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crack in wood insert

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by lisam, Nov 22, 2005.

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  1. lisam

    lisam New Member

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    Nov 22, 2005
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    I am hoping for helpful advice...
    I just inherited a house that is becoming a "money pit". There is a wood insert in one of the fireplaces, which I was grateful for especially with rising fuel costs. I had the chimney cleaned and checked - no problems there, but the guy discovered a crack in the back of the firebox. He said this could allow sparks to be blown into the room from the fan chamber around the firebox. One more bit of good news - it is a "Black Bart", which from all reports is a "sorry excuse for a stove".
    Before I spend two grand for a new insert, I was hoping to be able to patch this one up for this winter, because I am not sure I will like burning wood enough to do it long term. Does anyone know if it is possible to repair it without removing it from the fireplace? Does it have to be welded or is there some patch substance that would work? There is a massive oak mantel which would have to be removed to get it out ( mantel was installed after wood stove) and if I go to that much trouble, everyone says I should just put in a new stove while the mantel is down.
    Thanks for your time---

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
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    Sounds dangerous - the mantle being installed over the insert shrouds!

    That aside, you have a couple concerns...do the fans all work, etc? This unit depends on them.

    The Black Bart was an attempt to make a "Model T" high production and low cost stove. Probably would have been very successfull if everyone didn't forget about the energy crunch two years later!

    Anyhow, a hairline crack in steel is probably not a big deal - but hard to patch since you can't really get anything in there. A decent temp fix would perhaps be to use a piece of 20 gauge stainless steel and drill and rivet it over the crack. - Or, get a guy with a portable welder (sometimes you can get this done reasonable - like $80)....

    In general, it sounds like you might be better with the advice that you have been given - remove stove, take to scrap yard, remove mantel, check fireplace, etc.

    In fact, I wonder how the heck your existing chimney can be cleaned and inspected! That's another whole can of worms. Now you know why I decided on a NEW house this time!
  3. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    lisam -

    I am curious if you have actually seen the crack in the stove or had the chimney sweep point it out. Not that anyone would point out faults with your existing stove in an attempt to sell you a new one (although I suppose that can happen from time to time?) But working with metal on a somewhat regular basis, it is not uncommon for small surface imperfections or blemishes to look like hairline cracks. I suppose any amount of soot, ash, and the general "patina" that the interior of a stove takes may make a mistake even more likely.

    If it is truely a "hairline" crack, I don't know what the trouble would be...it seems as the entire sealing surface of the stove door would also technically be a hairline crack. If you can see light through it or its wide enough to stick a playing card in it (or more), then you may be moving to the dangerous side of things. In that instance as Craig pointed out, an in-house weld repair may be possible. The repair man would ideally drill out the tips of the cracks (to keep it from spreading) then weld over it.

    As for liking woodburning I would say, imagine going out on a cold winter night and getting an arm load of wood, haul it to the stove, spread some ash and a few bits of wood bark on the floor and imagine setting back infront of a cozy warm fire and saving a little money on the heating bill. If the cozy warm fire offsets hauling the wood and the little bit of mess, you might just be a wood burner!

    Good Luck

    Corey
  4. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
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    792
    Loc:
    Richmond VA
    After considering the advice of the previous replies, if it looks like an in place weld won't do the trick, consider a used stove. I don't know what they cost in your area but around here they run 250-600 fopr a used insert. Definately less than a new one.

    David
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