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  1. spirilis

    spirilis Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    509
    Loc:
    New Market, MD
    Just did a little experiment for shits & giggles with the Jotul downstairs. Used the Jotul because it has glass so I can see what's happening.

    I do know that whenever I burn the Jotul with pallet wood only, at some point during the warmup period the glass gets completely *black*, or at least 3/4ths pitch black. Eventually as it heats up that all burns off but it happens consistently every time. Lots of smoke outside too.
    Just lit up the Jotul with 6 woodbrickfuel and 1 short slat of pallet wood on top--the exact same configuration I always use in the Defiant upstairs. The stove glass did darken, but, it did not get pitch black--more of a caramel color with streaks of slightly darker caramel. Consistent flames, and I gotta say, the smoke coming out of the chimney, while it is there, it's fairly low in volume compared to the massive clouds of smoke I used to see billowing over the front lawn when I used pallet wood only.

    That probably says the most about the difference. I'm guessing the pallet wood, being both light/not very dense and VERY DRY, pyrolizes way too fast to burn alone while the woodbrickfuel is both dense (and probably doesn't burn quite as fast--think hardwood? although the woodbrickfuel came from hardwood sawdust too) and has more moisture than the pallet wood. The mfr. said it's around 6-9% moisture and I guess lumber is lower than that, although I don't have a moisture meter to check.
    But anyway, that little experiment says a lot. I have run kiln-dried hardwood through the Jotul before but I can't say that experiment is a good comparison because I always used pallet wood to start the fire, then added the kiln-dried on the reload. The glass would go pitch-black during startup and then once a good sized split of kiln-dried was loaded, it'd stay black for a while and then burn off once the outside of the split began to form coals.

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  2. spirilis

    spirilis Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    509
    Loc:
    New Market, MD
    Welp waking up the stoves early in time for winter... I tore apart the Jotul, removed the pipe, top, vacuumed all ash, removed steel plates, vacuumed all the ash from there (boy it was dirty behind the plates--secondary air is supposed to come up through there, I'm guessing almost none did), replaced the top lid's gasket and the door gasket, and fully replaced all the stove pipe since it was ghetto-rigged to start (or appeared to be). used at least 3 screws to secure each connection and sealed any minor gaps between pipes with 2700F chimney-sweep furnace cement. That stove's going to be a beauty this year.

    Swept the chimney this morning (boy that was easy), heard some crunchy creosote fall down around midway (where the Defiant pokes into the flue). Cleaned the thimble, found some hardened creosote on the bottom of the thimble and I think I got most of it (some of it I had to chisel with a hammer and screwdriver), vacuumed out the back of the Defiant and snooped around.
    After vacuuming the secondary burn path behind the fireback I poked in with an old Canon digital camera and took a couple pics of the bottom (the secondary air channel's furnace cement barrier):
    img_0122.jpg
    img_0123.jpg
    (huge pics)

    Couldn't see any obvious breaches, but then again they could be there. Anyway it's clean enough back there now and some other weekend I'm going to finish the job with the defiant (scoop out most of the ashes and vacuum the primary air ports).
    I never did rebuild the defiant this summer even though I have the parts to do so, maybe next year. I toyed with the thought of having the chimney relined but decided against it, my wife insisted too, doing a major modification like that's a pain in the ass especially considering we'd have to lose one of the woodstoves in the process. Unless someone could find a way to put two liners in there I can't think of any elegant way to do it without sacrificing one woodstove--the sweep who looked at it last year said it couldn't be done without smashing out the tiles and that was a complicated job apparently, and even then we'd be using ovalized liners. It simply doesn't sound worth it to me, better to just get what efficiency I can out of these old smoke dragons. I was also thinking it'd be worth putting that 8" add-on catalytic damper in as the stovepipe for the Defiant (woodmanspartsplus.com sells it). It's a 12" long pipe and should fit perfectly, and while I've heard those usually don't work too well, I believe the Defiant could make good use of it if I opened its secondary air port to provide extra oxygen during downdraft mode (i.e. it might succeed where the existing secondary-burn system fails). Worth a shot IMO.

    But regardless, I am looking forward to burning wood (or compressed sawdust, rather) this winter.
  3. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,689
    Loc:
    northern massachusetts
    yes those pic were big but nice and clear. also nice and clean. to see if you have a leak between the primary and secondary air, wait till dark and stick a nice bright led flashlight in the primary hole and then look down the secondary to see if you have holes in the cement. then do the same with the flaslight in the secondary hole and look from the smoke hole. it works great. two spot to look at is where the tie rods go thru.
  4. BostonNH

    BostonNH New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2010
    Messages:
    1
    Loc:
    Seacoast NH
    1975 Defiant...Need help.

    Hello,
    This is an awesome site, tons of great info! I recently moved from Boston to the seacoast of NH and the house I'm renting has an amazing 1975 Defiant. Ive been told numerous times that this is one of the best stoves ever built. I'm excited to use this thing but have zero experience with it. I've read all the articles on here and the owners manual but I just cant understand how the thermostat on the back works. I understand that the coil expands and contracts and controls the air intake, but how do you set the desired temp? Does this thing only function when the stove gets to 500-650 and then it adjusts to cool off a bit and then adjust to heat back up? Is 650 the max temp on this? Does the thermostat lever work in the up horizontal and vertical positions? I have no idea how to use this thing and would appreciate any advice anyone could share.

    Thanks everyone!
  5. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,689
    Loc:
    northern massachusetts
    welcome to the forum bostonNH
    like any stove that you use the first time, it's going to take a little baby sitting the first couple of uses. if the stove doesn't have a thermometer on the smoke pipe or the cooking plate on top of the stove you need to buy one and stick it on the cook top on top of the stove. that is going to tell you what the stove is doing. when you first start the stove you can run it at 750 but you will have to back it down after a bit. if you run it at 500 to 650 you be in the stoves comfort zone, but depending on the size of your house if you running 650 all the time you going to be quite warm, and you'll blow through firewood.
    yes the thermostatic primary control works vertical or horizontal. just remember if you are going to run at horizontal make sure you got a good bed of coals made and the secondary air open before you engage the damper or you could get a back puff that might put a damper on your stove experience. if you are going to run the stove in the vertical mode make sure the secondary air control is shut or your stove will run hot and the automatic primary air control on the back can't do it's job of heating and cooling the stove.
    since this is your first time using this stove, the first thing you want to do is check the smoke pipe and chimney for creosote. the bad thing about these stoves is that if not run right they make tons of creosote. when i was new to this stove it only took two weeks of running it wrong to start my first chimney fire
    good luck and let us know how you are doing.

    frank
  6. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,689
    Loc:
    northern massachusetts
    forgot to answer the question about how the primary air control works. you see the chrome lever with the chain. that chain is hooked to the sheetmetal door. when the stove is cool that door should be wide open. when you get a good fire going, you'll look at the stove top temp. when that gets to where you want the stove to run like 550 is a good start, move the lever so the door starts closing and just before it is closed completely that will keep the stove at that stove top temp. you'll get to know after the first fire.
  7. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,671
    Loc:
    Northern NH
    If its a rental unit and the stove has been around for awhile, I would suggest downloading the manual and cleaning the stove including the space behind the fireback. Its a PITA to get to the space behind the fireback, but if its full of ash, it raises havoc with the secondary air operation. Also if the fireback is a one piece or even a two piece and exhibits obvious warpage or cracks, the odds are the secondary burn system will never work right until the stove is rebuilt, you can still run the stove but be careful as it can overheat. I would also take a mirror and look up the chimney from the clean out door and make sure that its not full of creosote. I realize that a responsible landlord should be doing this, but he has insurance on the structure, you are the one that really gets impacted if the place burns down. Its interesting that there is a wood stove there at all, I have been told (but havent actually verified) that many insuracne companies will not insure rental properties with wood stoves.
  8. michaeldd

    michaeldd New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    10
    Loc:
    NE OH
    I've been reading this thread and have some questions about the secondary channel on the Defiant I stove. I bought one and found that the one piece back had been overfired and was cracked/warped. Further inspection showed that the fireback, while sagging from the heat, had opened a space between it and the stove back, from measuring from nothing at the ends to approx 1" at the center. I vacuumed everything out that I could reach with my shop vac and noticed a screen approximately 1" beneath where the fireback and stove back should meet. Looking in the secondary hole I see this screen is on the bottom of the secondary passage.

    I didn't have the resources to rebuild the stove before winter arrived, so using some stainless steel screen for support, I lathered it up with stove cement and laid it across the fireback/stove back sag gap on top of the secondary passage. So far, using a flashlight to inspect, it seems to be holding up and not allowing the passage of air from the secondary passage to the smoke chamber behind the fireback.

    1. Does the screen on the bottom of the secondary passage separate it from the primary air passage?

    2. If that screen is not intact I assume air will flow from the primary passage below to the secondary passage above. What affect will this have on my stove?

    3. If I used some more stainless steel screen, artfully shaped, and covered in stove cement, would it be possible to insert it through the secondary air hole on the L side and satisfactorily place it in order to close the secondary passage from the primary passage?

    I plan to rebuild it this coming summer (2011). Thanks everybody for all the good info you post here.

    Regarding the use of pressed wood bricks, do they burn to the coal stage or do they pretty much burn quickly through that stage to white ash? I find the coal/charcoal stage quite useful when building the fire after work/waking.

    A couple of other things I've noticed about my stove... The other day I was going to warm up some soup on the stove; I turned on the burner then thought "Why am I spending money for gas when I've already got heat?!?!" I've also noticed that a 2 qt camp coffee pot fits well on the front ash lip and stays at the perfect temp.
  9. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,689
    Loc:
    northern massachusetts
    welcome michaeldd.
    answers to questions
    1: yes

    2:as long as you don't use the secondary part of the stove and keep the secondary air inlet closed the stove should work like a normal updraft stove. if you try to use it leaking air the secondary won't work well if at all and you could get the stove a little to hot depending on your setup

    3: good luck. i don't see you or anyone doing a good job trying to work thru a 1 inch hole.

    as far as sealing up the fireback i don't see that size hole being repair that way, and i'll tell you why. i too have a cracked fireback. not as bad as yours, but it is cracked, top to bottom. the only way to repair it is to replace it. my stoves crack is maybe a 16th of a inch wide at it's largest and it go's smaller to a hair line crack. what i tried to do was to get a strip of 1/4 inch thick plate form it to the fireback then wire wheel the back side lather on a nice thick coat of furnace cement then nut and bolt the 2 inch wide strip of metal. after a months use i started hearing pieces fall off. mine is still sealed but i don't know for how long. by the way drilling the bottom part of the fireback was very hard. i guess it was heat treated. dulled a brand new drill bit half way thru.
    if your looking to get a (as clean as you can get) burn out of the stove secondary is not needed if you run the stove at 600 degrees on the cooking plate. i don't get much smoke out it burning hot like that. i run it between 600 and 650. you can get a semi clean burn out of the secondary of this stove, but you have to make sure that the damper is closing tite and there is no smoke that can get by. the secondary part of this stove is real picky. you have to get the secondary chamber really hot before it will work. and getting it not to smoke means a load no bigger than half the firebox.

    good luck and let us know what you did and how you made out.
    frank.
  10. Soundslikejosh

    Soundslikejosh New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    7
    Loc:
    Indiana
    Hello all,

    I know I am probably bringing a dinosaur back to life here, but I am trying to get some more info on rebuilding a 1975 Defiant I. Others have referenced a "rebuild manual" that they got from VC, and were even kind enough to provide a link. However, VC changed their website and now the link is dead. Perhaps someone has a pdf they would be willing to email me? My email is my username at GMail dot com.

    My father-in-law bought this stove new back in the ice age and it's been in storage for approx 20 years. Now we are trying to breath some life back into it. I don't know that it really requires a rebuild, but it makes sense to do it now, prior to installation in its new home.

    Anybody sandblasted one of these? It has a decent bit of rust...no pock marks, but more than just surface rust. A wire brush would take forever, and might not do a good enough job. How do you restore the finish after sandblasting?

    Thanks in advance,
    Josh
  11. nearnuf

    nearnuf New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2011
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    TN
    I rebuilt a Defiant II this last fall. It was sitting out in a pasture when I bought the place. It was pretty rusty but cleaned up really nicely. Interestingly enough, all of the iron was in good shape, but most of the steel pieces were in very poor shape. This was after sitting outside for at least 5 years and probably closer to 10! I asked about the rebuild manual here on the forum and got no response so I contacted VC and they emailed a couple of manuals to me. I will send them to you. Once you see how it works, the rebuild is very straight forward. I did it single-handed and found that a few bar clamps really helped in the process. After reassembly and painting, I fired it a few times outside to convince myself that my rebuild was good-to-go. It has had a fire going it for the past couple of months almost daily. My house also came with a VC Encore in another area. Between the two, I definitely like the Defiant better!

    Should you need detailed advice, member Defiant3 is a wealth of knowledge about the stoves and was very helpful to me.

    Nearnuf
  12. michaeldd

    michaeldd New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    10
    Loc:
    NE OH
    I sent you the pertinant manuals in a separate email.

    If you do some checking online you can precisely identify your defiant. If you do have a Defiant I make sure you closely inspect the fireback for cracks and sagging. If it is cracked you'll play hell trying to properly maintain proper secondary burning. Sagging will give you the same problem because you won't get proper airflow through the secondary passages.

    I rebuilt mine solo. A second pair of hands would be very helpful.

    For a rebuild in general:

    1. Get plenty of wire wheels. Get small diameter wheels so the width will fit into the grooves more easily.

    2. Before reassembling with sealant, do a dry assembly so you'll be familiar with the steps.

    2. Wear a mask suitable for airborne silicates. You don't want be breathing in the dust from the old fire grout.

    3. If you sandblast, the only finish you'll really need is wood stove flat black paint.

    4. Did I mention you should do a dry assembly?

    5. At the minimum get new rods for the corners.

    6. Have I said you should do a practice dry assembly? I found it really helped.

    If you decide to rebuild it with a new two piece fireback, make sure you do the following:

    1. DO NOT throw away any old pieces until you're sure the new ones fit. I used the old side door on the new side frame because the hinge pins were so poorly seated in the new door. The fit of old door on the new side was satisfactory.

    2. Don't be afraid to grind to get a better fit. I used some prussian blue to check for high spots so I wouldn't grind too much off.

    3. I used my old secondary tube on my new left side because it was a better fit than the new one that was included.

    4. The upgrade manual says to install the baffle plate, then hold it up, and while it is held up, install the leg. BS. Attach the leg, spread the front & back a bit, get it in the groove, then close up the back & front again. Make sure you make the wooden jig, it helps.

    5. The upgrade manual says to install the secondary tube on the right side after the right side is installed by inserting it up under the baffle and screwing it in. Again... BS. If you've property ground it to fit, screw it on the right side, then insert the bottom of the right side/secondary tube assembly in the bottom groove and tilt it into place.

    A dry assembly helped me figure out a better way to install the baffle and right side/secondary tube. Play with it, you'll find a good method. You don't need to be a slave to the manual.

    If you do the fireback upgrade, get the left door. The mode IAI left side is different than the mode I left side and mixing firebacks & left sides won't work properly.

    Order parts well ahead of time. Part kits for these dinos are often back ordered due to low demand.

    Everything else was pretty straight forward.

    Once I send this I'll probably remember something I should have said within the next five minutes... oh well, that's the fortunes of age...

    Good Luck!
    spirilis likes this.
  13. BittersweetHomestead

    BittersweetHomestead New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2012
    Messages:
    2
    Loc:
    Upstate NY
    Hello all,

    I am new to the forums (Just setting up my profile now so my name might change to the name of our little Homestead nestled in the hills of upstate NY) and I have to say that I gained A LOT of good knowledge already just from reading this post! I also appreciate that the OP, and regular posters, kept it up so nicely. It's a MUST read for any newbie's first season with one (or more) of these fine stoves and I am so glad I stumbled upon it.

    Hope all is well and looking forward to meeting some of you in the forums. I stumbled upon my current stoves much in the same way that the OP did, pretty close to having the same stoves too though they are set up differently and in diferent rooms.

    So, in short, I am not as much as a loss as I originally was when I bought this place... Sigh of relief... Hope y'all don't mind my upcoming posts, I am a NEWBIE and I am just starting my very FIRST season heating with woodstoves and I'm jumping in head first! My main objective is to learn woodstove safety and run these things with as much efficiencey as possible through the 12-13 heating season. I do have an oil furnace so I will most likely get more use from that while I learn the ropes. I have extensive OUTDOOR fire experience, let's just hope I get the hang of indoor burning rather quickly because the price of oil is NOT going down anytime soon and I have many acres of good useable wood fuel :cool:

    Cheers!
    spirilis likes this.
  14. rbart46

    rbart46 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2014
    Messages:
    19
    Loc:
    Peacham, Vermont
    I've been heating my house since November of 1978 with this stove....my firewood is in and drying in June....runs into an 8x12 lined chimney that gets cleaned once a year...the eight inch pipe out of the stove gets cleaned every other Sunday....I am holdinhg the origional owners manual and my receipt says I paid $592.25 picked up at the factory...Robert of Cow Hill, Vermont
    spirilis likes this.

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