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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. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Can't wait to hear what your dealer says burning...

    About the gasket - I was thinking if the dealer can't get it (for a reasonable price) it might be a good idea to find some kind of fire blanket of the same thickness and just trace out and cut the gasket yourself, attaching it with silicone or gasket cement. Maybe there is a thin gasket rope somewhere that would also work?

    The other thing I was thinking - and maybe your dealer knows something - but if the reports are true about the re-designed shoe, we should consider upgrading (in which case you wouldn't have to worry about the gasket AND in theory the stove might operate better).

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  2. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    Exactly. Thanks for the tip about cutting my own gasket, that would save a bundle of $$ if I could find a roll of the right material and then cut replacement gaskets as needed from a template. Do you think the redesign comes w/ just the refractory material, just the shoe, or both? In the various threads on this topic (assuming I havent missed one which is entirely possible!), I have only seen pics of a slightly different shoe w/ different hole sizes/orientations, but not a new refractory material. If the bored holes were the only change, then I can certainly widen the existing ones slightly to match the new design reasonably closely. But that would not address any problem w/ the refractory material.

    Diabel, to answer your question about the pics. Going from R-->L on the bottom row of pics w/ your browser maximized (the 3 less than focused ones), the two on the right are with the shoe removed, camera in its place, camera on its back shooting straight up vertically looking up towards the flue collar. Im not entirely sure what some of the unfocused protrusions are, whether that used to be solid refractory material which has disintegrated or not. I'm hesitant to stick my hand up there as I'd be doing it blindly and we all know how fragile that material is. Wish I had a pic of what its supposed to look like. Someone had posted a pic w/ their flue collar removed looking down, that might help out a lot for comparison (does someone know which thread that was? I'm the universes worst 'search' user).

    The most left pic on the bottom row is w/ the camera in the same place as above, but angled to see the side wall of the refractory material. Again tough to tell from the pic, but the side wall where it slants at about a 45 degree narrowing the exit, the refractory is solid and feels in good condition if I lightly move my finger along it. When it closes to its narrowest point and becomes vertical, that is where the degradation feels worst. That could also just be debris sitting on top of the refractory material as well tho as opposed to disintegrated refractory.

    I'll try and do some more camera work and get some more in focus pics. Will be tough as the walls are less than 12" from the end of the lens.
  3. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    According to the VC store, the gasket individually costs $5.45, so that's certainly an easy one to accept assuming I can find it in stock somewhere for that price. VC wants $20 for shipping a $5 part....how very typical. :)
  4. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    Got my halogen light in there, so some better shots now.

    Going left to right from top row to bottom:

    1: vertically up to flue collar. back of stove on right hand side of picture
    2: looking diagonally up towards back of stove. lower fireback refractory w/ some chips missing
    3: same as #2, just focused on the front side of the lower fireback refractory
    4: tilting nearly vertical. back of stove at bottom of picture. seem between lower & upper refractory is visible
    5: similar shot to #2 w/ different lighting. mustache gasket visible on the bottom

    Attached Files:

  5. Chrisg

    Chrisg Member

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    Just want to add this pic of the pc. of something that I found below the air intake in back of my 2479 after removing old shoe pc and replacing with a new one. There were several other potatoe chip like pcs.( they looked like the Munchos kind of chips) laying there also. They looked exactly like what we are viewing in the pics by burningislove inside the refractory assembly.

    [​IMG]

    I removed the stove pipe from the back of the stove after and there was a hole in the top of the soft refractory. It is the black dot to the lower right of the rectangular area in the pic. Sorry it is so pixalated.

    [​IMG]

    I am assuming that the inside of the soft refractory looks just like posted interior shots.
    I would also be very interested in materials to rebuild this soft refractory package.
    Thanks Chris
  6. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    I'm concerned there's going to be an even larger hole in my upper refractory brick.

    Do people think that the flaky, thin pieces are actual pieces of the refractory material that are coming off? Or is it soot-like material, too large to be pulled through the micron-thin holes of the material that collect, then become so heavy that they fall off onto the shoe? Or some combination of both?

    As I look at the pics and peer inside mine, I can see evidence of both. There are areas where small thin wafers of refractory have come off, and others where there is a thicker crusty material sticking on top of smooth sections of refractory. If those thicker chips come off, the refractory underneath appears undamaged.

    Its probably a combination of both, but want others input.
  7. Chrisg

    Chrisg Member

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    I agree with your statements. It seemed as if there was the crispy fried type flakes which I suspect is "filtered",for lack of a better word, particles that have simply collected on the inside of the refractory. While at the same time there were flakes with what appeared to be parts of the refractory on them and still others like in the pcs I posted that were clearly chunks of the refractory. I would also welcome more input as to what exactly these pcs are.
  8. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    We'll I also see those chips like the one pictures above on the dollar bill - this is definitely refractory material. My other concern was the bottom of the rear chambers - are they supposed to be covered with refractory material? As you can see below in my pic, after vacuuming, there is nothing covering the bottom. The following pictures show a shot straight down the rear chamber - my arm is reaching into the flue collar and holding the camera all the way back against the rear side, pointing straight down. The first pic is before cleaning, second pic is after cleaning.

    Attached Files:

  9. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    TG....is the rectangular opening at the bottom the secondary air intake hole at the bottom of stove? Or is that part of the refractory shoe? Trying to get my bearings on depth
  10. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    I'm new to the forum, and don't have a VC, but the discussion of a potentially short lifespan of ceramic fiber refractory is very curious. Based on comments in this thread, in Vermonster's Lopi Leyden post from two nights ago, and my own Harman Oakwood experience, it seems like this material is not very stable.

    KeithO’s comments about the cheap quality of some ceramic fiber products, from a post of last October, is a bit unsettling: “Just so you know, most of the ceramic board materials are alumina silicate. Silicate is basically glass. Unless the alumina content is at least 80% or more, it loses its mechanical properties fast at any temperature over 600 deg C.” I hope that’s not the material used for the refractory in some of our stoves! Does anyone know the composition of what VC, Lopi, Harman and others actually use? Are they all exactly the same?

    600 deg C is not very hot. That’s 1100 deg F, which I think is about what you need to get your secondary combustor to burn gases at a good clip. If that's also the point at which your secondary combustor starts to break down, that can't be a good thing. It certainly makes a case for not running these stoves too hot.
  11. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    I wish there was a cut-out type diagram of the stove somewhere (parts diagram in the manual is not helpful). I'm confused by my own pics and yours - not sure exactly what the airflow/combustion path is or what parts should go where. I think I should bring my camera to a dealer and take the same shots on a new stove (and check out the shoe while I'm at it to see if its any different).
  12. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    Thats a great idea. If my dealer is still selling them and I can get somewhere w/ the parts I need, then I'll be taking a trip down there and will take my camera & screwdriver with me. Of course, to get the same shots on a new stove as the ones I took, I'd have to pull out the refractory shoe. Do you think a dealer would let me do that?
  13. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Wouldn't hurt to ask - I bet they won't mind. You can just tell them you want to compare what a new one looks like to yours so you can determine if there is any damage. Taking the shoe out of a new one shouldn't do any harm whatsoever to that gasket so its not a big deal. The pic like I took - though the flue collar from the top doesn't require anything special and can be done in 2 seconds.
  14. stanleyjohn

    stanleyjohn Feeling the Heat

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    You make some good points!I myself isnt looking foward to replacing parts in my harman afterburner chamber every few years.I havent heard much about the ceramic fiber refractory failing in harman wood stoves but who knows!!maybe many have bad ceramic fibers but dont know about it??.
  15. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, one of the big raps on cat stoves has been that you need a new $100 part every five years - is my non-cat going to need a new $300 part every five years? At least with a cat you know what you got. I think most people with non-cats that have a ceramic fiber refractory have no idea what's in their stoves. It's out of sight, out of mind, and there's little or no mention of it in brochures or manuals or maintenance guides as far as I can see. I guess I just assumed the stuff would last forever, it's ceramic, right? Wrong?
  16. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Well either VC thought it would last forever too, or they knew they were going bankrupt when they wrote it into their "lifetime" warranty. The other problem besides safety and cost, is that the repair/replacement looks like it could be a major pain. Who wants to completely disassemble their stove, deal with bolts that are probably seized, replace the gaskets between the cast parts, guess how much to torque the bolts when putting it back together because the manual doesn't tell you, etc.? Most people probably won't know there is a problem until they notice their stove glowing orange (and they may not even notice that considering they put a big external sheet metal shroud over the entire back side where a problem would be most evident.

  17. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    I'm wondering how many people have had warranty issues with ceramic fiber components, not just with VC, but with any maker. One: if you don't know there's a problem with it, how will you make a claim? There are so many variables in woodburning that any stove's minor performance problems could be easily get blamed on the chimney, the wood, the weather, etc. Two: isn't the whole overfiring escape clause in warranties a potential catch-22? I can envision trying to get a replacement part under warranty and being told I've overfired the stove. Really? How do you know? Because - you need to replace a part that can only fail if you overfired the stove! Hah!
    God, it sucks being a pessimist... but you gotta be good at something.
  18. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    So I commented on this in the warranty thread, but I suppose it more appropriately belongs in this one......

    The (good) dealer I spoke to earlier this week recommended not replacing the shoe (floor) gasket and just sliding the shoe back in and operating as normal based on his conversations w/ a VC expert (he also mentioned someone on this forum, he didnt say whom). I cleaned up the shoe, lightly sanding off the remains of the old gasket and slid it back in. There is a larger gap along the top of the shoe than I recall that I can see having two effects:

    First is a positive effect, increasing draft thru the secondary and likely helping w/ the stalling out issues we've all encountered, especially those of us w/ horizontal flue connectors. Pretty much would be a similar effect to boring slightly larger holes in the shoe like in the new design.

    The downside is potential refractory material damage. The existing bore holes would suck any flames through the protected shoe first, likely preventing flame from directly making contact w/ the refractory material above it. If that gap is now there, do users think that its large enough to draw flames through it? Directly behind & above that gap is the 45 degree sloping section of the lower refractory.

    What do people think? Will post pics of the gap when I get a chance. It's not huge or anything, maybe 1/8".
  19. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    What I'd probably be tempted to do is get some generic rope gasket, in a thin size, and stuff it into the gap. Maybe put a bit of refractory cement on it as well.

    Gooserider
  20. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I think I should close this thread - 12 pages!
    We can start some new ones, but people are less likely to read these older long ones.
  21. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    So an update.... Sunday night was cool enough to warrant a larger fire (OK, I was showing off for the guests over to watch the Patriots game). The stove was getting rather warm (uber seasoned splits), reading about 500 on the magnetic & 1150 for flu gas. I raked the coals to the back by the shoe and decided to give combustion chamber a go. Normally I wouldnt have attempted as the outdoor temp was 49, too warm to draft well enough. But to my surprise & enjoyment, the familiar rumble & gas ignitions manifested themselves and were sustainable.

    Not sure which part to credit the success to, as numerous things changed. The first was the gap above the shoe without the gasket, increasing the amount of air flow/draft into the fountain. Next was a really good vacuuming out of the shoe and areas leading up the back of the stove for which there was a fair amount of debris. The wood was probably more dry than normal as it had been sitting in my garage rack since last burning season.
  22. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    That's interesting - I guess maybe I'll experiment with not replacing the gasket. The concern being excessive air later in the season when its very cold.
    Another idea for making your own gasket for people that wanted to replace it - just use tin foil, rolled or layered to the right size (using same pattern as original).

    By the way, you never mentioned what your dealer told you regarding warranties.
  23. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    I think I'm going to have to use the tin foil in the secondary air intake method again to prevent the runaway burns if it comes down to it. Even with the gasket and no gap, it did happen often enough to be of concern.

    As for warranty, my original dealer that I purchased the stove from pretty much had zero interest in speaking to me at all, either about warranties or even replacement parts. They were totally geared towards new sales, not maintaining relationships with existing customers. They have promised numerous times to call me back about the warranty & replacement parts, but never have. The impression that I got from the time I did spend talking to them is that VC will not honor the warranty and will respond to every claim as "you must have overfired it" without even looking at evidence. But the more I think of it, that is more likely the dealer not wanting to invest the time vs. VC/Monessan's official position.

    The new dealer I spoke to (very pleasant), read back to me a description from a VC engineer about the scaling as 'normal' and therefore not requiring a replacement. The VC guy said as long as there are no long, contiguous cracks or large blowout holes, and if the refractory is holding together on its own w/o the owner applying cement or other adhesives, then it's probably fine. Upon close inspection, I did see one hairline crack in the upper refractory viewed from the firebox (not up the fountain). It's barely even noticeable w/o a powerful flashlight and almost certainly does not go all the way through. But I will ask about it as Im heading up there to meet them in person just to build a relationship, they seem really great and interested in doing business.
  24. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    That's good to know. I wonder exactly what the dealer was reading? Do they have technical service bulletins like car dealerships do for cars? The problem with the deteriorating refractory is that people can't really tell the extent of the damage unless they completely take their stove apart (which is not mentioned in the owners manual). One can do a minor assessment by removing the shoe (anyone can handle that much) and trying to take pictures up little crevices and down though the flue collar etc. But I don't think you can really even see enough from such photos - especially with the refractory above the shoe, to tell if it needs replacing.

    And I guess we still have no official word on the warranty situation. I am going to contact my dealer to ask about this.
  25. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    Right....it sounds like I'm probably boned though on the warranty.....if the dealer I purchased the stove from wont take the time, I dont think Im going to get VC/Monessan to honor anything directly. And even though I like the new dealer, he's likely not going to warranty a stove that wasnt purchased at his store.

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