2020-21 Blaze King Performance Thread (Everything BK)

mm norcal

Member
Mar 19, 2019
16
northern california
Hi. I picked up a very nice princess 1006, 2nd hand but in nearly perfect condition. The cat is in perfect condition (rectangular style) but it still produces smoke a fair bit even once at a good burning temp. I burn dry fir. What is a proper activation temp? I don't know if the themometer is calibrated correctly. I don't ever see the cat glow read unless it is REAL hot. It fits snug, has no cracks, has no build up etc. I can get a good long burn no problem, and I'm very impressed with the stove, compared to the 80's BK it replaced, but I did expect the smoke to be almost non existant
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
727
Eastern Long Island NY
A few questions:
-are you sure it's smoke rather than steam? Does it "smoke" also when the cat is glowing? (I don't know your climate.)
-is the bypass closing properly (no smoke escaping there)?
-How dry is dry fir? (How did you measure that?)
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
18,773
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Hi. I picked up a very nice princess 1006, 2nd hand but in nearly perfect condition. The cat is in perfect condition (rectangular style) but it still produces smoke a fair bit even once at a good burning temp. I burn dry fir. What is a proper activation temp? I don't know if the themometer is calibrated correctly. I don't ever see the cat glow read unless it is REAL hot. It fits snug, has no cracks, has no build up etc. I can get a good long burn no problem, and I'm very impressed with the stove, compared to the 80's BK it replaced, but I did expect the smoke to be almost non existant
I have a box full of perfect looking but dead cats. They wear out in just 1200 hours and don’t look any different when they are worn out. New cats are 209$ shipped from Amazon. It’s a wear item.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
727
Eastern Long Island NY
I have a box full of perfect looking but dead cats. They wear out in just 1200 hours and don’t look any different when they are worn out. New cats are 209$ shipped from Amazon. It’s a wear item.
12,000 I hope...
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,154
Ottawa, ON
My Princess is hardly used and it smokes sometimes like a freight train. It did that from the get go. It might be smoke, it might be steam, no clue. I have stopped paying attention to the plume. All i know, when i do the annual sweep there is hardly anything that comes out of the flue system.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,229
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Just circling back on this ...



The dealer didn't really have any suggestion to offer, beyond what came up here: "pry the washer off." It probably didn't help that my wife took the call, triggering the usual faint insinuation that this was gender-based operator error.

Anyway, out of patience, she and my son decided to force the issue. That required using a thin blade to get some leverage on the washer. The thing is, it's not a washer. It's a "round base weld nut" - i.e. it's threaded, but with no way to get any purchase to hold it in place while turning the Allen bolt. Once the flange was flared a bit, at some cost to the blade, they were able to get vice grips on it and remove it, with the help of a little penetrating oil.

Once we replace the part, we'll be back in business. I don't think I'll use the stock steel one though - I'll find something in stainless, and maybe add some high-temp anti-seize. I think I'll grind a flat on it before reinstalling, so we can get a wrench on it if this ever recurs.

There's still no real indication of why it abruptly tightened up - everything looks pretty clean, with no sign of heat damage to paint.

Thanks for the suggestions.

View attachment 278197 View attachment 278198
I'd probably hammer and file that original tee nut back into service, just use anti-sieze on it from here on out. Finding a new one isn't going to be a matter of going down to Home Depot. (They do sell tee nuts but they're punched for use in wood.)

If you have a pair of calipers handy, measure the diameter of the fastener and the spacing between threads (I like to measure 10 threads and divide by 10 to reduce measurement errors). Refer here: https://mechanicalc.com/reference/fastener-size-tables to get your fastener size if it's non-metric (if it's metric, what you measured is the size).
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
90% of the time it's the bypass either not being locked down/not sealing against the gasket.

The combustor made need replacing. Look on the label and see when stove was made. You can't visually tell if a combustor is in good shape. Either perform a deep cleaning as described in manual or replace the combustor.

Odd possibilities, was the stack cleaned before install? Was pipe attached to stove when cleaned? Is area just below top of stove clean of debris? If chimney was cleaned after install, stuff could be burning post combustor.

Check these items and report back to this forum...thread.
 
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BCC_Burner

Feeling the Heat
Sep 10, 2013
363
Crystal River Valley, CO
Can an Ashford 30 be run on an 8" flue? My parents are upgrading their 1980's VC Defiant Encore, and are looking at the Ashford. They have somewhere around 27' of straight up, interior 8" class A chimney. They don't want to get into the cost/hassle of replacing a relatively modern, recently inspected chimney. The chimney is newer than the stove, and although the stove was the primary heater in the house, it was used infrequently as a weekend getaway, so it hasn't had many cords run through it. However, my folks are both retired now and are moving up there full time, so a stove upgrade is in order.

They visited a BK dealer who told them that the King would be far too big for their ~1800 square foot, 2 story house in the central Adirondacks, but that they regularly install Ashford 30's or Princesses with 6" stove pipe, a reducer at the support box and 8" chimneys without issue. Is that a kosher install?

I personally think the King would be the way to go, as their only heat source other than the stove is a ductless mini split system.
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,154
Ottawa, ON
I do not have the answer regarding the pipe. I am sure Chris will chime in at some point.

If the looks are not an issue I personally would go with the king. Cannot beat the burn times and burn control.
 

MissMac

Minister of Fire
Dec 4, 2017
809
NW Ontario
I am not a BK stove expert, so take my two cents as just two cents, but I would stick with the manufacturer's recommendations for stove pipe. From everything I have learned on this forum, you need to follow the BK specs to get all the marvellous benefits of the BK stove. I think you will have draft issues otherwise, which equals sub-optimal stove performance.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
18,773
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Can an Ashford 30 be run on an 8" flue? My parents are upgrading their 1980's VC Defiant Encore, and are looking at the Ashford. They have somewhere around 27' of straight up, interior 8" class A chimney. They don't want to get into the cost/hassle of replacing a relatively modern, recently inspected chimney. The chimney is newer than the stove, and although the stove was the primary heater in the house, it was used infrequently as a weekend getaway, so it hasn't had many cords run through it. However, my folks are both retired now and are moving up there full time, so a stove upgrade is in order.

They visited a BK dealer who told them that the King would be far too big for their ~1800 square foot, 2 story house in the central Adirondacks, but that they regularly install Ashford 30's or Princesses with 6" stove pipe, a reducer at the support box and 8" chimneys without issue. Is that a kosher install?

I personally think the King would be the way to go, as their only heat source other than the stove is a ductless mini split system.
Did you read the manual? Most stove manuals specify an allowance for larger chimneys due to the typical venting into an existing masonry stack. Some, few, stoves specifically require the 6” pipe all the way up to match the stove collar.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,229
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
The King turns down almost as low as the Princess.

People who don't actually own a BK look at the firebox size and automatically say that the stove is too big for heating anything but a barn.

People who burn a BK on minimum when it's 60 degrees out are likely to have a much different opinion.

I'd be comfortable putting a King in a much smaller area than 1800sf.

I definitely wouldn't trust a BK dealer to know the first thing about wood stoves, much less specific information about individual models. (Maybe there are some knowledgeable people in dealerships somewhere, but not around here.)
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,229
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Perhaps surface area has something to do with it to though.
Surely it does, but if I had to back off from burning on 60 degree days and down to burning on 50 degree days and down, it wouldn't make me cry.

Even the scenario in which the stove actually doesn't turn down low enough to meet my shoulder season needs would be okay- I'd just need to treat it like a regular stove and do small intermittent fires. For me, that'd be an okay trade for not redoing a 27' flue- plus having that big old firebox in cold weather!

Everything with wood stoves depends on the operator, though. For example if there is unaddressed excessive draft, the minimum turn-down is higher. An operator who is only willing to run it like a tube stove won't see any benefit from a BK. Etc, etc.

Just because I would put a King in a small area doesn't make it a good choice for everyone. (But 1800sf isn't an especially small area, either.)
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
18,773
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Perhaps surface area has something to do with it to though.
The btu output rating at minimum burn rate considers surface area. It's a system performance specification. Like a 45000 gas furnace, it doesn't matter if that 45k furnace is the size of a refrigerator or a lunchbox.

The thing about cat stoves on low burns is that the heat output comes almost entirely from the catalyst burning the smoke. The size of the fuel tank supplying this smoke is mostly irrelevant to the rate of heat output.

That all said, I do believe it is a good idea to run the stove up above minimum every so often to prevent corrosion. Even at very low burn rates, the catalyst gets really hot and clean but the firebox can be pretty gross.
 
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Nealm66

Minister of Fire
Sep 25, 2020
912
Western Washington
I’ll add that in my little experience, a small fire seems to last a lot longer than one might have hoped for and those small btu output #’s will still create window opening events
 

mm norcal

Member
Mar 19, 2019
16
northern california
BKVP- thanks for your input. I have checked the bypass and it seems to seat pretty well. I did discover a problem, but I don't know how much it contributes. The cat has NO gasket, it is just sitting in it's hole. I am going to pick up some gasket material and re-install. This can only help, but not sure if this is the whole problem. at least i'm making an improvement.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
727
Eastern Long Island NY
Hi. I picked up a very nice princess 1006, 2nd hand but in nearly perfect condition. The cat is in perfect condition (rectangular style) but it still produces smoke a fair bit even once at a good burning temp. I burn dry fir. What is a proper activation temp? I don't know if the themometer is calibrated correctly. I don't ever see the cat glow read unless it is REAL hot. It fits snug, has no cracks, has no build up etc. I can get a good long burn no problem, and I'm very impressed with the stove, compared to the 80's BK it replaced, but I did expect the smoke to be almost non existant
I'd just buy a new cat, try it and keep the old one. You'll know quick enough if the old one was bad when you experience the new one.

Buy some gaskets too while you're at it. Need them every time you take out the cat.
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
BKVP- thanks for your input. I have checked the bypass and it seems to seat pretty well. I did discover a problem, but I don't know how much it contributes. The cat has NO gasket, it is just sitting in it's hole. I am going to pick up some gasket material and re-install. This can only help, but not sure if this is the whole problem. at least i'm making an improvement.
Thant most definitelycan contribute to the smoke issue....you'll need 2" wide masking tape as well. Wrap it like this...tape will burn off with fire. combustor1.JPG
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
18,773
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I'd just buy a new cat, try it and keep the old one. You'll know quick enough if the old one was bad when you experience the new one.

Buy some gaskets too while you're at it. Need them every time you take out the cat.
New ceramic cats come prewrapped with a new gasket. I’ve never needed to regasket a ceramic cat either since I don’t have cloggage problems like some folks.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
727
Eastern Long Island NY
New ceramic cats come prewrapped with a new gasket. I’ve never needed to regasket a ceramic cat either since I don’t have cloggage problems like some folks.
But if his new cat does the same as the old cat, he'd need a gasket to be able to use the old cat again. Once you start swapping cats, it's good to have an extra gasket on hand. No expiration date anyway.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,229
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
The btu output rating at minimum burn rate considers surface area. It's a system performance specification. Like a 45000 gas furnace, it doesn't matter if that 45k furnace is the size of a refrigerator or a lunchbox.

The thing about cat stoves on low burns is that the heat output comes almost entirely from the catalyst burning the smoke. The size of the fuel tank supplying this smoke is mostly irrelevant to the rate of heat output.

That all said, I do believe it is a good idea to run the stove up above minimum every so often to prevent corrosion. Even at very low burn rates, the catalyst gets really hot and clean but the firebox can be pretty gross.
On my short stack, I actually can't run on minimum for 24 hours in mild weather or the cat drops out. I have to give it some air after 12 hours and then turn it back down again.

I suspect that wouldn't be the case with another 10' of flue, but then my minimum setting would be higher anyway!
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
18,773
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
On my short stack, I actually can't run on minimum for 24 hours in mild weather or the cat drops out. I have to give it some air after 12 hours and then turn it back down again.

I suspect that wouldn't be the case with another 10' of flue, but then my minimum setting would be higher anyway!
Right, if your cat drops out then that setting was below the minimum.
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,154
Ottawa, ON
Right, if your cat drops out then that setting was below the minimum.
100% correct. Every single setup is unique as are the snow flakes. Mine cuts off at 1:30 hrs. It means zero to the next BK owner.
 
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