2021/22 VC Owner thread

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RandyBoBandy

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2015
1,260
Whitmore lake, MI
I’m getting closer. I didn’t get a chance to work on it yesterday which sucks. I could have finished it and been burning this morning. Anyone know what this threaded hole is in the bottom of the upper fireback?

E6056D64-6537-416B-962B-0B24EEEBD36B.jpeg 50CD99D7-0BCB-4ACB-90DC-D285409979A8.jpeg 5549F57A-5BA8-4343-8862-191B12ACBB58.jpeg
 

gthomas785

Minister of Fire
Feb 8, 2020
529
Central MA
I’m so jealous. That looks amazing.
Yeah, it's a pretty cool house we stumbled across a couple years ago in a quiet little New England village. The previous owners were here for 50 years and the family before them owned it for over 80 years. Comes with it's share of maintenance headaches, but I wouldn't trade it for anything at this point.

house.jpg
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,456
South Puget Sound, WA
Yeah, it's a pretty cool house we stumbled across a couple years ago in a quiet little New England village. The previous owners were here for 50 years and the family before them owned it for over 80 years. Comes with it's share of maintenance headaches, but I wouldn't trade it for anything at this point.

View attachment 283511
We had friends with a house of that vintage in CT. It had a wing extension added about 25 yrs after it was built that had beautiful wide board pine floors.
 
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t0asty

New Member
Oct 12, 2021
16
NJ
Currently have a VC 1975 Defiant (solid cast iron no glass doors :( ). Was looking to upgrade to the new Defiant however on a different thread I got some feedback that the newer models are not as durable and should possibly reconsider. Anyone have any issues on newer model VC's such as the Defiant or Encore?
 

gthomas785

Minister of Fire
Feb 8, 2020
529
Central MA
We had friends with a house of that vintage in CT. It had a wing extension added about 25 yrs after it was built that had beautiful wide board pine floors.
I will not venture to guess how many times our house was added on to. It really goes Big house, Little house, Back house, Barn... all with different construction and ceiling heights!
Anyway, to stay slightly on the stove topic - there is or was a fireplace or at least a stove hole in every room of the house, except the newer back addition. When we toured the house I counted seven potential wood burning locations... most of which are not usable anymore, of course.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,456
South Puget Sound, WA
Currently have a VC 1975 Defiant (solid cast iron no glass doors :( ). Was looking to upgrade to the new Defiant however on a different thread I got some feedback that the newer models are not as durable and should possibly reconsider. Anyone have any issues on newer model VC's such as the Defiant or Encore?
VC made great stoves during the pre-EPA era, but the quality declined when they changed the internal design from all cast iron components to a refractory package assembly. These did not stand up well. Add to this that the company underwent several ownership changes, one of which knew nothing about stove building. The company ran on past reputation during those years. Fast forward to a few years ago when the industry giant, HHT bought the company. They upgraded the refractory package to be more durable. Internally the stove is more complex but sports some nice features like thermostatic operation and top-loading. Generally, with reasonable care, the modern stoves should go about 10 yrs now before needing an internal rebuild. They have retained their classic, beautiful design and can be decent heaters when properly operating. That said, there are simpler designs that will heat equally well, but will have fewer maintenance costs over the stove's lifetime.
 

gthomas785

Minister of Fire
Feb 8, 2020
529
Central MA
Currently have a VC 1975 Defiant (solid cast iron no glass doors :( ). Was looking to upgrade to the new Defiant however on a different thread I got some feedback that the newer models are not as durable and should possibly reconsider. Anyone have any issues on newer model VC's such as the Defiant or Encore?
I have the Encore 2040-CAT-C, which is one of the newer ones. This will be my 3rd winter with it, and so far I have zero complaints. The combustion chamber is not made of the flimsy ceramic fiber board, it's refractory cement which has the look and feel of concrete. I have noticed a tiny little bit of pitting on the cast refractory parts closest to where the catalyst is, so I figure they will need to be replaced at some point. But we are nowhere near that point yet.

Edit: I do burn 24/7 during the winter, so the "slight pitting" is after putting about 9-10 cords through it.
 
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t0asty

New Member
Oct 12, 2021
16
NJ
VC made great stoves during the pre-EPA era, but the quality declined when they changed the internal design from all cast iron components to a refractory package assembly. These did not stand up well.
That is really a shame and disappointing to hear. I am not sure how much the old lady who I bought the house from +11yrs ago used it, but I've used it through every winter since I bought to supplement my main heat. And at first I really didn't know what I was doing and learned from mistakes and it works similar to the first time I ever used it. There are many things I want such as glass doors, ash tray, thermostat control, top load that really makes me want to upgrade. However, I was always under the impression that other than minor upkeep I wouldn't expect it to ever not work.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,456
South Puget Sound, WA
Sooner or later all stoves need attention. Some stoves have are more complex or have expendable parts like a catalyst that will need regular replacing every 10-12,000 hrs. All stoves will need gaskets replaced eventually. It's basically a matter of the simpler the stove, the less there is to wear and replace. Aesthetically, VC stoves are at the top IMO. They have a classic design.
There are lots of loyal and happy VC owners that love their stoves for all of the positive attributes. And finally, the company has the solid financial backing to go forward.
 
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t0asty

New Member
Oct 12, 2021
16
NJ
Sooner or later all stoves need attention. Some stoves have are more complex or have expendable parts like a catalyst that will need regular replacing every 10-12,000 hrs. All stoves will need gaskets replaced eventually. It's basically a matter of the simpler the stove, the less there is to wear and replace. Aesthetically, VC stoves are at the top IMO. They have a classic design.
There are lots of loyal and happy VC owners that love their stoves for all of the positive attributes. And finally, the company has the solid financial backing to go forward.
Above all else, I love the look of the VC line of stoves. Cast Iron although incredibly heavy retains heat very well too. Really the only thing I have done to it is replaced the rope seals on my doors. Some air sneaks out of the side panel and is sometimes noticeable when lighting the fire. I like all of the features of the new stoves, and it is really the only one that is going to fit in my current spot unless I get a much smaller stove. I might get through this winter with my current VC and order a new one in the spring for use the following winter.
 

RandyBoBandy

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2015
1,260
Whitmore lake, MI
Yeah, it's a pretty cool house we stumbled across a couple years ago in a quiet little New England village. The previous owners were here for 50 years and the family before them owned it for over 80 years. Comes with it's share of maintenance headaches, but I wouldn't trade it for anything at this point.

View attachment 283511
Awesome house.
 
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NewGuy132

New Member
Jan 22, 2021
54
MA
Does anyone know what what VC’s stance is on bio bricks? I’m waiting for my 2 cord delivery but have a small stack of bio-bricks. Are these good to use?
 

RandyBoBandy

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2015
1,260
Whitmore lake, MI
Well going backwards with this stupid stove. I got all the way to putting the lower fireback in and it wouldn’t fit under the bottom edge of the upper. Less than a 1/16” is the hold up. I’m guessing maybe I didn’t get the upper all the way up in position or something. The damper rod looked positioned well so I’m a bit confused. It’s a new upper as well. I may take a flap wheel to the bottom edge of the upper and grind off a 1/16” as well. I also tried using gasket rope on the sides of the upper and the top groove of the stove. Not happening this time. It’s just going to get a healthy bead of cement around the whole thing. So disappointed, I thought I was in the home stretch. This time I will install the upper and all internals at the same time. This way I have the ability to nudge the upper around if need be before the cement sets up. I’m open to suggestions and criticism for the guys who have been through this already.
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,374
Ottawa, ON
Well going backwards with this stupid stove. I got all the way to putting the lower fireback in and it wouldn’t fit under the bottom edge of the upper. Less than a 1/16” is the hold up. I’m guessing maybe I didn’t get the upper all the way up in position or something. The damper rod looked positioned well so I’m a bit confused. It’s a new upper as well. I may take a flap wheel to the bottom edge of the upper and grind off a 1/16” as well. I also tried using gasket rope on the sides of the upper and the top groove of the stove. Not happening this time. It’s just going to get a healthy bead of cement around the whole thing. So disappointed, I thought I was in the home stretch. This time I will install the upper and all internals at the same time. This way I have the ability to nudge the upper around if need be before the cement sets up. I’m open to suggestions and criticism for the guys who have been through this already.
As I remember, there is a groove where the lower goes in. It needs to be perfectly cleaned of any debris before the lower will fit and clear the upper
 

sean b

Member
Oct 19, 2015
90
Central PA
Hey all, hope everyone is well. I've been off the site for a few years but decided I'd try to pick some brains. We have a VC Encore 1450 non cat. Had the 'fountain' replaced a few years ago and it seems to be holding up ok. I need to replace some gaskets, which shouldn't be a big deal. Last year, we had quite a bit of back puffing. Not sure if it was the stove or the chimney but I cleaned everything halfway through winter (Central PA) and it didn't seem to help much. I know this stove is a bit of a problem child as I learned after we bought it around December of 2008. So I'm thinking of replacing it down the road. House is a classic two story about 1550 square feet. Would like the same look with the least amount of maintenance issues.

Any recommendations?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,456
South Puget Sound, WA
Hey all, hope everyone is well. I've been off the site for a few years but decided I'd try to pick some brains. We have a VC Encore 1450 non cat. Had the 'fountain' replaced a few years ago and it seems to be holding up ok. I need to replace some gaskets, which shouldn't be a big deal. Last year, we had quite a bit of back puffing. Not sure if it was the stove or the chimney but I cleaned everything halfway through winter (Central PA) and it didn't seem to help much. I know this stove is a bit of a problem child as I learned after we bought it around December of 2008. So I'm thinking of replacing it down the road. House is a classic two story about 1550 square feet. Would like the same look with the least amount of maintenance issues.

Any recommendations?
Was the fountain vacuumed out? A couple things that can cause backpuffing are insufficient draft and wood that is not fully seasoned. How was the firewood last season?

Unfortunately the choices are slimmer for new stoves this year. We are still waiting for new models to comply with the 2020 EPA requirements. The Hearthstone Shelburne and Manchester are pretty good lookers.
 

RandyBoBandy

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2015
1,260
Whitmore lake, MI
As I remember, there is a groove where the lower goes in. It needs to be perfectly cleaned of any debris before the lower will fit and clear the upper
Yep. And it’s all cleaned out. I ripped all the guts out again. Laid the stove back on some 6x6 to try this again. I’m going to do a dry fit with both the upper and lower before I put the refractory box back in and throw the cement in there.
 
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Jimmy C

Member
Jan 30, 2020
106
Guilford, CT
Probe thermometer seems to want to keep angling down. Guessing this will put it too close to the CAT and readings wont be as accurate. Anyone run into this issue? I assume the weight of it has opened the refractory a bit over time which is causing the issue.

image0 (6).jpeg
 

PatrickWR

New Member
Apr 14, 2021
8
Oregon
Aesthetically, VC stoves are at the top IMO. They have a classic design.
There are lots of loyal and happy VC owners that love their stoves for all of the positive attributes. And finally, the company has the solid financial backing to go forward.
Well said. In my neck of the woods, our stove is a non-functioning end table for about 6-7 months out of the year. Might as well look classy while it's sitting around doing nothing!
 

sean b

Member
Oct 19, 2015
90
Central PA
Was the fountain vacuumed out? A couple things that can cause backpuffing are insufficient draft and wood that is not fully seasoned. How was the firewood last season?

Unfortunately the choices are slimmer for new stoves this year. We are still waiting for new models to comply with the 2020 EPA requirements. The Hearthstone Shelburne and Manchester are pretty good lookers.
Yes to both questions. I always use a mirror to make sure I get each side of the fountain effectively vacuumed out. It won't please the wife but I may use compressed air when I clean it soon to make sure all is clear after vacuuming.

Also, I usually have about a 3 year supply of seasoned, split hardwood on hand, under tarp or roof. So what I'll burn this fall/winter was cut and split 3 years ago and verified with a moisture gauge to be less than 20% before burning.

I'm very particular about the process but my concerns are based on all the bad news I've learned about our stove after buying it. I also had the rear cast iron panel replaced when the fountain was done as a crack developed in the cast after the fountain failed. Beautiful stove and great when it works properly but I'm just having a problem trusting it to continue to perform safely.
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,374
Ottawa, ON
Yep. And it’s all cleaned out. I ripped all the guts out again. Laid the stove back on some 6x6 to try this again. I’m going to do a dry fit with both the upper and lower before I put the refractory box back in and throw the cement in there.
It will fit. Be patient, you did this before!
 

RandyBoBandy

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2015
1,260
Whitmore lake, MI
Probe thermometer seems to want to keep angling down. Guessing this will put it too close to the CAT and readings wont be as accurate. Anyone run into this issue? I assume the weight of it has opened the refractory a bit over time which is causing the issue.

View attachment 283599
You can take the cover off of the secondary air shutter and use a clip to secure the cable to. It will help keep the probe in place.

image.jpg
 

RandyBoBandy

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2015
1,260
Whitmore lake, MI
It will fit. Be patient, you did this before!
I appreciate it! This is my first go at replacing the upper and refractory box. I was comparing it to the old upper I tore out and there a few things that measure slightly different from each other. It will fit one way or another. I’m just going to slow down and pay special attention to how the upper and lower align before cementing.
 
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