Vestal Model 1710

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New Member
Jul 14, 2023
Cosby, TN
I acquired an old Vestal model 1710 wood stove this past October and find it difficult to maintain a hot fire without having the door ajar. I'm considering getting a rack to keep the wood a bit off the bottom and ashes and promote better air flow. Anyone have some advice as to whether or not this would work?

Do not elevate wood. It should be burned on the firebrick bottom in at least 1 inch of ash. Elevating is done in a fireplace, not in a controlled combustion woodstove. Coals drop into ash, insulating them, prolonging the fire. They also preheat the wood in a complex combustion cycle.

The stove is not the problem.

The chimney and connector pipe configuration determines draft. That is the measurement of rising gases in chimney hotter than outdoor air temperature. This creates a low pressure area in chimney, pipe and stove allowing atmospheric air pressure to PUSH into stove intake, feeding the fire oxygen.

What is the height of chimney above stove?

Chimney specs are needed, such as indoor/ outdoor, flue diameter, and if insulated. The chimney is considered the engine that drives the stove. So start there. Pictures of chimney outside would help.

Once the correct and safe chimney is determined;

Do you have a moisture meter? That is the most common issue, since all wood going into the stove should be below 20% moisture content. Above that, you will get a smokey, slow burning fire. Let us know what the moisture content is, and species being burned first.

The clearance from stove to wall does not look sufficient if this is a combustible wall behind stone. IF the stone is applied to cement board with a 1 inch ventilated air space, with 1 inch opening at bottom, this becomes a heat shield. This allows 66% reduction from 36 inches down to 12 inch minimum. ONLY a ventilated shield allows this reduction. Solid brick or stone 3 1/2 inches thick in direct contact with combustible wall allows 33% reduction down to 24 inches.
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OK....the chimney is about 6' inside the house and 8' above the roof. Everything I read said the outside needed to be 2' above the peak of the house which it is.

Yes, I now have a moisture meter however I did not earlier in last season. In the beginning I was burning old, decaying wood (won't be doing that anymore) then was able to switch to 2 year old hickory and some hemlock. I did get a better burn with the hickory. For next season I have hardwood drying, a mixture of walnut, oak, hickory and cherry. I also have a lot of hemlock, some oak & pine that came down this past November and is split and drying. I will be using the moisture meter to make sure the wood is 20% or less.

I have a small home, less than 900 sq ft and if I kept a fire going all day I was roasting, so during the day there was more of a smolder than a fire. I have since been building a good fire in the morning and afternoon and that seems to work well for me.

Behind the stove is a heat shield, it is not solid stone. There are the appropriate ventilation space and distances.
Sounds like you’re doing better than most!

The chimney only needs to be 2 feet above anything within 10 feet horizontal. But over the peak prevents downdrafts and turbulence from air moving over roof. 15 feet above stove is normally the minimum, so draft should be fine.

Make sure when testing moisture content to freshly split a piece and test on the split surface, at room temperature, not the ends.

You may be running low during warmer weather causing less draft. The temperature differential between inside of flue and outdoor temperature determines draft strength. You should be using a pipe thermometer about 18 inches above stove on pipe. With air open, burn until temperature reaches about 300*f on outside of pipe. This will be about 600*f internal. The reading on magnetic surface thermometer is about the temperature at top where exiting. All chimneys cool differently, so this is just a guide. While smoke is present, this must remain above 250*f to prevent creosote and cause the proper draft. If you close it down before reaching these temps, draft weakens slowing the air coming in.

That stove is for about 1000 sf. in a slightly colder zone. You would do well finding a catalytic stove. They can be turned down much farther since the combustion area of the catalyst is much smaller than the entire firebox. They burn hotter in the small area for much longer, and continue to burn smoke clean at low output. Worth it in fuel savings alone, plus not roasting you out as well as extending the burning season.