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My first wood burner, Blaze King KEJ 1101, and I have problems

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by hawkfan9, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. hawkfan9

    hawkfan9 New Member

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    This is my very first post. I just purchased, used on Clist, a BlazeKing King KEJ 1101. On the unit, it has a tag that says mfg. date ME-2555. I don't know what that converts to.

    Here's my problem.....And keep in mind that this is my first wood burning stove.

    I'm trying too heat my workshop, which is a 1700 square foot open space, insulated walls and ceiling, 12 foot tall ceiling.

    I installed the 8" chimney yesterday with help from an HVAC friend of mine. Flue draws just fine.

    The unit burning just fine, but it is not creating any heat into the shop. I lit a small fire in it, with just some kindling and a couple logs, and let it get going. Then, I added more wood, and pretty much just followed the directions in the manual.

    Last night, I loaded the stove fully with wood, set it to 1.5, and closed up for the night. 8 hours later, at 4:00 am this morning, I went up to my shop to check it out, and the room temperature is below freezing. It was 51° when I left it. The fire was still burning, but when I opened the door, it was a bed of coals in the bottom with what's left of the stack of wood.

    None of the heat seems to be getting into the space, and the stove pipe, which is brand new single wall, is hot, but not REALLY hot. I can put my hand about 3" away without feeling like I'm burning.

    Any clue's as to what is going on? I know this is a cat. combustor stove. Is my catalytic combustor shot?

    Any help is appreciated. I'm very frustrated as it's freezing here in Northern Illinois and I cannot get propane for my propane heater.

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  2. valley ranch

    valley ranch Feeling the Heat

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    Greetings Hawkfan, I don't have a Blazeking, members who do may chime in with a better answer.

    1. Your combustor may indeed be shot, the guys with that unit will let you know how to check that.

    2. I'm thinking, I have always heated with wood, that a damper might be a good idea, having had a similar problem with a different type of wood stove.

    Blaze King may have an open section just above the stove, we'll hear from the fellows who own them, in that case a damper should not be used. Good luck with the stove I'm sure the answer is on the way.

    Richard
  3. hawkfan9

    hawkfan9 New Member

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    I took a good look inside the upper area to see if the catalytic combustor was glowing red like it shows in some of the Blaze King youtube demo videos, and nothing was doing that. I also noticed that there are some gaps in the seams of the upper plates of steel that lead to the flue, so exhaust gases/smoke can bypass the bypass door and still go straight up the flue. I will try to post a photo tomorrow after the coals cool down.

    Does anybody know if I can just weld those seam gaps closed? I'm a pretty darned good fabricator/welder. Or, is there a different approach to this type of repair? I don't need this stove to be original or beautiful......I just need heat!! My previous shop heater was a radiant propane tube heater across the entire ceiling of the shop, and I cannot purchase propane right now due to the shortage in my area.

    At present, the only way to get this stove to produce decent heat is with the bypass open and the front door open, which defeats the whole purpose.

    I appreciate any help anyone can offer in the way of advice.

    Jeff
  4. valley ranch

    valley ranch Feeling the Heat

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    Greetings Jeff, If this isn't a removable plate you can weld it in. Well, if you're a fabricator/welder you can cut it out too.

    Sounds like you're in the market for the catalytic. With the model # you should be able to shop for on at a decent price.

    Good luck with it, should be a good addition to your shop..

    Richard
  5. hawkfan9

    hawkfan9 New Member

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    Richard

    Thanks for your help.

    Do you, or anybody else who has one of these models, know if I can use either of the catalytic combustors that are available. It seems that there is a steel one, as well as the factory one. I don't want to order the wrong one, and the manual doesn't state anything about it.

    Also, I want to purchase the catalytic thermometer, which is missing on mine. Does it have a metal probe that sticks through the hole in the top of my unit, or does it just fit into the hole?

    The plates are welded into the stove, and it would be a lot more work, in a very tight space, to try and get them out. The gap is only about 1/4" wide, so I'm just going to weld it shut. My guess is, after reading for 2 straight days about this model at night (and missing all the olympics) that the gases that get burned by the catalytic combustor are just going right through these gaps and up the chimney, which is probably why my unit isn't producing the kind of heat that it is supposed to.

    Thanks again,

    Jeff
  6. Coolerman

    Coolerman Member

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    What were you expecting it do do temp wise? What was the out side temp during this test? Do you have a way to circulate the air? Is your shop well sealed?

    Reason I ask is I have a much smaller shop (960 sq ft floor space. It's a 40 x 25 x 12 with ceiling and walls insulated). If the outside temp is below 30 my stove struggles to get the shop to 60 (though that is as high as I want it for working) and that's burning it hard with stove top temps at 550-650 degrees and a big furnace fan blowing the warm air across the shop. My shop has 5 windows and it is sealed pretty good but it's not perfect. My "stove" is actually a fireplace insert converted to free standing and is non-EPA meaning no cat or secondary air burn technology. The secondary air is a mod I plan on making.
  7. hawkfan9

    hawkfan9 New Member

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    To answer your question, I was always able to easily get the shop to 62° with the radiant propane heater. This stove has a 500 cfm blower on it, and Blaze King rates it up to 2500 square feet for heating capacity. My shop is R19 walls, R30 ceiling. The doors are R15. The windows are the weak link, but will be changed this summer. My shop also has a very powerful air cleaner/filtration system which circulates the air in the shop extremely well, when turned on.

    The unit is just not putting out the heat like I expected at all. I can put my hand within an inch of the stove and pipe and not feel anything but warmth. I can keep my hand there for a long time. A friend has a non-catalytic all metal stove in his shop, and when he has it loaded and burning, it's 85° or higher within a 10 ft radius of the stove, and when you walk by it, it's like walking past a blast furnace. I purchased this one because of the catalytic combustion burn, thinking of our environment AND the amount of wood it won't consume compared to non-catalytic units. I wish I had $3000 to plop down for a new one, but there are other pressing concerns with two young adults still in college. I always seem to get the short end around here.....my truck just turned 142,000 miles yesterday, and I'm a good enough mechanic/hack to keep my old stuff going.

    I do not know anything about your stove, so comparing its output to a BlazeKing King model isn't possible for me, but from what I read, mainly here, for the past two weeks before buying it......all the ratings for my stove were that it puts out TONS of heat. My unit is not able to melt snow on a table 3 feet away. I think all the heat is going right up the flue. My stove is rated to heat a space twice the size of my shop.

    The wood I'm burning was cut and split 2 years ago, and is very well seasoned north american hardwoods.....mostly maple, white oak, red oak, and ash. It ignites immediately and stays burning easily with a little oxygen added.

    What I'm hoping to find out here, if someone who has my unit or knows about it can respond, is if I am on the right track for repairs/tune-ups with welding, a new combustor, and new gaskets for the door and bypass. If someone can hop along and chime in, I'd really appreciate it. I will be sick to my stomach if I spend the $400 on the parts, only to find out that my stove is trashed anyway because of something else I don't currently know to check. If that's the case, I'll just go put the money towards an old metal heat producer. I've got access to all the free firewood I need, as long as I do the work either splitting it, or cutting sawmill slabs into proper length to fit into the stove. I'm a professional woodworker with a sawmill (recent addition to my toolkit).

    Jeff
  8. valley ranch

    valley ranch Feeling the Heat

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    There are guys with this stove here on the forum. They may not be tuning in just now. If you find their name on the forum, you could PM them, and might hear from them without waiting for them to log on here.

    Richard
  9. hawkfan9

    hawkfan9 New Member

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    Well, I've been duped.

    I learned the lesson in the last week that you should have knowledge of these stoves before you go look at them. I called Blaze King directly, and got some great assistance from the lady who answered about what to look for, and what is catastrophic on these used catalytic stoves. Thank you, Blaze King customer service. I got off the phone feeling impressed.

    Unfortunately, my stove is catastrophic. After a thorough inspection, the previous owner tried using cement to replace 1" wide cracks and gaps in the upper plate of the stove, which separates the burning chamber from the flue. On top of that, and to make matters worse, he completely cooked the catalytic combustor alcove, where it sits. The metal is actually gone, and he cemented in his existing combustor, which has been melted away to half it's normal thickness. I took pictures, but enough is enough.

    I am a tinkerer by nature, and a loving fixer of all things old and made in America. My entire woodshop is filled with old American-made industrial woodworking machines that I restored myself. My plan is to remove this stove from the flue, and buy a different stove that will work right now. I've got work that I've got to get out the door. This summer, I will turn this stove upside down and re-fabricate the metal area that houses the combustor, and at least get this stove so that it will function and produce heat, at least in a shop atmosphere.

    I'm really disappointed because I think this stove was the perfect unit for my application, and I don't see any others locally for sale.

    On that note, can anyone make a recommendation for a make/model for a decently made stove that will produce some heat for my shop? What are the old goodies that I can probably find used?

    Thanks again for all who chimed in. I'm out $125 for the stove, but I've learned a very valuable lesson, and I'll be wiser next time. I now know you CAN overcook a wooden stove and wreck it. I didn't know that before.

    Jeff
  10. Coolerman

    Coolerman Member

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    Wow! you have a really well insulated shop! Bummer about the Blaze King stove though. For a short term heat source how about one of the barrel stove kits from Northern Tools? All you need is a couple of 55 gallon steel drums and a day of your time to make a hell of a stove setup.
  11. hawkfan9

    hawkfan9 New Member

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    I bought a fisher last night. I'm gonna rebuild the inside of this one, just no time now.

    Thanks.
  12. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    I thought you said you worked with metal / welding / fab, etc? Can you cut some new pieces and put them in to replace the old? Seems like a relatively simple job. A $125 stove and $40 worth of scrap metal could pay big returns. A few people on here have even retrofitted catalytic converters to non-cat stoves (in the flue pipe). I would think in a shop setting, that would be very easy because you'd have good access to the pipe - vs someone who had an insert and the pipe blocked by the fireplace. Also, if you have free firewood,

    As for the shop, it's a bit concerning you say you lost ~20º overnight. (51 to 'below freezing' you said) In my house, it can drop 10º over a 10-12 hour period with single digit temps outside. But we've left for a few days with no heat at all and never had it drop below ~50. Since you say 'shop' I'm assuming a higher than average or 'vaulted' ceiling and possibly a concrete or rock floor? Those factors will combine to make a lot more heat load than a house of equivalent square footage, so the stove might be a bit undersized. There is also a pretty big difference in 'getting' a space to a certain temperature and 'keeping' it at temp. If this shop has anything in it, the 'stuff' all has thermal mass. It may take several days of sustained heat to get everything up to temp. Then you can kick back to a lower burn to 'keep' everything up to temp.

    Lastly, the sawmill slabs you mention will burn fast and hot, but they probably won't be great for an overnight burn. For that, you'd want big logs. Is it possible your overnight fire just burnt out too fast?
  13. hawkfan9

    hawkfan9 New Member

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    The entire upper plate of the Blaze King is shot. The area where the combustor fits in is gone, as in totally rusted/rotted away. According to my conversation with Blaze King, that area is a precise fit area for the stove to work properly. I can certainly rebuild it, and I will, I just don't have the time right now.

    The shop has a 12' ceiling with a concrete floor, 2 overhead doors (insulated, but still a source for loss) and is filled with old cast iron machines that I use in my business. All a whole lot of thermal mass that takes a while to heat up.

    The wood I was using in the Blaze King for the test run was split firewood, not sawmill slabs. I'm aware of the difference,and the speed at which thinner slabs will burn. My intention is to feed the stove while I'm in the shop with the smaller hardwood slabs from the mill, and at night, before shutting down, loading up with large splits for a slow burn.

    I've got plenty to learn, and am getting at it.

    Thanks for the comments.

    Jeff
  14. Motor7

    Motor7 Feeling the Heat

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    Too bad about the BK. When you get time do try and re-build it. The Fisher will put out great heat, but don't expect an overnight burn...that is unless you retrofit it with secondary burn tubes....hey you did admit to being a tinker-er...right:cool:
  15. hawkfan9

    hawkfan9 New Member

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    This is a shot in the dark.....

    Can someone who has this same stove (King model) please post me a photo of the area where the catalytic combustor goes. Mine is completely gone, and I don't know how tight a fit it is (clearances around the combustor) or how it's shaped.

    Thanks.

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