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CFM Vermont Castings Dutchwest Everburn Non-Cat Owners Discussion and Review Thread!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by tradergordo, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. sullystull

    sullystull Feeling the Heat

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    Mine is removable and just rests in its place (no adhesive). Not sure if that is how it is supposed to be but mine has been functioning just fine.

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  2. Central_PA_Chris

    Central_PA_Chris New Member

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    Looks like they tried to stick it down, the black on it in the photo is glue splotches, I'll just stick it in and see if it wanders much.

    Tomas WV? Nice area, I've done a bunch of work for the MNF and spent time all over the forest, but Parsons and Marlinton are two of my favorites. I'll probably tack ramp fest in Elkins in the spring onto a work trip to the region.
  3. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    Yes, that's the classic 'stall' scenario I'm afraid. How deep is your coal bed? One of the times, just got for broke and build a laughably deep coal bed....to the point where the bump-out section of the refractory/fountain is almost (or completely) buried in hot, chunky coals. A way to help accomplish this is after some splits have been burning for a while, take a poker and strike them, prematurely breaking them into coals before it would have broken apart on its own. Those pieces will be part coal, but part consumable wood. Put fresh splits on top of that, and repeat that process until you have said laughably deep coal bed. It will likely take more than one iteration. Be careful not to puncture anything delicate inside the stove. When the depth is sufficient, put some fresh splits on top of that loading up as much as possible to the top (be careful that coals are going to fall out whichever loading door you use), let them get going, then close the bypass. The roar/rumble should be quite loud and should sustain itself. That's how I get new fires going. It takes longer, and the stove doesnt burn as efficiently w/ the bypass open that long, but it should heat things up quickly.

    Also another technique is when you get a stall, it may just be split orientation & air flow around it. Reopen the bypass, stick the poker in and use it as a lever to pry up the splits and drop em down again. It may cause some fortuitous settling, but be careful of the internals of course and make sure you dont block off the refractory shoe entrance with a big split.

    Small splits are good for building that coal bed and getting things running. But once you have a sustainable secondary combustion, you can use more of the all-night burners, so dont feel you have to chop your entire supply down to kindling. :)

    About the same. But have the air wide open (full) when you initially close the bypass, and give the refractory area time to heat up and be sustainable before you start to choke down on primary air. You can also do that incrementally. The rumble may drop a little in volume which is OK as you want a lean air mixture in primary to promote the long burns. But don't risk a stall for it. Again, examine your emissions. If there is a faint rumble and you have clean emissions, then you are in happy land.

    Actually you have a much larger deficit than that to overcome. Non-catalytics require 1100+ to achieve secondary combustion, double that of a catalytic. While even that is not a huge 'deficit' to overcome, keep in mind that on downdraft stoves, you have a very short distance from the secondary air intake along the refractory shoe to the intake of the fountain area. Thats why the holes of the secondary air in the shoe blast out into the coal bed, to pre-heat the gases before it gets sucked into the fountain area.

    You could always employ a similar tactic that I do (but more cleanly). I dont use an outdoor air kit, but I do have my stove drawing in air from outside the house through the garage door. So the house is not under negative pressure, but the stove is getting ample fresh air. You could put a pipe w/ a damper on it to the outside near the back of the stove out of the way. Air will be sucked in through that and be drawn to the stove vs. coming in around door/window frames. But the warmth of the room will warm it up a bit before entry into the secondary air intake. Just a thought, maybe not practical for your set up.

    Yep, its just the firebrick that rests N->S inside the side loading door. I've knocked mine over a few times over the years, dont worry about it. Just put it back and you'll be fine. No need to apply it w/ adhesive, just be mindful of it when loading new splits.
  4. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Yes, I've knocked that piece out of place once or twice too. Like someone else said, that piece didn't have any adhesive on the older models (mine doesn't), I guess they did that after enough people complained. But bumping it is very rare for me, I see no real reason to try to glue it or anything. One thing to check though, is that it seats firmly down, it should NOT stick up above the door opening, if it does it would be much easier to bump out of place again.

    As for the outside air kits, if you want to see the full back & forth about it, I'd check out:
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/2496/
    I think my biggest concern with them is indoor air quality. Positive pressure is over-rated. Indoor air quality in any home is typically bad enough, but when you throw a woodstove into the mix, it can be even worse than average. I think an outside air kit can make indoor air quality worse (by eliminating the small amount of air exchange generated by the stove without an outside air kit). Of course this remains a controversial idea and some of the guys that promote outside air kits think the opposite is true. So until some real scientific research is done, I guess there will be no conclusive evidence either way.

    I'm curious to know what kind of heating results you are getting with that setup? Its a big stove for such a small space, but obviously that is offset by the low insulation.
  5. Central_PA_Chris

    Central_PA_Chris New Member

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    Still on the steep side of the learning curve. This is day 6 of fires (well one 8 hour fire then a 8 hour break and pretty much 24/7 since. Got the flue probe in last night and found I was trying to fire the everburn at too low a temp. With damper open and air control on high I was only getting around 400 degree flue temps even after protracted burning. With the ash door open a bit I got the flue in the 700 degree range, engaged everburn and boy did it roar, stack temps shot up to about 950 for 5 min or so before dropping back into the 700-800 range. I let it go for about 10 min then air controlled back to 2/3 everburn, which then petered out. Fired it back up and let it run on full air control, I think that it kept everburning but I was asleep fairly quickly so who really knows.

    It is keeping the place plenty warm. Having to load every +-6 hours, but I have not yet mastered everburn at all though have had at least two burn periods where it went for as long as the wood was supplying volatiles.

    I think my wood is not as dry as I originally thought, at least not all of it. I'm definitely getting a list of things to do differently (though it will be next winter before some get done [dryer wood and more small splits]).

    I have noticed that when I engage everburn there is frequently a little puff of smoke from the spot where the air control lever goes into the stove also seems like with the damper open and air lever fully open that even with a really hot, good fire going my stack air temp is only around 400.

    I'm out of town the rest of the week, but am going to go back and re-read most of this thread and watch the videos again, try to take it in now that I have a tiny bit of first hand experience.

    Seems like even if everburn fails, running with the damper closed (as the air takes a more circuitous route through the stove and can throw more heat into the room) is more efficient than damper open.

    Two more factors that will change things a bit, the fan unit just shipped. I've been fairly impressed by the ability of the blower fans on other stoves to really move heat from directly around the stove/contained in the mass of the stove into the living space. So that will be in play soon. The floor is uninsulated at the moment and one of these days I'll get the wiring done and icynene http://www.icynene.com/ blown under there. Also did install the outside air kit, though I just have it pressed in place so I can experiment with the effect of 20deg air on the everburn vs 60 if I'm so inclined. That thread on outside air was something else. Didn't change my basic thought/reasoning that I don't want to be pulling cold air in from the edges of the building and making it move through the room(s) to get to the stove. Comfort counts and 10-20cfm of air use by the stove may not be a lot in the greater scheme, but it's a mighty big draft if it's blowing across your bed.
  6. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    Where is your probe located, e.g. how far removed from the flue collar? 400 does seem quite low for a probe, but not for a surface magnetic. What is your stove top temp when the probe reads 400? I think we might have a mis-communication on terminology, as 400 on my flu gas is like a brand new, barely above smoldering fire. :)

    Please, please do be careful if you are going to attempt to burn w/ the ash pan door cracked open. As I'm sure you've noticed, it can be quite a jet engine under such circumstances and is not recommended for safety (and warranty) reasons. Never EVER leave the door open unattended, even for a few seconds, and never more than a crack. I long ago abandoned the practice.


    Yes, this is the back puffing scenario. When the draft is insufficient to draw the gases into the secondary combustion chamber, they instead accumulate in the primary chamber. At a certain point, they ignite en mass and there is not enough space to force them up through the fountain/chimney, so the least point of resistance is out the primary air lever. This is also dangerous....if you see that happen, open the bypass, and adjust your splits & coal bed, making sure there are no obstructions in front of the refractory shoe. Let the stove & fire heat up again a few minutes, then close the bypass and try again. You dont want the stove to repeat that pattern of back puffing.

    It will prolong burn times, but it's not more efficient or prone to throw more heat. When it 'stalls', both the primary and secondary are starving for air. You arent getting any additional heat from the secondary as there is no secondary combustion...so you're letting smoke/waste gases escape out the chimney. It will also cool to the point of producing excessive creosote and can be a fire hazard over time. It's safer to run a hot fire w/ the bypass open, which will heat the cast iron and throw a lot of heat, than to starve the whole system and get the longer burns.
  7. Central_PA_Chris

    Central_PA_Chris New Member

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    The Probe is about 18" over the stove top. It's not in any of the pictures, but if it were in the picture it would be right below the elbow that is over the stove.

    Thanks for the advice on running damper shut with everburn stalled, maybe I'll quit playing with the damper for a while and just focus on damper open and stack/stove temps. Hard to do, when I get a good fire that I think will everburn I want to close the damper and see if it works.

    OK, I've done a couple more loads not cracking the ash door and keeping the damper open and I can get the flue temp up to 600-700 degrees. I think I was just not giving it enough time after loads to really get rolling before trying to enghage everburn. Steep side of the learning curve. :) Flue probe helps a lot and that's only been here a couple days.

    I have 17' of chimney pipe over the stove inlet and no issues with a too tight house :) so draft should be ok. The puffs were only RIGHT when I closed the draft control door, and very brief/hard to notice. Seen maybe twice, could have been when doing 400 deg everburn start attempts. Have not seen anything like it from chimney pipe joints etc.


  8. Central_PA_Chris

    Central_PA_Chris New Member

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    I've been running this stove 24/7 for a month now (there were two cool down periods for cleaning and stack adjustments in there) and I've developed an opinion. Don't buy this stove. Maybe it was worth it when it was under $1,000 (and I'd debate that too), but now it's in the price range of high quality stoves that work.

    Unless you want to spend hours fiddling, waiting, dorking around, running out the back door to see if there is smoke coming out the chimney, turning everything that makes noise in a 2 mile radius off so you can listen for the Neverburn rumble (and for it to fade away 10 minutes later) monitoring stack temperature, building tunnels in the coals to direct gasses, every freaking time you load it, go buy a different stove.

    To add insult to injury, when burning 24/7 the front glass only stays clean for a couple days (and one error on air control or wood stacking and it gets ugly quick) before you start a cycle of black buildup after loading/fire cool that burns off when a hot fire is going to a gray soot that's easy to clean, but gotta have the stove cool to clean.

    The fan attachment works great for moving heat from the stove into your space, but it has an annoying electrical hum, luckily that's drowned out at high fan speeds. Also has no override for the thermostat. If your fire is not burning as hotly over the sensor area (rear of stove by door) the stove itself can be good and hot for quite a while before thermostat kicks the fan on. For the price it should be darn near silent, last forever, and have every bell and whistle (thermostat override switch) that one would ever want.

    My only long term prior wood burning experience was with a 60's (I think) wood stove, I expected these new fangled efficient stoves to be well...... efficient, easy to use and keep the glass at least as clean as that old clunker. Nope.

    It is nice looking and has nice features and if you just want to burn a couple times a winter for ambiance, well it would be good for that.

    I went with this stove over the Pacific Alderlea because there were no local dealers for Pacific near me (I wanted local support/parts) and the lack of a side door on the Pacific didn't thrill me. Well the guys at my local DutchWest dealer have never run this stove and are without a clue, and side door vs VOC combustion/efficiency that actually works? I'd weld the side door on this thing shut if it would make it start working.

    I'll report in at the end of the burning season if I have an update to this opinion.

    Anyone have any tips on calibrating a flue gas thermometer? I noticed on one of my cool down cleaning cycles that it was reading around -200 (markings don't go that low, so thats an estimate/extrapolation) I think that may be why my flue gas temps don't match others here.
  9. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    I don't disagree with you that other designs (including less expensive stoves) seem to be superior in many ways. But...

    My glass has been cleaned exactly once this season, and I'm a 24/7 burner. Dirty glass is a sign that your fuel has too much moisture - which can also explain why your performance & experience has been "less than stellar".


    I don't know how to calibrate them (or even if you can) but the low end I don't think is really intended to be accurate on these types of thermometers. As for verifying the high end - the only way would be to use a different thermometer, but having the exact temp as someone else is not really important - someone else might have theirs mounted higher or lower which can really change the readings. Although if your wood is wet, that would also explain why you aren't seeing the higher temps that others report.

    If you want a second data point you might want to pick up one of those $30 laser thermometers from Harbor Freight for reading surface temps.
  10. Central_PA_Chris

    Central_PA_Chris New Member

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    I will admit there are some not-perfectly dry logs mixed in, though the majority seem really dry. Basically I had a log pile sitting for a couple years and stacked it this fall, so the wood with ground contact is less than perfect, but the rest is probably as dry as I expect wood to get without superdrying or a kiln. :)

    The smoking up of the glass seems to be failed Neverburn cycles or reloads that don't get burning quickly. Some of it's leaning cyle type stuff, on big reloads keep wood a ways back from the glass etc, etc....

    "I don't know how to calibrate them (or even if you can) but the low end I don't think is really intended to be accurate on these types of thermometers. As for verifying the high end - the only way would be to use a different thermometer, but having the exact temp as someone else is not really important - someone else might have theirs mounted higher or lower which can really change the readings. Although if your wood is wet, that would also explain why you aren't seeing the higher temps that others report."

    Yup, exact readings I don't expect, but I'm seeing way too many low readings that don't make sence and I'm trying to get a feel for flue gas temps while burning to learn to burn to minimise creosote buildup.

    I have a IR thermometer, the other day towards the end of a Neverburn cycle there were still a good bed of glowing coals and a couple mostly intact burning logs, the outside of the double wall interior pipe was a maximum of 130, stove surface was 250-320 and the flue gas probe thermometer read 75. In trying to learn what works in terms of fire building and keeping an eye on temps for creosote issues and such it's giving me more confusion than data.

    I do have a probe type grill thermometer which has always seemed darn accurate (when it says 350, things cook like they were in a 350 degree oven) I think it only goes to 400 or 500 degrees, but that could test the mid range. I had not thought of trying that till now, so that will give me a mini-project for this evening.

    I think I can sum up my feelings as frustrated. I don't think I'd have all these issues if I picked a different stove. I think my solve before next heating season may be to move this stove to the interior of my office/workshop building as a backup/really cold weather/power outage infrequent use stove and put a different one in where I burn 24/7. Moving a stove is no fun and that's not an expense I had planned for '09. I've heard cast iron legs are fairly sensitive to dragging/snagging on things so guess I better take those off and re-pallet it for that move. Maybe I'll have a breakthrough and fall in love with it by the end of the burning season, but looks doubtful.
  11. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Sorry man, but dead trees lying on the ground for a couple of years rarely make for good firewood, doesn't matter if you stacked them last fall or last spring. Also, splitting and stacking wood in the fall might be OK if you are burning it a year later, but its definitely NOT good if you were planning to burn it over the next couple months. Most people don't even count seasoning time until its split and stacked, that means your wood has been seasoned for about 3 months. That right there is going to give you a bad experience with just about any stove. I suggest you go out and find a big pile of free pallets, cut them up, and burn that for a few days to see what the stove can do :) In a pinch, you can just mix in pallet wood 50/50 with your crap wood and hope for the best but even that might not work so well.

    I tell you the truth - I've definitely grown to like this stove better over time, particularly this year with the colder weather. Its about 10 degrees here right now (which is pretty cold for Pennsylvania) and the stove is kicking butt, the house is 76 and I've been getting easy 9 hour burns every day pretty much all season. I got an 11 hour burn today while at work, even though it never got above freezing today the house when I got home 11 hours later was still above 70 and there were enough coals to get a new fire going quickly (I discovered a new way of loading the firebox for ridiculously long burn times - not sure if it only works well when load time temps are teens or lower but that's when I've been doing it - basically I put large splits in a vertical orientation on the edge of the firebox which burn slowly as the middle load coals in the everburn action).

    Everything that has been said about the long learning curve with this stove and the need for very well seasoned wood is true.

    My only real big complaint/concern is the deteriorating rear (totally out of sight) refractory material that I and many others have noted. Until that issue is resolved I couldn't recommend the stove. Although technically that part of the stove is supposedly covered by the lifetime warranty for those that actually have a valid warranty.
  12. Nostrum

    Nostrum New Member

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    I've been running a new VC Defiant NC 1610 just about 24/7 since the end of October. Slowly learning why this stove is refered to as a "Neverburn" after considerable reading in this forum.

    Setup is a horizontal vent into 8" insulated SS chimney liner that runs up through the old masonry fireplace chimney in my single story home.

    I've had considerable trouble getting the Everburn to engage all season. This past week Everburn has been really difficult. It's been quite cold and I'm freezing. Having trouble keeping the main room close to even 65 degrees. Obviously not getting any secondary combustion. Can't get the griddle temperature over about 450 after shutting down the damper. No rumble even after letting the griddle temps go up to 600 before damping. Been running the primary air control wide open all week. Chimney liner was cleaned less than a month ago.

    I'm considering removing the flue collar this weekend to clean out around the sides of the non-cat. I saw some mention of also removing the shoe and gasket. Is this necessary?? Could someone help and post exactly how to remove the shoe.

    Thanks.
  13. Central_PA_Chris

    Central_PA_Chris New Member

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    Sorry, my bad on the firewood explanation, it was cut to length, not full logs, probably 30% rounds that didn't need to be split and most of the rest just needed halved and that did just get split this fall. No really big, many splits from a round, wood. All piled as if dumped from a dump truck that was slowly moving forward, pretty much surrounded by a gravel lot, so not in weeds and briers, it's the bottom of that pyramid of wood that I suspect didn't get seasoned. Maybe you hit it dead on, but it split as if dry, weighs in hand as if dry, pop a chunk of bark off and it's bone dry underneath. I've got other wood that's in full tree form that I'm cutting and splitting now (for next year) that's been downed for six months to a year with bark on and that stuff is wet, you can really feel the weight difference and the bark doesn't come off at all while splitting.

    Well, I've been pondering your post for the last 12 hours or so and went looking for moisture meters, found ok looking ones for $20 so I ordered one. If $20 can get me piece of mind, I'm buying. I hope your right and my wood is just too wet, that would give me a bunch of hope for next year (and motivation to keep splitting and stacking now).

    That long burn load technique, so it's sorta like vertical (12"?) bookends of splits on both sides with (agian around 12"? long) splits stacked horizontally in the middle?

    Cheers!
  14. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

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    When the stove becomes somewhat sluggish...it is time to clean those passages on the back side of the refactory. Be careful when you're vacuuming back there...the thing is very delicate!

    As for the temps....sounds like you're burning less than ideal wood. Get some seasoned wood & you will see that that stove can do in terms of heating!
  15. Nostrum

    Nostrum New Member

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    Exactley what I thought. Time to clean. This stove is turning out to be way too much work compared to my prior three.

    Admittedly wood supply could be better. Burning a mix of seasoned oak and some other stuff. Stored outside since that's my only option, moisture content is no doubt high.

    Is it necessary to remove the refractory shoe for good cleaning, and if so, how is it removed??? Don't want to damage anything.
  16. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

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    I have not removed the shoe as of yet (3 yrs running). I clean the back of the refactory twice per season along with the chimney (done at the same time). Once mid season & once at the end of the burning season. No matter what stove you have...you should inspect the unit twice per season...& while inspecting why not run the brush through & clean the fly ash from the refactory (common sense to me).
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    This thread has to have the record for the longest and most views - almost 30000. Maybe it should have its own forum? :coolsmile: Thanks tradergordo and all for your continued contributions and insight.
  18. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Personally I think the problem is your wood, but I guess it can't hurt to do the cleaning anyway. Your owner's manual should show how to clean the rear combustion chambers (disconnect flue, stick a vacuum hose down the flue collar, to the back corners). If you have a digital camera, the best way to see what's going on back there is to stick the camera in, pointed down, and take a flash picture - do it before and after cleaning to see the difference. As noted, be extremely careful not to hit any of the refractory material while cleaning (don't poke it with your finger or anything else, either!).

    Personally I think its a good idea to remove the shoe and clean that area as well because refractory chips can accumulate on top of it. This is very easy to do. Pull the metal grate at the bottom of the firebox straight up and out - it isn't bolted down or anything. Then you can carefully pull the shoe forward and out (the shoe is the thing in the bottom, back, center of the firebox). But like I've said numerous times, pulling the shoe out will probably destroy the gasket that is attached to its bottom. Its a $5 replacement part. But replacement seems to be optional. I think the stove runs better without that gasket, and supposedly a VC technician told one customer it did not have to be replaced.

    But to reiterate - these everburn stoves are VERY sensitive to properly seasoned wood. If your wood isn't dry, it's difficult and sometimes impossible to achieve secondary combustion. Like I said before, if you want to see what the stove can do, go get yourself some wood pallets (I think just about every town has free pallets somewhere), cut them up, and burn that for a few days, you will at least see what a hot fire and good secondary combustion is like, although you won't get long burn times.
  19. dtabor

    dtabor New Member

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    Diabel, I have to say your setup must be much different than mine. I take off my flue collar 1x per year to get the ash down in the back areas and it is the biggest PITA. As much as I hate ladders, Id rather clean 50 of my chimneys 32 feet up. The only way to get at this area, I have to remove the whole horizontal piece of pipe then trying to get it lined up again is a bear........
  20. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Unless its been SPLIT, then STACKED OFF OF THE GROUND (another essential use for free pallets), and spends at least one full Summer air drying (preferably in the sun) then its probably not going to be dry enough. Sometimes those unsplit bucked logs seem dry, but they really aren't, which is why many only start counting seasoning time after its been split and stacked off the ground. The moisture meter probably isn't going to help, those things usually aren't all that accurate. The dirty glass and inability to burn hot or sustain an everburn is all pretty much proof that your wood is too moist. There probably isn't a whole lot you can do about that this year, you can try mixing in a lot of pallet wood, super drying your wood by carefully stacking it around the stove for at least a few days before burning, not burning at all, or burning with the damper open and just accepting the short burn times and frequent reloads.

    Almost - but I've just been doing the vertical split on one end (next to the side load door). The main horizontal load is probably more like 18 inches (since I use my 18" saw bar as a guide when I buck the wood). I'll take a picture of it if I remember...


  21. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    I think its a total PITA also. I only do it once a year (before or after the burn season). And I didn't start cleaning above the shoe until after 2 seasons, but that job is simple, takes 5 minutes.
  22. CTBurner

    CTBurner Member

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    Tradergordo, could you elaborate on this method for longer burn times, it sounds great. do you stand splits verticle on ends of firtebox? what do you put in middle of firebox? arte all splits verticle? thanks Mike
  23. KarlP

    KarlP Feeling the Heat

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    Do you have a reputable source to back that up?

    I've personally had no problem splitting and burning wood in the same day IF its been cut to 18" lenghts and covered for at least a year.

    Wood dries extremely quickly along the end grain and slowly across the grain. When you air dry lumber, the rule of thumb is one year per inch of thickness. If the drying was happening along the "split edge" of the splits then 4" splits would take 3-4 years to dry out.

    You also want to seal the ends of lumber with wax, thick paint, or something similar so that the wood at the ends does not dry out too quickly and shrink first splitting the lumber. A few times I haven't sealed the ends and they always check for ~1' from either end within the first few months of drying.
  24. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Ottawa, ON
    My pipe goes 6' vertical at which point I have a 45 angle. This six foot section is a telescopic double wall pipe, all I do is remove the three screws & lift the pipe up about two feet & I am ready for cleaning. If this was all fixed I imagine it sure would be PITA!

    I just had a thought....you can reach that area (back of the refactory) with a small flexible hose (say 1" thick, HD sell all kinds of these) through the firebox/damper area. Just attach the hose to your shop vac or vacuum hose even with duct tape. The suction might be somewhat weaker but it will work.
  25. Nostrum

    Nostrum New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    Southern New Jersey
    Thanks for the replies.

    As was stated, lift the grate and the shoe easily pulls right out. Gasket came apart also. Super easy to do. I see no reason not to do it as regular maintenace.

    I'll pull the flue collar and vacuum the backside of the refractory over the weekend since a warmup is in the forecast. Probably run the brush down the chimney pipe too.

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