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Old VC Resolute or Old VC Defiant?

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by Wordsworth, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. Wordsworth

    Wordsworth New Member

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    I am trying to determine the better choice with the limited information I have available in an classified sale.
    An old (date unknown but I know it's not new) Vermont Castings Resolute with a coal shaker installed, or an old VC Defiant? They are both non-catalytic. If they're in comparable condition is there a more clear choice? I've attached a pic of each I was given by the seller...

    My purpose is for wood heating my home of approx 1200 sq ft, fairly open floor plan. Our winters are November through March getting down to teens in an average winter. I don't have a whole lot preferences just hoping for a clearer choice.

    The resolute is for $400 and the defiant is for $250.

    Any suggestions? Thanks!

    Attached Files:

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  2. elmoleaf

    elmoleaf Feeling the Heat

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    My first suggestion is research the installation requirements. It is possible given the conditions/constraints of your existing hearth or chimney that either model is physically or financially (because of required flue upgrades, etc) unfeasible.
    Also use the search feature on the forums....you'll likely find quite a bit of information about both.
    Sorry, I've never owned either so can't offer more specific advice.
  3. Wordsworth

    Wordsworth New Member

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    Thank you for the advice. I hadn't considered the installation requirements.

    So far I'd been trying to find comparative info online about features/quality/functionality but with the limited info I have on the stoves it is difficult. The coal setup in the VC Resolute has me wondering if it can be used for wood as is or if the coal basket/grates simply need removed... or, if in worst case I have to buy wood burning parts to make it able to burn wood. I haven't had a ton of luck finding info on the Resolute. I have on the other hand found a good bit of info on the Defiant but without knowing what year it is, some details are unsure.

    I'll take your advice and see if I can figure some installation details out that may help.

    Thanks again
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Are you sure you don't want a new stove instead of inheriting an old problem/
  5. Wordsworth

    Wordsworth New Member

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    That has always been a fine line for me. Of course I would rather get a new stove, however financially I cannot, which is why I'm looking in the classifieds for less than half a grand. I've never had a new car or a new house for the same reason so I try to be as smart as I can with purchasing used items, which is why I'm here looking for advice from those who may have it. I have construction experience and I have friends with other mechanical skills, so keeping an old horse going is something I can probably handle. I would prefer a strong old horse to a lame one if possible. If either of these may be an unwise purchase please let me know and just as importantly please tell me why, so that my choice for a good used woodstove can be as educated as possible.

    Thanks for your response.
  6. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    Unless the house is barn, a defiant is too big for 1200 square feet. Old Defiant's for $250 usually mean a cracked fireback. They still work but lose a lot of efficiency and the parts to repair can be $200 to $500 (the 500 is if it is a Defiant that hasn't been converted to a two piece back). It also takes about 8 hours to rebuild.

    IMHO You are far better off with a smaller stove that you can burn hot. VC stoves do not like the lazy mans way of burning wood where they stuff it full of wood before bed and crank down the air. If you try you will be back asking questions about backpuffing. So buy the smaller stove and make sure its in good shape with the capability of bypassing and go at it.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    My concern here is that you may be getting into a costly repair situation. Neither of these stoves is ideal. I would prefer the Resolute, but not the coal version. I say keep looking. As the heating season winds down there will be more choices at good prices. Be patient. Look for stoves by Lange, Morso, Jotul, as well as nice 2 cu ft steel stoves like Lopi Endeavor, Pacific Energy Super 27 or Spectrum, etc.
  8. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    The analogy of choosing a "strong old horse" over a lame one doesn't always translate well to stoves. You don't want something that's been overworked and over fired. If something looks OK from the outside, the inside might be a different story. Further, if they need parts to make them 100%, you should look into part pricing. Last I looked, VC parts were fairly expensive, not to mention the cost of shipping cast iron replacement parts. I don't know if the resolute is a typical VC catalytic stove with a refractory package, etc etc, but it won't be a great deal if those parts need replacing.. (ask me how I know!)

    When searching for wood stoves, there is a lot of junk on CL for sure. Maybe one good deal out of every 50 listings, but they are out there.
    I think you could find a halfway decent stove within your price range that might need some minor maintenance.. new gaskets, etc.
    Just today I saw a Lopi Endeavor for $400 OBO. I also see Englander NC-13's for sale as people get them and realize they should
    have gotten a bigger stove. Either would probably do well for a moderately insulated 1200 sq foot home, depending on layout.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Pretty soon Home Depot, Lowes, Menards are all going to want to clear out space for spring garden supplies. Stoves will go on sale for the same price as the Resolute. I'd grab a 2 cu ft stove at one of these stores and be happy.
  10. dlj

    dlj New Member

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    To play devils advocate here, the Resolute coal stove, if it was made originally by Vermont as the coal version and it is not a converted wood version, would definitely be the better choice. Vermont actually used a higher grade cast iron in their coal stoves from this period than in their wood stoves. There is much less likely any casting problem in the body of the Resolute due to this higher grade alloy used.

    You will however, if you want to take full advantage of the stoves capability in wood, want to convert it to being a wood stove which will cost you some $s - you'd need the left and right insert and ash fettle for the conversion. The Resolute does not have the handle it needs, by the way, for the coal shaking, at least it wasn't in the picture.

    dj
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Good to know dlj. If the OP finds a great condition wood Resolute I for a good price then I would also say go for it. It was a well built and a sweet stove. We loved ours.
  12. Wordsworth

    Wordsworth New Member

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    A sincere thank you to all for your advice and information. It seems I should pass these over and keep looking as suggested.

    The Defiant is too large for my home, and the Resolute may or may not be setup for coal, and both should be inspected before commitment. The seller said the Resolute has the coal shaker and such so I presumed the handle sticking out of the bottom left side was it. He said he was using the Defiant in his home but never fired the Resolute so he didn't know much about it.
    The seller is a 3+ hour drive away from me and the information I could get is fairly limited. It would be ideal to go and look them over but I don't want to risk the gas in a truck to get there if I'm not more certain about purchasing one of them.

    In a vague response to the prior mention of the Defiant being too large for my home... I'm not sure if this matters but my walls are wood lath/rock plaster with zero insulation (a fact I hope to remedy in a few years). It's quite drafty and cold comes through every window area and outlet cover and around baseboard and all. I've been in a few homes in Vermont visiting friends who had old homes which were also drafty like mine but kept VERY warm using woodstove heat. I am hoping to do the same and reduce my gas bill which skyrockets each winter even keeping my house at 61 during the day and 55 each night. And as I have family with land I have access to downed trees for free wood.
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    If you can find a cherry condition Vigilant that would be a good fit for the home. But don't forget the clearance sales about to commence.
  14. Wordsworth

    Wordsworth New Member

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    Thank you.

    If I may ask, why do you recomend the vigilant?
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It is in between the Resolute and Defiant in size.
  16. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    i run a old defiant in a 1240 sq. ft. house. if not insulated with old windows you might get away with it. but if you tighten up the house or insulate it will be to big. running that stove in my house is all in the timing of your fires. you would not be able to light it and keep feeding it as needed. you'll bake yourself out of the house. and that defiant you had pictured had no legs so you would have to spend more money than 250. agree with the vigilant. you would also get a longer burn time with the vigilant than the resolute. i don't know about your craigslist but up here in the boston area there is usually a few vigilant's for sale at all times.

    good luck
    frank
  17. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    Not sure what you'd be working with for a chimney, but getting back to installation requirements, most of the bigger VC stoves are rated for 8" flues. I've seen threads where Vigilants in particular don't seen to burn as well when plugged into a 6" chimney. Most stoves these days run on 6". Perhaps its something to consider.

    My Defiant Encore burned great when plugged into a 6" chimney, but its a smaller stove than the Vigilant.
  18. dlj

    dlj New Member

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    The Resolute has the coal shaker connections seen in the lower left of the photo. you posted so it must be set up for coal. There is the foot where the handle sits to pivot and the small square hole rod where it goes through into the stove connecting to the grates for shaking so it must be set up for coal. The handle not visible in the photo I was referring to works with those two items to do the shaking. The handle (not in the photo) slides down through the small square hole and drops into the bottom part which acts as the support for the bottom of the handle allowing you to push the handle back and forth, which pushes and pulls the rod with the square at it's end, shaking the internal coal grates.

    dj
  19. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    Abslutely pass on these. Webbie's right, nothing but headaches ahead with these guys. Find something new at a big box store and don't look back.
  20. mamamamamama

    mamamamamama Guest

    Late to the party... I have used the old resolute. . i have read a lot about it and i believe this was fully wood/coal convertible with the coal useage requiring extra parts but should be useable as a wood stove by removing the coal burning apparatus. Btw has the largest top load door of any stove I have seen & the extra couple inches helps u load chunky pieces. I modified it slightly so it fits a standard paper grocery bag through the top load. It can heat a very drafty (w/no insulation &single pane windows) 1050 sq ft house. The defiant requires 8" flue I believe. The one pictured appears to have no glass view. I can't tell if the Resolute in the picture has glass or iron but that's an important consideration.
    Although a pain in some ways ... I will give my nod to the resolute. But haggle on the price or look for a good deal on a cleaner burning one. If you could invest more upfront or save up your money I think it would be good to check out the true north by pacific energy for price and size or the jotul 118 cb is not overpriced either. How has the stove hunt gone? Update us please?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2014
  21. valley ranch

    valley ranch Feeling the Heat

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    Greetings, These are a couple of pretty nice stoves. Unless you live in a very small place, on a postage stamp size lot with no storage or work space at all. I'd look at the price for parts, than have a look at them, if they aren't damaged junk and not worth salvaging, I would pick up one or both for future use and/or sale.
    I've never had a VC but have a lot of respect for them, if they weren't way across the country, I'd have a look myself. Every now an then we have a building or house to heat or a friend or relative who needs heat.
    A close friend's daughter was about to throw a VC away, when she was visiting her, she told her daughter. " That stove is going to the mountains." brought it home, some 500 miles, and she uses it to this day.

    Good luck, decide you own advantage, keep warm.

    Richard
  22. Wordsworth

    Wordsworth New Member

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    Thanks for the info and suggestions. I'm definitely open for suggestions at this point. I did pass on these used VC stoves and am trying to give myself less pressure to buy and hope to pick something up before next winter. My goal is to replace or seriously reduce my use of my main heat source (currently natural gas forced air) for my uninsulated Southwestern PA home.

    That True North by Pacific Energy and the Jotul 118 CB both look right up my ally actually. I'll have to see if I can find any locally.
  23. littlalex

    littlalex Member

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    What he said. I'm running a VC Vigilant (size in between your options) in a 1100 sq ft cottage and unless it's sub teens outside, half the house, including the LR where the old girl stands, is at least 76-80+ degrees, way to hot for me even just wearing the undies. If these are your only choices get the Resolute.

  24. Simonkenton

    Simonkenton Feeling the Heat

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    I would rather have that old Resolute, than a new stove. If it predates the EPA specs and is in good shape that is a great stove.
    In 1988 I bought a Resolute and installed it in my new log house. That stove worked great! Easy to light, easy to burn. That stove would burn green wood just as well as dry wood. In fact, every November I made a point to cut down an oak tree, just so that I could have green wood to burn in my beautiful Vermont Castings stove. I had one stack of dry wood, for lighting, and to get a good hot fire on cold days.
    At midnight when I was ready to go to bed I would load the stove up with green oak and it would hold a good fire for 6 to 8 hours. Creosote was no problem, I swept it once a year.

    In 1988, Iearned that the EPA was about to institute new regs that would turn the wood stove industry upside down. I had plans to build my mom a log cabin and I got her to go ahead and buy a Resolute. She bought one, one of the last before the EPA regs went into effect. She kept that stove new in the crate in the carport until I built her house ten years later. I installed that stove in her house and she still uses it every day and she loves it. She likes to burn it with the doors open with the little screen in place.

    We never had any problems with these stoves, other than replacing top loader gaskets.

    I sold my house in 1995 and the stove stayed with the house. I wish I still had my Vermont Castings Resolute. That is all the stove you need for a 1,200 sq ft. house, in fact, that is the size of my mom's house.

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