Vigilant Multi-Fuel Anchor

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Iburnslow

Member
Nov 29, 2016
26
MA
Whelp, thanks to the helpful folks on this site, I was able to identify that I have a multi-fuel Vigilant from Vermont Castings. I was wondering why it was burning wood like crazy. Apparently, it's set up for burning coal. Well, thinks I, let me buy some coal and see if that works. I was actually excited to see what burning coal was like. First coal fire last night....well, that sucked. I got the coal lit with a good bed of wood coals, got it burning, but the coal went out a few hours later. Now I have to dig ten pounds of coal out of the stove by hand. I did some searching, and apparently coal doesn't like the 8" stove pipe I have, as the draft isn't strong enough to draw enough O2 to keep it lit. So, do I try to get a wood conversion kit, try to put a 6" reducer on my exhaust pipe for the coal, or get rid of this anchor?
 

gthomas785

Minister of Fire
Feb 8, 2020
530
Central MA
What is the manufacture date of this stove? I seem to recall that you don't need any special parts to burn wood in these stoves made in the 80s but there may have been differences in design over the years. You would just remove the coal grates and keep a layer of ash at the bottom of the stove. Do you have the manual?

Also, if it's burning through wood that fast then it sounds like you may have an air leak somewhere.
 

gthomas785

Minister of Fire
Feb 8, 2020
530
Central MA
Here's a thread on the subject
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,283
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Multifuel stoves are usually significantly worse at burning their fuel types than a dedicated stove would be. Automatic trip to the scrap yard in my book.

Even of it was a wood stove, at that age it probably wouldn't have secondary combustion (which is, again, an automatic trip to the scrap yard for me).

Pick the fuel you want and buy a well-reviewed stove that is made to burn it.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,301
Downeast Maine
This stove was cutting edge technology when it came out. Downdraft with secondary combustion. I imagine trying to burn coal in it is difficult in downdraft mode with a giant flue. This stove should really have a 6" insulated flue regardless. There are only one or two stoves that call for an 8" flue these days. Something to consider if you are looking at replacing this stove, which I would.
 
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defiant3

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2010
926
No. NH
Out of curiosity, are you keeping the draft control open as the stove heats up? Sorry, kind of a dumb quedtion but it has happened that people are unaware that the bi- metal coil on the draft control lever will automatically try to close the " flapper" , so if you had a well established fire that died inexplicably there could be a correlation!?
 

Iburnslow

Member
Nov 29, 2016
26
MA
Out of curiosity, are you keeping the draft control open as the stove heats up? Sorry, kind of a dumb quedtion but it has happened that people are unaware that the bi- metal coil on the draft control lever will automatically try to close the " flapper" , so if you had a well established fire that died inexplicably there could be a correlation!?
Yes, I make sure the flapper is all the way open. I'll check it periodically to manually keep it open as well. Thanks for the interest though! Keep the input coming!
 

Iburnslow

Member
Nov 29, 2016
26
MA
No. If I take the coal grates out, the fire will be directly in the ash pan. That doesn't seem like it's thick enough to support a fire of hot coals. I thought I'd need something more substantial to build the fire on.
 

gthomas785

Minister of Fire
Feb 8, 2020
530
Central MA
No. If I take the coal grates out, the fire will be directly in the ash pan. That doesn't seem like it's thick enough to support a fire of hot coals. I thought I'd need something more substantial to build the fire on.
Just don't remove all the ash. A 1-2" layer of ash on the bottom would be enough
 
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gthomas785

Minister of Fire
Feb 8, 2020
530
Central MA
Ok maybe this is a different stove, but if my memory serves me we burned in our old vigilant without any grates whatsoever. It's been a while though so maybe I'm wrong.

Not that you can't burn wood on the coal grates, they just take up room and allow more air to get in under the fire.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,189
central pa
Ok maybe this is a different stove, but if my memory serves me we burned in our old vigilant without any grates whatsoever. It's been a while though so maybe I'm wrong.

Not that you can't burn wood on the coal grates, they just take up room and allow more air to get in under the fire.
Well yes technically you could do it but it isn't safe. The fact is this is not a good woodstove it is a decent coal stove once you figure out how to burn coal. And replace the missing parts of the grate
 

defiant3

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2010
926
No. NH
One thing I've seen done is simply to cover the grate ( though not 100%) with s steel or iron plate. Not ideal, but it helps w burn times by not allowing air to come up from below the fire. Also wood will sit in the ash.
 
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defiant3

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2010
926
No. NH
Also, it's a bit of a project but one CAN convert to a regular Vig woodstove by changing the internals. Not big money for the parts, external box doesn't need to come apart either. Loads of fun!!
 

gthomas785

Minister of Fire
Feb 8, 2020
530
Central MA
Any tips on removing the coal grates?
Honestly, it's been so long I don't remember much of the details. We did the conversion once, and my dad was running the show. Something about an air tube needing to be removed.. or put back, maybe? Sorry I know that's not much help