2021 Vermont Castings Aspen C3 Install

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Todd

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
9,573
NW Wisconsin
I used to use a razor blade to remove that stubborn black deposit on my Blaze King glass. It scraped off pretty easily.
 
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
2,214
SE North Carolina
Did not have much luck with the commercial stove glass cleaner or with ash. Both removed some of the lighter stuff but I have a good layer of really thick, absolutely baked on stuff that will come off if you physically scrape it with something like an old putty knife. It laughs at the other cleaners. I didn't want to scrape too much and risk getting the glass, so I stopped and figured I'd see if a good hot fire would help at all. I wonder if any of it is stuff that baked off the inside of the stove from the break in fires? Maybe it's just caked on carbon.

40 degrees outside and 58 inside when I got home tonight. I picked up a cheap HF IR thermometer on the way home to try out. I have the back of the stove about 1/3 full of locust and mulberry and it has been humming along nicely. The automatic air control seems to be doing its thing. The center of the cook plate peaked at about 650 degrees an hour and a half later, and 2 hours later the house is 65 degrees. External flue temps were about 250 2' above the stove, and 175 near the ceiling. So far I'm happy. I did finally notice smoke/haze in the house, probably from the single wall pipe finally being hot enough to bake the paint a little, so I've cracked the windows open at this point.

I did smack the baffle pretty good with the poker earlier while flipping a log up. I have been spoiled with stoves with steel baffles in my past. No hole, but I'm going to have to be more careful.
I only get dirty glass with a really small fire or wet wood. I don’t bother cleaning the glass but maybe once or twice a month with a wet paper towel. I get flash on it. Clean glass is a new stove thing. The new stove feeling’s that make you want to clean the glass will wear off.
 
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moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,954
Iowa
Imperial Stove glass cleaner seems to work ok also.
 

wjohn

Member
Jul 27, 2021
211
KS
The Imperial cleaner is what I picked up and it does nothing to this baked on hard stuff. I may have to try the razor blade, very carefully. Might see if I have some sort of rigid enough chunk of plastic and try that first. And EbS-P, I do concur that the novelty will wear off at some point. I am just baffled by how hard this stuff is. The glass did dirty up again sometime last night as the fire was dying down, but it seems to be more of the loose, easier to wipe off stuff.

Around 9:45 last night I loaded a ~8" long crotch piece of locust that was maybe 5" diameter at the bottom and 3-4" where it split off to two different trunks onto what was mostly coals in the firebox at that point. At 7:30am the stovetop was still 100 degrees and I found coals in the ash bed. Not enough to just reload and go, but enough that with a little kindling it would have caught easily. I can't wait for a single digit night to try a proper overnight burn... And I normally hate winter.
 

Sailrmike

Feeling the Heat
Sep 20, 2017
295
06371
The Imperial cleaner is what I picked up and it does nothing to this baked on hard stuff. I may have to try the razor blade, very carefully. Might see if I have some sort of rigid enough chunk of plastic and try that first. And EbS-P, I do concur that the novelty will wear off at some point. I am just baffled by how hard this stuff is. The glass did dirty up again sometime last night as the fire was dying down, but it seems to be more of the loose, easier to wipe off stuff.

Around 9:45 last night I loaded a ~8" long crotch piece of locust that was maybe 5" diameter at the bottom and 3-4" where it split off to two different trunks onto what was mostly coals in the firebox at that point. At 7:30am the stovetop was still 100 degrees and I found coals in the ash bed. Not enough to just reload and go, but enough that with a little kindling it would have caught easily. I can't wait for a single digit night to try a proper overnight burn... And I normally hate winter.
When I had a BK that would get really hard buildup on the glass, a straight razor for cleaning windows was the only way to clean
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,154
central pa
If you can get it off, maybe try to do a high burn more frequently so that it does not build up so much?
There is no high or low burn. The stove is going to do what the stove does.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,353
Long Island NY
There is no high or low burn. The stove is going to do what the stove does.
ok, I see. no user control. (Hence I had avoided looking into this stove...)
 
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wjohn

Member
Jul 27, 2021
211
KS
Here is a picture of some of the stuff that sticks on there during the end of a burn. I was midway through razor blade scraping it off (I did not scratch the glass despite what it may look like). Thanks for the tip. I am convinced that is the only way to remove this stuff. I wiped with wet ash for quite a while first and that removes the top sooty stuff decently but left this gunk.

Reading around in old threads for other stoves there may be hope it burns off if I get things hot enough? I have only had the rear 1/3 of the firebox full so far, so maybe between having a larger fire and it being closer to the glass, it will be less of an issue? We'll see what happens now that I am starting with a clean slate.

I do need to check the moisture content of my firewood, but it's been seasoned and kept dry for 3 years, and was standing dead before that so I'm not expecting it to be over 20%, if even that high.

20211106_112203.jpg
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,353
Long Island NY
I'd try a full firebox indeed. I have some of this on my window after running low. But burning (on high) with a full box for an hour or so, it's gone. At least it'll be crispier and thus easier to remove.

I'd also be concerned about the asymmetry of the thickness on your glass. Do you have a leak on the door?
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
2,214
SE North Carolina
I'd try a full firebox indeed. I have some of this on my window after running low. But burning (on high) with a full box for an hour or so, it's gone. At least it'll be crispier and thus easier to remove.

I'd also be concerned about the asymmetry of the thickness on your glass. Do you have a leak on the door?
For small loads I try to pack it fullish but with lots air space. I will cut short pieces usually kindling or branches so I can crisscross my loads. I do think there is a minimum fuel load for a hood hot clean burn. Where the air inlet is on the front of the stove I’d be loading close it it. Creosote while is burning down /coaling makes me think less than ideal wood. Burn it hot and fast and see what happens.
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,527
Ottawa, ON
Here is a picture of some of the stuff that sticks on there during the end of a burn. I was midway through razor blade scraping it off (I did not scratch the glass despite what it may look like). Thanks for the tip. I am convinced that is the only way to remove this stuff. I wiped with wet ash for quite a while first and that removes the top sooty stuff decently but left this gunk.

Reading around in old threads for other stoves there may be hope it burns off if I get things hot enough? I have only had the rear 1/3 of the firebox full so far, so maybe between having a larger fire and it being closer to the glass, it will be less of an issue? We'll see what happens now that I am starting with a clean slate.

I do need to check the moisture content of my firewood, but it's been seasoned and kept dry for 3 years, and was standing dead before that so I'm not expecting it to be over 20%, if even that high.

View attachment 285000
This glass is very black. It looks like fuel issue to me. I have not cleaned the glass on either of my cat stoves in three seasons (what is the point on a cat stove) and it does not look this black. Brownish yes but not black like that
 

wjohn

Member
Jul 27, 2021
211
KS
I'd also be concerned about the asymmetry of the thickness on your glass. Do you have a leak on the door?
I cut a small strip of magazine paper tonight and went all around the door. It was tight everywhere. The design of the sealing interface seems to be pretty good, and nothing seems to be warped, no hinge pin holes machined at an angle, etc. since it's clamping down evenly everywhere. I will recheck with a match the next time I have a fire.
 

wjohn

Member
Jul 27, 2021
211
KS
It barely hit 50, was gray, and we have the usual 20+ MPH winds today so I am having another fire tonight. It should get into the 20s by the morning. I took the opportunity to try a sort of top-down fire based on some of the recent posts here and I was blown away. It's absolutely the way to go, especially with the Aspen C3. I loaded the wood more in the middle of the stove this time instead of the rear, to see if that helps keeping the door clean. I am still only running it about 1/3 full since it is bringing up the inside temp very well in this type of weather.

I did have some smoke spillage out the intake when I first lit the fire, which hasn't happened before. I don't think it would've been an issue if I had gotten the door cracked/closed quickly instead of leaving it fully open for a few minutes. I can also confirm that checking with a match resulted in no leaks detected around the door.

20211112_173747.jpg 20211112_202731.jpg
 

wjohn

Member
Jul 27, 2021
211
KS
I also took some temp measurements with the IR gun at various air intake positions. I did not take data every 10 minutes or anything but figured this might at least provide some direction for anyone that may be troubleshooting their stove. Or someone may just find it interesting.

Damper just starting to close:
150 degrees 18" up on exterior of single wall pipe
250 degrees center of cooktop
225 degrees between cooktop and flue exit (insulated beneath)

Damper ~2/3 closed:
190 degrees 18" up on exterior of single wall pipe
350 degrees center of cooktop
310 degrees between cooktop and flue exit (insulated beneath)

Completely closed (may have happened slightly before these temps were reached):
275 degrees 18" up on exterior of single wall pipe
550 degrees center of cooktop
470 degrees between cooktop and flue exit (insulated beneath)

Before reloading much earlier than I normally would have, I did check temps and note the damper was still closed at least as cooled down as these temps showed. I presume it takes a bit for the heat to build up where the temp pickup is, and then it retains that for quite awhile, explaining why my surface temp readings on warmup show the damper still being open at higher temps than these.
Still closed:
150 degrees 18" up on exterior of single wall pipe
250 degrees center of cooktop
200 degrees between cooktop and flue exit (insulated beneath)
 

wjohn

Member
Jul 27, 2021
211
KS
I also cooked on it for the first time. I am happy to report it is pretty easy to boil water on it and boxed shells and cheese were a success. I need to measure some dutch ovens and figure out what the biggest one I can buy is that will still fit in the diameter of the cooktop/uninsulated area.
 

wjohn

Member
Jul 27, 2021
211
KS
I am happy to report the door glass was cleanable without a razor this morning. The below picture is after a quick wiping with almost no elbow grease. The rest of the stuff required some more vigorous rubbing but it all came off after a few minutes of effort. I built the fire closer to the middle instead of the rear of the stove, and I think all of the paint and other substances inside are pretty well cooked off by now. That baked on black stuff did not make an appearance. Fuel is the same 3 year+ seasoned locust and mulberry that I used previously.

Another thing I noticed with the fire in the middle is that some flames do lick towards the glass, so there must be some combustible gases available there in addition to the usual flames up along the baffle that I am used to.

I burned a 1/3 full load for 3 hours last night taking the house from 61 to 70 degrees. I let that burn down to that still active bed of coals when I added 3 more of my short splits early so I didn't have to wait any longer to boil water for supper. That was about 8:30 and the house got up to 72 before bed. At 8ish this morning the house was 61 (24 outside) and the stove was still slightly warm to the touch and I again found a few small coals in the ashbed. 60 in the morning is about what I aim for most days in the winter. When the sun's out my house absorbs heat pretty well during the day and I like it cool for sleeping. I still haven't removed any ashes from the stove, which tells you how much it's been used and how well my wood is burning down.

I am thrilled with this stove so far.

20211113_084108.jpg
 
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
2,214
SE North Carolina
I am happy to report the door glass was cleanable without a razor this morning. The below picture is after a quick wiping with almost no elbow grease. The rest of the stuff required some more vigorous rubbing but it all came off after a few minutes of effort. I built the fire closer to the middle instead of the rear of the stove, and I think all of the paint and other substances inside are pretty well cooked off by now. That baked on black stuff did not make an appearance. Fuel is the same 3 year+ seasoned locust and mulberry that I used previously.

Another thing I noticed with the fire in the middle is that some flames do lick towards the glass, so there must be some combustible gases available there in addition to the usual flames up along the baffle that I am used to.

I burned a 1/3 full load for 3 hours last night taking the house from 61 to 70 degrees. I let that burn down to that still active bed of coals when I added 3 more of my short splits early so I didn't have to wait any longer to boil water for supper. That was about 8:30 and the house got up to 72 before bed. At 8ish this morning the house was 61 (24 outside) and the stove was still slightly warm to the touch and I again found a few small coals in the ashbed. 60 in the morning is about what I aim for most days in the winter. When the sun's out my house absorbs heat pretty well during the day and I like it cool for sleeping. I still haven't removed any ashes from the stove, which tells you how much it's been used and how well my wood is burning down.

I am thrilled with this stove so far.

View attachment 285302
Wait till you load it full up. Then sit back and watch the fire light show in shorts and a tank top.
 
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wjohn

Member
Jul 27, 2021
211
KS
Very interesting! Thank you for being patient and making all the observations.
Sadly I am not patient enough (AKA I like my sleep too much) to wait up and see when the intake damper starts opening again as the stove cools down!
 

EddyB

New Member
Jun 7, 2021
17
NB Canada
It’ll be interesting to hear everyone’s temperatures in the Aspen with a full load long term burn going. That’ll be the real test. I want to feel totally comfortable with the stove and if we’re all getting similar results then consensus would help with that. Thank you to everyone’s feedback! It’s great to see it.
 
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EddyB

New Member
Jun 7, 2021
17
NB Canada
I also cooked on it for the first time. I am happy to report it is pretty easy to boil water on it and boxed shells and cheese were a success. I need to measure some dutch ovens and figure out what the biggest one I can buy is that will still fit in the diameter of the cooktop/uninsulated area.
Do you have the optional VC cooktop plate on yours or just cooking right on the cast iron?
 

wjohn

Member
Jul 27, 2021
211
KS
Do you have the optional VC cooktop plate on yours or just cooking right on the cast iron?
I just put my pasta pot directly on the cast iron circle. I did ask the showroom guy at my dealer about the VC plate as they had one on display, and mentioned I probably don't want to know the price but I'll ask anyways... And he just looked me in the eyes and said "Yeah you don't want to to know." Haha. I haven't found them with pricing online yet but I would not be surprised if they're north of $100.

I'm not sure what you gain with the optional cook plate other than the looks if that's your cup of tea. It would keep your pots from scuffing up the paint on the cast iron, so there's that. Not sure if maybe when the stove is running full tilt it's really hot in that area, and the optional cook plate would buffer things a little? I have a lot to learn about cooking on a wood stove.
 

EddyB

New Member
Jun 7, 2021
17
NB Canada
So up til now, I’ve been kind of limited with being able to do a prolonged burn with the new Aspen because of renos being done in the house. I’ve done around 6-7 fires starting with 3-4 smaller ones to burn off the paint, etc. which I described in an earlier post, and noticed the high temps. Those experiences really gave me a strong sense of how the stove behaves and how to operate it with little problems. No damper, no external air intake, lots of draft. Lack of draft is definitely not an issue. You can feel it with ease at the intake on the back.

I’ll start with the fact that the stove is truly simple to use, love the heat, love the look, etc. Would be very content just based on that.

Last night really caught my attention and I would like to get feedback from the Aspen owner’s especially please, because it would be a deciding factor as to whether or not the retailer & VC needs to address it.

I had it started nicely, and after the flu was conditioned, it was a nice slow burn. Temperatures didn’t jump too quickly and eventually came up to around 500-600 stove top. During all this, I was feeling the position of the flap on the back at the air intake and it was gradually closing. It stabilized there for awhile while feeding it a couple of smaller chunks at a time, and at no time were the flames slowing right down to a trickle as what some people remark when the stove is up to normal temperature. Eventually, I put in a couple of larger chunks for the night. They caught right away and the door was closed. I felt the flap and it was around 80-85% closed.

Eventually, the stove got up to over 850 degrees and the flames were not slowing down to that barely visible trickle that Ive heard about. I felt around to the flap, it hadn’t changed. Still about 80-85% closed. At this point, I would assume that it should be all the way down. As a footnote, the stove has probably expanded so much with some of those hotter burns that have taken place up till now, that when it was cooling down last night (and still talking around 500 degrees), the noise from the contraction was quite something, which makes me think that those really high burns really pushed the cast iron and joints… maybe.

I know that some people have dampers and even blast gates at the intake. According to VC and the retailer, if you have decent draft, you shouldn’t need any modifications like those to control things.

So, before I go and really push the issue, I was wondering if the Aspen owners could tell me if the flap on your cold air intake is completely closed at the hotter temps on your stove. I know some of you have external air intakes and can’t really feel the gate to see how open or closed it may be, but if you do know, could you give me some feedback. It would be so appreciated.

Perhaps all that needs to be done is disconnect the chain, lengthen or slacken it a tad, then reconnect it. Not sure. It won’t be me doing it because it’s a brand new stove and the retailer should be taking care of the problem.

There’s my story and you guys have been instrumental in getting things to this point, so if you have some data to provide regarding the gate at the cold air intake and whether or not it’s fully closed at peak, please share. I’m feeling a little disillusioned because I love the stove and don’t need this right now. Thank you so much Everyone!
 

wjohn

Member
Jul 27, 2021
211
KS
It's been too warm here for fires (60s and 70s!) but I did get a cast iron dutch oven after some measuring and some research. The cooktop circle on the Aspen C3 is right around 9 3/8" diameter inside the lip, so any pot with a bottom diameter of 9 5/16" or less should fit on it and be in direct contact with the cast iron, not held up by the lip around the edge. Lodge doesn't give bottom diameters for their cookware on their website so I went into Cabela's and grabbed a fish measuring stick and felt where the bottom of the dutch ovens were through the boxes to measure diameter.

I can report that a 7 qt. fits about perfectly. Definitely can't go any larger if you want it to fit on the designated area. If I do any cooking/baking I will start a separate thread in the appropriate forum, but figured someone looking at this stove in the future may find this info handy as a reference.

20211129_111742.jpg
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
92,764
South Puget Sound, WA
Unless cooking something that needs high heat, you may want to add a trivet underneath to avoid scorching on the bottom. I regularly use a dutch oven to slow cook dishes and stews on the T6 trivet top. It works great.
 
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