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A cpl questions bout my vigilant

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by Ducky, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. Ducky

    Ducky Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
    71
    Loc:
    Buffalo, NY
    Ok first off, how do I tighten the main damper? Mine will fall open when the stove is in use... I currently use my ash can to hold the lever from moving... Which I extended with a small piece of threaded rod, for the ash can to 'hook' so the damper doesn't open on its own....


    And... According to the vigilant II operators manual, mine is a wood burner, vs the 2 which is a coal stove... Basically the same stove...it says I can cook on the top on the stove, directly... I kinda painted my 'griddle' but can sandblast it clean if this is something that is feasible/a plausible idea... My other thought was just using a cast iron skillet... Lol

    Now my stove has a thermostat... Is that supposed to move on its own to regulate the air? Cause mine doesn't, it's kind of an 'adjust as needed' kinda thing....

    Oh, and to the folks that taught me over the Internet how to operate my vigilant with the main damper closed.... Holy cow!!! The heat output of this thing is intense!

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  2. Ducky

    Ducky Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
    71
    Loc:
    Buffalo, NY
    I'm sitting out here right now in pj's and a t shirt, 10ft from the stove sweating my tail off in my shop... Door is cracked, main damper is closed (been running the stove with the damper open for 6yrs) sweating.... It's warmer in my shop than my house. Prolly has something to do with the fact that the house is gas boiler... Heh
  3. rawlins02

    rawlins02 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2012
    Messages:
    67
    Loc:
    Western Massachusetts
    I also have a Vermont Castings Vigilant. Inherited it when I bought my house last January. My damper used to flop back open too. I understand the fireback often warps on these stove. I believe mine is warped. The warping makes the damper likely to flop open. That said, last spring after the heating season was finished I used a thin implement (can't recall what it was...) to clean ash out of the area where the damper pivots. Now when I turn the handle, while I can feel some resistance when the damper nears fully shut, it will stay in the closed position provided I force it past that resistance point and get the damper all the way up. Hope this makes sense. This may not work for you. I have seen photos of slings with a small wire and spring etc to hold the handle in place.

    Now if I could only spread the heat through my entire house (I'll start a thread ons that now).
  4. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    Southwest NH
  5. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
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    397
    Loc:
    No. NH
    One of two things cause Vig ilant damper mischief:

    Warped fireback, excessive ash/creosote build up. Way more likely is the fireback, but how come you gotta keep the door open when the damper is closed?
  6. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    4,893
    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    Actually there is a third reason for the damper not staying in position, You have a (comparatively) hard steel rod passing thru a soft cast iron panel on the side of the unit. That hard steel wears on the cast iron & the hole will become enlarged &/ or out-of-round. You can replace the entire side or you can have the hole bored oversize & have a bushing pressed into it. Either way the stove has to be broken down...
  7. Ducky

    Ducky Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
    71
    Loc:
    Buffalo, NY
    Thats ingenious! I am totally stealing that!

    I keep the door cracked when I am sitting there. If I walk away to go do something constructive, go to the bathroom, ect, i close the door... Seems to run 'hotter' if the door is cracked a little.

    I heard from someone around here who walked me thruogh the steps to make that main damper work correctly with out suffocating the stove. Basically, you get the fire go and hot... then, with the door cracked, you close that main damper... wait about 5min then close the door. If I close the main damper, with the door closed, the fire seems to suffocate, and get wierd... if i leave the door cracked for a few minutes, and then close the door, the fire just keeps getting hotter and hotter, pushing out massive amounts of heat, and levels off when i close the door... drastically extending my burn times and heat output.

    Such as last night /today, i left the stove last night with just coals... everything closed up... that was... say, 10PM? today I go out there, and the stove itself, is still warm, and move the ash around, and theres still coals in the bottom, probablly enuff to relight, if i had that kind of patience... some 13hrs later.
  8. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,659
    Loc:
    northern massachusetts
    hi ducky
    if you don't have a stove top thermostat go and get one. put it on the cooktop. without the damper closed you should run it at no lower than 500 but not more than 750. 600 is a great temp for the secondary to work when you close the damper. in my exper. with running the defiant 1 the cooktop will cool about 100 degrees after the damper is closed because of the fire is running on the bottom and exiting on the bottom. but the the right side of the stove will crank up and the back right corner of the stove top will run hotter and the burn times will go up. if you keep running the stove damper closed and door side door open the right side of the stove will start glowing red and the stove could get damaged. the learn how to use your primary air control and get your spring working do this with the damper open untill you get the hang of it because the temp on the cooktop changes much quicker and is easier to learn. then when you start using the damper closed you will have to open the primary air some to compensate for the secondary air coming into the stove and the corner where the spring is for the air control runs hotter so the spring will close sooner and the stove will run cooler. hopefully you got what i mean:)
  9. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    1,579
    Loc:
    Texas- West of Houston
    The door needs to be closed in horizontal burn. If the fire dies out in horizontal burn it means that you didn't get it going good before you flipped the damper or you don't have enough air coming in. Make sure the five holes in the lower fire back are not choked off with ash. The back chamber could be full of ash blocking that flow of air. Clean out the back chamber to get a good airflow through there in horizontal burn. Take a toothpick or something and poke into each hole to make sure it's clear. Make sure the opening of the curved pipe that exits just inside the left door is clear and not plugged up. I clear a tunnel in the ash that runs along the front of the stove from left to right as well as along the right side of the stove. I keep the right rear "exit" cleared of piles up ash. All of this aids the airflow.

    Make sure the little tear drop covered opening on the left side wall is open. Get your thermostat fixed or replaced. If it is not opening and closing the flap on its own, the coil may be bad (or missing?). Manually adjust as needed until you get it fixed but open it all the way when you first switch to horizontal burn.

    Just because the fire does not continue to roar once you close the damper does not mean that you don't have a good fire. The Stove top temp will drop in vertical but you're still putting out a lot of heat. I always keep the fire in vertical mode until I have a stove top temp of about 750, then I reload, let the fire build up again, then switch to horizontal.

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