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1977 Vigilant wood stove assembly and gasket advice needed!? thanks

Post in 'Vermont Castings & CDW Dutchwest older Models' started by Earl Procko, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. Earl Procko

    Earl Procko New Member

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    Nov 1, 2012
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    Hey guys, first of all these forums here are amazing! So much help and advice. I've read a handful of threads and have gotten a lot of great information. I hope I'm not posting things that have already been asked a million times but not sure I have the time to read through everything. Please forgive me on this.
    Anyway, I moved into a house 2 years ago that came with an old Vermont Castings Vigilant. I tried to fire it up once and it caused problems and I decided to ditch it for a while until I could figure it out. Came to find out that the damper was locked in the down position so the stove was more or less just acting like a fireplace. I tried to free the damper but couldnt get enough leverage and i was starting to break the handle rod.

    Ended up taking the stove apart piece by piece. It came apart easy and I was interested in figuring out how this thing worked. The damper finally came out but it was rusted/creasoted/bonded to the side of the stove where the pin goes through the side wall. I was able to drill out that hole nicely, and actually get a good weld on the damper and set a new piece of rod to act like a pin.

    A couple screws had to be drilled out also and actually needed to re-thread part of the stove. I cleaned the stove out real nice and scraped out what was left of the old stove mortar. The new dry fit went together perfectly after a little filing to get the damper turning well.

    So everything is pretty set and ready to be fully put back together and this is where my questions come into play. (taking it apart was easy). What type of mortar/heat cement do I use when I put it back together? It looks like you just spread it in the grooves and then lock the stove back up and let it set? Is there anything else I need to know about this process besides the right stuff to get? I want to do this right.

    Also my gaskets around the griddle top and where the flu attaches are cooked.. What do I need to buy to replace these? I've seen gasket kits for these models online somewhere but they seem pricey and I feel like all i need is the fiberglass rope and some adhesive? Is that correct? If so can I just by a few lengths and a tube of the caulk and thats it? Without a "kit"? If so what size rope do i need and what do I use to glue it in there?

    Thats pretty much it..? Ive read some good threads about burning and the temps to look for... so any advice would be very much appreciated. Thanks again!

    -earl-

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  2. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
    Messages:
    405
    Loc:
    No. NH
    HI Earl! A good resource for all that stuff is Woodman"s Parts Plus. For assembly, use either Rutland "Furnace Cement" or "Stove and Gasket Cement". Get the gasket kit, as the Vig uses some odd gasket types and sizes you won't find at the hardware store. Is the fire back that says "1977" on it all one big piece? If so do a dry assembly to be SURE that damper you rigged is goona work. They're fussy things, and you can't remove it once the stove is built. Two piece you can. Also, VC has available somewhere the instruction s that come w/the fireback kit. This would be helpful; if you can find it.

    Good luck and keep us posted!
  3. rawlins02

    rawlins02 Member

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    Feb 19, 2012
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    67
    Loc:
    Western Massachusetts
    Wow Earl, good for you. I have the same stove along with a temperamental damper. Don't think I could pull off a rebuild, for a number of reasons. I'll likely replace the worn gaskets when it gets cold and windy and the stove tries to run away on me. Not a problem on calm 50 degree days...
  4. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    Dec 23, 2010
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    405
    Loc:
    No. NH
    Rawlins, go to grahamthestoveman.com for a rebuild. I hear he's awesome!
  5. rawlins02

    rawlins02 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2012
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    Loc:
    Western Massachusetts
    Thanks for the pointer.
  6. Earl Procko

    Earl Procko New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2012
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    ok... got all the gaskets in and some gasket silicone and some high temp mortar to put the stove back together... few questions though:

    do i set the mortar in the joints and then put the pieces together and clean up any mortar that sqeezes out of the joints? or should i put the stove together and then mortar around the joints? im really assumng the former..

    also it says it needs to be heated up to cure fully? does this mean running the stove? or should i braze it with a torch?

    should i tie up the stove tight after putting the mortar in? so that while it dries it dries tight together?

    any tricks to the gasket cement?

    i think thats it... hopefully i can get this thing together and run it before the seasons over...

    thanks so much guys!
  7. Earl Procko

    Earl Procko New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2012
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    Any advice on this? im about to start working on this in the next few days!? thanks
  8. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    No. NH
    Cement joints then assemble stove, clean up after. It should set up after 72 hr.s or so, then have a few small break in fires to finish curing. No torch or bondage necessary.
  9. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    1,459
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    Southwest NH
    +1 to what D3 said.
  10. Earl Procko

    Earl Procko New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2012
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    Right! - this thing went together pretty well.... definitely needed an extra set of hands though... took some pics... will try and post them soon.. so the cement is all dried up now... all i have to do is attach the stove pipe from the stove to the attachment in my fireplace flu... which brings me to my next set of questions: (lol)

    1. one plate under the damper inside the stove is just resting where it goes, i wasnt sure if that needed to be cemented in or if it was "removable" for cleaning reasons etc? its a thin rectangular piece? any help on that situation would be great? should i cement it in or does it just rest there?

    2. i have an oval to round pipe that comes out of the back of the stove then bends up with 8" rounds to the flu in my fireplace... do i have to cement or silicone that oval end into the stove? or is it just friction fit with a couple of screws? not sure how that works exactly?

    3. once thats done which shouldnt take too long what are some tips on running and starting a few break in fires to help fully cure this cement and get this stove broken back in?

    4. finally are there any good threads on proper ways to start fires in this thing? or maybe if anyone is willing to give me some feedback on the correct way to really start this thing burning and working properly? that would be awesome! i know it takes practice and everyones touch is a little diffeent but would love some solid general starting advice!! thanks guys...
  11. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    1. The plate inside the damper is a baffle plate that is meant to be removed for cleaning. This does not need to be cemented in.

    2. There is a single screw hole in the back of the collar where you can put a self tapping screw into the oval. Quite often there may be a gap around the pipe where it inserts into the collar. I used to close that gap with cement, but it is not absolutely necessary.

    3. I would recommend a small fire to help cu the cement. Just some kindling and maybe a coule of small splits. Once the cement is cured, let her rip.

    4. Your last question will bring a whole lot of responses. I just put some paper in the bottom, some kindling on that and light her up. Others will suggest a top down start. You can do a search in the forums for top down lighting if you want more information on that. Sometimes I think people make the whole starting process more complicated than it has to be.

    Congratulations on the rebuild and enjoy tht stove!
    Defiant likes this.
  12. rawlins02

    rawlins02 Member

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    +1 on the Top Down method
  13. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    I light my fires like I drive my 68 Mustang Convertible. Top down is the only way to go.

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