Author Topic: What makes a stove suitable for burning anthracite coal?  (Read 2033 times)

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Offline Yrag

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What makes a stove suitable for burning anthracite coal?
« on: January 02, 2014, 06:30:44 PM »
I am building a small log cabin for a retirement wood working project and I have purchased a small antique cast iron stove to heat it. Researching the stove on the internet I have found that it allegedly is originally intended as a coal or wood burning stove. It is a "Vernois" from Mount Vernon, Illinois. The stove does not have any fire brick in the interior and the grate the fire rests on is cast iron. Rather than burn down my cabin I thought I would ask if anyone knew what exactly makes a stove suitable to burn coal? The stove does have a vent under the fire and above the fire and a shaker grate, which were the only things I could find that were requirements for a coal burner. I did look up the burn temp for anthracite coal and it waS 2100 degrees F and the melting point for cast iron was 2300 degrees F. Will this stove stand up to the heat? Thanks for any advice you can give me.

Offline niall

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Re: What makes a stove suitable for burning anthracite coal?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2014, 08:01:01 PM »
hi Yrag

i was wondering the same .....we recently installed a small stanley wood burner stove , so far its mainly small pieces of dry seasoned timber , but i did put in some coal ( small amounts ).......it seems to work fine with a little coal ......but the air ventilation disk does need adjustment , otherwise it takes off (too much combustion ? )

one thing i did like is it seals very well when the door is latched .......

Offline Wolvenar

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Re: What makes a stove suitable for burning anthracite coal?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2014, 05:35:45 AM »
I asked around about this for you, as I am also interested in maybe buying some for a stove I have, if anything just to see how it works.

Of course use at your own risk, I/we cannot be held responsible for what your ultimate decision and actions are.
 
I'm not offering a definitive guide, or promise, as I am not an expert and the advice I got from the experts came with limited knowledge of what you have, and then only based on the description you offered.

The answers and advice I received from the local heating experts in my area summarized.

What you have *sounds* like  the genuine article from your description.
 
Most older coal stoves were a heavy cast iron, or thick plate metal (but then normally includes fire bricks).
They are built to handle the "normal" operating burning temperatures of coal, but NOT the maximum temps that can be achieved with a forced air induction, or a runaway stove that cannot shut its airflow down to a safe level.

Things to be careful of are:
 
The first and what everyone stressed to be the most important:
An older stove MUST be capable of shutting down most if not all drafts in case of a runaway.
A stove that cannot is a hazard.
You would be running a risk using it with any type of coal

Flu and piping must meet higher standards of how good is good enough.
As one would presume with  the consistently higher temperatures of the coal.

Coal has a very long heat up time, and similarly a LONG cool down time, plan accordingly.
Never try to dowse a coal fire in a cast iron stove, as the stove may break or shatter from the temperature extremes, the hot coal then also may be released causing injury or fire.

Be careful using coal in a stove that has burned a lot of wood, check the chimney for soot buildup.
The coal may ignite soot built up from wood.

Like I said, I cant be held responsible, but these are what I was told were important to consider when burning coal.

Trying to make power from alternative energy any which way I can.
Just to abuse what I make. (and run this site)

Offline bj

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Re: What makes a stove suitable for burning anthracite coal?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2014, 05:50:03 PM »
just to toss in a bit of info,  in my previous house I had a fireplace with Stainless firebox.
The grate however was made of 1/2 inch steel square stock.
I tried coal and it's long heating qualities were even more than expected, but the grate
only lasted about 2 months.
I made another grate out of 1/2 ss, but identical otherwise, and as far as I know they are
still using it.
The coal we get around here is not anthracite however.
I suspect that is why they used to line with firebrick.
"Even a blind squirrel will find an acorn once in a while"
bj

Offline Wolvenar

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Re: What makes a stove suitable for burning anthracite coal?
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2014, 08:55:44 AM »
BJ, do you think it was the heat, or the ph of the coal that took out the grate?
Trying to make power from alternative energy any which way I can.
Just to abuse what I make. (and run this site)

Offline bj

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Re: What makes a stove suitable for burning anthracite coal?
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2014, 06:33:52 AM »
   Up until about 3 minutes ago, I always thought it was the heat.  PH is however a good point.  Why I say that,
is that although everything from the firebox up  to the top of the chimney was SS, the chimney cap was only steel,
and it only lasted about two years.  The heat should not have been that bad up there,  as it was a 20 foot chimney.
   Wonder if the new owners would mind a little testing.   ;)
   A good point to ponder.
"Even a blind squirrel will find an acorn once in a while"
bj

Offline Norm

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Re: What makes a stove suitable for burning anthracite coal?
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2014, 06:58:11 AM »
Ah bj , never had anthracite.....where we lived was bituminous ....soft coal started burning
at a lower temperature I lived with a good old furnace and learned by habit what not to
do ....mainly don't burn the coal too fast .
  The grates will last forever if you never shake the grates too much ...grates were meant
to just get rid of some of the dead stuff so the fire can get a certain amount of air.  and
to insulate the grate from the red hot coals.
   Norm.