Thread Number: 78388  /  Tag: Recipes, Cooking Accessories
Wood Fired Cook Stoves/Ranges
[Down to Last]'s exclusive eBay Watch:
scroll >>> for more items
Post# 1024155   2/9/2019 at 23:59 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There┤s a Lady on Stage)        

launderess's profile picture
After posting a link to Storia (Italian made) cook stove began thinking. Why would anyone choose that fuel over coal. We've discussed coal fired ranges and IMHO seems a far better option as coal (especially hard) burns longer and has more btu heating power than wood. Hard coal also burns far more cleaner than wood, so there is that as well.

I mean it must take a small forest worth of wood to fuel such a stove/range for duration of winter. Not to mention all the bother of sources, chopping and storing all that wood.

One does assume once fires are going cooking/baking is same as with a coal fired range or stove, or maybe not.

Post# 1024183 , Reply# 1   2/10/2019 at 07:12 by gizmo (Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Au)        

Where did you hear that coal burns cleaner than wood? It is the opposite, coal is absolutely filthy as a fuel.
Yes, coal burns hotter than wood, but it produces a foul smelling smoke, and a fine ash gets everywhere when you clean out the stove.
The other advantage for wood is if you are on acreage, you can grow your own firewood. (We do, we are now burning wood from trees we planted 15 years ago.) So wood is a renewable resource.
Wood is lovely to cook on if you have a good stove, you get a hotter area directly over the firebox and cooler over the oven, so you control the heat in your pan by moving the pan to the appropriate spot on your stove top. For more gentle heat, a wire trivet goes between the cast iron stove top and your pan.
I no longer have a wood cooking stove, we had one in our previous home and planned to have both wood and gas when we built this house, but I wanted lots of bench space and windows in the new kitchen so we decided to go with gas only. We have a wood heater in the lounge room which also provides hot water, and I love it. So does our cat, Casper.
A couple of years ago we were on holiday in the north west of New Zealand's south island. It was a former coal mining area, the industry had scaled way back but still supplied a little coal for local homes with coal stoves and heaters. The whole area stank of coal smoke. The flues look the same as wood stove ones, you can tell what they are burning by the stink and the cloud of dark black sooty smoke.

There is a lot of difference between different woods as fuel. I couldn't tell you anything about wood burnt in the US, but here in Aus, several gums (Eucalypts) are the favoured species, including red gum (now environmentally problematic as it is taken from fragile environments) and sugar gum (usually plantation grown so more environmentally benign.) Radiata pine is considered a terrible fuel here in AU as it burns hot but too fast, whereas it is commonly used as fuel in New Zealand.

Post# 1024224 , Reply# 2   2/10/2019 at 15:38 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
It's my understanding that coal can be burnt fairly cleanly, but it depends upon proper firebox and flue construction. If sufficient air (oxygen) cannot get to the individual coals, they will burn too rich and emit that nasty black smoke. It is similar in concept to the proper carburetion of a gasoline engine (or perhaps of a diesel motor). A simple coal fired stove probably doesn't have the efficient carburetion of, say, a top of the line coal fired steam engine. And then there is the operator's ability to load and manage the fuel properly.

I occasionally see vintage wood fired stoves for sale on Facebook marketplace. Some are the venerable Wedgewood brand. However they are not probably a good idea in this area, since the local air resources board will ban wood fires of any kind in the winter months whenever the air is still and dry. And a neighbor down the street but upwind of here, who seems addicted to using his fireplace for heating on those days when allowed, reminds me periodically of how unpleasant wood fire smoke can be, especially at startup.

Post# 1024237 , Reply# 3   2/10/2019 at 18:52 by jeb (Mansfield Ohiio)        
wood / coal

Grew up with wood/coal furnace. Coal DEFINENTLY is dirtier. We had a modern coal wood furnace that used ductwork and a blower. Even with it in the basement by the end of the heating season the house had gray oily residue on everything. Spring cleaning was a major event and I understand why it was so important if the cook stove also used coal. I know someone who heats there whole house with wood only and they only use about a truck load a week and there house is very warm so I don't think it would take that much to cook with. I think the problem would be the extra labor of splitting the logs smaller to fit a stoves small wood box.

Post# 1024259 , Reply# 4   2/10/2019 at 22:55 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
Until 1954

My Grandmother cooked on a wood stove,She never liked a electric stove.

Post# 1024261 , Reply# 5   2/10/2019 at 23:18 by warmsecondrinse (Fort Lee, NJ)        

My great-grandmother cooked on an Andes half wood/coal and half gas until she passed in 1980. Where she lived wood was plentiful and free while coal was expensive. There was a hot water side-car that disappeared shortly after a water heater was installed.

I didn't do a lot of cooking on it but it was quite simple. You just slid the pan across the surface to get the heat level you wanted.

My grandfather was not a fan of coal. He said that while hard coal and, even better, coke, were theoretically both hotter and cleaner than wood, in practice it almost never happened for the reasons SudsMaster mentioned. G'pa maintained the best use of coal and coke in home heating & cooking was to keep a good wood fire going and throw a handful of coal/coke in every couple of hours.

Post# 1024279 , Reply# 6   2/11/2019 at 04:04 by gus (Montevideo, Uruguay)        

Guys, I believe wood-coal-coke combustion is regarded as high pollutants of the atmosphere. I think we must try to use the energy less aggressive to the planes. I use electricity since in our country we could reach a level of electric production that except in extreme droughts we can do it with water wells )I mean like Hoover┤s*í and eolic farms. ThatĘs the origin of our electricity. I it canĘt be cleaner than that. STILL, electricity is quite expensive in our country and oppose to that our government export big amounts of electricity to Argentina and Brazil! but we pay it expensively.

Post# 1024280 , Reply# 7   2/11/2019 at 04:09 by gus (Montevideo, Uruguay)        

Please pay no attention to my mistakes since my keypad is configured in Spanish ant the signs change its place instead of the symbols.

Post# 1024284 , Reply# 8   2/11/2019 at 05:57 by retro-man (nashua,nh)        

Both of my grandparents farmhouses had wood cook stoves inside their kitchens which also provided heat for the houses. When summer came and it was too hot to cook indoors, they also had wood cook stoves outside in the back yard. My parents had one in our basement to use for heating the basement for us kids to play in. Although if it was running my mom would bring the food downstairs to cook and bake. It was very useful when the power went out in a storm, it kept the house from freezing and we were able still to cook since we did not have gas in the house.


Post# 1024422 , Reply# 9   2/12/2019 at 22:03 by warmsecondrinse (Fort Lee, NJ)        

Re: #6

You're correct, of course that wood, coal, and coke can be major contributors to pollution and that it's in everybody's best interest to reduce world-wide consumption of those products.

However, for most of the history of the U.S. people had little choice about what fuels they used to heat their homes.

Natural gas was used just for lighting until the invention of the Bunsen burner in 1885. This allowed the efficient use of gas for heating & cooking. The technology to use it cleanly (in the home) wasn;t fully worked out until after WWI. Another problem is that one must first have a full distribution infrastructure to use natural gas. Even today many areas (especially rural areas) do not have natural gas service.

Likewise, oil as a home heating fuel didn't become popular until after WWI.

Propane only came about in the 1930's.

But, coal and wood had been used for centuries in Europe so people who settled in North America knew how to use it.

In terms of heating systems, Warm air and steam don't require electricity. Hot water does require electricity (unless you want either huge pipes or high pressures). Oil fired furnaces and boilers for the home also require electricity.

In the U.S. many rural areas did not get electricity until the 1930's. And even then service was not reliable. Storms frequently caused power lines to go down and repair was not always quick.

My point is that it simply didn't make sense to depend on heating systems that required electricity, required trucks to bring oil, etc. unless one had a back up way to heat and cook. That's why so many homes (especially in rural areas) had or still have wood and coal stoves.

Today, most older homes still have the original heating system they were built with. However, when an old wood or coal fired boiler or furnace needed to be replaced, the new boiler or furnace usually used oil or gas.

Also, electricity has always been and still is today much too expensive to use for a primary heating system in the northern half of the U.S.

Sorry for my rambling, but there's a reason so many homes in the U.S. have 'non-green' heating & cooking systems.


Post# 1024431 , Reply# 10   2/13/2019 at 00:31 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
It's my understanding the the main objection for using coal in electrical generation plants is that it has a higher ratio of carbon to hydrogen than, say, natural gas. This means for every kilowatt produced, something like 50% more CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere. Thus it's worse than natural gas in terms of greenhouse gases and global warming.

Coal also has mercury and other heavy metal contamination, which is not good.

Post# 1024735 , Reply# 11   2/15/2019 at 22:52 by gus (Montevideo, Uruguay)        

Thank you for your explanations. I understand very well the reasons why people use those combustibles, in fact I agree with the reasons . Not many days ago, at home, we had a blackout and we were worried because it was midday and it was completely impossible cooking without electricity. Finally, it came back in time. We didn´t starve, haha. On the other hand, we don´t have the possibility of using oil for heating because of either oil or butane, are quite expensive. Unfortunately many, many people use gas heaters inside the house, but they don´t take care of opening a window to refresh the air and leave the fumes of the gas combustion and accidents happen every winter. I myself have a gas heater but it´s 3 years I don´t use it, just because of the problem of ventilation. I consider you loose warm air because you must renew the confined air, so what´s the advantage?. Thank you again. Sorry my letter-long answer.

Post# 1025028 , Reply# 12   2/18/2019 at 16:28 by abcomatic (Bradford, Illinois)        
coal range

I had a 1925 copper clad cookstove that i used. I burned bituminous (soft coal) in it for years in the winter time. It gave off a wonderful warmth and I was able to cook meals on it with ease. After you work with it for awhile and understand what dampers to use and how to use them, regulation of the heat was ok. It had a lever
you pulled out so that the heat went around the oven a then out of the back of the stove. If you wanted a hot fire and was cooking on the top only, you pushed the lever in so that the heat went under the top of the stove and then out to the chimney.
If you wanted hot water, all you had to do was fill the reservoir, pull the lever out and the heat went around the oven and the reservoir.
The only reason why I got ride of the stove was that firebox was not in good shape and I could find no place to have it repaired. I didn't want to take the chance of having a fire in the firebox and have it collapse. That would be good way to burn the house down.
Make sure that the stove IS NOT CLOSE to the walls or any combustible material. Don't over fire the stove either. The heat indicator in the oven door is not that
accurate, so don't go by that for an exact heat. Have fun. Gary

Forum Index:       Other Forums:                      

Comes to the Rescue!

The Discuss-o-Mat has stopped, buzzer is sounding!!!
If you would like to reply to this thread please log-in...

Discuss-O-MAT Log-In

New Members
Click Here To Sign Up.

Discuss-o-Mat Forums
Vintage Brochures, Service and Owners Manuals
Fun Vintage Washer Ephemera
See It Wash!
Video Downloads
Audio Downloads
Picture of the Day
Patent of the Day
Photos of our Collections
The Old Aberdeen Farm
Vintage Service Manuals
Vintage washer/dryer/dishwasher to sell?
Technical/service questions?
Looking for Parts?
Website related questions?
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Policy
Our Privacy Policy