VC Defiant Flexburn compared to other stoves

John Kuhn Posted By John Kuhn, Dec 29, 2017 at 10:53 PM

  1. John Kuhn

    John Kuhn
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    Dec 29, 2017
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    Well, today I ordered my new stove, sooner than originally planned. The crack in the top of my 20 year old Defiant 1910 is growing noticeably, and now I'm concerned I won't make it through the heating season. Expected delivery for it's replacement is the second half of February, so here's hoping we'll make it on the old one another month.

    The Woodstock Soapstone Progress Hybrid is the one that made it to the top of my list No doubt the BK Ashford has the longest burn time, but from what I've read it works best with the fan kit, and I prefer it be just radiant like my current stove. And also I don't have power at that location. I think the Progress has a superior ash removal system, and I prefer the side loading over front loading. Looks like the catalyst is impressively easy to service, and love the soapstone and overall styling. Feature wise, I like the VC Defiant Flexburn as well, but just can't get comfortable that it will be as durable, easily serviceable, and long lasting as the Progress. And the folks at Woodstock have been excellent at answering my many questions. I will let you know how the install goes.

    Meanwhile, I suspect the old stove will end up as scrap unless somebody has a better idea. It would require an investment of around $500-$600 to get it where it should be, and that's with a flat black top because I don't think enamel is available anymore. The refractory box is fragile, and any new user would probably want to start with a fresh catalyst, and those parts are all available. Otherwise, it's been a workhorse.
     
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  2. Joyboy

    Joyboy
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    Congratulations! I think you will love it. With the advice from others, I ordered an extra ash pan with lid for mine. It makes it handy.
     
  3. RandyBoBandy

    RandyBoBandy
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    Holy cow that PH is a heavy stove. Hope you have some good friends willing to help. Just don't tell them it's an 800 pound stove until after it's in the house.
     
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  4. Bootstrap

    Bootstrap
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    I think you made a good choice moving away from VC. I, like many around here, thought VC stoves were the best thing ever for wood burners. In my previous house I had a VC Intrepid 1. It seemed to work well, but that was because I had it figured out. They are temperamental to say the least. The wife didn't like it because it took forever to get the house warmed up with it. After that I bought a Resolute 1, which was a disaster of epic proportions. That stove was just plain awful, would constantly die out on me, took even longer to get that stove up to temp. I was beyond shocked that the house was even colder with that larger stove. I disassembled it twice making sure things weren't blocked, but nothing I could do would make that piece of crap stove burn anywhere near what my friend with his newer stove would do(I think he has a newer Jotul).

    I was just about to say the hell with wood burning all together thanks to VC. Someone would have to pay me significant money to run one again.....like $1000 a day.
     
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  5. Rearscreen

    Rearscreen
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    Dec 21, 2014
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    Good choice you won't regret it, check back as there is a learning curve operating a cat. A friend of mine did handy work for a woman in Ridgefield Ct (super wealthy town) and she had a pretty much little used Defiant her colonial 1700s kitchen. She passed and I inquired about the stove. "Being sold with the house" so grabbing it was off the table. A few months after the closing I was hired to dismantle a fence on the property. I look over and in the garden the new owner took the stove out to the stone patio and used it as an outdoor heater. Rusted and ruined. Maybe you could take yours and do the same thing?
     
  6. John Kuhn

    John Kuhn
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    Dec 29, 2017
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    Hopefully my experience using the cat on the old stove will be useful and comparable. A shame to hear about the little used Defiant being destroyed. I actually thought about the outdoor wood heater idea, but guess we wouldn't use it much, and my wife wouldn't want an eyesore hanging around.

    My experience with VC wasn't at all like Bootstrap describes. I'd still give them an A for features, a B for ease of use, and a C for durability/reliability. The cracked top is disappointing, but otherwise in 20 years only replaced refractory box and catalyst once. And I think I put a new gasket on the ash door and griddle at least once, but that's it. It's been our primary heat source for all 20 years, burn 3-4 cords per year.
     
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  7. cmw

    cmw
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    Feb 11, 2018
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    I just bought new defiant flexburn to replace original 30year old defiant. Im here because it isnt nearly as easy to burn as the original, I'm cracking open ash door all the time to get good burning. Frustrating that so many othes describe the same problem.
     
  8. begreen

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    This could be a case of the new stove needing better draft. How is the stove connected to the chimney? How tall is the flue system?
     
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  9. cmw

    cmw
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    Large 8" vertical chimney goes above my peaked roof.
     
  10. John Kuhn

    John Kuhn
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    That is a puzzler, as I thought the Flexburn system was pretty similar to my 20 yr old Defiant, which has no issues getting a good burn. Assuming your wood is properly dry, I wonder if there is something defective with the air control system on your new stove. Should be able to get plenty of air without opening the ash drawer.
     
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  11. cmw

    cmw
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    I took the whole air system apart. (We need u-tube type videos in this blog). The intake is behind the ash tray . It is controlled by the thermostat coil on the right hand side by long ss wire. However, the casting doesn't leave room for the door to open all the way. Ive shimmed the door frame out which has increased the maximum air at full open. This has helped. Next Im gong to drill a few holes in the actual ash box and put a screw type damper control over the holes. For damp wood or to get a fast start ill unscrew this pipe cap type damper to let small amout of "underfire air". The older Defiants had a small keyhole cover type damper on the "extra" air intake which was lower left of the left side wood door.
     
  12. begreen

    begreen
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    That plan could cause the base to crack. When forge like heat is suddenly applied in a small area while the surrounding cast iron base is still cold the metal will expand rapidly in the area of heat. This can fracture the base casting. A much better plan is to season the wood and burn dry wood only. In the meantime, add some clean, dry construction 2x4 scraps in with the firewood to assist burning the damp wood. And clean the chimney frequently. Damp wood cools the fire and flue gases a lot.

    Note the little flap over the keyhole on the side of the stove is for introducing secondary air. Normally this remains open.
     
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  13. cmw

    cmw
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    Feb 11, 2018
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    The new VC has no secondary air holes
    The small amount of underfire air will be introduced under the whole gate. This is what all the owners are doing by cracking the ash door. My method will allow much less underfire air than cracking the ash door. My method will also be adjustable unlike cracking the ash door. Sketch enclosed.
     

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  14. bholler

    bholler
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    It is a bad idea. Modifying the stove because you have wet wood really makes absolutly no sense at all.

    And btw cracking open the ash door is a horrible idea to but atleast it isnt permanently modifying the stove. Which by doing so you would make it an unlisted stove which means clearances are no longer valid etc etc.
     
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  15. bholler

    bholler
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    Also you do realize they limited the opening of that damper on purpose right?

    Honestly i dont like the design of vc stoves at all but putting air under the grate that is not meant to be there will many times destroy the stove.
     
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  16. begreen

    begreen
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    Neither approach is advisable and with dry wood, unnecessary. Quite frankly it's mind blowing that one would consider modifying a brand new stove and voiding the warranty rather than running it properly.
     
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  17. Diabel

    Diabel
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    I second, third and forth what bholler and begreen said
     
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  18. RandyBoBandy

    RandyBoBandy
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    If you value your investment I would stop cracking the ash pan door. If you feel the need to add more air crack the front doors. And if your flue is 8” straight up I would suspect your MC is to high. How tall is your chimney?
     
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