2015-2016 Blaze King Performance thread (Everything BK)

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Thinking about ordering a new cat to have on hand. Mine is still getting me by with good light offs/no stalls but I don't think the heat or efficiency is what it used to be. It seems to smoke a little more at the beginning of the burn but not for hours on end. I noticed my cap looked more dirty then it has ever before. It's a big mesh so it won't plug but can't recall it looking that bad in the past. I did adjust the bypass so maybe that will help the cap.

Anyway the million dollar question is steel or ceramic? My ceramic has worked great and honestly outperformed my life span expectations. I was hoping for 3 seasons and I'm well into my 5th. What are the new Princess stoves being shipped with?
When I was ordering my princess my dealer asked their BK rep if a steel cat was available. The answer was no steel available for King's and princesses. Won't fit.
 
Looking more and more likely that we will be snowbound for a couple days or more starting tomorrow. Going to get the generator closer to the house today since if we get the snow that is predicted the atv won't be able to trek the 200 yards up hill to the house with it. After that we'll go out after some esintials like beer and gasoline. I'm sure my wife will add to that list but that's all I can think of;) then, set back beside the idling BK and enjoy the ride.

If you can convert the generator to run on beer, you will have a great excuse for both simplifying your shopping and keeping larger quantities on hand.


I think I will fire up the generator today too, not that we're supposed to get much snow on long island, but it looks like a particularly nasty sort of not-much (less than a foot total, but with half an inch of rain early in the blizzard, and freezing temps with windchill never going above 18- that is going to be an icy mess that is going to be hard on trees and power lines!).

2015-2016 Blaze King Performance thread (Everything BK)
 
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When I was ordering my princess my dealer asked their BK rep if a steel cat was available. The answer was no steel available for King's and princesses. Won't fit.

That's just not true. The steelcat is available from BK and it fits. I've got one glowing in my princess right now. I like the steel for the lower light off temp and the higher resistance to damage from thermal shock. Way more surface area too for more catalyst exposure.
 
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That's just not true. The steelcat is available from BK and it fits. I've got one glowing in my princess right now. I like the steel for the lower light off temp and the higher resistance to damage from thermal shock. Way more surface area too for more catalyst exposure.
How new is your stove? Is it possible that something has changed since you bought yours? If not I'll be asking them some questions.
 
How new is your stove? Is it possible that something has changed since you bought yours? If not I'll be asking them some questions.

For a while, the princess/king were shipped with steel from BK and now they're back on ceramic. Mine came with ceramic but I replaced it with a steel from BK. Here's a pic of the steel cat I used installed in my princess.
 

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For a while, the princess/king were shipped with steel from BK and now they're back on ceramic. Mine came with ceramic but I replaced it with a steel from BK. Here's a pic of the steel cat I used installed in my princess.
Thanks
 
@sequoia I might be getting confused. There is recently one conversational string about "can you possibly overfire a BK stove with the cat engaged?" and someone, may or not be the same person running wood at 8% MC.

IIRC it is not possible to over fire a BK with the cat engaged AS LONG AS the MC of the wood is within a couple points of the manual. Current production BK King manual calls for wood at "less than 20%". My two seasons old Ashford 30.0 manual calls for 13%.

I traded a couple emails with BKVP about this as my solar drying kiln project got underway. I asked him flat out, how dry is too dry. The short version is "dryer is better". The longer answer was if I can get my stacks under 11-12% MC I could get in a situation where the load is off gassing faster than the combustor can feed, leading I think he said to a "puff back" or a "thump back".

I didn't spend a lot of time on understanding it because I don't have that problem yet. Sounds like it can be worked around fairly easily and is a good problem to have.
 
@sequoia
I traded a couple emails with BKVP about this as my solar drying kiln project got underway. I asked him flat out, how dry is too dry. The short version is "dryer is better". The longer answer was if I can get my stacks under 11-12% MC I could get in a situation where the load is off gassing faster than the combustor can feed, leading I think he said to a "puff back" or a "thump back".

Puff back or thump back are different than an overfire. Overfiring is the stove being heated above the recommended max temp.

My understanding of puff backs is the unburnt gasses explode when oxygen is introduced into a heated, high fuel environment. At WOT, there is all kinds of oxygen moving through the cat with the unburnt fuel (if any), so I'm having a hard time understanding how it is going to combust in the same manner. Not saying it can't happen, I'm just not understanding the physics of it all in this instance.
 
For a while, the princess/king were shipped with steel from BK and now they're back on ceramic. Mine came with ceramic but I replaced it with a steel from BK. Here's a pic of the steel cat I used installed in my princess.

I know there's a dozen threads about this, but a lot of them have a high speculative content. In your experience, what's good and bad about a steelcat? Here's what I've picked up from elsewhere:

Good, undisputed: More surface area, lights off at lower temps, more resistant to thermal shock, won't crack or crumble

Good, disputed: More heat output, lasts longer

Bad, disputed: Less heat output, doesn't last as long

Bad, undisputed: None yet
 
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Still lovin'/highly impressed with these BK's. There's a special kind of comedy present here when the folks who don't own one start talking. I know you know what I'm sayin'... 'nuff said!

Here's a "poor man's" mod I came up with via leftovers from the garage/shop/greenhouse builds here at the Funplex. When I get a few more supplies I'll attack/attach the corrugated metal to the walls as a surround behind the stove....but for now I just whittled a bit on a piece of scrap and came up with this....
 

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For a while, the princess/king were shipped with steel from BK and now they're back on ceramic. Mine came with ceramic but I replaced it with a steel from BK. Here's a pic of the steel cat I used installed in my princess.
It may be that when they ship knew they only come in ceramic and that only when you want to replace one can you get the steel as a replacement
 
Puff back or thump back are different than an overfire. Overfiring is the stove being heated above the recommended max temp.

My understanding of puff backs is the unburnt gasses explode when oxygen is introduced into a heated, high fuel environment. At WOT, there is all kinds of oxygen moving through the cat with the unburnt fuel (if any), so I'm having a hard time understanding how it is going to combust in the same manner. Not saying it can't happen, I'm just not understanding the physics of it all in this instance.
Correct, back-puffing normally occurs only at low burn rates. At high burn rates, it's tough to hit a fuel-rich situation, as the wood gas is being quickly consumed.

I know there's a dozen threads about this, but a lot of them have a high speculative content. In your experience, what's good and bad about a steelcat? Here's what I've picked up from elsewhere:

Good, undisputed: More surface area, lights off at lower temps, more resistant to thermal shock, won't crack or crumble

Good, disputed: More heat output, lasts longer

Bad, disputed: Less heat output, doesn't last as long

Bad, undisputed: None yet
The diesel foil cats have pretty poor durability, in terms of deformation and delamination at the high temperatures they often run (think 1800F +). So, while I've seen some comments and examples (some in my own stoves!) of SteelCat failures, it has always been a diesel foil Steelcat, never a DuraFoil Steelcat.

edit: I should have pointed out that the OEM BK SteelCats are not diesel foil. They are DuraFoil. However, I think I did see a diesel foil third-party replacement cat for a BK in a thread a few weeks back.
 
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I know there's a dozen threads about this, but a lot of them have a high speculative content. In your experience, what's good and bad about a steelcat? Here's what I've picked up from elsewhere:

Good, undisputed: More surface area, lights off at lower temps, more resistant to thermal shock, won't crack or crumble

Good, disputed: More heat output, lasts longer

Bad, disputed: Less heat output, doesn't last as long

Bad, undisputed: None yet

The BK steel cats are not the diesel foil. It looks more like a rectangle cut out of a stack of lasagna noodles. The diesel ones look like they took a few lasagna noodles and rolled them into a sausage and then smashed it into a rectangle shape. The corners all distorted and obvious.

I can't say they have more or less heat output, no difference is apparent. How could that even happen? If they made more heat per log then that would be an efficiency improvement. With BK's pride in high efficiency, if efficiency was improved or reduced with steel then they would use the better cat exclusively. You may have noticed that the 30 series stoves ship with steelcats only. BK uses steel in their products as well as ceramic. Other owners on this forum have bought new princess/king stoves with steel OEM. I looked at brand new princess/king stoves with ceramic recently. Exactly why BK flip flops on this is a great question for @BKVP since it could be something as simple as supply constraints.

I am expecting a longer life with the steel since it has more catalyst material and is not damaged by what kills 95% of cats and that is thermal shock. If so, the additional cost of the steel would be warranted. That's a con of steel, cost is higher.

Another con is the smaller cell size. The ceramic has way bigger holes that are less likely to clog. Now, honestly, this is not a problem for 99% of BK owners. The design of our stoves somehow does a great job of preventing debris from accumulating in the cats. I have not had an issue with the steelcat picking up debris.

I still run the stove the same way, let cat meter get to the active line and then engage cat. The cat stays active until the wood is gone just like the ceramic. I will say that I notice the cat glow orange within just a few seconds of engaging the cat. I can barely get the bypass lever flipped and look into the stove before the cat is glowing like the sun.

I replaced my ceramic cat after three years because it failed. I was getting steady blue smoke after several hours into a low burn. The new steelcat fixed that 100% and now nobody knows I'm burning after the initial white burnoff of water in the wood. That is important to me in this highly regulated burning environment.

If they were the same price I would recommend steel for sure. The additional cost makes the decision a little tougher. I didn't like how the ceramic would crack and chip as part of "normal" wear. This should not effect function. The ceramic cats work just fine. What is the cost difference these days?
 
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Another con is the smaller cell size. The ceramic has way bigger holes that are less likely to clog. Now, honestly, this is not a problem for 99% of BK owners. The design of our stoves somehow does a great job of preventing debris from accumulating in the cats. I have not had an issue with the steelcat picking up debris.
If you peruse the Woodstock threads, cat cloggage is a frequent problem for them. Going back to your origins as a "fanboy":
LocustBurner said:
Based on my observations, the Ideal Steel CAT probably will only need cleaning once a month, less if your wood is seasoned. Woodstock recommends cleaning the combustor every 4-6 weeks.
 
If you peruse the Woodstock threads, cat cloggage is a frequent problem for them. Going back to your origins as a "fanboy":

Pretty amazing that the WS guys have to clean their cats ever and that the manufacturer tells them to do it so often. May as well run a pellet stove! Fortunately, the WS designs make cat access, removal, and cleaning relatively easy.

As a BK fanboy, it's best to point out how well the BK performs and allow the other guys to connect the dots and realize on their own that their stoves lack in certain areas.
 
@sequoia I might be getting confused. There is recently one conversational string about "can you possibly overfire a BK stove with the cat engaged?" and someone, may or not be the same person running wood at 8% MC.

IIRC it is not possible to over fire a BK with the cat engaged AS LONG AS the MC of the wood is within a couple points of the manual. Current production BK King manual calls for wood at "less than 20%". My two seasons old Ashford 30.0 manual calls for 13%.

I traded a couple emails with BKVP about this as my solar drying kiln project got underway. I asked him flat out, how dry is too dry. The short version is "dryer is better". The longer answer was if I can get my stacks under 11-12% MC I could get in a situation where the load is off gassing faster than the combustor can feed, leading I think he said to a "puff back" or a "thump back".

I didn't spend a lot of time on understanding it because I don't have that problem yet. Sounds like it can be worked around fairly easily and is a good problem to have.
I'm not burning wood that dry. Only I live in a trailer home and I'm super cautious. I want as much heat as I can get but want be safe. Thus my question about overfiring. Plus I don't want to damage my investment.
 
I also don't think it's really possible to overfire a BK with the cat engaged.. the airflows inside the stove are quite restrictive compared to others, and the cat restricts them even more. This is probably why other stoves have a much higher max BTU/hr rating as well.
 
Supply is a factor in determining what combustor is installed.

Let's please not forget, while stainless Durafoil combustors do heat up quicker (do to less mass), they also drop inactive sooner than ceramic substrate combustors for the same reason.

Leaving Anchorage....
 
Supply is a factor in determining what combustor is installed.

Let's please not forget, while stainless Durafoil combustors do heat up quicker (do to less mass), they also drop inactive sooner than ceramic substrate combustors for the same reason.

Leaving Anchorage....

On the surface it seems like heating up quicker would be more beneficial than staying in the active zone a little longer on the tail end of the burn since the majority of off gassing occurs at the beginning of the burn.

On the tail end of the burn, even though the cat is still in the active zone, opening the bypass does not produce any smoke from the chimney so I wonder how much benefit I'm getting from cat produced heat at this point anyway.
 
The diesel foil cats have pretty poor durability, in terms of deformation and delamination at the high temperatures they often run (think 1800F +). So, while I've seen some comments and examples (some in my own stoves!) of SteelCat failures, it has always been a diesel foil Steelcat, never a DuraFoil Steelcat.
edit: I should have pointed out that the OEM BK SteelCats are not diesel foil. They are DuraFoil. However, I think I did see a diesel foil third-party replacement cat for a BK in a thread a few weeks back.
Some of the diesel-foils I got were from Condar. My SIL tore it up pretty fast in her Fireview for some reason, shriveled it bad. This last one is de-laminated. But I've had pretty good luck with diesels; I've got one in my Keystone (the stock ceramic is my backup.) The one in the Fireview I sold my BIL is in its 5th season and is still working but I think it's getting a little weak, and has shriveled slightly. He's ordered a Dura from Woodstock, and I've got one coming for my SIL's Fireview.
if efficiency was improved or reduced with steel then they would use the better cat exclusively. You may have noticed that the 30 series stoves ship with steelcats only. BK uses steel in their products as well as ceramic. Other owners on this forum have bought new princess/king stoves with steel OEM. I looked at brand new princess/king stoves with ceramic recently. Exactly why BK flip flops on this is a great question for @BKVP since it could be something as simple as supply constraints.
Maybe it's that the ceramics are less prone to cracking in certain models, from door-seal leaks or from wet wood?
If you peruse the Woodstock threads, cat cloggage is a frequent problem for them.
Yeah, I don't like the sound of that. On my Fireview and Keystone, I only dusted 'em once during the season, and there wasn't much on 'em. As long as the cats are easy to pull, I guess I could deal with doing it a little more often.
Supply is a factor in determining what combustor is installed.
OK, that makes sense. The steel cat for the Fireview just became available again recently, after being out of stock for several months.
On the surface it seems like heating up quicker would be more beneficial than staying in the active zone a little longer on the tail end of the burn since the majority of off gassing occurs at the beginning of the burn.
On the tail end of the burn, even though the cat is still in the active zone, opening the bypass does not produce any smoke from the chimney so I wonder how much benefit I'm getting from cat produced heat at this point anyway.
Yeah, I like to get the cat burning that smoke as soon as possible, which is easier with the steel. I know what you mean about the end of the burn; Hard to tell if a cat temp in the low active zone is because it's still burning something, or weather it's due to coal heat passing through the cat.
 
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The diesel foil cats have pretty poor durability, in terms of deformation and delamination at the high temperatures they often run (think 1800F +). So, while I've seen some comments and examples (some in my own stoves!) of SteelCat failures, it has always been a diesel foil Steelcat, never a DuraFoil Steelcat.

Can you tell the difference visually?

Also, in my attempts to answer that question for myself, I found a great document from the company that makes the dieselfoil and durafoil substrates. After reading it, I still don't feel like I could tell one from the other without an x-ray spectrometer- but it was neat to learn how both foils are made and what the chemical difference is.
 
Based on the photos I've seen, it seems all the Diesel Foil cats look like a roll of corrugated cardboard, whereas the DuraFoil cats have nice uniform trapezoidal cells. It is quite easy to tell the difference, once you've seen photos of both.
 
Based on the photos I've seen, it seems all the Diesel Foil cats look like a roll of corrugated cardboard, whereas the DuraFoil cats have nice uniform trapezoidal cells. It is quite easy to tell the difference, once you've seen photos of both.

I am not convinced of that- I think maybe the difference seen in the photos below is the difference between the hard and annealed substrate, not the difference between dieselfoil and durafoil. Given that they're both a sheet of the same size rolled stainless and aluminum, there shouldn't be much visual difference- though there would be a visual difference between annealed and hard substrate once it's formed.

I emailed the substrate manufacturer with a request for clarification; hopefully he can clear up my confusion.

2015-2016 Blaze King Performance thread (Everything BK)
 
I am not convinced of that- I think maybe the difference seen in the photos below is the difference between the hard and annealed substrate, not the difference between dieselfoil and durafoil. Given that they're both a sheet of the same size rolled stainless and aluminum, there shouldn't be much visual difference- though there would be a visual difference between annealed and hard substrate once it's formed.

I emailed the substrate manufacturer with a request for clarification; hopefully he can clear up my confusion.

View attachment 172782
Your photos actually say it all. Note how the Durafoil has nicely aligned rows of trapezoidal cells, and the diesel foil is simply a sheet with a corrugated sheet atop, and then rolled into a brick.
 
Your photos actually say it all. Note how the Durafoil has nicely aligned rows of trapezoidal cells, and the diesel foil is simply a sheet with a corrugated sheet atop, and then rolled into a brick.

Could be, but that doesn't jive with the product specs for the substrate. Note how the guy who made that presentation in the photo also misspelled the name of both substrate products.. :)
 
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