Due to several issues with the stove last fall i decided to rebuild – tear down all the way to the legs – my VC Defiant Encore 2140. It took two attempts to get it back together and running well. I had hoped this was the end of something breaking every year on the stove. Unfortunately, I tried the first fire of the year a couple months ago and the cat bypass door wasn’t working….again. I had spent a couple hours on the second re-assembly last year getting the door to work perfectly. This year it would only close if slammed hard. That wouldn’t work for having a real fire. So we decided to replace the stove. We had thought about this last year, but decided to rebuild. I had looked at new stoves last year and really didn’t like any of the options. We wanted to keep top loading and keep the flue height the same as we have a nice flexible SS liner in an old central fireplace. We looked a little at the PH but the flue height was way too high. Well this year I decided the old VC was done – something broke every year. It was pain to crawl back and clean the cat, the refractory was falling apart again, etc. We decided we are going to use the stove for years so we might as well do it right. Took a trip up to look at the WS PH and very much liked it. But it would be six weeks before pickup. So all we had to do was lower the hearth by about 4 inches and expand it a bit. The way the hearth was built it was bricks laid about floor height so it was a few inches too height, but it the hearth was ¾ inch below the floor height the flue heights would match up. Simple enough….we have an old (1740’s) house, so there are no simple projects…all we needed to do was, remove the old bricks that made up the hearth from outside of the fireplace (my 5 and 7 year old sons did most of this with a cold chisel and hammer), this was followed by a layer of cement that was easy to remove, and about 8 inches of cement and old bricks. These were not easy to remove and ended up replacing the chisel and 2 lb hammer with the 8 lb sledge hammer and a 6 foot crow bar. Next we had to expand the hearth area. To do this we had to cut some of the floor joists, so we needed to make some supports off the masonry work in the basement to act as headers before cutting the joists. Before we could do that we had to move – extend and re-route – 4 120V lines. Since I can’t tell what this lines power and none of the breaks are labeled. It was easier today this by turning off the main power and using the generator for lights/tools. The generator needed a run before winter anyways. The only lights I was able to find were the low energy bulbs, so after moving 4 lights to the basement I only had about 50 watts of load on the generator and it wanted to hunt the whole time. Ended up using a couple space heaters to provide some load, but the basement got warm very fast. But the wiring was all moved in a few hours. The next issue was both (yes both – I don’t know why) of the cold water supplies for house had to be moved. That was my first time using PEX and first time I turned the water on every fitting leaking. I realized they were not pushed in all the way so that was fixed quickly. About 8 PM that night my wife told me we had not cold water upstairs in the house. Quick review of the plumbing changes and realized I missed reconnecting one of the lines, but I had left a capped T so that was easy to fix. Once that was done we were able to expand the 3 foot square hearth into a 4 by 7 ft opening, put down new floor joists for the hearth. Some trim work, a layer of plywood, layer of concrete block, two layers of durarock, layer of mortar to level everything (old house again – nothings is really level, but adjust to make it look level with the floor), three large pieces of bluestone to make the hearth were put into place before getting the stove. Since we were at it, we decided to remove the cement coating on some of the old brick – not sure why someone put a skim coat of cement on some of the bricks. But we chipped that away and tried to remove some of the paint. That mostly worked, but we could not get all the paint out. We liked the darker color of the mostly removed paint, so my wife made a thin mix of paint and stained the rest of the bricks to match the ones with the removed paint. It looked much better. A second trip up to Woodstock (2 hours away) to pick up the stove – all the kids wanted to go because they were not happy with oil heat we used so far this winter. Some disassembly of a stone wall in the front of the house to allow room to back up the trailer, building a ramp from the trailer to house and using a friend and his heavy duty dolly (plus a couple small inside ramps – none of the rooms are at the same height inside) – and the stove was in place – assembly still took a while. And much to my relief the flue heights fit perfectly. All in all it probably only took 2 dozen trips to Lowes to get it done. The stove works great- but we haven’t needed a hot fire yet. Had a couple medium heat, but haven’t been to 500F yet on the stove top. We burn 24/7, except when the house is too warm to keep the fire going. Oh, the fence around the stove also had to be replaced to fit the newer hearth and bigger stove. I will try to attach pictures of the old VC setup, the old hearth removal, hole in the floor, some child labor violations, and final installation. Some of the red paint near the beehive ovens shows up in the pictures. In real life, it is hard to see the difference in color.