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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.

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  1. FireWalker

    FireWalker Feeling the Heat

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    That dial on the side.....I could never master what that thing does, if 1 1/2 turns open works for you then thats it. I think mine found a happy place at about 1/2 turn open.

    If you want a hot cat fire run the primary air open about half way, this will get things good and hot although I'm not sure I would leave it overnight open more than a good 1/4. Remember you have a convection stove (iron box inside an iron box with an airspace in between) so stove top temps will not get super hot, you can't boil water on the stove top, steam yes but rolling boil no. Try the thermometer on the side loading door for temp readings as this is only one layer of iron between the fire and the room. The hottest mine ever got was unintended when the bypass damper was left open and the primary damper wide open. The stove was cranking heat and as far as I could see didn't hurt anything. I forget, what is the cat operating range on the probe? I seem to remember temps on that gage going considerably higher than 750 before overfire during normal heating temps. I just remembered something else, with mine if you really got it cranking getting ready to close bypass, the primary air damper would become hard to operate/close. This happened to you yet?

    No worries, keep experimenting, avoid the too hots and the too lows and you will be fine. Going into spring don't be surprised if getting a full blown cat engaged fire is too much heat, you may find that burning a few splits on low air/bypass open is just the ticket. Good luck!

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  2. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    I suppose this is a tough time to try to learn to operate with the temps being so up and down! I havent had the primary door problem. The cat was at 1000 last night too. I gotta run I'll post again later thanks for the advice.
  3. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like you have things under control and I'm glad the Magic Heat is working out for you.. What you say about creosote makes sense as the stove reduces that dramatically...

    Ray
  4. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Hey Ray,

    I PM'd you about the guy who fixes the stoves. He's out near Fitchburg State College. I'm having a hard time reproducing the 1000 cat temp I had last night. I had it up to 750 earlier today but could not play with it too much because I was out most of the day. I'm determined to get the temps up again, though it has kept the house a comfy 72 all day. I had a deep bed of coals, a good strong fire on three good size splits, box temps up to 500 cat up to 550 with the damper open, then closed the damper and primary half way,
    secondary 1 1/2 turns. Half hour later, the cat is at 850 and box at 360. No flames since two minutes after the damper went down. How do I keep the flames going with the damper shut and cat lit up? Is it possible? The cat is glowing but I want more! How do I do it?
  5. Green Energy

    Green Energy Feeling the Heat

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    Hey VC burner,

    Congratulations on your new set up. I burned a large VC cat stove for 18 years and was very happy with it. Great all nighter stove. You will get the hang of it and love it.
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The Jotul would be just cruising along right about now. :lol:

    The Devil made me say that. :coolsmirk:

    The Devil also said that if the Magic Heat wasn't stealing your draft that damned stove would be kickin.
  7. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    LMAO :lol: !!!!!!
    It never fails when you comment!

    You're probably right. Though it is 73 in here right now, but not that cold outside 38 �F .

    You're probably right about that too. I'm going to shorten the horizontal connector by 12 inches tomorrow, that'll probably help too!
  8. vvvv

    vvvv New Member

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  9. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Green Energy,
    I have to do away with an extra piece of horizontal connector I hooked up. With my old stove I could tuck it way up into the corner because it was a front and top loader. With this cat I tried to extend the horizontal connector to push the stove away from the corner so I'd have more room to load logs from the side. I think this may be affecting the draft and getting in the way of the stove cranking out more heat. Otherwise this chimney has more than adequate draft.
  10. trailrated

    trailrated Member

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    VC- I take it the stove is in the basement? Is the whole basement unfinished and are you getting convection heat upstairs or is the stove just in an unfinished part?
  11. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the great link. I have read a lot of that info but sure is nice to have it all in one place! I put it in my favorites. ;-)
  12. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Yes it's in an unfinished basement. 750 square feet of it are sucking up the heat. However, the stove is only about 12' from a stairwell that is centrally located in the house. The section of the main floor being heated is 1000 square feet. The thermostat, where I get the upstairs house temps, is located in the main hallway right across from the basement door. With my old stove I could get the temps from 67-75 in about an hour. The house is 74 degrees right now, so it's not like the stove isn't doing the job. I just want to learn how to crank out the heat for next years season, when we have negative teens for overnight low temps. It was very easy to crank out heat with my older stove. It only had one thermostatically controlled air intake and no secondary burn or cat just a large heat exchanger in the back. That ceramic coated steel heat exchanger put out some major heat!! This one will present a longer learning curve.
  13. trailrated

    trailrated Member

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    I ask because I'm debating what stove to put in my unfinished basement in order to get heat upstairs. I don't want the basement 90 degrees, and upstairs 65, know what I mean :) I'm leaning towards a wood furnace
  14. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Cat temps vary depending on air setting, draft, wood moisture level, a good coal bed and type of wood.. 800-1000 degrees is not uncommon and with time you'll find the temp varies quite a bit.. Leave at least an inch of ash in the stove all the time as this seems to enhance stove operation and helps protect the bottom of the stove from extreme heat.. Basically anything from 700-1400 degrees is normal and with time you'll learn the ins and outs.. Cat stoves have a wide range of heat output and that's what I like about them.. I try to keep my flue pipe from 250-350 degrees as this keeps it clean and maintains a good draft... Thanx for the rebuilder info!

    Ray
  15. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    This thread will serve as a log for my experiences operating the Dutchwest. Hopefully my learning curve will be facilitated by other's experience and the thread will assist other new owners out there.

    I took appart all the connectors and took down the Magic Heat. I want to learn how to operate this stove without having to think that I may have something slowing it down. Maybe after I master the stove's operation I'll re-install the MH, but I think not. I called my seller yesterday and asked him to pick me up a blower. He called me today and told me it's ready for me to pick it up. I believe the blower will help extract the heat from between those convection walls and will spread it around faster. With my old stove it was simple. Push it and it will heat, fast, incredibly fast. But the temps in the house were so up and down because it had a tiny firebox and shorter burn times. I get now that this new stove will not be as fast. However, it will keep the temps even with less wood and less frequent loading.

    The connection is as follows:
    2' pipe off the top (purchased today to replace the Magic Heat,) into a 90 through the foundation and into my masonary tyle lined chimney.

    I know from the previous stove that this chimmney has a great draft. So I feel really good about this new installation I did today. It looks so much better without the MH and is back to being quiet again.

    In addition to the 2' pipe I bought a 6" round brush for the connectors and a pipe crimper. The stove is chugging alond down stairs it was 66 when I lit it 71 four hours later.
  16. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    The blower makes a big difference on my stove and reduces the radiant heat substantially which I do not like.. I grafted a Dayton blower on this stove eons ago and it has worked well.. My stove is in the livingroom so I can't speak for heating from the cellar...

    Ray
  17. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Thanks again Ray,
    I picked up the blower yesterdayand had it installed by 3:30pm. It helps throw out the heat before it goes on to the second layer of cast iron. It also helps keep the stove from reaching high temps too quickly, while throwing the heat out into the room. In my case that is a bonus because we don't spend most of our time in the basement. It also helped harvest the heat from the inner cast walls during an overnight burn last night. Ten hours after the last load it was still blowing out good heat on the low setting. I asked the stove guy to pick up a thermostat. My problem is the wood. The first burn I reached just over 1000 cat temp and the house was still 71 after an overnight burn. That was the last of my seasoned wood. I'm now working with less than perfectly seasoned maple, cherry, and some one year hickory. I wish I had a moisture meter to see how wet the wood really is. I'll try to work with it for the rest of the shoulder season. It shouldn't be a problem, I still get the house up to 74 by the end of the day. It's 71 right now and I'm not pushing it hard. I learn more and more each day. But with less than dry wood it'll be hard to achieve perfect results. I've had the cat at 850 with less than perfect wood. At 11:30am I put three small triangle splits on a red coal bed and let them catch really well. Pipe temps were at 550 when I added three short pieces on top going north to south and another layer of three thin splits east-west on them. At 12:15pm, pipe temps reached 560 and cat 375, when I dampered down. The secondary open 2 turns and primary wide open. 12:36 now and I'll go check... Ok, the cat was glowing at just over 700 and the pipe temps 360. There were some good faint flames throughout most of the surfaces. During the day do you leave your primary wide open or do you close it 1/2 way? What do you do with yours to push it to its heating limits? Do you even have to with a living room install?
    Thaks for your help,
    Chris
  18. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Hi Chris,

    This is a link to your stove: http://www.stovesandspas.com/pdf/dutchwest.pdf .. My stove is much different than yours but I looked at your manual and understand what you're talking about.. The primary air is the air it takes to burn the wood and the secondary air is air you feed the cat during high burns to aid the cat in burning off the smoke when you're burning hotter.. If you have your stove choked down for a long overnight burn you can close off the secondary air so you'll get a longer burn time.. Read the manual as they are pretty a good starting point.. My stove only has dial dampers similar to your secondary cat air.. I also have a 3rd air source which will feed air under the fire for starting and/or coal burning.. I always leave mine closed and leave my ashbin full as my stove is happiest this way.. I bet your air system is 10X better and easier to learn than my setup.. Sounds like your stove is performing well for you!!

    Ray
  19. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    There are so many options out there , if you have the money to buy something brand a new furnace could work out to your advantage. You just won't have a stove to look at! I haven't mastered this stove and have less than perfectly seasoned wood to work with. So, I really won't know how this stove really works until next heating season when the wood is good and dry. There are a lot of happy Dutchwest owners out there. It has done a good jod of keeping the temps from 68-74 in my house for the past week, even with semi seasoned wood. It has used less wood than my old stove and less re-loads to keep it heating. I've left it alone for twelve hours before the next re-load. No need for matches, burning 24/7! I have a friend who has an outdoor wood furnace, he loves it. I just helped him get rid of his hot air/oil set up. He put in radient heating in the floors. It is the best heat I'v ever seen! If I had to put in an heating system, that would be it. He spent $1,800 on radient pex pipe, the pump and manifolds. That's all it took to heat his
    800 ft ² single story ranch. He heats his house and hot water by the wood furnace:
    http://www.centralboiler.com/ The beauty of these is you never have to worry about a chimney fire or smoke in the house. They also have new EPA models that release very little emissions to keep the neighbors happy. He has used about six cords so far this season. He got six cords for $900 last spring, in the form of green hardwoods, mostly oak. Added to the rest of his scrounged supply he should still have a couple cords left at the end of the season.
    I'm sure you could heat just as well with an add on indoor furnace. It would probably be cheaper and easier to do. Good luck!
    Chris
  20. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Thaks Ray,
    I've had the manual for a couple of months now and have read the thing from front to back a few times. I did help a lot. I got off to a good start thanks to the information in it. Thanks for looking up the manual, I forgot that yours had different air controls.
    It has kept the house from 67-74 for the past 6 days even with the semi seasoned wood. I can't wait to burn next season with dry wood. It's going to be a long Summer :lol: ! My wife asked me what I'm gonna do with my self once I don't have a fire to play with. I kindly reminded her of the brand new chain saw I bought to cut firewood, and the one acre of grass upon which my riding mower will be running for at least 5 months. Plus we go camping every other weekend from the last week in May and ending with the Fall camping trip in October. I'll have plenty to keep my mind and body occupied!
    But I can't wait till next heating season. I'll have three stoves to play with. My old Surdiac will go in to the unheated breezeway that will become a dinning room this Spring. Take care Ray,

    Chris
  21. FireWalker

    FireWalker Feeling the Heat

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    Hey VC,

    Get a face cord of your semi-seasoned wood down in that heated dry basement of yours to dry. Concrete will suck a lot of moisture out in no time. Stack a long low row against your concrete wall/floor on either side of your stove (remember your clearance specs). Burn a armload and replace with armload from outdoors. This time next week you will have a system going, bring down more than you use for a while and work from the wood closest to the stove.
  22. imacheezhead

    imacheezhead Member

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    I didn't read this entire thread, but my Consolidated Dutchwest cat gets up to 1200deg. routinely when burning dry Oak. I've had a blower installed on this stove for years and I have it controlled by an old furnace limit switch. No point running the blower on a cool stove. How old is the cat on your stove?? I also wanted to mention that only the rear and top of the stove are double walled. someone also mentioned that you can't bring water to a rolling boil. Yes you can if the pot is placed on top of the hot plate over the cat. You also said "the flames were dancing". When the air dampers are all closed the wood should just smolder and you may see some LAZY flames. "Dancing" flames to me sounds like too much air getting in and that may be the cause of the cat running somewhat cool.

    As far as the Magic Heat is concerned. I have one on my stove and it doesn't seem to be creating any problems and it throws out tons of heat, WHEN IT RUNS! The idea of this unit is not to bring the temperatures down to a point where it creates problems. That's why it runs on a thermostat. Some people may run it continuously and that would be a problem! I have a thermometer in one of the MH tubes and it usually turns on around 350 deg. and shuts off around 150 - 200 deg. This unit gets rave reviews! Check out this link. http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200331512_200331512

    Jim
  23. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Please tell me that isn't a surface temp.
  24. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Definately is the cat temp which would be normal...

    Ray
  25. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    No, the Dutchwest stoves come with a cat thermometer and 1200 is normal and anything over 1600 continuously can damage the stove.
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