Old cast iron Sears top loader tips and tricks

sardo_67 Posted By sardo_67, Dec 2, 2018 at 10:56 PM

  1. sardo_67

    sardo_67
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    was talking to my GF about buying a wood stove for the garage so she gave me money for one as an early Christmas present last week. Was looking to spend around 100-150, found a Sears top loader on CL for $150, offered 100, he said 125, he didn’t have change for 20s so I gave him $123.

    Got it hooked up and fired to burn the paint off the single wall pipe, test it as well. I found it’s somewhat hard to control the heat from it and the stove pipe will glow red fairly easy. Where should I mount the thermometer on the stove pipe to monitor temp, down towards the stove or where I have it now about 3ft up?

    Should there be a baffle in the stove below the 6” chimney exit so direct flames don’t go up the chimney?

    Also there are a lot of small gaps around the top parts and door, should I attempt to seal up the top with some type of fire caulk so I can better control the air flow or this is just how these stoves are?

    I am not looking for anything crazy or like 90% efficiency here, just want an easy to run stable stove for my garage without having to worry about it running away or dying out.

    Attached pics of said stove.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. begreen

    begreen
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    One does not "burn the paint off the stove pipe". It should never be glowing red. Not sure what other shortcuts were taken here but wood stoves in garages are against code and not permitted in most jurisdictions, nor by many insurance companies. These old stoves are hard to regulate. Often a stove pipe damper is needed to slow down the burn.
     
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  3. sardo_67

    sardo_67
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    Ok well when you get new black single wall stove pipe it smokes terribly when you first fire the stove up. What is it doing?
     
  4. bholler

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    You should be curing the paint. But by the looks of it you may very well be burning it off. That pipe is way to hot. Like begreen said a solid fuel burnig stove by code cannot be installed in a space where gasoline is present.
     
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  5. sardo_67

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    Ya that’s what I thought. I wasn’t trying to make it glow red.


    Ok so what is the correct way to cure the paint on black pipe?
     
  6. begreen

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    The paint is baked once it is up to 4-500º. To glow red like that the pipe was likely over 1000º and that is on the surface.
     
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  7. peakbagger

    peakbagger
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    There is no way to make this stove long burning or efficient. It is what it is and that's a cheap stove. Your only control is limit the amount of wood you burn to match the heat load and feed small amounts of wood frequently. Don't even try to get long burns, its designed to be leaky.

    I don't understand why you call it a top loader, the intent is its fed from the front door.
     
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  8. jatoxico

    jatoxico
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    Code violations not withstanding, it needs a stove pipe damper.
     
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  9. sardo_67

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    The top swings to the side so you can top load it, I don’t know what to call it other than an old sears stove.
    I’m not wanting to turn this into an all nighter or anything lol. Just wanted to see if it’s running normal.


    It does have one. Or do you mean one inside the stove itself?
     
  10. sardo_67

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    back to what i was originally asking, should i add a baffle inside the stove before the 6' exit to prevent flames from going directly up the single wall stove pipe? i have a lot of scrap 1/4 plate laying around that i can fab up inside.
     
  11. wooduser

    wooduser
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    Wow! Looks like you are getting a nice hot fire in that stovepipe in the first picture!

    I guess that's why you'd like to install a baffle?


    My steel stove is pre EPA, and has a simple bracket at the back of the stove in which a piece of steel plate fits. That functions to block the flame from going up the chimney. The bracket doesn't really do the job by itself, it tends to flop to one side and fall down after a while.

    I've installed a piece of 1/2" steel pipe at the front of the stove to hold it in place.

    If you decide to do something like that ( I have no Xpertise to make a recommendation ) how would you support and install it? The good thing about mine is that it lifts out pretty easily. But if you have bright ideas on how you'd install a baffle, I'd be glad to hear them and think about improving what I have.
     
  12. begreen

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    It probably won't hurt. Getting the length right may take a little experimenting.
     
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  13. coaly

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    This is a Box Stove, the top opens to cook on it. The front door is the loading door.
    Cast iron pans and pots set over the open eyes to allow direct contact with flame.
    When you open two eyes with a center support, or a large oval opening it is for a laundry boiler. (copper laundry tub to wash clothes)

    Was it glowing with the damper shut?? No part of stove or pipe should glow. That is overfiring. If it is an older damper, it may have a metered hole in the center which doesn't close enough. that was for coal stoves that you could also tilt the lids to allow air into the stove and cool the chimney for longer burns. You can't do that with wood since wood doesn't case where the air comes from and burns harder. Are you burning on about an inch of ash? Wood could be very dry, and try packing it tighter to prevent air flow through it.
    A baffle in the stove adds resistance through the firebox which is what you need. I would add one if there is none. Is there something in the stove to set it on?
    The damper is a variable resistance which is a chimney control that affects the stove by slowing incoming air. 2 dampers could be needed if the draft is still too strong.

    I put the thermometer on the back side of the pipe so it isn't affect as much by the heat from the stove. Surface temp is about twice the actual flue gas temp. The object is keeping the chimney flue above 250* to the top. Any more than that is waste, any less can condense water vapor and accumulate creosote.

    Your picture with flame visible under door shows the damper wide open. Only have it open when starting and slow the fire with damper when it gets burning too hard. In that pic it should have been half to fully closed.

    Rutland Stove and Gasket Cement is used for filling gaps and leaks between parts. Imperial also makes stove cement sold at the big box hardware stores.

    As stated above, code does not allow use of solid fuel burning appliance where flammable vapors are present OR in any garage. State and local building codes require all appliances to be UL listed with a tag, which this is not.
     
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  14. sardo_67

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    there is not however i was looking at drilling 4 holes in the back area of the stove, 2 on each side so i could put threaded rod thru and make a shelf for the plate to sit on, i would tac weld the plate to the threaded rod so it can't get knocked off and hold the rod in place with bolts so there is no welding to the cast iron.


    however i found another conventional steel and fire brick stove with the option for a blower add on and glass door for $50 so i'll be using that instead.
    i feel much better about that one as i can close the damper and leave the garage if needed.

    i have a shed in back where i keep fuel so there isn't any inside the garage unless it's in a vehicle.
     
  15. coaly

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    Keep the baffle so it is easily removable. It will warp and needs to be removed to beat back flat.
     
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  16. wooduser

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  17. bholler

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    It isn't a built in boiler is is just a cooktop with removable plates. There were tons of stoves made like this. The one in this thread is a later cheap copy of these stoves. Some are still being sold but they are absolutely horrible and dangerous
     
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  18. sardo_67

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    ya this looked like a good deal however upon using it, you are correct. this is good stove for a cabin or somewhere one will be able to constantly monitor it.
     
  19. bholler

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    The castings on your sears model are probably much better than the cheap chinese ones being sold now. Your still isnt very controlable but atleast it probably wont fall to peices.
     
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  20. wooduser

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    It's designed to be a CONVERTIBLE hot water heater! Don't see that too often these days!

    I see a lot of descriptions of complicated and perhaps dangerous way to heat water with a wood stove ---the method pictured on this old stove looks better than most.


    Personally, I heat water during the summer in plastic jugs from the sun, and during the heating season with a saucepan of water on my stove. During the shoulder season, a saucepan of water on my gas range.

    Haven't had the gas water heater turned on in years.
     
  21. bholler

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    No you don't see it often now because we don't need it. We have lots of other ways to heat water. I could live with heating water stovetop for most things but I need a shower when I come home.

    Also regardless the stoves we have today will out perform even the good stoves this one is copying in every way.
     
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  22. coaly

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    The reason for boiling clothes is there are 3 elements to keep in mind when cleaning.
    1.) Dwell time of soap or strength of cleaner.
    2.) Heat
    3.) Agitation

    Take away any of the three and you must increase another. So if you don't have hot water, stronger cleaning solution or agitation is required. If you don't have chemical or soap, more heat, such as steam when no soap or agitation is required. Back in the day, soap was not easily accessible, so it was common knowledge to use more heat and boil laundry. Shrinkage was the main issue, so clothes were made large since the first couple washings shrink material the most. In the case of washing boilers, a plunger type tool was used to agitate so laundry stoves were built low to give a good height to stand over to agitate. They were mostly coal so any air leak around the top didn't feed the fire like it will with wood. Cooking with open lids is just as fast as a gas range. Cooking on a regular stove top is closer to a simmer compared to flame contact or making the stove top extremely hot, overheating the rest of the house. Pans with smoke rings should be used for a better seal to the top. You can also start a small fire with just kindling during summer mornings and cook as soon as you have flames, letting it die when done before it heats the entire stove. It was common to put the stove on an open back porch in the summer to prevent excessive heat in the home.

    Now you know why the )( piece between eyes is removable. By removing two eyes and the center piece you have an opening for larger griddles, boilers and wash tubs.
     
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  23. wooduser

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    Thank you Coaly, you are an education!

    I've always thought that the most valuable home appliance was the washing machine, since without it women were stuck with a whole bunch of demanding physical labor. Washing clothes by hand is a LOT of WORK!

    The idea of using hot water and a lot less labor never occurred to me.

    And of course in the modern age, we used HOT WATER, DETERGENT of very high quality AND agitation in a washing machine, all to end the scourge of "ring around the collar!" m (I'm imagining how many people have never heard of this!

    And then in later decades we wound up debasing the detergent and being encouraged not to use hot water in washing machines.....
     
  24. coaly

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    Yeah, the first washing machines ran on the two cycle engine with the foot pedal starter, but you still had to heat the water on the stove.

    You also had to do your laundry only on Mondays. Can you guess why?
     
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  25. sardo_67

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    hahah ya this is built well, just not good for my application is all.

    no but please tell me
     

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