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Question about Scandia 308

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by lifeofriley, Oct 18, 2008.

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  1. lifeofriley

    lifeofriley New Member

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    Well this is my first time posting so I hope I am doing this right. I had a question about a used stove that I just set up in my cabin. It is a Scandia 308 and apparently it is a copy of the old (70s perhaps) Vermont Castings Defiant. On the inside of the door it says 1979 Franklin Cast Products. I know (or have heard) that it is not a very good stove as far as stoves go but it seems to work pretty well and since it is a cabin and as long as it is safe (and since I only paid $100 for it) I thought I would use it for a few years until we could afford a nicer one. I have been trying to find a proper vent piece that comes straight off the top of the stove. The dimensions of the hole coming out (I measured the outside of the lip - unfortunately I did not measure the inside and the stove is not handy right now) is 10 1/2" (long ways) by 5 3/4" wide. I think the lip is close to 1/4 inch thick so I assume the inside measurement is about 10" x 5 1/4". It feeds into 6 inch single wall black vent pipe (Selkirk) and then exits out the wall and straight up (wall kit etc.) the gable end of the house (Selkirk SuperVent). Does anyone know where I might find one? I called a Vermont Castings place and the ovals on their newer stoves do not appear to be the same dimensions. I did get an 8 to 6 transition piece that I have managed to wedge in there just for one night when were there and desperate for heat. It worked pretty well but not a good longterm solution. Thanks Much.

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  2. VTZJ

    VTZJ Member

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    Does it look like the stove below? The photo is of my Scandia 315 copy of the Defiant. I'm not crazy about the the intellectual property crime, but I love the stove! To connect to your flue system, all you need is a section of 8 inch single wall pipe. You will need to ovalize this at the bottom to fit into the flue collar. And on mine, the fit was a tad loose, so I filled the gap with spare gasket material and stove cement. You'll want to make a positive connection here somehow. The flue collar on my stove had two holes bored for sheetmetal screws to affix the stove pipe. Be sure to use them.

    By the way, this stove is meant to operate with 8" flue. If you're running with 6", obviously you'll need an 8" to 6" reducer, and you may have draft issues. I run into 6" metalbestos, which is mostly interior to the house, so it draws well when warm, but starts a little hard sometimes, and can be smokey when burning with the front doors open. Otherwise, no serious issues with draft in my case.

    And what do you mean "afford a nicer one"? I got mine for $50.00, ran it for four winters with minor maintenance, and recently rebuilt and resealed it from bottom to top, with special attention to the secondary air passage, and a new paint job to boot. This thing is tip-top, and runs as well as any pre-EPA Defiant ever did. Secondary combustion is possible if you know what you are doing. Burn it hot, and it will burn clean!

    I strongly recommend the following improvements, which really made my Scandia out-perform my expectations by a mile:

    1) Check and correct the secondary air passage, and leave the port open unless you always burn updraft.
    2) Check that your primary air control door is flat and closes properly without binding.
    3) Seal all joints.
    4) Clean out ash from behind the fireback (or risk a cracked fireback)
    5) Put a heatshield on the back (keeps the firebox hotter)
    6) Put 1.5 inches of play sand in the bottom (keeps the firebox hotter). Ash just wont do the job.
    7) Burn hot. My stove is happiest at 550* to 600* stovetop temp 3" in front of the flue collar, and will run for hours on a full load.

    Attached Files:

  3. lifeofriley

    lifeofriley New Member

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    Thanks very much for the information. It does in fact look exactly like (from what I see in the picture) the one you provided, although mine reads 'Scandia 308' on the side of mine. There is a metalworks guy who claims to have found a transition off the flue collar but I have not been down to take a look and based on past experiences I am not holding my breath. I will pick up some 8 inch pipe and give what you suggest a look as well! Being that I am transitioning down to 6 inch, do you have a recommendation on how long a section of 8 inch pipe I should get (and hence how gradual a transition there should be)? I don't see any holes on the flue collar but could certainly add them.

    The two nights I had the stove operating (with a makeshift transition piece wedged in) I thought the draw was pretty reasonable. Also, without really loading it up with that much wood (and the wood wasn't perfectly seasoned), it burned from 1100 to about 0600 with still coals left to start the morning fire so I was pretty pleased with the performace. I opened both doors and burned it as an open fire and it worked pretty well (I notice a little smoke spillage off the front later in the evening but if I closed one door it totally went away.

    Great to hear you have had good luck with yours. Man, you read some of the other postings on this forum and they make it sound like you have a ticking timebomb in your house if you own a Scandia, or the stove is going to march up the stairs with an ax one night and kill your entire family while you are sleeping...make it sound like owning a Scandia is about the most morally reprehensible, irresponsible thing you could possibly do. My brief experinece has been that it burns well, kept the cabin warm, was great for somores:), and that we enjoyed ourselves.

    Not to go off on a tangent but I would be curious to know what percentage of home fires and other injuries attributed to woodstoves are caused by what exactly??? Is it the chimney?, failure to clean the chimney properly?, wall spontaniously combusting?, stove cracking open emitting sparks, noxious gases being emitted, etc.? what's the breakdown? I am looking at this stove and trying to make the connection between it and all of these warnings I am hearing from everyone? Like, is one night, because the cast isn't perfect, the stove just going to crack in half and discharge all over my living room?

    Thanks for all the improvement suggestions. I can see a couple of places I need to fill with cement (do you have a brand you recommend?), the doors seem very tight and it has a shield on both the back and the bottom.

    Thanks again for all your help.
  4. VTZJ

    VTZJ Member

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    [quote author="lifeofriley" date="1224620750] ...Man, you read some of the other postings on this forum and they make it sound like you have a ticking timebomb in your house if you own a Scandia, or the stove is going to march up the stairs with an ax one night and kill your entire family while you are sleeping...make it sound like owning a Scandia is about the most morally reprehensible, irresponsible thing you could possibly do...[/quote]

    ROFLMAO! I know what you mean. People here really degrade the Scandia product. I don't know anything about their other models, but my stove is good. Not nice in fit and finish like a real Defiant, but definitely close in performance. When I bought my Scandia, I was facing a Vermont winter with a baby in the house, a pregnant wife, and no back-up heat in our new house with a sketchy oil boiler. Having spent practically all our money on the house and a business, my wife gave me a ridiculous budget of $400 for a stove AND the wood to feed it. Well, I ordered two cord at 165 each, spent 50 on the stove, 15 on pipe and 5 on beer. This so-called junk "Chinese" stove performed very well and gave me great peace of mind that, if necessary, we could heat the house for two to four weeks without oil or electricity. Since then, I have put two cord a year through the stove for four winters, supplementing my oil heat. It performs extremely well when in top tune, and I think it is an excellent value for a big pre-EPA stove. But, you have to stay after it on maintenance, which is not everybody's cup of tea.

    Your model number is different -- it's possible that some details are different between these models, even though they seem similar. Mine does not have a griddle or top load feature, and the flue exits vertically out of the stove top. See photo below. On my stove, there is no special transition piece needed at the flue collar -- just jam the 8" pipe down in there until it bottoms out on the flange, then secure and seal it somehow. It may be helpful to grind the casting here and there if it is rough and interferes with your stove pipe fit.

    Regarding length, I ran 8" as far as I could, which isn't far. I used one normal section of 8" pipe at the stove, then one 8" slip-connector (two pieces of 8" sized to telescope together), then transitioned to 6" at the last possible moment at the ceiling where the pre-existing Metalbestos flue system begins, maybe 50 inches above the stove top. I'm no expert on pipe, but it seems to me that you will improve the draft with more 8" pipe in the system. I think the transition to 6" looks a little awkward if not done at some other transition like the ceiling or wall -- but that's just an aesthetic consideration. On the practical side, you'll need two sized brushes to clean the chimney. Since my 8" section is minimal, and I have to remove it to clean the 6" section anyway, I just do the 8" by hand with a wooden handled wire brush.

    By the way, you should remove the stove to clean the chimney or else the junk brushed down winds up in the smoke chamber behind the fireback. This can interfere with damper operation and, worse, can act as a kind of insulation preventing the fireback from shedding heat and causing it to crack.

    Since I first got the stove, I annually touch up the joints with Rutland stove cement in a caulking tube. If you wet the surface first, you'll get a good seal. A big improvement came when I did up under the edge of the stove top. A huge improvement recently when I tore the stove down and totally resealed it. Works like new now -- an incredible improvement really.

    Your description of the draft is spot-on with my set up -- open front doors sometimes a little smokey, sometimes not. This is symptomatic of 6" pipe on this stove, I think. Not a big deal for me. Draws just fine with doors closed.

    Your burn time is also typical, but with these old air-tights you can really shut them down to a smoulder -- I used to do this, but don't do it anymore -- I have come to the conclusion that it is counter-productive. Yeah, you get a long burn, but also tons of creosote, really inefficient use of fuel, and angry neighbors. Now I try to burn hot and clean so my neighbors don't hate me so much, and I still get 7 to 8 hours, which is good enough for me.

    I don't know too much about housefire stats, but that's a good question for the forum in a dedicated thread. I was never afraid of the exterior castings cracking, but I am always on the look out for air leaks and bad gaskets that could cause the fire to be difficult to control. With 60 pounds of wood in that enormous firebox, there's a lot of energy in play. I like to know that my stove is tip-top so I can confidently run it at 550* without fear of a run-away condition.

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  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    There's a difference in models and sometimes even between stoves of the same model. Inconsistent casting is one of the complaints I read about. Many of the Jotul knock-offs were junk. They were often leaky, hard to control and cracked with regular use. This is not to say that they didn't get other models right at times. But with the temps going in these stoves, the last thing you want to worry about is a random failure at a random time. That's what makes it hard to recommend them. We have no idea if the person is a knowledgeable guy that is handy with a "kit" stove or if it's a neophyte that won't recognize a problem or an out of control stove until it's getting too late.
  6. VTZJ

    VTZJ Member

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    The shields are a nice bonus, as are tight doors!

    You might want to check these documents regarding the Defiant. I have used them with good success in operating and maintaining my Scandia. If you are unfamiliar with how to put the Defiant/Scandia into secondary burn mode, the manual will school you.

    Operating manual: http://www.vermontcastings.com/catalog/elements/files/Defiant_Vig_Res_Intre_Pre88-0029.pdf

    Rebuilding (esp. secondary air): http://www.vermontcastings.com/catalog/elements/files/2008/2003225_Rebuild_Defiant.pdf
  7. lifeofriley

    lifeofriley New Member

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    Thanks again for the invaluable advice (and obvious years of experience backing it). I grew up in upstate NY and we as a family burned wood (and then coal) for most of my years there to supplement our oil heat. We also had a cabin in the woods where we used an 1800s something (Jacobs Art - my folks are still using it:) pot belly stove to heat the cabin. I am no stranger to burning wood but after getting my own and reading up here and elsewhere I realize that there is alot to learn and even my Dad (78 this year and still chopping his own wood) could learn a thing or two.

    Almost everything you have shown me on your stove apears to be very similar to mine except that the flue collar looks to be part of a larger piece that you could flip around if you wanted to and vent straight out the back (mine vents up like yours and then takes a 90 degree turn out the wall and up the outside of the gable end of the cabin. Also (and I do apologize as I don't know my terminology) there is an oval inset in the top. Almost looks like it could be, as you say, a griddle but I have not tried to lift it up. Because I vent up and out the wall I will not have the distance to go with the 8 inch pipe as you did but at least I know now to go as far up as I can and it does seem to make sense that that would have a positive effect on draw.

    Luckily we don't have neighbors nearby to piss off (at least with smoke:) but interesting to hear how you burn. Well thanks again. I am taking off work tomorrow and going down to the cabin just me and the dog:) so will fire it up and start getting aquainted to my "new" stove. Appreciate the link to the literature. Already printed it off and it will be my light reading tonight.

    Regards!
  8. dpom75

    dpom75 New Member

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    Hi,
    I am looking for the 2003225_Rebuild_Defiant.pdf manual, it appears to have been removed from the Vermont Castings website. Does anyone have a current link to the document?
  9. dpom75

    dpom75 New Member

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  10. dpom75

    dpom75 New Member

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