VC Vigilant 1977 loading and horizontal burn operation

neverstop

New Member
Oct 11, 2020
9
new hampshire
Stove came with the house I just purchased. Unknown when the stove was last rebuilt, but the ash fettle was stamped with a 1983 date. I've searched the forum and haven't found any information regarding my first 2 questions below.
  1. is there a particular way this stove should be loaded? i have mostly 16-18" logs and there's a decent amount of room on either end so i could biased it to the left/right or try to keep it in the middle
  2. the stove isn't deep enough to lay logs east>west & north>south; so is just tossing them on top of each other fine?
  3. Its not really cold enough (40-50*) to have it cranking for a long period of time but I wanted to try the secondary burn. So last night I ran it up to 600* until I had a nice but small bed of coals (from 2 logs + kindling), tossed in 2 logs, let it get back up to 600 and cruise for 20 minutes or so and then switched from updraft to horizontal mode (handle facing the ground). primary and secondary air were 100% open and it slowly dropped to 520*ish where it stayed for 1-2 hrs and then slowly started to decline from there. my question is did i negatively effected the burn by having the primary open 100% or was there just not enough wood in there to have the temperature hold/increase pass 600* even for a brief period of time?
    1. performed dollar bill test on doors/griddle and the gaskets are sealing
    2. performed light testing from inside the stove and didn't see any seams that have cracks/voids in them
    3. vacuumed out the primary and secondary air inlets from the outside of the stove
    4. straight back exit oval/8" flue single walled pipe, ~36" run into a T that runs up an external chimney that doesn't share any other piping, clay liner (might have stainless inside i don't know), from the flue to the top of the chimney is probably ~20+ ft, chimney extends past the roof by ~3-4ft, chimney extends down to the driveway ~10ft where the clean out is, no cap
    5. just had everything cleaned
I have no complaints about the heat that it was putting out as it got the floor its located on up to 74 in 2 hrs, but I do want to understand if I'm negatively effecting it's operation by how I'm currently running it.
 

fbelec

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2005
2,877
Massachusetts
hello. i run the big brother to your stove the defiant. what i do is put all the wood up against the baffle on the right of the stove. your stove is different your opening to the secondary burn chamber is on the back of the firebox. keep your fires up against the back. you want to keep that baffle hot so when the secondary air hits the smoke charge it has half a chance to light off. my stove takes at least 45 minutes to heat up enough to light off the secondary.
your stove temp will drop a bit when you flip it to horizontal. i wait for it to hit 650 then flip it to horizontal. then it drop to between 500 and 525 on the cook plate and it cruses there for a while depending on how much wood charge you have in there.

frank
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,611
Northern NH
I am not sure if it applies to the Vigilant, but the Defiant has a "hidden" passage behind the fireback. It is essential to a secondary burn. It is also not obvious and access to it requires going in from the top and removing an access plate. If you do not have a manual for the stove get one and make sure you dont have a similar setup.
 

neverstop

New Member
Oct 11, 2020
9
new hampshire
hello. i run the big brother to your stove the defiant. what i do is put all the wood up against the baffle on the right of the stove. your stove is different your opening to the secondary burn chamber is on the back of the firebox. keep your fires up against the back. you want to keep that baffle hot so when the secondary air hits the smoke charge it has half a chance to light off. my stove takes at least 45 minutes to heat up enough to light off the secondary.
your stove temp will drop a bit when you flip it to horizontal. i wait for it to hit 650 then flip it to horizontal. then it drop to between 500 and 525 on the cook plate and it cruses there for a while depending on how much wood charge you have in there.

frank
I'll try that out. I've noticed that certain areas of the fire box don't seem to burn as well as others; at least when first starting the fire.

For example, I successfully lit the log in the back of the box but had a log on the left side and in the middle near the doors that were partially lit. The log near the door only seemed to be burning on the side that was not facing the door and the log on the left only seemed to be burning on the right side.
 

neverstop

New Member
Oct 11, 2020
9
new hampshire
Testing a couple of things out today in updraft burn:
(notes: ~41* and rainy)
  1. Lit the fire front to back such that the kindle/small wood would fall to the front of the stove. This seemed to work. The door was cracked and once the logs lit it pulled everything to the bigger pieces.
    • I might not be using enough kindling, top down just seems to fizzle out after the kindling catches fire
  2. Pulled the logs that were on fire toward the front (door close/locked). Loaded wood to the back/right of the stove. This helped catch the new logs on fire and maintain the fire
For horizontal burn:
  1. Using the coals from the above test I added 3 medium/large logs and brought it up to 675* (griddle). With the primary and secondary air ports fully open I switched to horizontal burn (damper handle down). I heard it sucking additional air, griddle increased to 700* over ~5 minutes and the flue temps dropped 50-100* down to ~400*. I then closed the primary air port until it was open ~3/8 - 1/2". From that point on it continued to drop steadily to ~500* over 30 minutes and then slowly dropped from there.
    • I'm wondering if i closed the primary air too quickly and snuffed out the secondary burn?
 

fbelec

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2005
2,877
Massachusetts
like peakbagger said above you should get a copy of your manual, it should tell you how the secondary passages work. i have a copy of mine and it says it is for your stove also but that is on my other pc which i can't access the site from. so the manual says that the four stoves the defiant the vigilant and the resolute and the intrepid are the same manual for stoves made prior to 1990. the manual refers to horizontal burn as the long burn. when you use the damper the manual says you adjust the primary air ( the flapper on the back ) 5 to 10 minutes after the damper is pulled down. that is so the secondary fire chamber can heat up.
in my experience if you have a good amount of wood in the firebox it will stay about 500 for a while and the when the fuel is coaling there is not that much or no smoke the fire in the secondary chamber goes out
. and yes the stack temp. goes down right as soon as you pull down the damper because in the long burn it pulls more heat out of the smoke so it exit's the stove cooler. some times if you got a really hot fire going the temp goes up for a few minutes then drops on the stack. forgive me for writing all over the place but i'm not a book writer

frank