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Quadra-Fire Isle Royale Owners Please (or other large cast iron stoves)

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by ArsenalDon, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    So I have been reading a whole lot on here and talking to a lot of you...This is my first season as a burner. Burning mostly Poderosa Pine. Mostly seasoned, some a bit wet but not bad. I mix in wet when the fire is roaring to use it up as I am not sure that I will have enough to get me through the season, it is going to be real close. 80%-85% of what I burn is seasoned and only a wetter piece goes in a couple times a day.

    Using an IR thermometer to measure heat. When we are home in the evening I use rake forward method, load 3 or so pieces towards the back.....now the issue.

    With air control up full, stove top temp is tough to get up past 450. It warms the house fine so I guess it is not really an issue. Last night I had what I believe was first overfire. Stove top was only 550 but baffle tubes were glowing red hot. I got scared and shut the air all the way down and let it cool off.

    Am I doing something wrong? People talk all the time about 700 degree stove tops but at 550 things seemed too hot inside.

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  2. Johnpolk

    Johnpolk Member

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    My isle royale gets up to 600 really easy and will sometimes get up to 700 depending on how quickly I catch it. I use a stove too thermometer and I would assume that your ir thermometer is more accurate
    northwinds likes this.
  3. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    My coil thermo reads 150 degrees higher than the IR.....I assume the IR is correct. So according to the coil I can get to 650, but have you ever had the baffle's red hot? That is what scared me.
  4. lopiliberty

    lopiliberty Minister of Fire

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    Don't worry to much about the glowing air tubes. Every stove with air tubes in them will have them glow at some point. When they are glowing you know your getting a good hot clean burn. Mine have been glowing cherry red for hours at a time for the last three years and no problems. When they start to turn white, that's when you need to start worrying
    BrowningBAR likes this.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Running the stove with the air open is going to send most of the heat up the flue. The stove top should get hotter as you close down the air supply and the stove starts to pull more air from the secondary tubes.
    BrowningBAR likes this.
  6. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    So far that has not been my experience with my stove. Open air creates a hotter temp. I can feel it radiating. Closing down the main air keeps temp lower.
  7. Johnpolk

    Johnpolk Member

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    When you say white tubes what do you mean? Mine have a perpetual white sooty residue on them but I have only once seen any hint of red in them during a burn that got a bit away from us
  8. lopiliberty

    lopiliberty Minister of Fire

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    White as in white hot like red hot but instead of glowing red, they are glowing white
  9. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    When operating a non-cat stove with good dry fuel, you should be able to close down the air in stages and maintain 600-750+ temps (depending upon stove).

    When closing the air causes your temps to drop that is usually a sign of wet wood.
    jeff_t and lopiliberty like this.
  10. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Do you mean the burn tubes? If so, then yes. That is normal and nothing to be scared about.
  11. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    Can you post some photos of stove during a burn and where you are taking your IR temp readings from?

    Sounds to me like wet wood, bad thermometer(s), or a difference in where you are taking your temp on the stovetop. When you take an IR reading, are you using the hottest spot on the griddle? If that's no more than 450 with the air wide open, something is off. With the air wide open, I'm sure that I would hit stovetop temps of 700
    or higher and insanely high chimney probe readings. That's why I start shutting things down at 500-550 in incremental stages. As I start to close things down, the stovetop temps continue to rise but level off, while the chimney probe temps drop.
  12. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    At 550 with the air wide open, things will be rocking and rolling inside the firebox. That sounds like a heckuva good fire going there and normal. This is where you start to
    close down your stove in stages. Close 1/2 off, and when it gets to 600, close it to maybe 80%. If it keeps rising, close it some more. If it starts falling back to 500, you may
    need to reopen it a bit. This is just the process to find your stove's sweet spot.

    If you're nervous about it, start closing it off a little earlier, say 500, but do it gradually, so the temp doesn't drop off right away.
  13. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    Ok, here with pics.
    First the fire box burning with 3 pine splits
    Fire Box.jpg
    Next is crappy coil thermo during the burn
    Fire Box.jpg TEmp 3.jpg
    Next is IR reading next to coil thermo Temp 2.jpg
    And last we have the hottest spot on the cook top (in the front)
    Temp.jpg

    So Northwinds....should I worry with our stove about the burn tubes glowing red at 550 on the IR?
  14. Johnpolk

    Johnpolk Member

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    In the photo you posted it looks exactly like my isle royale and the temps appear the same as I experience. Are your secondary tubes red in those photos? They look normal
  15. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    The photos of the stove look great--well controlled fire and minor secondary flames. Tubes look normal to me also.

    I take it the tubes were glowing in a different situation: when the primary air was wide open and stovetop was 550. That situation isn't going to last very long
    because you're going to be turning your primary air down in stages, and the roaring fire is going to be a lazy, controlled fire like the one in your photos.

    In any event, I've taken my stovetop to 550 and even 600 before starting to turning the air down. I don't recommend 600 because the secondaries can
    turn to hellfire and a stovetop of 700 before you know it. When that happens, I'm paying close attention to my stovetop and not my burn tubes. Even when
    flames are shooting out of nearly all of the airholes of the tubes, I can't say I've noticed that the tubes themselves glow red. At 550, I definitely don't think you had an overfire.

    I'm going to play around with my laser infrared thermometer to see what variations I get for the spots that you are taking your temps. My own stovetop
    thermometer is located (as you face the stove) a few inches to the left of the hole for the tool that goes into the topload griddle and a few inches towards
    the rear from the front of the griddle. That's not usually the hottest part of my griddle but it is on the high end.

    Another observation is that your stove isn't very full. There's nothing wrong with that. Smaller loads will have reduced burn time and different cycles.
    A small load of seasoned pine can still get pretty hot
  16. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    I would suspect the wood is less than Par if your air is Wide Open and you can't obtain 600*?

    At WOT, I would hit 1,200* in 10 minutes on a coal bed.

    How long has your Pine been Cut, Split, and Stacked?
  17. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    Reloaded on a coalbed of 200, and this is at stovetop 550 with the primary air open (about 15 minutes later).

    Next one is at 625 and the air closed 80%.

    Last one is 600 and the air closed 90%

    Attached Files:

  18. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    I do know the wood I am using this year sucks. Not all of it, but about 1/3 of it. The "junk" wood I am using was from trees cut down 6 years ago, but the logs sat on the ground and were soaked. I cut em into rounds this past summer and the ones I split are not bad, but the rounds I am just splitting now are still holding water from being in the elements for so long. I am just making sure I burn what I can this year because I don't want to run out. This is my first year of burning and I am not sure how much wood I will go through. I only had 5-6 cords including my "junk."
    The rest of what I am burning is good solid cedar, white fur, doug fir and ponderosa, all seasoned over 2 years.
  19. Trilifter7

    Trilifter7 Feeling the Heat

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    What kind of draft are you getting DW? What is your avg outside temp while burning and how long is your flu? A week draft could cause your temps to stay lower than normal.
    Don't mean to change the topic here but I am also curious what you Isle Royale guys are getting for avg burn times with a full load? How long does your stovetop stay above 400 and how long do you have a good hot coal bed for reloading?
  20. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    I can go 12 hours between full loads without using a match for a restart. The stove stays above 550 for several hours and then starts to drift down slowly. I would say
    typically 5-6 hours for me above 400 on a full load. However, I don't do a full load all that often. The load in my pics from last night's photos was an easy reload a few minutes ago this morning with a good hot coal bed for reloading but temps back down to 200. The house is 72 this morning, so I'll have to let the stove go out this
    afternoon. I burn three year old split and seasoned hardwood, which gets rotated each year.

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