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Yet another new Blaze King Princess insert installed

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Patapsco Mike, Oct 20, 2009.

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  1. Patapsco Mike

    Patapsco Mike Feeling the Heat

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    I joined the club- just installed my BK Princess insert last night. I consider it a miracle that my insulated SS pipe fit my BK exactly as it had my Avalon Olympic. Didn't have to cut or move anything. Old stove out, new stove in, perfect fit. How often does that happen? First break-in fire will be this afternoon! I'm going to be nervous heading out to my woodpile with my moisture meter. I sure hope my cross-stacking paid off.

    My buddy and I were going nuts trying to figure out what the two metal strips loose in the firebox were for. I thought they went into the stove somewhere, and had fallen out. A quick call to Blaze King revealed that they were to help slide the insert in... Guess I should have read ALL of the manual.

    This is a huge insert. It's MUCH wider than my Olympic despite having a smaller firebox. My Olympic slipped out my front door with no problem. The Princess needed some serious wrangling, needed the storm door to come off, and even then it had to come in sideways. Thank goodness this stove weighs 150 lbs less than the Olympic or I would still be in bed nursing a sore back.

    Looking inside the stove, this is a very different animal than any other stove I've owned. I love the thick, heavy door gasket. The mechanism used to close the bypass is pretty slick, and makes the clunky mess used on my VC seem like a joke. The catalytic converter is gigantic- I bet it has three times the surface area that my VC cat did. I love that it's in front, up out of the way, and heavily shrouded. It will be so easy to inspect and clean. No comparison to the Dutchwest, where you need to unbolt the whole top of the stove and buy a new gasket just to look at it. I love the permanently attached, hefty wooden handles. I am glad I do not have to worry about banging the burn tubes, and that the BK has some nice chunks of steel welded to the top of the firebox to protect it. The surround is much more solid and well constructed than that of the Avalon too, which is a nice touch.

    Two minor complaints- the fan is much louder than that on the Olympic (but quieter than the Dutchwest). I suspect it's louder because it moves a heck of a lot more air than the Olympic did. The BK fan on MEDIUM moves far more air than the Olympic fan on HIGH. I was sitting on my couch and I could feel the breeze from my fan even on low/med. I could not feel that with the Olympic even on high. On low to medium the fan is not too loud, but I can't imagine ever running it on high if I'm in the room. I have a feeling the combination of a big and fairly light firebox together with a good fan is a very practical combination. The firebrick is very poorly fitted compared to the Olympic and of seemingly lower quality. The firebricks on the bottom of the BK are loose, with 3/16" gaps in several spots. The Olympic firebricks fit so tight that if there was any ash in the stove at all you could not replace them. The Olympic firebricks were also far more dense and durable. After moving the Olympic twice the firebricks were still immaculate. The BK has dings in several firebricks already and it's never been fired. Last minor issue is that I can see already that I will miss the very wide door of the Olympic. The BK door is MUCH smaller- probably 3 or 4 inches less wide. I will pay the price when the firebox is getting full and the last few splits I have are long ones.

    Having said that, these complaints are minor and I am very happy based on a first look. More to come once I get her burning. There are a lot of new BK owners on the forum this season. Should be interesting learning from each other.

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  2. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    Great review Mike, looking forward to your burning impressions!

    BTW, I agree about the fans. They are loud if cranked up, but leaving them on a lower setting still moves a lot of air, yet offers fairly quiet operation... I don't think they are even remotely offensive if used in this manor. I can't speak for the Princess, but I can tell you the King has two layers of fire brick in the bottom of it. Having two layers of brick, plus the ash that will fill any voids, leaves the bottom of the stove far from hot. Regarding the bricks themselves, there are two types of fire brick. As you mention, most of the older ones are heavier and more dense. These bricks are more durable, but they are nowhere nearly as good of an insulator. Most of the bricks being used these days are the lighter higher performance version you noted in the BK. While these are not as durable, they keep a lot more heat in the firebox. They are still cheap and easy to replace should you find you need to replace some in time.
  3. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    LOL, I had asked lanning that question last night, I ended up finding it in the manual after scouring through for the third time. You have to read every word to come across the line where they mention these.
    Good luck with your stove, looking forward to joining the BK burning ranks soon .
  4. Patapsco Mike

    Patapsco Mike Feeling the Heat

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    Maryland
    [​IMG]

    First burn. Lit right up. Hot enough to engage the cat within about 20 minutes, and when I closed the bypass it lit up immediately. Nothing like a brand new cat... The whole stove was 500 degrees (measured by IR thermometer) in maybe 35 minutes using just a few broomstick sized pieces and two small splits. The smell did set off my fire alarm, but with all the windows open it wasn't as bad as I remembered from my last new stove. On high, the stove kept the cat engaged for about 3 hours on two small splits of wood- enough to bring my living room up to 75 degrees. I imagine this thing will rock the house when fully loaded.

    After the stove cooled, I unboxed the shroud, and discovered I needed a #2 square head screwdriver to install it. Grrrr. First time in my 40 years of tinkering with stuff that I needed a #2 square head. I hate buying a tool I'll only ever use once... Guess I'll finish the job tomorrow.

    I'm loving this stove. Come on winter, I'm ready for you now!

    Can't wait to see how my wood use changes. I burned precisely one small wheelbarrow of wood each day last winter.
  5. Chopslide

    Chopslide Member

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    Loc:
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    Congrats on the first fire Mike..... We are on day 2 of our first fire and loving every minute. This is my first cat and its amazing burn times are impressive!
  6. Lanningjw

    Lanningjw Feeling the Heat

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    After the stove cooled, I unboxed the shroud, and discovered I needed a #2 square head screwdriver to install it. Grrrr. First time in my 40 years of tinkering with stuff that I needed a #2 square head. I hate buying a tool I’ll only ever use once… Guess I’ll finish the job tomorrow.

    Its a roberts #2, get a long one, Why they use this head I will never know. Your PI looks great. My 6 SS was a PITA to get hooked up. My smokes went off on the second burn so be ready...lol....
    Looks great, Jim
  7. Patapsco Mike

    Patapsco Mike Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for the warning on the smell and the length needed- I'll get a long one. I may just get a #2 square bit for my wrench and use my extenders to get the length I need. This should only cost a buck or two IF I can find just one rather than a whole set. We'll see what they have at Sears/Home Depot tonight.
  8. oconnor

    oconnor Minister of Fire

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    I go thru #2 bits here like candy - just about every deck screw I've ever used was a Robertson. Canadian invention by the way....

    Not a big fan of that Phillips guy.
  9. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    Congrats on the blaze, it will be an interesting winter with everyone getting a blaze king, I guess the forums will be quieter with everyone not having as many problems.
  10. Patapsco Mike

    Patapsco Mike Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
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    I owe you one. I hadn't even thought of my square drive bits for deck screws. They were a tad small, but they worked. If only BK had put the holes in the proper place on the heat shield this would have been a very simple job... But alas, the hole above the cord was 1/2" off, and all the holes were too high for the stove without the bolts inserted. I had to get the dremel out and shave the bottoms of all the slots 1/8." A pain, but no big deal- just turned a 20 minute job into a one hour job.

    I think the gold door and all black surround makes for a nice looking stove. Not fancy, but plenty attractive enough for this country boy.

    [​IMG]
  11. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Looks great Mike...congrats.
  12. Lanningjw

    Lanningjw Feeling the Heat

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    494
    Loc:
    Plymouth, Minnesota
    Mike, I was thinking about using the temp guage (like your)in the above picture. But thought there is already a temp gauge on the stove for the cat. What was your reasoning to use it?
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