VC resolute.. refirb and hot.. too hot!

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jersey tamato

New Member
Nov 11, 2013
Toms River NJ
I bought my house with an old Ben franklin in it. Used for fun, but went through a lot of wood because of it's inefficiency. I purchased a used VC resolute, with twin doors, and broken glass. I changed out the glass, all new gaskets, had to drill out a stubborn screw, and cleaned the outside. I did a prelim burn with kindling and 1 log, for almost 2 hours. Then I put 3 logs in, got the temp up to 300 for 45 min. Closed the damper and watched the temp rise to almost 750 before I got it to cool down. I'm thinking that I didn't get a good seal on the doors and they let too much air in. Plus... I don't know what the metal flap, that's on the back of the stove is for. And the hole that on the back left side (on a spring screw) just stays closed. Any suggestions, advice, or comments, would be greatly appreciated.
Downloaded and ran the stove last night for a pre game warm up to our winter. Everything went well. thermostat worked as supposed to. But when I put in 3 logs, it got to 600 in no time. Could I still have an air leak? and do you recommend putting sand in the bottom of the stove?
Well, 600 on the griddle is not that hot - especially if you have very good and dry wood. That's a normal stove temp.

The real question would become burn times - if you put 2-4 spits in there and are getting 3-4 hours of heat total, you are probably doing OK. Try burning it as a "front to back" system, that is......starting the fire or moving the coals toward the air=inlet part of the stove between loadings. See our info article called "tending a fire".

Yes, you should put sand on the bottom or or ash, about an inch to get started. Then simply leave the ash in.

When the stove us running, you should be able to visually see a difference when you close the air control (manually) and when you open it fully.

If you have an overdraft, you'll probably want to install a turn damper in the black piping to the chimney so you can throttle it down a bit.
Thank you very much for this info. I really appreciate it. I did see a difference in the flames when I opened and closed the temp control flap. I'll take a look at the "tending a fire" article. Thanks!
Hey, Jersey! Welcome to the family of VC burners! I learned pretty much everything I know about my stove (A Vigilant) from reading the threads on this site and the owners manual.

Don't be afraid of getting high griddle temps. I think most of us typically let it get up to 700-750 when we first get a fire going. At which point I top off the stove with more splits, put the side damper into Horizontal burn mode, and adjust the thermostat (back flap) to maybe 1/4 open. I usually keep the teardrop open most of the time. If the fire gets a little cooler than I want, I just open the thermo flap some more.

At bedtime, I check to see if I can squeeze another split or two in there, then set the thermo flap to where it is just barely closed, and go to bed.
If it is extremely cold, I might reload in the middle of the night if I happen to be up for a nature call. Otherwise, I wake up to a big bed of hot coals, throw a few sticks of kindling on and a two or three small splits and get the fire going again.

I'm not familiar with your particular stove but if it's like a Vigilant, be careful how the damper is set before you open either the front or top door. If you open a door while it's in horizontal mode you'll end up with a bunch of smoke in the house. (Don't ask how I know that!) The way I remember is to have the damper handle point toward the front doors before I open the doors.

Keep reading, keep learning. These are great stoves. We keep a 4000 sq foot house in the low 70s with just our Vig and a good supply of three year old oak. We've hardly ever turned our heat pumps on in the past several years.

If you haven't already done so, research the "top down" method of fire starting.


Wow ken... I apreciate the play by play. I never thought that being a wood burning stove owner would be so invovled. It's much of a science. The nights haven't gotten to cold. But I've got 2 yr old wood that burns great. So far... I've used the manuals from this site and the great advice, to utilize my stove to it's max potential. Now to load it to the top for the night.
Thanks a lot
Yep, get it going good and hot, load it up, close everything off when you go to bed.
Report back and let us know what you have in the morning: griddle top temperature for example, and if you have a good pile of hot coals or a pile of cool ashes.
If it has all burned down to just ash it's getting too much air, meaning your gaskets or seals need to be checked. Mine is not the most air tight stove out there but it gets us through the night. The temp in the Great Room, where the stove is, will be around 71-73 in the morning and the stove top temp is usually about 350 with good coals that I rake up and start all over again.

You'll get better and better with more experience. Keep reading!
Thank again Ken. The outside temps haven't called for me to really test out the stove yet. But as soon as it drops... I'll get her going and give you an update.
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