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Opinion - Jotul C450 Kennebec or Tamarack surround?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by TheBaron, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. TheBaron

    TheBaron New Member

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    Good day, I can't seem to stop coming here and keeping up on the latest threads (I sense an addiction coming on).

    So as I posted a bit earlier on, my C450 was installed last week by a local shop. They came today to do a few tweaks (levelling the unit, sealing the chimney, install trim kit).

    The trim kit they brought was the wrong one, its the 'Tamarack' pattern, instead of the Kennebec. I hadn't liked the look of the Tamarack in the glossys at the store and online, but now I'm undecided. I can probably get a break on price if I decide to keep the Tamarack.

    Attached are pics of the Tamarack installed (at my house), and a stock photo of the Kennebec. The Tamarack has a more 'busy' pattern but goes with the pattern on the leaded glass of my side cabinets. Conversely, the Kennebec is more in keeping with the style of the stove doors, and a cleaner look.

    Just wondering what others opinions are on this (ultimately I have to decide, but looking for input).

    Attached Files:

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  2. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

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    In my opinion the Tamarack carries the flow of the pattern on the fan input around the stove. The smaller pattern not only complements the doors on the side cabinets but also acts as a transition to the small tiles on the hearth.
    If you would like the opposite opinion I will ask my wife to post her's...[​IMG]

    Personally, I would go with the Tamarack.

    KaptJaq
    Trooper likes this.
  3. TheBaron

    TheBaron New Member

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    I am starting to warm up to this particular look. I will have to check with my better half and see where we stand :)

    I agree it transitions nicely...

  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Does the Tamarack surround vent the fireplace cavity? If yes, I would consider that a plus.
  5. TheBaron

    TheBaron New Member

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    Oddly enough, it comes with a plate to block off that opening.

    In my case, with the uneven rock fireplace, there is plenty of gap to vent anyway :)

  6. bearclaw27

    bearclaw27 New Member

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    I owned a Tamarack In my last home. I loved the look of the surround, and never had a problem with the unit (though I hear it is difficult to gets parts for it)..Sadly, I left it behind when I left my wife... I really miss that sweet thing.. (The tamarack that is :eek: )
  7. TheBaron

    TheBaron New Member

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    I wonder what parts are in shorter supply on these. If someone can tell me,. I'll order them now while the stove is only 2 weeks old, if I can't get parts for a new stove (bought from a local high end retailer, BBB, etc) then they may switch it out.

    How would I find out and... what parts are considered wear items and I'll definitely require? (Door gaskets, glass?)
  8. bearclaw27

    bearclaw27 New Member

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    I just recalled the we did hafta replace the fan cause it got rather noisy... So besides the fan, the baffle is another thing you might wanna grab if you are collecting spare parts..The gasket should be fairly standard, but I'm not sure about the glass... Check with your dealer
  9. Mr. Freeze

    Mr. Freeze New Member

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    I have owned a Jotul C450 Kennebec for 6 years now. Here are a couple of suggestions for things I have come up with for the stove:

    The fan is kind of noisy, especially if placed on high. Get yourself an in-line plug-in rheostat and adjust the speed of the fan until you find the zone where you hear air but not whining, should be around mid range. The fan unit does require maintenance. Clean it out completely with a blower. Get an oil bottle with a needle on the end of it and carefully drip just a few drops now and then on the fan's bushings. If you don't, they will start to cease and slowly start to make a whining noise. By then they are shot and that blower is real pricey. To encourage blowing it out and oiling it, remove the screws that hold it secure to the stove and leave them out so you can just pull it out anytime you like.

    For your surround, I suggest you pull it off and remove the two bolts that hold the top piece onto the side plates. Leave those bolts out. This allows you to remove the surround easily since it will now be in three separate loose pieces. That allows you to quickly and easily remove that surround, then remove the four bolts that hold the front shroud onto the stove and that exposes a nice cook surface for when power goes out. I even made up 4 wing nut bolts and replaced the bolts so I don't need any tools to set up for cooking.

    For cooking without removing anything, they make very shallow, round fajita cast iron pans. They will slip into the blower shroud 1 1/4" void and rest right on top of the hot stove for cooking. To keep things clean, get yourself a small round pizza tin pan, turn it over, and set it in the pan over your bacon and eggs to keep them from splattering onto your stove and shroud. I put toast directly onto the stove top then flip it out of the narrow opening with a fork.

    For most efficient burns, bore a 3" hole in the back of your chimney and install a 3" galvanized piece of flue pipe onto the 3" collar on the rear of the stove. You can start with a smaller hole then eyeball the stoves collar through that to determine which way to enlarge the hole to line up with the stoves fresh air intake collar. You will need about an 18" piece of flue pipe to reach through to that collar and extend out from the chimney. If you do this with a hammer drill it will look pretty crude but if you mortar it in around the exposed pipe afterwards, it will look like a real professional install.

    You will find your two air injection holes can build up with ashes from the fire box. To resolve that, use a blower and insert it into that exterior fresh air intake pipe (another good reason to install one) when the fire box is cold. Turn on the blower and work your draft lever back and forth. That will blow out anything that gets into the primary air duct and injector holes, the secondary air rear channel and it's manifold, and the air wash channels.

    To properly sweep the stack you should remove the manifold. It is quite heavy and can feel awkward to remove. The first thing you will want to do is to get a plastic grocery bag, wad it up, lift the rear of the manifold and put the plastic bag over that rear channel's opening. This keeps all the junk from falling down into the channel which is very hard to clear out if it gets full of carbon flakes. The trick is to raise one side of the manifold way high, then to release the other side, then lower the other side while rotating the manifold and wind it out of the door opening. To aid in this procedure, pull that blower unit (another good reason not to have it bolted down) and put a foam gardening pad down where it was. Put your knees on that pad and rest your elbows on your thighs. This position makes it much easier to manipulate that heavy secondary air manifold.

    The rope seals on the doors and windows usually start to leak with time. You will notice short, dirty burns with dirty windows. What ever you do, don't buy Rutlands gasket cement. It is hard to get out of the tube and usually leads to a burst tube. Once on the stove it dries hard as a rock, you have to literally hammer and chisel it out of the grooves next time you replace your rope gaskets. The far better product to use is Mecco Gasketing Cement & Stove Sealer. Much easier to work with and much easier to remove later.

    If your doors start to leak or feel like they aren't pulling in as firmly as they did originally, or if you get any of the above symptoms, you can try adjusting the tension on your latch. To do that, remove the two allen screws from the U-bolt on the face of the stove itself. Take one washer off each allen screw from behind the U-bolt and put them under the head of the allen screws for storage. That will tighten the closure on the doors. Only remove the number of washers that allow for a tight seal as you never want to over tighten the doors, they can warp.

    If you use 3/8" rope for the door gasket as suggested in the manual, be sure not to stretch the rope when adhering it into the groove. It needs to be pooched up in order to give you a tight seal and not stretched thin so it fits down into the groove. If you try to use 3/8" rope and just can't get a snug seal then buy 1/2" rope gasket but be sure to install it relaxed and not pooched up. 1/2" works fine if just carefully laid in the groove but if pooched up it will become too thick and can result in warped the doors and/or damage to the door latch itself.

    If your glass does get stained for any reason, get a liquid grill cleaner from your local cleaning store. I have found nothing in any of the fireplace stores that will remove the worst of the build up like the grill cleaner will do. Put some in a spray bottle then lay newspaper down to protect your ash plate etc. Spray a layer on windows that are no warmer than 100 degrees. Let it sit up to 7 minutes for real bad deposits, then wipe it off with newspaper. On the real tough stuff, like when a log sits against the window overnight, I end up using it one more time. To do a final window cleaning, get a second spray bottle and fill it with straight ammonia. Spray the ammonia on the glass then wipe it off with paper towels. Newspaper works also but paper towels leave them even clearer.

    Mr. Freeze
    Dave A. likes this.
  10. Mr. Freeze

    Mr. Freeze New Member

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    (Cont. from previous post regarding the C450 by Jotul)

    No matter what people will tell you never use steel wool, brillo pads, or even the coarse side of a two sided scrubby sponge on these windows. Razor blades WILL scratch the glass, I found that out the hard way. If you do need to replace the glass, don't order it from your local fire place store or from Jotul, it will cost you a fortune. Just take a window out...(2 Large Phillips screws) and take it to your local glass company. They will cut you a new one for far less, just be sure they are using the yellowish tinted high temperature ceramic glass approved for wood burning stoves.

    There are a few things Jotul overlooked that are quite easily corrected. Behind your blower unit you will find a ventilation unit that feeds the primary air and air wash simultaneously which is controlled by the draft lever. The sheet metal is not well sealed where it comes in contact with the stove and where the draft lever comes through. Best to get an adhesive gasket from your fire place store and seal those two areas well. Also, the primary air injector cap that has the two holes in it is not well sealed either. Get some rope gasket, remove the two phillips head screws on that cap and seal that up as well. The other place that needs a gasket is where the manifold rests onto the rectangular rear metal channel that feeds it. Again, use some adhesive gasket (I like Rutland's product #93 Grapho-glas Window Gasket) and make a nice "U" shape gasket then stick it onto the manifold itself around it's mouth opening. Best to wire brush that area first so it sticks well.

    That same product #93 adhesive gasket is a good fit for when you are changing the 1/4" rope on the windows themselves. The two plates held by the large phillips head screws that clamp down on the glass need to have a cushion on them. Cutting that adhesive right down the middle where the indent is works great to create two cushions, one for the underside of each clamp plate.

    I am in the process of designing a system where the blower will automatically drop down from high fan setting to low setting as the fire dies down. This saves you from coming home to a fire box that's colder than it needs to be due to the fan remaining on high when the fire is dying down. It will also use less power much less save the fan from being over used.

    No matter what people will tell you never use steel wool, brillo pads, or even the coarse side of a two sided scrubby sponge on these windows. Razor blades WILL scratch the glass, I found that out the hard way. If you do need to replace the glass, don't order it from your local fire place store or from Jotul, it will cost you a fortune. Just take a window out...(2 Large Phillips screws) and take it to your local glass company. They will cut you a new one for far less, just be sure they are using the yellowish tinted high temperature ceramic glass approved for wood burning stoves.
    There are a few things Jotul overlooked that are quite easily corrected. Behind your blower unit you will find a ventilation unit that feeds the primary air and air wash simultaneously which is controlled by the draft lever. The sheet metal is not well sealed where it comes in contact with the stove and where the draft lever comes through. Best to get an adhesive gasket from your fire place store and seal those two areas well. Also, the primary air injector cap that has the two holes in it is not well sealed either. Get some rope gasket, remove the two phillips head screws on that cap and seal that up as well. The other place that needs a gasket is where the manifold rests onto the rectangular rear metal channel that feeds it. Again, use some adhesive gasket (I like Rutland's product #93 Grapho-glas Window Gasket) and make a nice "U" shape gasket then stick it onto the manifold itself around it's mouth opening. Best to wire brush that area first so it sticks well.

    That same product #93 adhesive gasket is a good fit for when you are changing the 1/4" rope on the windows themselves. The two plates held by the large phillips head screws that clamp down on the glass need to have a cushion on them. Cutting that adhesive right down the middle where the indent is works great to create two cushions, one for the underside of each clamp plate.

    I am in the process of designing a system where the blower will automatically drop down from high fan setting to low setting as the fire dies down. This saves you from coming home to a fire box that's colder than it needs to be due to the fan remaining on high when the fire is dying down. It will also use less power much less save the fan from being over used.

    Hope all this helps out those that bought this stove. It is one of nicest looking stoves and is very well made, just has some issues and everyone knows you can never get a return call or talk to a support person at Jotul.

    Mr. Freeze.
  11. TheBaron

    TheBaron New Member

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    MrFreeze - your post has been very helpful and I really appreciate your time in putting that online for all to see. I know this is 'old' now but keeps coming in handy. Thanks again.
  12. Mr. Freeze

    Mr. Freeze New Member

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    TheBaron - thanks for the reply. I did one other crazy thing recently and it really helped to keep my windows clean when I draft down all the way. I welded two short stove bolts to a small piece of thick metal and formed a lip for a handle (see attached pic). The stove bolts were welded with their heads to the metal and spaced exactly the space between the two air jets in the front of the stove. I found I could then block off the air jets without cutting the air wash system. Helped the windows stay clean when I wanted to draft down for a longer burn and did nothing to bypass the original design of the stove since when you draft down you close off those two air jets. You can give it a try by just setting two bolts into those holes without welding them to a plate to be certain this would work well for you. I use a long hemostat with a thick fireplace glove on to insert/remove this.

    Attached Files:

  13. oconnor

    oconnor Minister of Fire

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    The lever on the front of the stove does the same thing. It only closes the lower air intakes - the two holes you mention. The entire air system is plumbed together, and the the air is simply sucked into the stove through the path of least resistance. Close the front lever and you move a plate over the two lower air intake holes, and the flue must then suck air in through the upper baffle.
  14. Mr. Freeze

    Mr. Freeze New Member

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    oconnor - I thought so too but once I removed the air jet cowling I could see that the draft lever controls a slide valve that shuts off the entire flow of air from the cowling under the stove that provides air to both the air jets and the window wash. Under the cowling, that has the two holes in it, there is a slider plate that shuts off air wash at the same time as it shuts off the air jets. With this air jet plug in place, you can then control just the air supply to the window wash. I tested it repeatedly and it does allow the air wash to continue which left the windows far cleaner than if you just close the draft lever. Would have been great had they installed two levers, one to control burn air and one to control air wash, but the more complicated a manufacturer makes a stove the more likely it will create emissions and/or complaints due to confusion as to how to properly operate it so I am not saying it was poorly designed, not at all.

    The one thing we never want to do is to bypass anything that might create an increase to emissions. By doing this, I found a decrease to emissions since I was allowing an additional source of air, something the stove does not have when you slide the lever to the left and draft down which is why the windows get so dirty on this unit when you draft down. I never insert this unit during start up, reload, or at any other time that the air jets would have normally been even partially open. I only insert it to close the jets when they would have already been closed with normal operation of the draft lever.
  15. TheBaron

    TheBaron New Member

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    Going to pick up some 3/8 rope gasket on the weekend (local store sells by the inch) and redo the door gasket. Looking for some gasket cement that isn't rutlands for future consideration. Not sure where to shop in Ontario for a comparable product to what you mention.
  16. oconnor

    oconnor Minister of Fire

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    Mr Freeze - you are indeed correct about the airflow. Thanks for the info. I took the blower off tonight out of curiosity, and gave it a good cleaning and oiling. Much quieter now. Thanks for the motivation.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
  17. Mr. Freeze

    Mr. Freeze New Member

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    oconnor and Mr. Freeze, thanks for the replies. oconner, best to remove the clips that hold the blower to the box. That way you can just easily slide it in and out any time you want to blow it out. I even inserted a heavy mesh fiberglass material between the blower motor and the cast iron front. It kept the room cleaner by catching most of the ash from blowing out the recirc shroud into the room but it did make it necessary to blow the unit out more often.

    Mr. Freeze, I forgot to mention that I have found a better type of gasket cement. It is High Temp Silicon and it is more easily applied, easily removed and sticks to the rope better. It is available at ACE Hardware in our area, I'm sure any brand will do as long as it is High Temp. If you use 3/8" on the door be sure to pooch it so it is thicker than 3/8". If in doubt, do what I did and use 1/2" rope, it gave me a better seal un-pooched than pooched 3/8" rope. Same goes with the seal on the heavy front plate that is behind the doors. I found that was leaking from the factory. Going one size thicker on that one and un-pooched formed a much better seal as well.

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