Craftsbury 8391 ash pan door jammed

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New Member
Dec 17, 2019
Central MA
I am new, hope someone can help.
Have had this stove for several years & hate it for all the reasons discussed on past threads going back to 2005. However, after we sunk a huge amount of $$$ into install and then installation of outdoor air exchange to help w/ burn (it did help), we kept the stove. It's back-up only, thank goodness.

I notice some people never use the ash pan clean-out & instead just shovel ashes out of the firebox. But we've always used the ash pan & door. Despite what I've read about problems with the handle/torque, we never had a problem until now. Yesterday the ash pan door seemed to be slightly stuck, so I gave it a tug a little harder than usual. It dropped far down w/ a clunk & wouldn't close up as it had fallen off the spring-loaded hinge. I managed to set it back on the hinge with some difficulty as I'm not particularly strong. The screw holding the handle on the inside, which is attached to a (?) moveable or non-moveable (?) plate was just about off, so I tightened it. Maybe I tightened it too much? Maybe it's supposed to be pretty loose? As I recall the plate seemed to be in the right place, but by tightening the screw (not crazy-tight, just firm) I made that small plate immoveable. It just seemed the right thing to tighten the screw. Closed the door & now it's completely jammed.

Have tried a couple of things: 1) there is a screw on the outside of the door near the handle, thought maybe loosening that would help somehow. The screw head (Phillips)is stripping easily and is SO tight, neither husband nor I can budge it. Don't know if it would help anyway. 2) removed inside grates, but they are centered in the floor of the stove and do not provide access to front of ash pan or even come close to door. 3) In looking at the ash pan door at that level, we can see a tiny piece of metal that is likely the cause of the jammed door, and we think this would have to be forced up (but who knows), and light prying gets us nowhere.

Service can't get here until January 14.

I would like to fix this but otherwise will have to resign myself to using stove forevermore without ash pan access. This will cause a lot of hardship. No matter all the cautionary stuff I've read on this site and in manuals and what I know in my heart, it is practically impossible for me to light a fire and avoid getting a smoke-filled basement (even with all the chimney extension and outdoor air intake and excellent fire-starting materials & skills) unless I crack the ash pan door. Even cracking the front door of the stove isn't adequate. The fires start but keep going out UNLESS I have that ash pan door cracked. Did I mention how much we hate this stove? If we could afford it, we'd replace it.