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TLC for a circa 1978 Jotul 118

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by Mr. Heat Miser, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. Mr. Heat Miser

    Mr. Heat Miser New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
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    Loc:
    Northeastern MA
    I bought this Jotul 118 sometime around 1990 and set it up in my basement with the intent of using it for backup heat during extreme cold spells and power outages. It's served me well over the years, most recently during a 3 day power outage after the freak Halloween snow storm we had here in New England.

    The burn plates were pretty well warped and cracked when I got it, but with the little amount I used it over the years they seem to have continued to do their job of protecting the cast iron sides. I recently decided to give it a bit of TLC and figured I'd start by replacing the burn plates. Before I spent the money on those I inspected it by removing the top baffle and burn plates, brushing down the interior walls and giving it the drop light test. The sides and top baffle appear to be in tact, but I noticed a few other things that I need some advice on. Below are some photos to accompany the following questions:

    1) As you can see in the photos of the interior there is some glazed creosote buildup inside. I have to admit I have never really taken a good look inside this stove since I bought it, so I am not sure how much of this was there, and how much my use has contributed to it. I was wondering if this looks like an excessive build up or if this is somewhat average. If this is something I should be concerned about what are some recommended methods to clean/remove it. I just picked up a stove/stove pipe thermometer, something I never had before, so that I can keep an eye on temperatures in the future to avoid more creosote buildup.

    2) The rope gasket around the top is falling off and is not consistently placed around the groove so I would like to replace it. Does anyone know what size rope gasket to use and what the procedure is for replacing it. I know I need to pull off the old one and remove any left over gasket cement and clean up the surface. But can anyone describe how to install the new gasket... what type of gasket sealer to use etc... And where exactly should I lay the gasket? The top has a lip in it as you can see especially in the corners where the gasket is not covering it, which I think it probably should be.

    3) Although the stove passed the light test I can see that some of the side seams look like they have lost some material. Can these be refilled with a new bead of sealant, or is this something I shouldn't even bother with.

    4) Does anyone know what the purpose of the little half circle cutout on the back left side rim of the seconday smoke chamber is for?

    5) I want to blacken the stove again and clean up the outside a bit. I know that some of these stoves were enameled, but this one was not. Mine appears to be bare cast iron but I am not sure. Can anyone confirm this? Right or wrong I know I have used stove black on this before and still have some left. It is Williams black semi-paste stove polish made with graphite and carbon black and no waxes. I tried some on the top recently and it didn't seem to do a whole lot. Any other recommendations on how to spruce up the finish. Would it be okay to use the other type of stove polish that contains wax over this graphite/carbon black type.

    6) I belive this stove was made in 1978 as there are what I think are date codes marked in some of the panels under the part numbers. Looks like 29/3-78 which appears in several places. The existing burn plates are the two hole type and were hung on the back two hooks. The stove has three hooks on each side. So it looks like I have a non-UL stove with the original non-UL burn plates. I ordered a new set of the non-UL, two hole plates. Any opinions on which is the best position to hang the new burn plates when I get them?

    Thanks in advance for any help in answering these questions.

    Attached Files:

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The stove does look like it's been run a bit cool. This may be due to poorly seasoned wood. Also, it looks like the burn plates are warping. One of them quite badly. That one needs replacement.
  3. Mr. Heat Miser

    Mr. Heat Miser New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    53
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA
    Hi BeGreen,

    I have ordered a new set of burn plates as they are both very warped and cracked, but while I am waiting for them to come in I wanted to address the other issues I mentioned above. Should I work on removing that creosote buildup somehow... I tried scraping it with the tip of a screw driver in a small test area and it came right off, but is there an easier, better way to remove it, or should I even bother? Also any suggestions on replacing the gasket on the top, or sprucing up the outside with stove black, seam sealer etc.

    Thanks
  4. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Jan 2, 2010
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    1,509
    Loc:
    Templeton, MA
    Hello Heat Miser,
    Thanks for posting the pics. I love the look of those old stoves. I had a 1936 Atlanta Stoveworks box stove in the fireplace of the old house. It was a non airtight type but I used a brush cup and wheel to scrape off the rust that was on the walls when I got it (the type that can be used on a drill mandrel or a grinder.) I then used Rutland stove polish on the outsides after putting furnace cement on the seams. The stove was not an airtight, so I didn't feel the need to take it all apart to re-do the seams properly. I just squeezed cement into the seams. The Rutland stove polish was great at bringing the outsides back to life, it can be left matte or be buffed into a sheen. It had to be done once or twice a year.

    Yours is a different stove. To be sure all the seams are airtight it would probably take a complete dismantle with new cement in the seams. You could use stove paint on the exterior if polishing it twice a year sounds like a chore. The gasket looks like it is a bit undersized for the top. I know you can sometimes download old Jotul manuals from the Jotul website, maybe a good way to find outwhat size gasket you might need. Check stovepartsplus site, they may have a parts diagram.

    Good luck, looks like a fun project.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I wouldn't worry too much about the creosote deposit too much. It will burn off with the first hot fire. Check the stove seams with a bright light inside. If no light leaks, it could be ok for now. To clean up the stove, take a wire brush to it. Then dust, vacuum and wipe down with a good, no residue solvent like alcohol or lacquer thinner. Paint with a high-temp stove paint like Forest Stove Brite or Thurmolox. When painting, do it in a very well ventilated space and wear a vapor mask. The fumes from Stove Brite are very strong and not good for brain cells. The modern F118 takes 7ft of low density, 3/8" rope gasket for the lid, but I'm not sure if that is the gasket size for the older models. Best to call up a Jotul dealer and ask. It wouldn't hurt to replace the door gasket while you are at it. That is metric and may have to come from the dealer, though 3/8" might work in a pinch. Bring the door in with you when you ask.
  6. Mr. Heat Miser

    Mr. Heat Miser New Member

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    Cool... thanks for the input. I already did a light test and could see no problems... think I'll just throw some creosote remover in with my next few fires and just keep burning her like I have for the last 20 years. Why fix it if it ain't broke!
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It looks like you could be burning it a bit hotter or maybe with drier wood in the future. That will keep the creosote accumulation down.
  8. Mr. Heat Miser

    Mr. Heat Miser New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Northeastern MA
    The last wood I burned in there was sitting in my basement for more than 8 years, so it was as dry as dry can be. I think I know what happened though... we were running out of wood, and the power was still not back on, so we burned every stick of scrap wood we had, and we threw in a pile of small but very wet pieces that were in a bucket that had gotten soaked when the basement flooded a while back. Oooops! I'm sure that is what caused the creosote... no worries though, like I say I will just get a nice hot fire going and throw in some creosote remover granules to break it down.

    As for restoring the finish... I have used the Williams semi paste stove polish on it in the past, which as I said above is a mixture of graphite and carbon black. I just found it on Woodman's website here:

    http://www.woodmanspartsplus.com/50...ers/WI--00710-Williams-Wood-Stove-Polish.html

    After further examination I am now sure this stove is bare cast iron and has never been painted, and the product description on Woodman's site above says "Do not attempt to paint the stove after polish has been applied." So I am glad I've done my homework because if I had attempted to wire brush it and paint it like you suggested above I surely would have had a big mess on my hands. ;-) It's really not that bad anyhow, just some very slight surface rust that I will probably just use some steel wool on, then wipe it down and stove black it again with the Williams polish. It's amazing actually how good the finish still is considering it was submerged half way up the legs for a few weeks when the basement flooded, which only happened once in the 45 years since we've lived here. Never had a drop of water in the basement until that flooding spring we had a few years ago.
  9. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Soumds like what I would do. It isn't a main heat source and slapping some polish on there will take care of the minor cosmetic problems. The Rutland stove polish can be applied right over minor surface rust, it can be bought for 2-3$/tube one tube will last you a couple of complete touch ups. I'm sure what you have will work fine though. You don't have to get down to bare metal with the Rutland polish, I don't know about the stuff you have. I'm sure that stove will give you many more years of service! :)
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I was wondering if there was stove polish on this stove at some point. It had that soft polished glow. If so, stick with the polish. It may be hard to completely remove it now and that could affect paint bonding.

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