Here's why I posted the question:
I had been using the fireplace with a grate that was of the wrong
shape: It was too deep, and not wide enough. That is, it was not even
close to the shape of the hearth of our Rumford fireplace.
I then thought that surely someone made a grate that would be a
As I started to search the web, I found something that really took me
by surprise. I came upon a few articles suggesting that Rumford
fireplaces would burn better, and would also radiate more heat to the
room if the fire were built right on the hearth rather than on a
grate. These suggestions certainly did not fit with my intuition (for
reasons similar to your comment), but I am happy to learn.
Hours later, after my fire burned down, I gave it a try. I removed the
grate, and build a fire...
To my surprise, with no grate, the fire produced better draw, and
burned the fuel much more completely. With the grate, there were
always a few chunks of wood that fell through where they remained
unburned. Without the grate, I was left only with fine ash. (I cannot
be sure about the radiated heat.)
I will continue to experiment, but for now, despite my original
intuition, I believe that there are significant advantages to burning
in a Rumford fireplace with no grate at all.
All the best,
Nothing new in that , really. Any fireplace or stove lights better with
air, which gets the chimney drawing, is self-banking with an ash bed.
Now, what're you after? Ambiance favors an open grate and the crackling
fire, efficiency a banked fire (once the chimney's warm), which is why we
have "airtight" stoves.
You can create a "grate" of wood to help light, and burn on the hearth, or
you can buy a minimum-gap grate which will hold created ash to bank the
fire, and scoop the ash out from underneath for lighting.
Earlier (in responded to my asking if I could use my fireplace without
a grate) you said:
"How else to get air under the fire? It'll smother itself much faster
I responded because I agreed with you about that, and, as it turns
out, we were both wrong...
All the best,
Maybe I'm missing some terminology here ?
Why should the type of grate make any difference to a Rumford ?
Rumford's rules specify the design of the smokebox, particularly its
narrow depth and the use of a shelf. It's not a specific sort of
Although that said, I'm assuming you mean a grate that's open, rather
than a more modern closed smokeless fuel stove, or a metal box
woodburner with baffles.
Klein bottle for rent. Apply within.
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