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1st day with a new Jotul Castine F400 - Anyone else use one? Looking for tips.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Chris_Up_North, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. Chris_Up_North

    Chris_Up_North New Member

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    So the Castine was delivered today and was hooked right up to the insulated nearly 30' chimney. It pulls a good draft and my wood is well seasoned (felled early last winter and split immediately).

    I'm doing the break-in burns now and am on the 2nd one, taking it to 300F for an hour. All the windows are open since it is pretty stinky baking off all the manufacturing oils and such.

    My first impression is that this stove is fairly difficult to get up to temperature. Perhaps it is because it's the first time I'm using it and I'm being careful not to load it too full of wood per break-in instructions. I did "goose" it by cracking the ashpan door for about 15 seconds when I got it started the second time.

    Anyone else out there have a Castine that doesn't get up to temperature as fast as you'd like? Any tricks or tips?

    Also wanted to ask if Castine users out there leave the air supply full open until it hits the temperature they like or do you throttle it back once the fire is off and running.

    The stove the Castine replaced was an old (20+ year) VC Resolute.

    Thanks!

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  2. Hardrockmaple

    Hardrockmaple Feeling the Heat

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    Your breaking in a new stove, there is moisture in the firebricks, your stove will improve a lot with the next few fires. (caveat) as long as we 'know' your wood has only 20% or less. Have you got a moisture meter?
  3. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Yep, moisture in the bricks will slow it down.

    What kind of wood are you burning? It has been less than a year, and your wood may not be as dry as you think. Oak takes forever to dry out, two years minimum, hickory and hard maple aren't far behind. White ash and soft maple might be acceptable. A moisture meter takes a lot of that question out of the picture, until you get a few years ahead.
    PapaDave likes this.
  4. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Yep, check the wood.
    If it was split immediately, but not stacked in a windy area, and it's Oak, it's still wet.
    Almost guaranteed.
    Most hardwoods require at least a year, some need more, to dry well enough to be used in modern stoves.
    Also, read your manual:

    The ash pan door on the stove must always be securely closed
    when the stove is in operation.

    Burning the stove with the Ash Door open will over-fire the
    stove and cause interior damage.
    Voids your warranty.
  5. Chris_Up_North

    Chris_Up_North New Member

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    Yup, I do. I don't allow anything in the house unless it is under 12%.
  6. Chris_Up_North

    Chris_Up_North New Member

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    It was split and stacked December of 2012, left in a really sunny place on pallets, covered with corrugated metal roofing. I like to burn softer woods in the shoulder seasons - popple and a little pine with some birch. The popple is really, really dry (6-7% MC). Only goosed the ashpan door for 15 seconds on the first fire-up, not on the tow last ones.

    Lots of red oak up here and I won't burn it until two, preferably three seasons after it's been felled. Since it is a "Labor-Added-Value" fuel for me, I only burn oak in the 60 - 75 coldest days of the year.

    Now I'm doing the 400F burn and it got up in temperature nicely.

    Had NO IDEA about firebricks having a bunch of moisture in them from the factory. Are there firebricks or wet refractory cement somewhere in a Castine? I ask because all I can see in the firebox is cast iron, but maybe there is firebrick or similar behind it (??)



  7. adrpga498

    adrpga498 Minister of Fire

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    Had my Castine since 2001. Heats up to 450-500 in about 10 minutes from a cold start. 1st load is half full so I can create a good coal bed for next full load. Once full load is fully engulfed with flames I cut air lever to half open. ( about 10 to 15) minutes in. Then I'll close another 1/4 so its cruising at 1/4 air intake and around 550 to 600. Good luck and enjoy the view.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    This sure sounds like damp wood. How are you measuring the wood moisture? End grain? If so, that won't cut it. In order to get an accurate reading take a large split and resplit it in half. Then take a reading on the freshly exposed face of the wood.

    The Castine comes up to temp quickly with dry wood. With 30ft of chimney it should take of fast with just the front door slightly ajar. Do not use the ash pan door. You risk damaging your stove. Even if this is done for a short period of time.

    Try this method for quick starts. Lay down two short and small (1-2" round) splits N/S in the center of the stove, about 3" apart. Fill the gap between these sticks with balls of newspaper or 1-2 quarters of a SuperCedar if you have one. Lay a couple 2-3" splits on top of the bottom sticks E/W about 2" apart. Light the paper or SuperCedar, then put one more 2" split diagonally across the top splits and in the flame path. Leave the stove door ajar about 3/4" until the wood is fully engaged and burning strongly. Then close the door, let the fire recover.

    PS: there are 3 firebricks in the Castine behind the rear burn plate.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2013
    jotulguy likes this.
  9. Chris_Up_North

    Chris_Up_North New Member

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    OK, fired it up tonight and it took right off, up to the 400+ degree range within 10 minutes. Whammo!

    I think my early problem was that I was not putting enough wood in since I was worried about not exceeding 200F, then 300F for the break in burns. Now I actually need heat and we are cruising at ~450F with ease throttled down. So far I'm pretty impressed with how little messing this stove needs in terms of adjustment. The old VC Resolute I would be messing with all the time - close the bypass, increase the air, decrease the air, re-open the bypass since the temp dropped dramatically.

    It's the first snowy night and I'm now feeling pretty good about this stove. Once it gets rid of the last traces of paint smell, it will be awesome.

    (seriously, why can't the factories burn off that stuff before the stoves are crated. For a couple grand, they should run them through an oven before they get on the truck......)
  10. Chris_Up_North

    Chris_Up_North New Member

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    ...Make that 500F. This thing is cranking with very little effort. The old VC was not like this.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Houston, we have ignition!
    PapaDave likes this.
  12. Chris_Up_North

    Chris_Up_North New Member

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    Pup sure likes it!

    DogFire.jpg
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    You are just beginning to wake up that stove. Take it up to 600F to clear the glass.
  14. Chris_Up_North

    Chris_Up_North New Member

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    I'd like to but we'll burn ourselves out and end up sleeping in sweat. It's a small two story house and it is highly insulated (close to R-60 in the attic and R-38 walls). Already 80F in here and ~25F outside. We have some lows in the teens coming up so I think it will see 600F shortly. Very excited to see what this stove can do.
  15. Chris_Up_North

    Chris_Up_North New Member

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    Super kick-ass information. Thank you VERY much for this. I will never open the ash door again unless the stove is cold.

    (Also, I do crack open my stacked splits with a hatchet to take a reading. My meter is an older but seemingly accurate Extech)

  16. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

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    It's really best to never open the ash door when burning the Castine. Opening the front a crack when first warming up is enough. You'll love the stove. Have fun.
  17. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Looks like you went with the same type of slate tile that I did . . . I pulled out all of the red tiles in the boxes.

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