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Project, old non-epa stove slammer install. Looking for advice

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by HaTaX, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. HaTaX

    HaTaX New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Messages:
    82
    Loc:
    Minnesota
    Hello All! Been lurking around these forums for a few weeks and have been experimenting a bit on my own before posting.

    I bought the home about 9 years ago and in the lower level family room there was a nice fireplace insert that came with the place. Problem is that it is from a now defunct company and was installed in a slammer fashion. The slammer install didn't bother me that much as it was just my wife and I, and we both knew how to stop a chimney fire before it becomes a problem. (Have the rutland extinguisher tubes and a few bags with baking soda to go from the top if needed.) Now that there is a little one in the house, I've become more conscious of this install not being safe...

    Now just as an aside, while I was lurking here before I got a bug in my rear to increase the efficiency of the current stove by adding a secondary air system to the stove. To test it all and see if it was actually going to work, I ran the secondary air control through the original primary draft control along with some new pipe to control / replace the primary air. Yes I know that's NOT ideal in any way, but it was more to see if the secondary air was going to be beneficial and if it was worth the time to drill some holes in it to run the secondary air permanently. Turns out the experiment was a success! Stove was harder to get going and up to a good temp with the primary air being affected so much, but once you got it to 400 degrees it took off like an animal. At 400 I would make sure everything was buttoned up (slight door crack of 1/16" to help it get to temp quicker) and the primary air was reduced, and within 15-20 minutes it would scream up to 550-600 and then level back off between 450-500 for the rest of the burn cycle. The secondary air seemed to be doing it's job well as I could clearly see flames around the holes and the whole top of the firebox was doing it's dancing flame thing. Also in this mod I added a plate and firebrick to the front tube section to extend the smoke shelf table that's welded in there today. Not perfect, but it does keep a good amount of that smoke under the secondary air longer. That little part of the project I'd consider a learning exercise and gave me some hope for running this beast a few more months / years. I've got some pictures of the work if anyone is curious, along with a shot of smoke from the chimney with the system installed, it made a HUGE difference in the smoke output.

    That all being said, I really like to use this stove to help out with the extremely cold weather we get here in MN at times. When it's 0 degrees outside and I get this thing ripping at full draft, it can easily heat the entire house to 75 degrees. (With the assistance of a low speed furnace recirculation and an air return high up in the lower living room) In short, the only complaint I had with it, was amount of wood used and the amount of smoke going up the chimney.

    What I'd like to do first of all is get the chimney cleaned, repaired, and ready for a 6" liner to be run down it. It's a 25-30' masonry chimney that sits on the outside of the house and the structure of it protrudes into my garage, the top 10' are so are against the house but exposed to the elements. I found a highly skilled and regarded sweep that's 3 miles from us, so I'll be having them out next week for a cleaning and consolation. There's a good chance that I'll have them clean and bring the chimney up to 100% repair, but I will most likely run the 6" liner myself. Still debating if I should insulate it or not, existing flue is ~8"x13" clay tile, and today I really don't have any drafting issues at all. No matter what route I take, the chimney will be getting cleaned and inspected by a professional in short order. I haven't been the greatest at keeping it clean with my brush, and truthfully the prospect of the creosote piling up in the smoke shelf below and starting a chimney fire scares me. I haven't ever had a chimney fire (that I noticed or heard) and it is difficult to clean this installation on my own without the proper tools to get up in there.

    So with the chimney situation soon to be dealt with, I've got two options. Either connect the current stove to the newly run liner, or get a new stove...

    The easy option would be to get a new stove to slide into place and just go, and I haven't ruled that path out at all. Actually I have an "in" with a local stove dealer and I will be checking on Monday to see what they can do on cost and such. If I can get a great deal, I will most likely pick up a new QuadraFire (Voyager Grand most likely) and maybe even have them do all the work with the chimney, liner, and all that fun stuff. This is the easy and best option I know, and the only downside is $$. I'd rather spend the $$ if my current stove cannot be adapted cheaply and easily.


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  2. HaTaX

    HaTaX New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Messages:
    82
    Loc:
    Minnesota
    The second option is to come up with a way to connect the current stove to the liner that I'll be installing. My old insert was made by Minnesota Stove Works and is from the NightWatch lineup, really seems to be built like a tank. (Kind of a sad aside, that company came to MN in the 1850s and seems to have gone under in the 90s) I've got all the original sales, brochure, and installation documentation for the insert, along with a bag of unused screws from the install. Here's where I actually have my questions.... :) (Did that take me long enough to get to the point?) I am looking at the 8" outlet of the stove and it is flush with the metal surround, no collar at all. I'd like to fashion something here to hook to the 6" flexible liner that will be installed, so I'll need to come out of the 8" round opening and adapt down to 6" before connecting to the liner. Clearance shouldn't be an issue here, top of fireplace opening leaves me about 10" to work with as I slide the beast into place. The real question is, how concerned should I be of material thickness of this collar? The flush collar goes into the firebox with about 1/4" protrusion from the top plate, and then comes up about 1.5" where it is welded to the air circulator shroud around the insert. I've looked at this part: http://www.buckstove.com/partsstore/product.php?productid=264&cat=137&page=1 and think it would work great, but I'm not sure I want to sink $70 into the old beast. I'm wondering if I could get away with welding a small section of black stove pipe to the top of that flush mount, basically just slide it in there about 1" and then lay a weld bead around it to seal it to the top of the stove. From there I can go to a 6" reducer and then a flex adapter, should keep the parts needed down and the only thing that worries me is how long and well will black stove pipe (single wall) handle the heat coming out? This does NOT need to last 5 years, but needs to be safe in operation. Reading the specs on most of that black pipe, it can handle 1200 degrees which should be adequate for this, but it is thin metal and I wanted to ask for some advice here. I've seen other adapter plates and boots, but pretty much everything is around $100 and not really worth investing in my opinion on this old stove. In the same breath, I only want to do it on the cheap if I can safely.

    So what do you all think, would it be safe to weld a small section of 8" stove pipe in there to get an adapter going? Or should I just throw the old beast on CL and sign at the dotted line?

    I'd be somewhat sad to junk the old stove without even getting the holes drilled and the secondaries run properly to see how it could really run with that setup. But I don't want to go making modifications to the shell if I'm going to sell it on CL. (Not many people looking for fraken-stoves)

    I'll include some pictures of my setup, seems there are some people here that like the nostalgia of an old smoke dragon. :) The pictures show the process I've kinda gone through with the secondary work, it was a temp install at first just to see if it actually worked. The other pictures show how the final routing would look, and sadly I don't have one of the billowing of smoke before I added the secondaries.

    Thanks in advance for any advice or insight into what I've done here! I am NOT a professional in this arena, but I am a very handy and mechanical person. I've been around wood burning and heating since I was a little kid so I'm not a complete newcomer on the topic, but I have no formal training on it either. :)

    Attached Files:

  3. HaTaX

    HaTaX New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Messages:
    82
    Loc:
    Minnesota
    Also, I took these pictures while inspecting the current fireplace damper area and chimney. Looks like I've got some nasty creosote build up right up to the bottom flue tiles that needs to be taken care of... I might try to clean it up tonight or I'll just leave it for the sweeps next week. In any case, I'm now rethinking of firing the old beast up for the next 48 hours. (We're getting some -10 degree temps this weekend here) At any rate, it will at least need a little TLC with a brush and the shop vac before burning anything in there.

    The happy news for me was that it looks like I'll be able to run this liner myself with ease, I was wondering if it would be a royal pain but the "light at the end of the tunnel" gives me great hope it won't be too tricky. The damper opening itself is 6" x 24", well just under 6" but with a blockoff plate and a tiny squish (rethought this, I'd grind out the needed space to ensure I didn't need to deform the flex lining at all, there's enough metal there that the damper frame will remain intact) it should fit perfect.

    Attached Files:

  4. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,101
    Loc:
    Midwest
    Congrats on the rebuild! When I added a flue collar to my beast, I hit the scrap yard and grabbed a 28" section of 6" schedule 40 steel pipe. 4" of it became my flue collar, the other 24" became my log splitter! When I cut the 4" collar, I did have to make a cut length wise, remove about 3/8" if I recall correctly, and weld it back up. This gave a perfect tight fit for the stovepipe to slide into. Maybe you could find some 8" pipe and do the same trick.

    I would worry welding the stove metal directly to the stove pipe, it would crack in fairly short order. Generally, if something is exposed to that high heat, you'd want to try to use similar cross sections of metal so they expand/contract at the same rate. Sch 40 steel pipe and the stove firebox are probably pretty close.
  5. HaTaX

    HaTaX New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Messages:
    82
    Loc:
    Minnesota
    I think you're on the right path there that welding it will just result in cracks in the thinner metal or the weld itself. Perhaps some stove gasket around the top where it could get mashed in between the collar and my connector, and then top it off with a few layers of masonry / stove cement? Remember it doesn't need to last a real long time, but I don't want it leaking exhaust gases out either.

    In the meantime I realized how badly my previous pictures screamed chimney fire, I went ahead and got the insert off on to a furniture dolly (surprised that went as easily as it did) and moved out of the way so I could get in there with my shop vac and a few brushes. I think now it's safe to go ahead and fire up for a few days until I get my liner run and all that good stuff. Chimney masons, how bad of shape does my fireplace and smoke shelf look? Wondering how much work and $$ I should put into it if I'm just going to be running a liner up there. And while I'm asking, with this straight of a shot should I just look at doing a rigid liner? Seems like flex really would not be needed and I'd assume rigid is a bit easier to clean. Maybe just a small section of flex to connect down to the insert and rigid the rest of the way up.

    Here's a few more pictures after the cleaning and of the 8" collar on the insert. The side profile shot shows that the top of the collar is about 1" away from the actual stove top itself, the flush top is really the air recirculation shroud just lightly welded to the collar. Makes me think I might be able to get away with a MacGyver job on my outlet since I've got a little bit of metal in between where the real heat is being generated and where I need to attach to. Also with air circulating around that collar I'd imagine it keeps it a bit cooler. Hottest part of my stove is about 3" back from the front of the stove, closer to the pipe it's actually a bit cooler.

    Attached Files:

  6. HaTaX

    HaTaX New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Messages:
    82
    Loc:
    Minnesota
    Huh, lots of lurkers but not many people chiming in! I know the old girl is pretty fugly, but she does her job well and you shouldn't run off at just a glance... ;)

    Anyway, been running pretty hard the last few days since I cleaned out the smoke shelf and firebox area as the temps haven't gotten above zero yet. (I think Tuesday is 2 degrees and Wednesday brings a 12 degree heat wave) Attached is a pic of where the stove is spending a bit of time at, when it comes down it rests at about 450.

    Opinions on flexible liner? I was looking at the Flex King Pro 6" kit and was wondering if anyone has experience with it? I'd like to get as smooth as a run possible and I'm thinking it's probably easiest to go with flex vs rigid and the bends I'll need to make at the smoke shelf. I'd just like to get a durable liner that's fairly easy to clean and smooth as possible. And think it would be safe to get an appliance adapter and then crimp the appliance end to mate with my reducer? (Actually an increaser so I wouldn't have a male end pointed up) I'd just replace the appliance adapter when I got a new stove, seems the cheapest and easiest.

    Attached Files:

  7. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Messages:
    1,419
    Loc:
    NE PA
    The piece you're looking for to connect the liner to the insert is a boot. Searching this forum and Google keyword fireplace or insert boot will get you stainless, gauge steel, or cast iron.

    The oriface holes in secondary burner pipe may want to rust shut with operating heat and summer humidity. Once perfected, changing it over to stainless is the way to go. Be advised it's some of the hardest drilling and threading stuff I've ever worked with !
  8. HaTaX

    HaTaX New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Messages:
    82
    Loc:
    Minnesota
    Yeah, I've seen the boot adapters but am not real keen on them for a few reasons. First is price, most all of the adapters I saw were over $100 with the exception of the Buck 91 adapter that was $80 (I think that was the cost when I looked). The other adapters besides the Buck 91 all seemed to just bolt over the opening on the stove, I could see that creating quite a pain for me to clean, and with how high up they set installing it all would be a pain in the butt. Ideally I would not be using that increaser that's shown, its a little on the chinchy side with material and construction. Looking at a few cheap alternatives I came across this: http://www.ventingpipe.com/heat-fab...n-crimp/p651678?searched=main:home&term=2836B

    Looks like it is a good medium, it's a decent gauge steel and the 6" side looks like flex or an appliance connector would go on nicely with pre-drilled holes for screws. On the 8" side I'm wondering if I could even drill that into the collar that it would be slid into? If it didn't want to go in that far, I could always weld some angle irons up top to secure it through those screw holes. Thoughts on sealing it are using some old fiberglass door gasket all the way around, basically make it like the Buck 91 adapter, but without the cast iron beef.

    Really wish they had full ID / OD and dimension specs in their brochure, it's basically just a sales pitch and list of available products...

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