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Author Topic: Smoker help  (Read 2051 times)
Terry N
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« on: August 27, 2012, 03:47:58 PM »

Can someone say again and I will write down how to get smoker started and keep it lit....I have the damnedest trouble with it...even bought a propane torch to fire up... Won't hold smoke....Thanks
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Larry Bees
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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2012, 03:57:53 PM »

Schawee and Hardwood did a video on that. Maybe somebody can post the link. Larry
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Larry Bees
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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2012, 04:06:17 PM »

Let's see if this works.


Lighting a smoker with pine straw fuel
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Larry Bees
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2012, 04:11:56 PM »

I just watched the video again. It was good to see our old buddy Schawee! Get well buddy! Larry and June
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G3farms
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« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2012, 04:15:17 PM »

Trick is to get the bottom of the pile LIT first (don't be afraid to let it flame up a little and get things hot) and then pack in the straw from the top, pack it in good.
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« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2012, 04:44:22 PM »

I am a newbie and and here is how I do it and I have never had trouble lighting or keeping it going. I have a large smoker
I crumple up one whole piece of newspaper, on an egge I start that on fire and once there is good flaming I poke it down with hive tool, then add any dry material I find outside i.e. straw, pine, grass clippings just anything and I add that little by little while pumping the billows a few times and poking it down with hive too and I jam it almost ful so the smoldering material is packed tight.
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Joe D
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« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2012, 06:13:07 PM »

I take shreaded paper,make a ball of it, lite it and put in smoker.  Puff it until it flames up good, then start your smoken material in, keep puffing and adding material and packing it.  I have a small chipper I run limbs through and use to smoke.  I normally keep a 5 gal bucket or 2 around.  I checked the stores on my 6 hives yeasterday.  had a super and brood boxes to go through did all with 1 lighting I have a small smoker.  Good luck Lori



Joe
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MTWIBadger
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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2012, 11:02:20 PM »

I use pine needles which are very easy to light and give off lots of smoke. Try them and you will not be frustrated with your smoker again.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2012, 04:23:32 AM »

The smoker is one of the worst designs in all of bee keeping IMO.  Hundreds of years bee keeping and this is the best beeks can come up with huh   

Like the OP, I use a propane torch from time to time, but you have to get something burning in the bottom for the darn things for them even remotely work.  I use charcoal briskets for that purpose.  Once they’re burning, then stuff the worthless smokers full of about anything and they’ll smoke.
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ShaneJ
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« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2012, 05:11:21 AM »

I use pine needles which are very easy to light and give off lots of smoke. Try them and you will not be frustrated with your smoker again.

yeah I agree. Ball up a handful of needle and light the bottom, stuff in the smoker while puffing and then pack more in nice and tight while continuing to lightly puff. Very easy. Just like Scotts video  Smiley
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Shane
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« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2012, 08:42:34 AM »

Newbee here.. I have to ask: What kind of smoker do you have? I had a rough time getting my Mann Lake smoker (with the blue rubber bellows) to light and stay lit. It was frustrating. Then my dad gave me an old smoker he picked up at a garage sale for a couple bucks. I give it a try and have not had any problems since. The difference? The old smoker had much higher airflow than the Mann Lake one. When you puff it, you can really feel the air move through it.
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David McLeod
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« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2012, 09:07:19 AM »

Newbee here.. I have to ask: What kind of smoker do you have? I had a rough time getting my Mann Lake smoker (with the blue rubber bellows) to light and stay lit. It was frustrating. Then my dad gave me an old smoker he picked up at a garage sale for a couple bucks. I give it a try and have not had any problems since. The difference? The old smoker had much higher airflow than the Mann Lake one. When you puff it, you can really feel the air move through it.

I think this one hits the nail on the head. There are smokers then there are smokers out there. They range from cheap imports to quality made in the US by beekeepers for beekeepers. I have several but my main two are a beecommerce import dome top and a kelley smoke cloud. While I love the dome top shape, the lower nozzle, the interior can and heat guard of the beecommerce it is not the one I reach for when I need volumes of smoke that can last an entire session of checking all my hives. The smoke cloud has much better airflow and will maintain a slow smolder almost idefinitely or until everything is consumed. BTW, a good test of any smoker is to get it going as if your going for a long session, packed to the brim, and then set it aside and let it burn itself out. A quality smoker with adequate air flow will consume all of the fuel where a lesser quality will extinguish itself.
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2012, 10:06:34 AM »

Newbee here.. I have to ask: What kind of smoker do you have? I had a rough time getting my Mann Lake smoker (with the blue rubber bellows) to light and stay lit. It was frustrating. Then my dad gave me an old smoker he picked up at a garage sale for a couple bucks. I give it a try and have not had any problems since. The difference? The old smoker had much higher airflow than the Mann Lake one. When you puff it, you can really feel the air move through it.


I think this one hits the nail on the head. There are smokers then there are smokers out there. They range from cheap imports to quality made in the US by beekeepers for beekeepers. I have several but my main two are a beecommerce import dome top and a kelley smoke cloud. While I love the dome top shape, the lower nozzle, the interior can and heat guard of the beecommerce it is not the one I reach for when I need volumes of smoke that can last an entire session of checking all my hives. The smoke cloud has much better airflow and will maintain a slow smolder almost idefinitely or until everything is consumed. BTW, a good test of any smoker is to get it going as if your going for a long session, packed to the brim, and then set it aside and let it burn itself out. A quality smoker with adequate air flow will consume all of the fuel where a lesser quality will extinguish itself.


Interesting post, David.  I was nodding my head in agreement with yours and cinch's posts (what do I know, though, I'm a newbee! Smiley ) about the different styles of smokers with some styles being better than others.  I was thinking, that makes sense being as lots of things have different designs that work better.  Anyhow, you then mentioned the Smoke Cloud (I'm figuring the Kelley one)...

I use a Smoke Cloud and I burned pinestraw a good part of the time this year, but due to it's stench (sorry pinestraw lovers, I live at the edge of a pine tree forest, have all my life, have been involved in numerous planned "burning offs" and a few unplanned ones...pinestraw smoke stinks and it sticks like glue to your clothing, your hair, your skin, your Huh...I'm pretty sure it even imparted it's smell to my cappings honey.    Of course some of you may love the stench, er, uh...smell so more power to you.  grin angel

Whatever the case, I wanted badly to just use pellets for the better aroma...but, I couldn't get them to stay lit using a propane torch or whatever.   I kept talking with my mentor (he uses pellets) and one day I mentioned that I had started using dried grass from mowing the lawn.  He suggested I stick some of that grass in the smoker and see if it would like the pellets.   Well, I too a wad of grass and rolled it into a ball about the side of a baseball.  I held the grass over the mouth of the Smoke Cloud and lit it, letting it flame up decently and then dropped it loosely into the smoker and began pumping until the thick smoke started bellowing out.  It's then that I pushed it on down into the smoker with my hive tool and pumped a few more times.  I then poured about 3 inches of pellets on top of it and started pumping again.  It was like magic!  Once the smoker was putting out thick smoke I finished putting ever how many pellets I wanted in the smoker.  I know it will stay lit for 2-3 hours at a time now.  I can leave it alone for 30 minutes and pump it several times and it'll crank right back up.

Even a good smoker can be contrary (like my Smoke Cloud).  I think it just takes each of us figuring out a "technique" and that's probably gonna take some experimenting some.  I do believe, though, that what was said about the different smokers is correct being as I've read several reports of smokers that several people had trouble with keeping lit.  Also, it seems that the smaller smokers tend to be more problematical in lighting and staying lit than do the larger ones.

Whatever the case, that ball of dried grass sure did the trick for me in lighting the pellets.

Now, for my earlier remarks about pinestraw let me pull my body armor on.   grin

Ed


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JPBEEGETTER
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« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2012, 05:41:38 PM »

If you want to bee good and lazy, spend a little money and buy a Bee-Z-Smoker from Mann Lake-- only $134.95...Page 61 in cat.
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David McLeod
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« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2012, 10:05:08 PM »

Ed, I'm with you on the pine straw though I do use straw (being in the south it's always underfoot).
My favorite though is old fashioned sisal baling twine, that stuff holds a slow smolder for a good long time and burns cool. Pine straw tends to burn hot especially if you like to pump the bellows like your belting out a polka on an accordion. I never really cared for the pellets because as you discovered they are so darned hard to get fired up.
 
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2012, 10:38:23 PM »

David, try a ball of dried grass...it made a believer (and burner of pellets) out of me! Wink

Ed
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www.beeweather.com 
American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

"Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they wont come to yours." - Yogi Berra
NJClydeDriver
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« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2012, 01:56:54 PM »

  First year I tried a few different ways and then for kicks I ordered KwikStart Smoker Pellets from Mann Lake.  I light 2 and drop in the smoker and then as I am working the bellows I add in pine needles that have been in the garage, dry and ready to go.  The pellets keep the pine needles lit.  In 2 years the smoker has never gone out, even when left after I am done.  Have to leave it on a flat stone cause it can burn for hours till all out of fuel.  If you have a quick inspection you can just use the pellets and not have to light the needles.   
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TwoHoneys
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« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2012, 06:32:52 AM »

I swear by my homemade cardboard Smoke Bombs (a terrific way to recycle all those cardboard boxes that arrive in the mail) and burlap (I find my burlap for free at my local independent coffee shop...where they roast their own beans).

http://cincinnatibees.com/2011/10/12/cardboard-smoker-bombs/

I light the burlap with my portable propane torch, stuff it deep into the smoker with my hive tool, and then I drop a smoke bomb onto the lit burlap. If I'm working for a while in the hives, I may stuff more burlap in the smoker or I may add another smoke bomb.

Since beginning this smoke bomb/burlap combination, keeping my smoker lit and puffing is no longer a problem. I can keep the thing going for hours this way. And when I'm finished, I simply plug the smoker spout with a cork.

-Liz
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Terry N
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« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2012, 01:56:08 PM »

Well thanks all for help and advice will print out this forum and try different ways to light a smoker...again thanks.
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