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Vermont Castings Vigilant Woodstove

Post in 'Vermont Castings & CDW Dutchwest older Models' started by Pavesa, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. Pavesa

    Pavesa Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Messages:
    62
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    Hi,

    I've seen a Vermont Castings Vigilant woodstove for sale. I spoke to the owner and it is a 1977 model on sale for $750 ($US 600), he's heating his 2,200 sq ft home with 4 cords of wood over winter. I asked about liner bricks and he said it only has bricks on the floor of the burner, not on the sides and that is how it has always been. Does anyone know if the Vigilant of this era didn't have bricks on the sides? Also, I wonder about spare parts for something this age? Maybe there's nothing to go wrong! Any comments/suggestions welcome. I live in Canada and also wonder about compliance with current standards/regulation?

    Thanks

    Andrew

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,892
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    This is a tough old stove, but they do need maintenance and if it hasn't had it recently, I would quickly pass. Spare parts, if available, can be expensive. IIRC, that's not much less than what that stove cost new in 1977.

    What's a new Napoleon 1900 sell for in your neck of the woods? It will burn less wood, cleaner and is a big strong heater.
  3. Pavesa

    Pavesa Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Messages:
    62
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    Hi BeGreen

    thanks very much for the guidance, I do appreciate your help as I'm very much a beginner in all this.

    Best regards

    Andrew
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    49,892
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Your welcome. I like the old Vigilants, my brother has one. But I wouldn't recommend it as a first stove in this day and age. There are simple to operate, clean stoves that have far surpassed the older stoves. They might cost more initially, but will pay back in wood saved, lower maintenance and more heat.

    PS: regardless, get your wood split and stacked now so that it can dry over the summer.
  5. DenaliChuck

    DenaliChuck Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    South Central Colorado
    I have a Vigilant that I bought used and that we've used for 16 years...first as a coal burner (with shaker grates etc.) and for the last 7 years as a wood burner. There were no firebricks when I got ours, but it had been set up as a coal burner. It came with an assortment of cast iron liners for either wood burning or coal burning, but since burning wood I've used no liners or firebrick at all and there is no sign of damage to the stove. Of course, we only have white birch and white spruce available, neither of which is loaded with BTU's. We heat 1,600 of our house exclusively with this stove (in AK) and use 4-5 cords over the winter.

    I don't know much about other stoves, but this one has been simple, maintenance free, and functional for us.

    FYI, I had a dealer tell me the "1977" cast into the stove interior is the original casting date, not necessarily the date of manufacture. Don't know if that's true or not...

    DC
  6. don_faithful

    don_faithful New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2009
    Messages:
    17
    Loc:
    Toronto ON
    The Vigilant II if purchased today is strictly a coal stove. I see that a conversion kit was available for wood-burning Vigilants in the past to burn coal. I think 1977 is on the fireback of most of the models. The older Vigilants were mostly produced in the early 80s. I suspect that the discontinued models were not certified under ULC S627. You can check yourself for a certification label. If the label is gone, the unit will be treated as uncertified. This means the municipal inspector will have the final say. The building code refers to B365, which can provide guidance in these situations. But there is no guarantee that the installation would be accepted. Vermont Castings was recently acquired to Monessen based in Kentucy. So you can contact them if you are interested in parts. But perhaps in some cases the molds used to make parts are gone. I certainly wouldn't count on this stove for air-tight control. So if an inspector does approve it, maybe it could be used for an old cabin or that type of loose environment. It's not worth the headache - unless you actually enjoy restoring old stoves.
  7. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    1,729
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    Northern NH
    I respectfully disagree on not buying an early model vigilant. As long as the castings are not damaged, they arent that tough to take apart, clean up, reseal and reassemble. Compared to modern stoves they are low efficiency, but compared to older box stoves are a lot more efficient. It all comes down to what you are paying for it, what other stoves you are looking at, and how handy you are. When you are done they are quite attractive.

    That said, $750 is probably twice what the going rate during an offseason with low oil costs. As a reference check out Uncle Henry's on the web, Its a regional classified for Me NH and occasionally NB. I dont expect it owuld be worth the drive but would give you some comparable prices.
  8. Pavesa

    Pavesa Member

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    62
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    Hi

    thanks very much for all the advice. The price does seem top-end. There was recently a Pacific Energy Summit for sale for $1,000 (sadly kept by the owner!) which is probably a much more attractive proposition that a rather old-design Vigilant for just $250 less. I need to get one for next winter so I really am onto the topic now, and with the current economic environment, I'm not keen to dash out a splash a lot of cash on something new if I can find a good deal on a used one that does a good job.

    Thanks again for all the advice.

    Andrew
  9. DenaliChuck

    DenaliChuck Member

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    Loc:
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    During your deliberations, remember that increased efficiency pays for itself every time you cut, split, stack, haul and load your firewood.
  10. don_faithful

    don_faithful New Member

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    Loc:
    Toronto ON
    Howdy there, PB. I love old stoves, too. I was mostly focused on whether or not the municipal inspector would hassle Pavesa. Things might be different in Nova Scotia. I think a lot depends on the condition of the stove rather than its age.
  11. Pavesa

    Pavesa Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Messages:
    62
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    Hi,

    just wanted to let you know I put a deposit on purchase of a 4 year old Pacific Energy Spectrum woodstove including a fan this afternoon for Can $600 US$500 all seemingly virtually new condition. A guy 2 miles away was selling it. My house is about 2,300 sq ft, but if you exclude faraway bits that heat wouldn't reach under any circumstances anyway (mudroom, walk in pantry & office) , it comes in at under 2,000 so I think this will do me fine.

    Thanks very much for all the advice as I've gone along!

    Andrew
  12. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like a good deal. The vigilant you were looking at seem too expensive for what it was. I got mine last August and it was in extremely good condition. I only paid $400 US. It's a nice stove and produces heat, but if you can spend more, there are better options.

    I reccomend (if it doesn't already have one attached) getting the optional blower for the Pacific Energy Spectrum.
  13. Pavesa

    Pavesa Member

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    Feb 28, 2009
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    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    Hi BrowningBAR

    it already has the blower installed which is nice. They're buying a pellet stove and are going to ask their installer to drop off the Spectrum at my place on the way home which would be great, they're heavy things!

    Thanks

    Andrew
  14. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Good god, tell me about it! I'm looking forward to the day when I can buy a new one that comes with delivery and installation. Used is a lot cheaper...but it hurts.
  15. tnvigilant

    tnvigilant New Member

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    Feb 16, 2012
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    Loc:
    east tennessee
    What should the grittle temp be in order to get the reburn goin? Got my vigilant about a month ago
    just experimenting with it. Great ole stove more than enough to heat my 1500sq ft.
  16. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    550-650°F is a good range to switch to horizontal mode (close damper).
  17. mransmith

    mransmith New Member

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    Loc:
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    x2 on the 550-650 degrees
  18. tnvigilant

    tnvigilant New Member

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    Feb 16, 2012
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    Loc:
    east tennessee
    Thanks guys. Will get me a thermometer so i can see what temp im at if i can stand the heat. Already had to open a window or two with it
    up to what im thinking is about 500 degrees. Were not having much of a winter here in east tennessee'
  19. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    We heat our nearly 4000 sq feet house with our Vigilant. Haven't turned on our two heat pumps in three years.

    tnvigilant, if you don't need a lot of heat- a small hot fire is much better than big, smoldering fire.

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