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Papa Bear Questions

Post in 'Fisher Stove Information, Parts, History and More' started by jtroache, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. jtroache

    jtroache New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2011
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    New to the site here. Incredible info to say the least. I recently moved into a house with what appears to be Papa Bear from the late 70's (based on my reading). Newer spring shape on the door handle and 5 fins on the two dials. No baffle of any kind for the rear opening. I grew up in a house with wood stoves but have zero experience with Fishers, and have a couple of newbie questions I am hoping you can help with:
    1) The previous occupants left a fireplace grate inside the stove and clearly were using it with wood. My first thought is that this is not only unecessary, but also potentially dangerous. Am I right, or is there a situation where a grate would be used in a stove like this (never heard of one).
    2) Are my dials bad? The right one moves about 3 turns before being fully opened and the left about 2. If that is bad, could they just be clogged or definitely broken?
    3) As far as the bricks go, should I be concerned about loading the logs too high (assuming I never use that grate)? I noticed the bricks only go about halfway up. Any concerns with higher logs ingiting above brick level?

    Thanks in advance.

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    1. Fireplace grate shouldn't be in there. I'd be concerned that it would let too much air to the wood all at once.

    2. Seems to me the dials on my old fisher used to turn 8-10 or more times to fully open. Are they wobbly like the threads are sloppy? What distance are the knobs coming away from the stove door?

    3. If you load that stove up to the top of the bricks, there is one heck of a lot of wood in there.

    Matt
  3. jtroache

    jtroache New Member

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    Thanks for the reply! Dials are solid with no wobble and smooth turning. They just stop after a couple of full revolutions. Not sure of the actual distance they are open, but it seems like enough to get the fire roaring and I can see the glow threw the openings. There is a fair amount of cresote or other build up on the door so maybe that is the issue? Burned once and they did not seem to prevent the fire from building quickly, but then again I have nothing to compare it to.
  4. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    hmm, wonder if those dials don't open up enough and that's why they were putting the fireplace grate in there?

    Perhaps someone changed out the bolts the dials ride on and they were shorter? Pics if you can of them, inside / out and sideways might be helpful. Set a ruler next to the opening for comparison as well if you really want things to get technical.

    Forgot to welcome you to the site too.

    pen
  5. jtroache

    jtroache New Member

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    Thanks. Will try and do that at some point. Traveling at the moment.

    Just curious - If you had to guess the distance from the stove to a fully open air cap on the PB stove, what would you say it should be?
  6. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to the Forum,

    No fireplace grate, you want just the opposite. When you clean out the ash, leave about an inch to burn on to prevent the air from getting to the logs. Coals will glow in the ash longer, and extend burn times.

    The intake air "Draft Caps" spin back and forth on a 1/2" diameter bolt. Usually 3 1/2" long. This bolt is double nutted to the door. By loosening the inside nut first, you can screw the bolt out of the door making it longer (more threads) on the outside of the door. This allows the knob to turn more revolutions, opening it farther. Perhaps you don't have long enough bolts, or they are not adjusted properly.
    When the draft cap is closed, the bolt head should be about even with the outside edge of the cap. Opening the cap, allows the bolt head to go into the cap, until the cap bottoms out on the bolt head. 3 to 4 turns is all you need, but when adjusted correctly you will get 6 plus turns out of it, opening it about 1/2"'. ( a 1/2" National Course bolt has 13 threads per inch, hence 13 turns for 1 inch)

    Make sure the deposits inside the door isn't closing the air holes behind the knobs. With doors open scape the holes in the door clean to take advantage of the entire original opening.

    You won't get deposits on the bolt threads since the area of the bolt that the cap travels is outside the stove. But you should keep it greased to prevent wear ! Some caps have a steel insert to prevent thread wear. Silver Anti-sieze works good for this, or high temperature grease. Reach through the air hole from the back to grease the threads that the cap rides on. That was the purpose of the Fisher Draft Cap over the original pipe cap that the bolt was welded to and turned in the door, collecting deposits from the inside where the threads were exposed.
  7. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    Some Papa Bears have a second course of brick at the raised back, but it isn't necessary. See picture below.
    Below are pictures of a hard fired Papa that shows where the whitened paint took the most heat. Even this extreme heat only destroyed the paint, and doesn't appear to bulge or warp the stove. It doesn't appear damaged. So it takes a LOT to abuse one of these.

    And here's a thread that pictures how I stand bricks on edge on the side and wedge a steel plate baffle above them on a 45* angle to divert the heat to stove top instead of into the exhaust. This plate holds the second brick couse in place quite well. The picture is inside a Mama Bear, but the height of the firebox is the same as Papa.
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/82318

    Attached Files:

  8. jtroache

    jtroache New Member

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    Great stuff. Will definitely try that draft cap adjustment when I get back home. Guess I came to the right place!
  9. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    I should add, these can be a patients and vocabulary test;
    A socket will not always fit inside the bolt head recess to hold the bolt. Many weren't drilled exactly centered, and the bolt head will not be centered to get on it. Very frustrating when the hex head corners are so close to the wall you can't get a socket on it. Sometimes you have to loosen the nut inside the door by holding the bolt threaded end with vice grips to loosen the nut. The bolt threads into the door as well, so you can usually loosen the nut inside first. PB Blaster can be your friend tonight. Let 'er soak overnight and then some. It makes life easier. Once loose; You can use an additional nut to double nut the original inside nut together tight. This will allow you to spin the bolt in the door. There is another nut against the door outside, and UNDER the draft cap. Draft Cap opened fully, you can normally get on it with an open end wrench. (3/4") Sometimes a thin one.......
    As you adjust the bolt outward, it's nice to adjust the bolt depth sticking out of the cap slightly when the cap is closed. It may not look as good as keeping the bolt head inside the cap recess, but you will appreciate being able to get a wrench on the bolt head some day !! This places the nut inside the door just about at the end of a 3 1/2" bolt. No more than 1/2" of bolt threads should be sticking out of the nut inside the stove. You can tell as soon as you open the doors if a lot of the bolt is sticking into the stove, you don't have enough bolt length outside for the cap to spin out and open fully.

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