[Public-List] Solid fuel stove - What to burn?

George Dinwiddie gdinwiddie at alberg30.org
Sat Oct 29 09:54:53 PDT 2011

John, et al,

On 10/28/11 5:41 PM, John Birch wrote:
> We have a Cole Stove. Supposed to burn coal or charcoal - too messy and
> the risks of storing coal and charcoal re spontaneous combustion in a
> dam environment ain't worth it.

I keep the fuel in a plastic bucket with a lid.  Or a gallon plastic jar 
with a screw lid.

> We now use sterno cans, add a bit of salt to it to get a yellow flame -
> not as hot as coal for sure, but nice ambience, no mess to clean up and
> it must throw some heat, because the cats always curl up near it when
> its on ; )

Sterno is just jellied ethanol.  Burning alcohol increases the water 
vapor.  Solid fuel heaters dry the boat out.

> ----- Original Message ----- From: <mainstay at csolve.net>
> To: <dans at stmktg.com>; "Alberg 30 Public List -- open to all"
> <public-list at lists.alberg30.org>
> Sent: Friday, October 28, 2011 5:34 PM
> Subject: Re: [Public-List] Solid fuel stove - What to burn?
>> Hello gents -
>> We have a Dickinson wood stove in SURPRISE. I've tried several fuels
>> in it, here are our observations:
>> Wood - easy to burn but burns too hot and too fast. This is partly
>> because the Dickinson is quite leaky with regard to air...you can't
>> really shut it down. We also noticed that burning wood lets a lot of
>> soot/sparks up on deck - not good!

I've found wood is a great backup.  I got some hardwood offcuts at the 
St. Michael's Maritime Museum one time when my charcoal was running low. 
  That was the best wood fuel I ever used.

>> Coal - 'acorn coal' if you can find it is great. It's tough to light
>> but once it's going it is evenly hot and burns a long time. I've been
>> warned not to leave the ash in the stove long because the sulfer in it
>> makes acid with humidity and can rot out the steel in the stove.

Bituminous is much easier to light than anthracite.  I've used some 
fairly big pieces of that, and been very happy with it.  Sadly, I've not 
been able to find it locally.  The bag I had came from Sue Barrett's 
Uncle Bert's basement.

>> Wood charcoal - easy to find, easy to light, nice even heat. Down
>> sides are that it's dirty, and in an average bag we tend to prefer the
>> big pieces in order to avoid handling the smaller bits...which means
>> we only find about 1/3 of a bag is usefull. On the other hand, it's
>> cheap!

It's also becoming easier to find, as more people care about their 
barbecues.  I'll shovel in the small pieces after the fire is going well.

>> Charcoal briquetts - cheap, easy to find, easy to light, not so sooty
>> as wood charcoal, burn slowly and not too hot. Downside... makes a
>> huge amount of ash.

I don't like these at all.  More ash than heat.  And the easy-light ones 
smell like kerosene.

I use paraffin-based (American paraffin: wax, not oil, 
http://bit.ly/t1N98Y) firestarters to get things going.  A small piece 
is all you need.  You can also make your own with tightly rolled 
newspaper, tied with string every couple inches, sawed between the 
strings, pushed on the end into a cone shape, and soaked in melted 
canning paraffin or old candles.

>> last - make sure ventillation is good!

And watch for downdrafts.

>> Gord #426 SURRPISE

  - George

   When I remember bygone days                         George Dinwiddie
   I think how evening follows morn;            gdinwiddie at alberg30.org
   So many I loved were not yet dead,           http://www.Alberg30.org
   So many I love were not yet born.                          also see:
                'The Middle' by Ogden Nash     http://idiacomputing.com


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