seem to help much.
I'm also going to call around and see if there is anyone left out that that has well seasoned firewood available but I think i will be out of luck this late in the season.
 

Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,342
Massachusetts
Great tips from everyone here. I have a small tube stove with a similar looking firebox/doghouse design (Osburn 1600) and you can fit a LOT more wood in there when you're going for long overnight burns. The coals can be raked all the way to the front covering up the dog house. Don't worry, you won't clog it. Also some of the airway air will hit the coals helping reduce them and to ignite the wood.

As far as preventing anything hitting the glass I like to make rectangular splits for this reason. I can stack them up on the coals angled slightly inwards and I never have an issue. If one happens to roll into it on a rare occasion its nothing to worry about. Just let it burn down. Extremely unlikely it will break the glass.

Here's an example of a reload for me do you can see what "stuffed to the gills" means. I had some weird pieces to get rid of so i did a full on tetris load with everthing is safely angled inwards (normally the front pieces wouls be ice rectangular splits up to 1" from the tubes/baffle) :

20220127_104143.jpg
 
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kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
6,713
07462
The good news - you got a good stove, its installed professionally, your seeing well before the next winter the importance of dry wood, the season hopefully is almost at the halfway point here to.
Take a ride over the tractor supply and look for some compressed wood bricks to mix in with your less then desirable wood, that should give the fire some life and help you trudge through the higher moisture stuff.
 

velocity1

New Member
Dec 5, 2021
58
Connecticut
Thanks for the pics Caw, that's very helpful!

Thanks Kenny! Looks like the TSC down the road has the Redstone bricks in stock so I'll swing by to grab some. As for the seasoned wood one thing i need to figure out is a more permanent home to store my firewood. Right now I bought 2 of those cheapy 4x8 firewood racks but that wont be enough room especially now with the current supply needing more time to sit aside and dry. Need to look into building an open enclosure with pitched roof of sorts
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,340
Long Island NY
Regarding your catalyst temperature; it is normal for a new catalyst to run "hot"(-ter than normal). This will settle down in a few weeks (of 24/7 burning).

You're doing good; it's like learning to ride a bicycle. Third try here and you're already going. Maybe a bit wobbly, but you're still getting a feel for how to operate this thing.
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
6,713
07462
Get ready, the addiction is real, next 3 years in the back of your head is all wood stove stuff, you’ll be driving down the road looking for piles and see dead trees you never saw before.
 

velocity1

New Member
Dec 5, 2021
58
Connecticut
Regarding your catalyst temperature; it is normal for a new catalyst to run "hot"(-ter than normal). This will settle down in a few weeks (of 24/7 burning).

You're doing good; it's like learning to ride a bicycle. Third try here and you're already going. Maybe a bit wobbly, but you're still getting a feel for how to operate this thing.
Thanks, wobbly for sure lol! So basically the cat has to break in?
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,340
Long Island NY
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BrianVA

Burning Hunk
Oct 28, 2020
109
Central VA
Great looking stove! Good for you for realizing the wood was not as dry as you thought. I went through that same realization when I started using my insert. I'm now about two years ahead on wood splitting, which is really the bare minimum for the hardwoods that I burn (mostly red, white and chestnut oak). I had a few large oaks come down in our last snow storm that will put me closer to 5 years ahead, which is right where I'd like to be.
 

BrianVA

Burning Hunk
Oct 28, 2020
109
Central VA
I also load E/W. This is how I load for an overnight burn. I cut a few splits to 10" so I can load a few N/S peices right on top of the coal bed to get some extra capacity and allows me to pull the primary air back faster while ensuring a clean burn. But mine is non-cat.

20220126_215953.jpg 20220126_220003.jpg
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,488
South Puget Sound, WA
It would be good to season and try loading with 6" splits in there to extend burn time.
 
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velocity1

New Member
Dec 5, 2021
58
Connecticut
I also load E/W. This is how I load for an overnight burn. I cut a few splits to 10" so I can load a few N/S peices right on top of the coal bed to get some extra capacity and allows me to pull the primary air back faster while ensuring a clean burn. But mine is non-cat.

View attachment 291354 View attachment 291355
Oh, wow thanks! I have some smaller chunks too so will give that set up a try

It would be good to season and try loading with 6" splits in there to extend burn time.
So with split size, is that if the split is wedge style or squared when it comes to the 6". Trying to envision what it would look like
 

velocity1

New Member
Dec 5, 2021
58
Connecticut
This is what I'm dealing with wood wise. A good portion of my cord is like this when I split the larger pieces, has that wet mark.

12.jpg
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,340
Long Island NY
That indeed is (far) too wet.
 
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wjohn

Member
Jul 27, 2021
222
KS
Hey, at least you were on the lookout for it and admit it. I feel like half the battle on here is getting people to realize and admit that their wood is too wet. It's amazing how many people don't want to accept that. It sucks, but it is what it is a lot of times for that first season. I was lucky enough to find a dead standing mulberry in one of my fencerows that was under 17% as-is. The stuff practically self-ignites when a flame touches it.

Good-looking install and you will definitely be able to pack that stove more full as you get comfortable with it.
 

BrianVA

Burning Hunk
Oct 28, 2020
109
Central VA
I agree with wjohn. Just the fact that you know and accept the facts of the situation is worth a lot. Its really weird how some people have so much trouble accepting that.

Bottom line: You should start cutting, splitting, stacking, and covering wood now. Hardwoods will need at least 2 years, softwoods will need at least 1 year. Smaller splits will dry faster than big "all night" logs. So keep that in mind.

There are some threads on here about how to dry hard wood in one summer using an inexpensive make-shift solar kiln if you're interested in giving it a try. The people that do it say it works. I've never tried.
 

Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,342
Massachusetts
Hardwoods will need at least 2 years, softwoods will need at least 1 year. Smaller splits will dry faster than big "all night" logs. So keep that in mind

I think this is in general guys advice just keep in mind location location location when you're planning your stacks. Species is also very important when you're thinking ahead to what will be ready when.

For example I'm in suburban central MA and here's how I set up my stacks:

My house faces south so I get very good prevailing wind afternoon and afternoon sun exposure facing west. 5 x 20' long racks, 2 rows deep, 8" air gap, connected by branches for stability, and top covered lined up N/S on the edge of my propery to get the exposed sides facing west. This way the afternoon sun bakes them and the wind is always blowing through them. See the pic below (2 racks are empty I'm injured so I haven't been able to move stuff).

Because I've taken the time to maximize my rack location and I split my wood all in the 3-5" range im able to season it quickly. My drying times are as follows:

Maple, cherry, ash - 1 season
Standing dead red oak - 1-2 seasons depending on initial MC.
Green red oak - 2 seasons
Soft woods - 1/2 a season (I rarely use them but occasionally some poplar for shoulder season if it's free).

Being able to season quickly allows me to get ahead and have 3 years worth of wood plus a little extra racked up. I usually have 12-15 cords on hand at any given time. On top of these racks I have two pallet islands on the side/in back of the racks for overflow that hold 1.5-2 cords each. I move the wood to the racks as I make room.

Hope this helps! Once you know your set up and how it performs you'll be able to plan ahead a lot easier and be burning nothing but the good sub 20% stuff every year. I promise you it's worth all the extra effort to maximize your stacks!

16439168133603245116713750084395.jpg
 
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velocity1

New Member
Dec 5, 2021
58
Connecticut
Thanks guys! I guess in all types of forums there's always something people don't seem to like to admit like their all motor small block Chevy with a mild cam is fast by todays standards lol

Im thinking about building something similar to this in the Spring but curious to look up that solar shed, thanks

firewoodshedplans17-compressed.jpg
 

velocity1

New Member
Dec 5, 2021
58
Connecticut
Looks good Caw! Our property is basically an open lot rectangle with 2 sides woods lined so I need to figure out orientation. We get good wind that travels down hill to us through a few open yards so hoping to orientate to that to take advantage just need to figure out the sun situation.