Wood Firing a Chloe

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Dylerbiller
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Wood Firing a Chloe

Post by Dylerbiller » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:26 pm

Hi, I have an ongoing Allen Chloe project and I was curious if anyone on here has fired one using wood. I live on the west coast, so coal isn't easy to come by and propane is the norm. I guess my question is whether or not any of you have done this successfully? If so, did you use Gene Allen's coal grate designs?

Harold_V
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Re: Wood Firing a Chloe

Post by Harold_V » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:43 pm

The smoke from wood is rather annoying (burns one's eyes), and it burns rapidly, so you spend a good portion of your time feeding the boiler. You'd also have to spend a good amount of time preparing the wood you'd use so it would fit. I'd give careful thought, were it me, before making that switch.

If you're not aware, Tractor Supply offers coal. Could be, assuming you have one near you, that they'd be willing to bring in a load, assuming it's not stocked at that particular store.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

Pontiacguy1
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Re: Wood Firing a Chloe

Post by Pontiacguy1 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:36 pm

As others have stated before... Beware of the Tractor Supply Coal and check before you buy it. I've seen where some of that is Anthracite coal made for coal burning stoves, which I can assure you will not do very good in your Chloe at all. If it is bituminous "soft" coal that they can get you, then it might work. I have an Allen Chloe with a 6" diameter boiler. It has a 6"x6" grate in it. My grates have about 1/4" between the bars, which would probably be OK for wood. I've never fired with wood, but that thing makes more steam than it can use, even though the cylinders are bored out to 1.5".

I do know that Bill Bryan owns an 0-4-2 that was built by Art Olds in Florida. It is about 1.5x the size of our Chloe locomotives, although it looks quite similar. Art used to fire it with wood when he still owned it. I believe that his grates were about 8x8 or something along that size. It ran really good on the wood if I remember correctly. I do know that he usually had oak that he was using in there, and that he had it cut up and split into long strips that he could throw in the firebox. I do remember his wood being split and the size being about 3/4" to 1" thickness and cut just a little shorter than the firebox length. I think it would take a long time to cut up enough wood to run that thing all day.

jcbrock
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Re: Wood Firing a Chloe

Post by jcbrock » Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:50 pm

The ash pan is going to fill up quickly, think about making it bigger if you can. If you can't, make it easy to empty!
John Brock

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BAdams
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Location: Moreno Valley, CA

Re: Wood Firing a Chloe

Post by BAdams » Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:13 pm

Just a note on Tractor Supply, I was told (by the Hemet California store manager) that they don't ship coal to California due to the California Air Resource Board regulations. Too much of a hassle.

Brook

Kimball McGinley
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Re: Wood Firing a Chloe

Post by Kimball McGinley » Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:28 pm

I have toyed with the idea using the wood pellets sold by the bag for heating stoves, but my loco is still unfinished and I have a bucket of coal waiting patiently...

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johnpenn74
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Re: Wood Firing a Chloe

Post by johnpenn74 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:16 pm

Some time back I ran Dicks shay on wood. Grates are no different from coal. If you are going to run it on wood a lot, I would recommend the addition of an air dampener to limit the air flow. Ask Bill at Csp&P about the one on his 0-4-2.
John Pennington

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Allen 4-4-0 Narrow Gauge Conversion
Reading A5a Camelback 0-4-0
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optigman
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Re: Wood Firing a Chloe

Post by optigman » Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:30 pm

Roger Goldmann had a USRA Pacific he fired on Eucalyptus branch scraps that fell from the local trees near his house. He simply gathered wood and trimmed everything to correct length and packed them in cardboard boxes. As I recall he was able to fire the locomotive quite easily and effortlessly and indeed did go through a bunch of wood on a run day for just a bit of prep time. Far cheaper than burning coal. Once a good bed of embers was present it would ignite fresh wood instantly and was no problem keeping the steam up at all times. It was no more acrid than burning coal but lots of sparks / embers shot out the stack at times so he fitted a spark arrester to the stack exterior. Any good semi dense hardwood should be similar to Eucalyptus branches so it might be well worth your while trying wood firing. optigman

James Powell
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Re: Wood Firing a Chloe

Post by James Powell » Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:56 pm

Kimball McGinley wrote:I have toyed with the idea using the wood pellets sold by the bag for heating stoves, but my loco is still unfinished and I have a bucket of coal waiting patiently...
Just be sure that the pellets are bigger than the tubes...

You know, "Good judgement comes from experience...
...Experience comes from bad judgement"

(so, yes, I have tried it...no, it didn't end well...the pellets lifted off the firebed, and flew beautifully through the air about 6', landing on my back...)

James

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Fred_V
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Re: Wood Firing a Chloe

Post by Fred_V » Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:47 am

Pontiacguy1 wrote:
I do know that Bill Bryan owns an 0-4-2 that was built by Art Olds in Florida. It is about 1.5x the size of our Chloe locomotives, although it looks quite similar. Art used to fire it with wood when he still owned it. I believe that his grates were about 8x8 or something along that size. It ran really good on the wood if I remember correctly. I do know that he usually had oak that he was using in there, and that he had it cut up and split into long strips that he could throw in the firebox. I do remember his wood being split and the size being about 3/4" to 1" thickness and cut just a little shorter than the firebox length. I think it would take a long time to cut up enough wood to run that thing all day.
There is another engine at the Canton, Ga. track running on wood. It is a Joe Whittaker "Termite". It runs well on wood. I tried running my Chloe on wood but it looked like the firebox wasn't large enough. I'll admit that it was just after finishing it and Art Olds had me try wood in it so I didn't know a lot about fireing at the time.
Photos of the two engines at Canton.
Attachments
art's042.gif
image2.JPG
Fred V
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05hwy28
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Location: NW Oregon

Re: Wood Firing a Chloe

Post by 05hwy28 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:16 am

We have ran wood in our Allen and the coal grates worked with wood. My observation was the rate at which the wood would disappear was faster than compared to coal. Consider that wood BTUs per cord are different per species firewoodresource . com/firewood-btu-ratings/ Eucalyptus is 2nd highest BTU per cord in the list!

As a potential free source, Some electric companies allow people to signup to get free woodchips when they trim the powerlines. Dry/screen/box/bag to your desired min and max size.

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Fender
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Re: Wood Firing a Chloe

Post by Fender » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:03 am

Another potential source of good dry hardwood is a cabinet shop. They will usually have a lot of short cutoffs that are not suitable for anything else. But I understand that some wood species, such as poplar, makes for acrid smoke.
Beware of wood that isn't dry. Years ago a friend and I went to a tourist line that was running a woodburner. They had no wood lot, so their customary practice was to cut down a tree, saw it to firebox length, and pop it into the fire, green! The loco had copious amounts of water vapor coming out of the stack,but almost no smoke. I think the smoke particles were sticking in the flues as creosote!
Dan Watson

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