Zipper Method with a Jotul Castine possible???

Soadrocks Posted By Soadrocks, Dec 20, 2010 at 12:01 AM

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  1. Soadrocks

    New Member 2.

    Nov 1, 2009
    Rochester, NY
    I just read about the "Zipper" method and it definitely intrigued me as it's starting to get pretty gosh darn cold over here and we're trying to speed up the cycle as well as utilize all the BTU's as possible. Anywho, when trying out this method, it's very difficult to go N/S with splits as we don't have many shorties, but I was able to find enough for one load, and it did work very well.

    However, my question is, can you build the zipper East/West and follow the same procedure?
  2. LLigetfa

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Nov 9, 2008
    NW Ontario
    I'm not sure what exactly you mean by the "zipper method". The zipper is a source of air usually front and centre at the base of the coals and one practice is to draw the coals up to it so as to burn them down quickly. Bulding a fire N/S also can take advantage of the jet blast of zipper air to promote faster burning. If that is what you mean, then you can still take advantage of the zipper by elevating the splits by dragging coals to the front. You can also place a couple of short splits N/S or medium lenght splits on the diagonal. Another trick that I often use is to take advantage of odd shaped splits so that there is a gap under them for the zipper air.

    Note that some stove manufacturers advise against elevating wood like that or by installing a grate or andirons. There is the very real possibility of a runaway condition overfiring a stove that way.

    New Member 2.

    Jun 13, 2010
    Central Ks
    I think you are talking about the resent post were you put your hot coals in the center North South.

    Then put two splits NS either side of the coals and then EW on top.

    I tried this also I think it works but it is hard to get the right size split.
  4. shawneyboy

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Oct 5, 2010
    NE PA
    It is definitely easy with a N/S loading stove. E/W has some issues but.... that being said some have reported success with a few shorties on bottom loaded N/S the usual lengths loaded on top E/W. It really depends on the stove setup. I have a Mansfield with a BIG box that is designed for a N/S load.
  5. begreen

    Mooderator 2.
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    South Puget Sound, WA
    The way I employed a similar method in the Castine was to lay some sleepers N/W first with a space between them. They usually were about 2x2x10-12". Then I would load the normal E/W splits. It definitely sped up the cycle and produced higher temps in a shorter time span.
  6. JBinKC

    Feeling the Heat 2.

    Jan 14, 2006
    Lake of the Ozarks
    That is how I always load my Castine with a coal base. Coals raked in the middle with small pieces NS on the outside and the rest EW. I also in most cases try to load the larger pieces up front (not back) given the tiered design of secondary burn tubes.

    My system is rear vented which I will admit probably is not the optimal engineered chimney design for this stove and I find that using this method helps with complete combustion of the wood front and back at the same time and the burn cycle is usually shorter 6 hours (with oak firewood) because there is less volume of wood used. For a quick clean burn it also helps if you leave a narrow space between the front and back piece so the flame has an easy escape route to the burn tubes.

    Since this method does speed up the burn cycle it works best in really cold weather it also helps to have some poor coaling firewood on hand.
  7. Skier76

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Apr 14, 2009
    CT and SoVT
    Bigger splits up that's something I haven't tried in our Castine. I think I'll try it out next time we're up north.
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