I'm now officially a coal burner. I picked up my Keystoker 90 direct vent which came from Matthaus by way of Greg (LsFarm) on his recent road trip, on Monday evening, and have been toting it around in the back of my Jetta TDI Wagon all week while I'm in Sterling Heights, MI on business. Friday we all go back home to Illinois (the stove and I).
Once I get home, trick #1 will be how to get the stove OUT of my car. Getting it in was easy, we took EVERYTHING off of it (hopper, blowers, doors, even the stoker itself) vacuumed out all the ash, rust, junk, etc. and layed it on it's side on top of the forks on his tractor loader. The car had a sheet of hardboard, shiny side up, and the stove was on a similar piece, shiny side down. We just wheeled the tractor to the car, tipped the forks down a little, and the stove just slid right in, easy as pie. We tied it down a bit with ratchet straps to keep it from joining me in the front seat, and made sure it won't move around too much. Everything else was packed in large bags for the trip home. I have to drive around corners pretty slow, as the hardboard on hardboard is SLIPPERY, even with all the weight of the stove on it. It moves quite easily. I think just me and several of my neighbors should be able to slide it out of the car and lower it to the ground. With 500lbs. of stove in the car, it's riding pretty low, so it won't be too far to the ground!
So, after getting the stove OUT of the car, I'll begin the process of rehab. Mechanically, the stove is in solid shape. It needs the basics like glass, gaskets, paint, and some electrical wiring cleanup. There was quite a bit of rust on the inside, but that will clean up easily, and proper storage in the future will prevent more from forming.
We did have to destroy the fume switch to get the stoker mechanism out due to the location of it and the inability to remove the internal firebox nut holding it to the stove (corroded). I'll have to order a replacement for that from either Keystoker or a Field Controls vendor. We also twisted off a stud for the stoker, but Greg fired up his welder and we had a new stud on there quickly. Good as new.
One thing is for sure - the Keystoker stoker 'guts' are HEAVY. It's one seriously solid chunk of steel and iron. Very nice. The stove itself is also very heavy and well designed. I'm impressed.
I'll take pics once I get home and get ready to unload. I didn't even think to take pics while at Greg's place, even though I had my camera. We were just too involved in getting the stove ready to load up. I'll also document the 'restoration' process as I go. I'm sure the wife will freak out when she sees the 'basket case' come out of my car, but will appreciate it when it looks like new and keeps the house toasty warm.
It was also great to meet Greg in person. He's a real first class guy. His stoker/boiler setup is really nice (and huge), and his 'shop' is a veritable mechanical candy store. WAY too many cool toys and gadgets.
I also have to say that this forum has been easily the most civil, helpful, and high quality place to spend time I've been out of many others. I think only the Cessna 120/140 website/forum equals this one from a lack of flame wars, useless posts, etc. I suppose that stems from having people with a common bond in one place and also a 'niche' market, and anthracite coal burning is a very narrow niche for sure.
Looking forward to many years of happy coal burning. I think I've wanted a coal stove since I was 7 or 8 years old. Must have been tied into my fascination with steam engines...... OK, so it only took me 30 years to get a stove......