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Jotul Combi 4 firebrick available?

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by philwarner, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. philwarner

    philwarner New Member

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    I am considering a Jotul Combi-Fire 4 advertised locally, but so far have only a photo of the outside which appears to have surface rust. The seller says some of the fire bricks are broken and it needs a new door seal. He was asking $350 but says "I would be willing to drop the price if the bricks are an issue."

    Of course broken fire bricks ARE an issue; is there a source for these fluted bricks or a reasonable substitute? And what might one be looking at cost wise to replace firebricks and door seal?

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Don't worry about the slight surface rust, but do look for cracks and issues with the door mechanism. If all is ok, the stove can be made to look like new with a wirebrush, cleaning and fresh stove paint.

    Finding firebrick could be challenging. www.woodmanspartsplus.com might have the parts and pricing. You could also try www.prestontradingpost.com. If no luck, there is a Combifire facebook page you could post this question to. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-and-Fans-of-Jotul-Combi-Fire-Woodstoves/314285651956652

    If the brick is not badly broken, you might be able to cement the pieces together for a season more of use.
  3. philwarner

    philwarner New Member

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    Thanks for the links. I had tried the woodman site and didn't see fire brick listed in available parts and I went to the trading post site - saw none there either. I had posted the question to the Combi-Fire facebook page and did find an older posting about fire bricks from Ace Hardware that might work if I knew the dimensions of the original ones.

    The seller sent some more photos of the inside and it looks pretty rough (see below), but I will try to go see it if he still has it. I've seen folks postings who have gotten these for anywhere from free to $50 to $300 (in good condition) and even one offered for sale at $900 plus. Any idea what one should offer if all the parts are there and the door latch works even if the inside needs completely re-done?

    Attached Files:

  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I would call both Woodmans and Preston. They may be able to provide a lead if the facebook page can't. The fire brick does look rough, but the stove looks pretty solid still.

    One option might be to cast your own refractory bricks if you feel up to it. The trick would be making a mold that matches the contour of the stove back.
  5. philwarner

    philwarner New Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions; I emailed both and will try calling if I don't get a response from the email.

    I looked up casting firebrick at : How to Cast Fire Brick | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_6190376_cast-fire-brick.html#ixzz2J995Ndox and given the step, "Turn the kiln up to 2,552 degrees Fahrenheit and fire the bricks at that temperature for two days", it looks like it would be beyond my ability. I do have a small Kiln my mother used for ceramics, but I don't know if it would reach that temp and I'd have to do one or two at a time.

    I'll call the seller tomorrow and see if I can look at the stove. Someone suggested an offer of $200 for a Combi 4 in that condition would be about right; I'll feel him out after I see how the door closes. At least the handle looks OK in his photos.
  6. philwarner

    philwarner New Member

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    Just spoke with the seller again who says there is only about 5 square inches of firebrick missing and that he's used the stove that way for 20 years, but he has rented the house now and he wants to move it out. He says everything works, but he has had to replace the door seal almost every year because it doesn't stay glued. His bottom dollar is $300 and he is moving it today to a cafe he runs to put it in the parking lot with a for sale sign. He'll call when it is moved and I'll go take a look. That's pushing my budget but I'm thinking I'll bite the bullet if it is as solid as he says.
  7. philwarner

    philwarner New Member

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    Well, good and bad news. Aside from surface rust the Combi 4 was solid with all the parts and the firebrick was not that bad once the 3 inches of ash was shoveled out. The door worked fine and the handle was perfect so I bought it for $300. However, the seller had a couple of buddies to help move it out of the rent house and they boomed it down face first on an appliance dolly and broke the handle. I was sick!

    The break was clean so now I need to find a good high temp super glue and see if it will hold on the bakelite. Any suggestions?

    Also,what's the best way to deal with the surface rust? Wire brush and stove polish? Or high temp paint?
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Bummer, but I'm glad the damage wasn't worse. Here are some tips on mending bakelite: http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=28.0 . Or you could use some 2 part, black jbweld maybe?

    Wire brush the stove down, use a wire brush on a drill for tight areas. Then wipe it down with alcohol or lacquer thinner to remove all oils. Paint with a high temp stove paint like Forest Product's Stove Brite or Thurmolox. Paint with a vapor mask on in a well ventilated place. The fumes are brain rotting intense.
  9. philwarner

    philwarner New Member

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    Thanks for the bakelite link. I am thinking I'll try some fresh cyanoacrylate glue from a name brand like loc tite before trying a two part epoxy since the handle pieces fit together very closely. There was a lot of reference to Araldite in the article which seems to be an industrial brand name of a two part epoxy like JB Weld, but from the beginning of the epoxy era; that or JB Weld might be the second thing to try if a"super glue" doesn't hold.

    How do you feel about stove polish, either William's or Rutland? These products have pretty glowing reviews (pun sort of intended) and have been around for ages. I don't know what is in Rutland's, but here is what the William's brand says:

    Williams Stove Black has been using the same proven formula for over 100 years.
    • Semi-paste
    • Contains no chemicals, waxes or solvents
    • Just pure graphite and carbon
    • Odorless
    • Cleans up with soap and water
    • 2.7 oz re-sealable tube
    • USA made
    Seems like a "stove polish" finish might be easier to maintain than a painted finish and the products are not expensive. Is paint what Jotul used originally?

    I removed the legs so I can set the combi 4 on a dolly so as not to risk putting to much stress on the legs moving it by myself. I thought about removing the door mechanism and door also to reduce handling weight, but don't know how difficult it might be to re-assemble properly. Is this a big deal to get aligned if I take it off? Is there a technique to removing it as a unit with the spring and door together?

    I am still bummed about the handle, but I suppose I'll get over it. I assume a new handle is not available from parts suppliers? If nothing else works I may try carving a replacement from oak or walnut wood, but I still wish those guys had been more careful.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I prefer paint, but others like polish.Once you have gone down one path, don't try to go down the other.
  11. philwarner

    philwarner New Member

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    I did some more reading on stove polish and while some claim it lasts a long time others say only a few months and that it won't prevent rusting in damp conditions - seems like it is usually a wax with carbon fillers to make a black surface. So...I am inclined to go the paint route and I see a number of paints available including several from Rust-oleum, a brand I've had good luck with in the past.

    Rust-oleum has a High Heat BBQ black and a High Heat Ultra in colors that say to 1200 degrees, and an "automotive high heat" paint that says it is good to 2000 degrees. Thurmalox and Stove Bright both say 1200 degrees continuous and come in colors as well, and I am intrigued by the Thurmalox Antique Ruby or Stove Bright's Forest Green, Mojave Red, or Russett Brown. They seem appropriate colors for a stove that looks like an ancient stone statue.

    Have you had experience using paint other than flat black? I am also wondering if there is any advantage to the Rust-oleum 2000 degree Automotive paint and if it might be more durable, or if 1200 degrees is plenty high enough for a combi 4 (considering my enamel Vermont Castings Defiant Encore seldom exceeds 800 degrees on the top plate).

    I did once load up a box stove for the night in a cabin in Upper Michigan the way I was used to loading my air tight stoves, and was awakened in the wee hours by the hot smell and cherry red glow of the stove sides and two feet of the stovepipe above it; I bet that was more like 1500 degrees, but I don't think the box stove wasn't painted - at least it probably wasn't after that experience.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Stove Brite is used by a lot of stove makers. If the stove is glowing red you have more problems than a trashed paint job.
  13. philwarner

    philwarner New Member

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    Yes, I spread water on the floor and sat up with the stove and a full bucket until it died down some; I figured doing anything to the stove itself could make it crack and spill the coals. It must have been a quality box stove to survive that; perhaps like the 1920 Atlanta Stove Works #27 box I recently sold to buy the Jotul.
  14. philwarner

    philwarner New Member

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    Oh, BTW, I just had an email from Justin at Woodman's Parts Plus saying they do have replacement fire bricks for the Combi 4.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yea! That's good news. When you paint the stove, do it in a very well ventilated location and wear a protective vapor mask. The fumes from the stove paint are strong and can damage brain cells.
  16. philwarner

    philwarner New Member

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    Thanks for the warning, although age is already doing a job on those brain cells. I do have a vapor mask and I'll be painting outside to dispel the fumes . I plan to get some "play" sand for a small portable sand blaster I have to do the prep work (outside also, of course), and I plan to get some little three wheel dollies at Harbor freight, paint the legs first, put them back on, and then unload it onto the dollies with an engine hoist.That should make the work easier than my first plan of unloading the legless stove onto a moving dolly.

    There is one loose piece of fire brick that came with the stove; is there a recommended product to cement it back in place if the rest of the lining is OK? Or is it best to replace a whole brick? I assume it would still need to be cemented in place unless there are tabs inside that hold the lining in place.

    BTW, I saw an eBay auction for parts of a Combi 4 that showed the back of the stove with the screen hanging on it; now I know why those tabs on the back are there.

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