Elsewhere on the forum there's a topic running about getting your coal from its bag to the stove with talk of coal bunkers and shutes and things. These are all very nice but you still have to mess about with gloves and shovels and stuff, whereas you only have to mess about 'well less frequently really' by using the automatic stoker. I can think of two methods for doings this both with their own varying amounts of mess but should still be less messy than all that shovelling from bags, bunkers and shutes and things. Apart from all that my automatic stokers as well as being a tremendous novelty attraction will also bequeath upon the user great satisfaction and delight to watch this contraptions magnificent, gracefull and compelling movements in action. Poetry in motion in fact.
For my first version for making an automatic stoker. Assemble the following;--- First of all you will need to procure a 5 or 6' length of telescopic flue pipe. Four thinnish bowden wires. Four little pulleys. A plank. A box. A length of guttering and some house bricks. Various tools and drills.
Above your stove drill four 6mm holes right through your roof, exactly in vertical alignment with the four corners of your stove. Attach the four bowden cables to the four corners of your stove and pass em up through the four holes in the roof.
Clamber up onto the roof and fit a little pulley over each hole. Set up the plank on the box 'seesaw fashion'. Draw the cables up and around the pulleys and away to one side and attach them all with equal tension to one end of the plank with the planks other end poised daintily over the chimney orifice. Under the middle of the plank, place the box ''falcrum',' well along towards the stoves cable attachments end. Place a full bag of coal upon the plank at that end of the plank too, and slit open the end of it. From just under the end of the slit in the coal bag to the other end of the plank nail down the length of gutter poised above the chimney.
Now push heavily down on the chimney end of the plank which should lift your stove off its hearth and hold it in suspension ''magic''.
Whilst holding things in suspension like this strap the bricks under the plank under the chimney end until you get a fine balance with the stove raised up inside and you can let go.
By now it should be quite obvious how the auto stoker works. Anyway for those who don't understand heres how.
Light the stove and load on coal. Which will lower the stove until the coals burn away and as they burn away the stove will gradually get lighter in weight, causing it to rise which will tip the plank up a little allowing just the amount of coal to run out of the bag, run along the gutter to plop down and plummet down the chimney and onto your stoves fire bed and so keeping it fed and happy as the coals gradually burn away the process is repeated.
Obviously a bit of fine tuning will be needed, especially with the fulcrum box position to attain that super fine balance required to plop bits of coal down the chimney in a steady and regular manner and make this contraption work smoothly, faultlessly and trouble free.
I've not made one yet.
I will explain my other automatic stoker tomorrow. PS Nice smoothly shaped round nuts will work more smoothly and reliably than irregularly shaped lumps of coal.