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post #1 of 17 Old 03-05-2017 Thread Starter
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New Liveaboard: Need advice on fuel/starting my wood stove

New liveaboard on my O'Day 27. I have a small Cole 1655 wood stove installed, but am not the best at starting it and keeping it going for heat.

First thing, it is installed properly and I have fire extinguishers + CO detectors installed.

The previous owner gave me a bag of coal that he said he liked to use. I was thinking of getting wood pellets and trying those. Does anyone have advice on the ideal fuel to run for 4-5 hours at night to heat up the boat?

Also, what is the best option for getting the fire started? I know the basics and can start a fire, but interested in advice if anyone has perfected a method or has some tips.

Appreciate the help!
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post #2 of 17 Old 03-05-2017
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Re: New Liveaboard: Need advice on fuel/starting my wood stove

Be careful with the coal, I am not sure that a Coleman stove would have been designed for that kind of heat. I'm not saying don't use it, I'm just saying be very careful.

I would think your best option for fuel would be very dry split hardwood.

Pellets might be a pain if the stove isn't designed for it. A standard household pellet stove feeds the stove with an auger. I have read about pellet conversions for regular wood stoves (almost like a steel basket) but I have no experience with them.

I'm not sure about lighting it. Lighting small wood stoves can be a pain.

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Be careful with the coal, I am not sure that a Coleman stove would have been designed for that kind of heat.
It's a Cole stove by Ratelco. Not a Coleman. If the previous owner used coal pieces, then it's probably all right.

Maybe you can use wood shavings like they have at pet stores to line hamster cages. Make sure to get some that have not been treated with any kind of fragrance or Odor Control chemicals.

Can you contact the previous owner for tips on what worked for them?
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Re: New Liveaboard: Need advice on fuel/starting my wood stove

I use "Fatwood" sticks to start 18 inch split logs, they are available in hardware and grocery stores usually.

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Re: New Liveaboard: Need advice on fuel/starting my wood stove

This might help.

The ratelco model 1655 cole stove - ASTROPHEL

I heat with wood at home which is obviously different then your stove. Dry wood is significantly easier and more efficient to deal with. I also find dry pine cones work great to quickly start a fire. Hardwoods are best. My question would be is this a coal stove or a wood stove. There is usually a large difference in operating procedures.
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Re: New Liveaboard: Need advice on fuel/starting my wood stove

Fireplace logs (not presto) chopped into 3"?? lengths start easily and burn long . Too much wax to be the main fuel. Dry fir bark is the best I just walk along the tree line at a secluded beach with a gunny sack but you might not be so well located. A skill saw makes little pieces out of a hardwood pallet dragged back down the dock .If you scounge , watch out for pressure treated stuff ,not good.
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Re: New Liveaboard: Need advice on fuel/starting my wood stove

The absolute best wood for heating is dried, seasoned hickory - highest BTU rating, hardest and longest lasting. When I had a wood stove at home, three split logs would last about 8 hours.

When I lived out west, Presto Bricketts, which are the size and shape of charcoal bricketts, worked very well, but were short lived, lasting an hour or two at most. Same with presto logs, which were made in the town I lived in. The logs lasted about 6 hours.

For lighting the stove, I just used some waxed twigs, which you could light with a match.

As for using coal - that can be deadly if the chimney were to become plugged a bit. Coal puts off carbon monoxide and if it leaks into the cabin, you will never make it out alive.

My advice, move to a warmer climate. Don't need no stinking wood stove where the palm trees grow.

Good luck,

Gary
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Re: New Liveaboard: Need advice on fuel/starting my wood stove

Coal is a lot tougher to run than wood... Plus the CO hazard is waaaay higher using coal. If the stove is set up for coal, it will have a "shaker grate" as coal "clinkers up" and does not burn well in a thick bed of ash (unlike wood).

Do not use "presto-logs" or softwood (pine) wood in your stove. High levels of creosote can lead to chimney fires and other unpleasant things. Wood pellets generally require a stove designed for same. Air dryed hardwood is best, split oak, maple, hickory, etc depending on your local. Unless you know someone with a woodlot, its gonna be tough to purchase a small quantity other than those grocery store, big box bundles which will drive you poor quick. Wooden shipping pallets are usually oak or other hardwoods, and make good fuel. Make friends with the local cabinet shop or millworks and dispose of their hardwood scraps.

When starting your stove cold, hold a burning twist of newspaper up the Charlie Noble (smokestack) to get the draft started. Will keep smoke out the cabin, and help the stove to draw while it starts.

Wood heats you twice... Once burning, once collecting
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Re: New Liveaboard: Need advice on fuel/starting my wood stove

Coal has definite benefits, like high BTU value, lasts longer, less ash (with good coal), less sparks flying out of the chimney, does not get damp from the air, etc. but you first have to get the fire going strong with wood and then add coal in small doses. Coal fire smells bad, is a higher carbon monoxide risk, and runs very hot possibly burning out your stove. The stove has to be rated for burning coal, or you will likely damage it.
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Re: New Liveaboard: Need advice on fuel/starting my wood stove

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Originally Posted by fr500c View Post
New liveaboard on my O'Day 27. I have a small Cole 1655 wood stove installed, but am not the best at starting it and keeping it going for heat.

First thing, it is installed properly and I have fire extinguishers + CO detectors installed.

The previous owner gave me a bag of coal that he said he liked to use. I was thinking of getting wood pellets and trying those. Does anyone have advice on the ideal fuel to run for 4-5 hours at night to heat up the boat?

Also, what is the best option for getting the fire started? I know the basics and can start a fire, but interested in advice if anyone has perfected a method or has some tips.

Appreciate the help!
I've been told by people who have coal burning stoves that they have to start a small kindling fire then add the coal after the little fire is started. Coal lasts a really long time. It's possible to have a cosy boat all night long with a coal fire. You'd probably just have to feed it once before bed. I heat my tiny house on wheels with a tiny wood stove. I can't image having a coal fired one. It would be far too hot for my little house.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
Excerpt of Invictus
By William Ernest Henley
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