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Tandy stove questions

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by mikeinnc, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. mikeinnc

    mikeinnc New Member

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    Hi All, Newbie wood burner here.

    Now I'm not completely dumb, I know a little, but didn't know this wood burning stuff had become practically a science...;-)

    My wife, after me telling her we might think about a woodstove this winter, went to an auction, lo and behold...she came home with an old fashioned looking pot bellied type stove, very antique-y looking, solid cast iron, thick, solid, and thats what I was afraid of, it was for looks and not practical. But how do you tell the wife she made a blunder, when it was "such a deal"...;-)

    ok, so I went and hooked it up to a 6 in flue, about 30 inches between two elbows to the old chimney fireplace flue, so it goes out of the top of the Tandy, up across and then up into a 3 foot pipe flattened to fit into the old fireplace chimney...seems to work like a charm...with the following questions;

    1. Not sure if the damper on the stove does very much, can't tell that it tones down the fire much...it has a lot of cracks, I can see the fire in the cracks...
    Would sealing the cracks work, help or just a useless exercise to try to improve control over the fire.

    2. The outside is now turning white in places where the fire is 'too' hot? Does anybody know if this is a paint problem or a problem problem?

    Thanks in advance. Looks like I got a lot to learn...

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  2. rottiman

    rottiman Minister of Fire

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    easiest way to break the news to her ,would be to tell her that if she gets it back to the next auction, she just might be able to double her money.............
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Sounds like you've just installed a time-bomb in the house. I hope at least the chimney was cleaned and deemed safe for a stove hookup. A lot of these old hookups are not.
  4. SKIN052

    SKIN052 Minister of Fire

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    The white is from an over fire, big problem. Take the stove out of the house, not safe.
  5. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Use the stove for decorative purposes. Those old stoves can be nice looking.
  6. mikeinnc

    mikeinnc New Member

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    Thanks a lot guys...
    I'm kinda in a jam so bear with me.

    I'm not so sure this is an 'old' stove, so much as a stove that is manufactured in an old style, it is a two hole cooking stove from what I gather. Made for cooking.
    I saw one down at the hardware/feed store, a few weeks before I installed it, and the owner of the store said he could order me a 'new' one...

    These comments seem to be telling me the stove is a fire hazard, how so?
    Other than vague comments about it being unsafe because it isn't the best, I see pictures on here of stoves that have turned completely white, and are considered fine.
    I called the guy at the hardware/feed store, about the whiteness, and he said "that is normal...it is just cheap paint." He has better paint....not that I care what the color of it is.

    My questions were about Tandy.
    It does appear to leak, and doesn't have the best fire control but, it hasn't been 'overfired' by me. I guess overfiring is a relative term, but it has a very small firebox, the wood has to be cut into almost kindling size, and I can only put a couple sticks at a time in it....yes, its a constant hassle, and I don't like it but, heres the deal. We are broke, this economy has kicked my a**.
    I need this to work, or I have to go back to high power bills, and no I can't afford a new unit.

    The chimney is almost unused...and yes, I planned on buying a chimney brush.
    My question again, is what, specifically, is the safety issue? What 'time bomb' are you referring to?
    I can't see a solid cast iron stove exploding, or dumping the fire out a crack. so...specifically, what is the problem here? Do you have any links, actual events of failure? Failure mode?
    My wife, will pretty much go nuts if I have to shut it down. She will take it personally, so thats part of the problem. She's been glowing with shopping ecstasy at her coup, she got for $50...
    Other than me working my butt off to feed the thing, what actual things have happened to these Tandy stoves? This is some pretty thick cast iron, and I have tried to keep the fire as low as possible.

    Sorry to be so insistent, I will have to prove it to her, gently, and then try to figure out what to do.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I can't think of a stove picture here where the stove turned white and the comments were, 'that's fine'. Usually it's just the opposite. Folks start coming out of the woodwork screaming overfire. Whether this is the paint or actually the stove is hard to say at this point. Many of these stoves are given a decorative coat of paint when they are at end of life. Perhaps that is the case here. It's good to hear that the chimney has been clean and reported safe to burn wood in. That means it's clay lined with no cracks or missing mortar, right? If so, good.

    The issues with the stove is that it is hard to regulate. The white metal look is usually a sign of overfiring, which frequently comes from too much air getting to the fire through cracks and crude air intakes. Can this lead to a problem? Certainly yes, including cracks that can make the stove uncontrollable. Cracks don't get better, they get worse. If this happens when no one is around or worse when asleep, it can be very bad.

    If you can post a picture of this installation we can look for other issues. It would also be helpful in trying to identify the stove. For safety, the stove needs to be 36" from all combustibles in all directions, this includes drywall. The stove pipe must be 18" away from any combustible surface. It should be on a completely non-combustible surface like a stove or cement board.
  8. mikeinnc

    mikeinnc New Member

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    Thanks BeGreen,
    That's what I need is some solid common sense advice, no hype or vague rattling on about 'time bomb's...
    This is a Tandy two hole cook stove, D26 is on the top plate. The cracks appear between the cast metal plates and hinges. I can't find any info about them online...
    I've got the hang of regulating the fire, but then it has a habit of going out, since its a cook stove....I think its designed that way, make a meal and it goes out on its own.

    The chimney is pristine, almost never used for wood, only a few burns in the beginning when it was made. (This is my mothers house.)
    The stove sits on cinder blocks to raise it up to the level where everything fits snug with the chimney flue 'connection' I made, I had to fabricate some metal pieces to block everything but the pipe entry, the cinder blocks sit on a stove board...
    Everything is clear around it so no worries there. Like I said, I'm just new, but no dummy... I have a fire extinguisher, sitting next to my chair, I used to be an engineer, now I'm economic roadkill, but I haven't forgotten much...;-)

    So, basically, the danger here, is allowing the thing to run while we're sleeping. Ok. That ain't gonna happen. The stove goes out in less than an hour, and I make sure its bedded down for the night before I go to bed. I'm going to have to bring down one of the electric radiators I have in the attic to keep the night chill off...

    My primary concern, about the whiteness, was the metal...but if its just paint (like several people have told me), then I'll just work it and keep and eye on it.

    If I have anything specific to report, or more questions, I'll come back and report.
    Thanks to everyone who helped out...
  9. fredarm

    fredarm Minister of Fire

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    Get a cheap stove thermometer and attach it to the pipe. That will give you a better idea of what temperature you're running the stove at and whether you're overfiring it. Many of these "potbelly" stoves (if they are not genuine antiques) are cheap Chinese-made knockoffs with cheap paint. They do tend to turn white where they get the hottest. You can repaint it with high temperature stove paint, but that will probably have to wait for the end of the winter. You can try sealing the cracks between the plates with stove cement, which may make the stove a little more controllable. This is a stove and installation to operate carefully. Don't run it when you're sleeping (as you've noted) or when you're not in the house. Keep a close eye on it when you're using it. Clean the pipe and flue regularly. And if you find you enjoy burning wood, look for a used EPA stove next year. By then your wife should understand the limitations of the stove and you can sell her on the benefits of an EPA stove (more heat, less wood, safer).

    Good luck!
  10. mikeinnc

    mikeinnc New Member

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    Thank you fredarm...
    Exactly the plan.
    OK then, a cheap chinese knockoff...I can understand why I can't find any info on 'em...bleh...hate C3...(Cheap Chinese Crap)
    Its is already starting to sink in to her, that this stove is a lot of work and burns a lot of wood...;-)
    If I don't get up and tend it every 15 minutes or so, it will go out...
    PITA...
    So yeah, next year I'll have a winter under my belt, and I hope, a better economic situation, or not...but, if push came to shove, I could build a much nicer one...
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Her head was in the right place. Even with a small firebox, a decent cook stove will burn for a 2-3 hours on a load of hardwood. I heated a cabin in New England with one and it did ok, though I needed to use a propane space heater as a supplement. Hope things improve for you. Keep an eye out for a better heater on craigslist and local want ads and be sure to ask here if you have any questions about it.
  12. mikeinnc

    mikeinnc New Member

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    May I ask one other question?

    What would be a 'good' temperature range to run this thing at?

    Thanks.
  13. fredarm

    fredarm Minister of Fire

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    I'm not really sure on temperature range, since I have no experience with these kinds of stoves. Most stove thermometers are marked with ranges along the lines of "too low, just right and overfire". Anything over 500 F. is probably too hot for that stove.
  14. mikeinnc

    mikeinnc New Member

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    Thanks for the confirmation...400-500 is about what I have found out.
    Now I have to save up to get that little gadget...
    ;-)
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Should be all of about $10 at the local hardware store.

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