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VC Dutchwest "Large Cat" 2461, my diary thread (w/ pics)

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by VCBurner, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Before you read on please beware that this is a very long thread. I intended to keep this as diary as stated in the title. This will help me to realize its recorded history and to learn from it. Also, I hope it'll serve others who are also learning to burn this stove or similar stoves. Thank you for reading and adding to this thread! Edited on 2/21/11.



    I guess I finally get to live up to my VC name.

    Only a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this site, while researching on stoves I was looking at. I had given a deposite on a reconditioned "Large Cat." This thing was taken appart completely, then put back together with new gaskets and cement as well as some brand new parts. It was a roller coaster of decision making. But after a long time I decided to stay with my original choice. The price was really good and the stove is only 5-6 years old. I was really glad to get it home tonight! It may not be a BK, Woodstock or Jotul, but I trust this stove will serve me very well for as long as I own it. I'm also proud of joinning the DUTCHWEST LARGE CAT family!!

    So, thanks to all the people who helped me with this decision, wether you like or dislike the Dutchwest stoves. I've learned so much from the members on this site, in so little time. So much so, that I feel I can make more educated decisions about stoves on my own.
    I'm laid off so the research on this site has kept me sane. I feel like I'm part of the Hearth.com family! I've learned a lot from all of you, and laughed with you too. This is a good place on the web!!

    I'm going to break in the new seams tomorrow then will fire it up to see how well it works. I know it'll take a while to learn the new stove. But I'm really glad to trade up to an EPA rated stove. I'll post back with the results and some pics after it's installed. Take care fellow burners and burn on!

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  2. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Congtats on the new stove. I always liked the looks of those Dutchwest's, keep us posted.
  3. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I too liked the looks, and of course the large firebox and really long splits that they accept.
  4. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Thank you Todd and Highbeam, I'm elated to get this thing home after a long wait. We had a snow day perfect for a break in fire! Kids are home and the stove will be going as soon as I get off Hearth.com.
  5. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Hey congrats on your new Dutchwest Large Convection! Your stove is an updated version of mine with bigger glass and simpler to control air.. These stove last a long time and are very efficient to boot.. I look forward to hearing about your experiences..

    Good Luck!

    Ray
  6. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Ray! The guy who sold it to me said this was a workhorse. He swore by the efficiency and durability of this stove. He's been installing and servicing stoves for nearly twenty years. His opinion was a major influence on the purchase. Another major influence, were the many happy Dutchwest owners, such as yourself, whose posts reflected good experiences. I have read many of your posts and other's and thank you for all the information. I'll continue to keep in touch and ask questions to fine tune my skills with the Dutchwest. Take care brother and burn on!

    Now I'll go downstairs to light the second break in fire!
  7. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I'm glad my posts helped.. I and many others have posted lots about these stoves.. Read all you can as most answers are probably buried in this forum somewhere.. If you didn't get a manual I found a pdf manual for that stove.. I still like how my stove looks after looking at it over 20 yrs. Post some pics so we can see your install..FYI mine is the FA264CCL model ...

    FYI I never use the front doors and load from the side door.. On this stove it runs much better with the ashbin full so I never empty it and this doesn't hurt anything.. Perhaps this isn't a problem on the newer generation stoves like yours? Where is this guy that rebuilds these stoves?

    Ray
  8. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    I will, read that is. I printed out a manual a while ago. I really like the looks too. The pics probably won't do it justice because it's in an unfinished basement. Kiddy cornered in a foundation and block wall corner with a concrete floor under it. At least there's nothing combustible around it! I will send out some pics soon.
  9. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Picture 1 is a side by side shot of the Surdiac and Dutchwest. Last night burning with the Surdiac! Taken last night. 2/23/10
    Picture 2 is from today after installation. I'd like to put some nice field stone on the background to really make it pop out! I'm about to start the third break in fire in a little while.

    The Surdiac looks bigger but it only has just over one cubic foot box. The Dutch has at least twice as much room.

    Attached Files:

  10. Hanko

    Hanko Minister of Fire

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    That thing you have in the pipe, cant remember the name of them, but BAD very BAD. Anyway youll like the DW cat, my brothers been running the exact stove for 15 years. I have a DW non cat which I guess you have to be a rocket scientist to operate. Get rid of the blower jobber do in the chimney pipe, dangerous
  11. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Yup I agree that's a real creosote creator especially with a cat stove.. My pipe usually runs about 250-300 degrees in normal operation and the pipe stays clean..

    Ray
  12. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Stove looks great! Looks like new, good job on the rebuild.. Just get rid of the heatilator thing as u will have problems with creosote...

    Ray
  13. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Ray and Hanko, I have another thread where I go into detail about the Magic Heat. It creates heat, major heat, out of waist gasses and yes, cools them off in the process. But not to the point of being as dangerous as most non believers say. I clean my connectors once a month and the top section only has a slight bit more dry soot then the bottom section. With dry wood my chimney has stayed as clean as a whistle.
    Thanks Ray,I think the guy takes pride in his work and it shows! It's got a couple minor flaws but does look new. Third break in fire here I come!!

    Here's a link to the Magic Heat thread:
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/51519/P22/

    Attached Files:

  14. dougand3

    dougand3 Minister of Fire

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    "But not to the point of being as dangerous as most non believers say." Pook??? Stat U??? Me thinx so, eh?
    Now, you have an EPA stove...I'd watch stove pipe and chimney VERY closely as you extract this magic heat outa those pipes. You may have ice crystals spewing out at the rain cap.
  15. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    I don't know how the reclaimer will affect the operation of the new stove. The MH reduces flue temps by 75 degrees. I guess, if you constantly starve your fire or burn green wood and hook one of these up you will have a great formula for a chimney fire. I will watch the chimney and connectors closely to see how they react to the combination of a new stove and a reclaimer.
  16. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Just keep a good eye on it. I've used MH before with an EPA stove and it was a creosote factory. Your new cat stove is going to run a lot lower flue temps than your old stove did and it will need every bit of that to keep the draft going because it's so efficient. Not trying to bash you, just my experience.
  17. Hanko

    Hanko Minister of Fire

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    hey chill guy, your post said thanks for all the advice. you posted a pic of your stove and a few noticed something that might cause an issue, so we gave you some advice. Kepp the majic heat for all I care. Yes iam familiar with them. my inlaws had one years ago and didnt know much about them and had a a majic heat fire. Good luck
  18. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Hanko, I was responding to Dougand3's post with the whole "Pook" punch line. Though I meant no disrespect toward his response either. :) I edited my previous comment. It did come out pretty harsh! I do appreciate all the responses and opinions shared here. I know those reclaimers tend to slow down draft and may facilitate the condensation of flue gasses to the pipes and chimney. I also will keep in mind that the new stove will operate differently and may not be as compatible with the reclaimer. By no means did I mean to aim that response at you or Raybonz.

    So, please don't be offended any of you. :)

    Thanks again and burn on!
  19. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Just got finished with the break in and after a final cool off I established a bed of coals with the damper open. When the cat temp reached 400, I closed the damper and the primary down almost all the way. Opened the secondary 1 1/2 turns and the thing seemed to work. Flames were dancing. The cat temp kept rising slowly. Firebox temp at 400-500. I loaded up the firebox with six good size splits on top of the deep coal bed and let the fire re-establish itself. A few minutes later the cat was at about 525 and firebox temp 500. I closed the damper again to engage the cat. I hope I'm doing the right thing. We'll see how things look in the morning. Primary is shut almost all the way and secondary open 1 turn. Please feel free to comment if you have any input. Thanks and good night.

    Happy to be burning in this new stove! :cheese:
  20. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Just went downstairs for one last check before bed. The cat is at 850, but firebox temp was at 300. There were no visible flames but the cat was definitely glowing. Does this sound right for an overnight burn? Good night to all!
  21. Hanko

    Hanko Minister of Fire

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    No Problem, dont worry about it.
  22. FireWalker

    FireWalker New Member

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    I ran that same stove for 12 seasons. Be very serious about your wood supply, no green or semi seasoned wood! The dryer the better, ask me how I know. Sounds like you may have a leg up on this already.

    Regarding your first overnight burn, yes you can have a flameless fire as combustion can happen in the upper chamber and by the sounds of it (a glowing combustor) it is. A word of warning, when the combustor falls below it's active temp and you still have a good load of fuel in there my stove would let you know it was unhappy by burbing smoke (exploding gasses) out the front air intake ports. This is a function of dampering the fire down too much when trying to achieve long slow burns. I'm not sure if the MH installation will aggrivate this, worth keeping an eye on it. Run that thing hot with damper open once EVERY DAY to keep your connector/chimney clean. If you hear crackling sounds in the connector (during hot damper open start-ups) this means you have some build-up.

    Many people here have experience with MH and you have access to a vast knowledge base right here so read up and keep asking questions. IMHO, the stove you picked comes from the factory as one very efficient wood burner and thats without the MH installed.
  23. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Hey Firewalker, how goes it? Thanks for the response!

    Your posts also help me decide to buy this stove. And I will heed the warnings about the dry wood. I have about four cords that are semi split to manageable "big split size." The big splits were easier to move into a pick up truck. I still have to re-split these and stack them properly. They are all covered under tarps and off the ground so they'll dry up quicly when I do the final split. My plan is to get 12 cords cut and split before the summer. I have already made arrangements to have a splitter brought over by a friend within the next couple of weeks. If all goes according to planned there will be 6 cords sitting stacked and split by Spring and the other six cords will be done by the end of april. This 12 cord supply should get me 2-3 burn seasons. I'll continue to scrounge throughout the Summer to build up at least another six cords for the 3rd and 4th year. So if all goes well, I'll have 18 cords by next heating season, all cut split and stacked!!

    The overnight burn went fairly well I would say, at least for an inexperienced EPA stove burner. I loaded the box with six good size splits at 12:30am and still had one half burned log in the back on top af a huge bed of coals at 7:30am. The front half had a nicely burned log in the form of a giant one piece coal. The fire box was at 300, but the glass had a couple of dark spots on it. I put in two good sized splits and opened the damper to crank things up.
    The indoor temp was 66 when I finally got done with the last brek in fire cool down. By the time I went to bed, it had reached 69, with the overnight burn on low. It was still 69 when I got up. I have a lot to learn now. I would like to learn how to crank up the temp to put out major heat without overfires but with the damper shut. It's 71 in here now the cat temp is at 550 and the firebox temp 325. There's good heat coming out, but I want the cat at 1000 and firebox at 550. How do I get this going?
  24. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Ok, I turned down the secondary and the primary air and both temps went up cat at 750 and box at 375. Strange thing, I've never used an EPA stove before, but I'll learn, eventually. I feel like I've already learned a lot with less than 24 hours of operation. Does anyone have any advice?
  25. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Your going to have to keep playing with different air settings and checking your temps. Basically if you want more heat you need to keep good red coals and a good flame going, that will heat up the whole stove. For those longer burns keep the flame down and let the cat do most of the work.

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