Anyone Burn a Vermont Castings Vigilant II?

Anyone burn a Vermont castings Vigilant II?

PostBy: castiron On: Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:17 am

Anybody out there burn a Vigilant II and what do you think of it? What's the lowest/longest burn you can get out of it? How often do you have to tend it and how much coal do you go through for a given temp? Any other pros/cons would be appreciated. Thanks.

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PostBy: woodburner On: Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:40 pm

I have a VC vigilant II and it is a very good stove. I get 8-10 hours burn time but I also try not to burn it too hot - nice and steady. I mix my coal 50/50 chestnut and pea. It burns too fast with the pea and the chestnut is too unpredictable so I have the coal yard give me two small scoops of each. Do not think the grates are the best design. Have had rockers come off, get stuck, jam the fire bricks at times. Ha d a Waterford Erin which didn't burn as long but had the best grates I ever saw. Over fired it once (once with coal and the stove is toast) and now it is in my garage burning wood only. Also had an Efel (didnt cost much and it showed - lousy grate system) and even had a keystoker hot air system (now I have oil) since my main heat is the vigilant II and the resolute. I want ease for backup. I also have a VC resolute (pre 1989 model) woodburner and that is a great stove. No ashpan though. The cast iron and the fit and finish just seem better on the VC stoves than the new ones since VC sold out.
Do have to replace the front grill every year (it warps) and I normally can run it for about a month before I have to shut it down and give it a really good cleaning. The corners fill up and the fly ash takes over. But all in all I would reccommend it.

PostBy: oliver power On: Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:13 am

Geez , I feel like I'm hogging the site. My first coal stove was a Vermont Casting Vigilant. I heated a small , well insulated home with it (832 feet). I went through 2-1/2 tons of chestnut coal per winter , and used it for three winters. At the time , I too thought it was a good coal stove. That is ; untill I bought a HITZER(model 50-93). NO COMPARISON! The HITZER will WAY out perform the Vermont Casting Vigilant. It's a night and day difference. Now don't get me wrong. The Vigilant is a nice looking , cozy little coal stove for the livingroom. Don't try to heat your house with it. You'll be very disappointed. My vigilant didn't have a blower on it. Don't know about the new ones. My vigilant was held together with 4 pieces of 1/4 inch threaded rod(one in each corner). The whole stove is actually pieces put together , not heavy welded steel. The stove parts interlock with each other. The threaded rod held them tight. Should anyone buy a used vigilant coal stove , I would recommend they take it apart , and inspect the threaded rod. As mentioned earlyer , the threaded rod is only 1/4 inch. The corrosion from fly ash had each rod just about eaten in half. I would not have known this myself , if it wasn't for the fact that I bought this stove all apart , and had to put it back together.
oliver power
Stoker Coal Boiler: KEYSTOKER Kaa-2
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93 & 30-95, Vigilant (pre-Vigilant-II), D.S. 1600 Circulator
Baseburners & Antiques: MANY (Mostly when burning wood)

PostBy: LsFarm On: Thu Apr 19, 2007 8:19 am

Hello Olliver, there is no such thing as 'hogging the site' . If there is, I'm the 'head hog' This season while I was on 2 months of medical leave from work I added hundreds of posts to the forum. Most I hope were helpful to the members. This is what the forum is all about !!

For example, I did not know that the Vigilant stoves were bolted together cast sections. I had a 'franklin' wood stove like this and would never recommend one constructed this way for coal burning.

Everyone sharing their knowledge and experiences is what make this forum a great place to visit and participate on.

So Please keep on 'hogging' the site, post away!! We all gain from everyone's participation.

Greg L [ aka 'blabber-fingers' ] :lol:

Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:02 am

Blabber fingers, now that is a good one! :lol: :lol: :lol:
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

PostBy: bigchunk On: Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:17 pm

what do you think of the franklin stove. im aware its not intented to be used to heat a whole house but for a home that doesnt have a fireplace is this stove a safe old fashoned alternative. ive had a look at one or two in the past and theres this attraction I cant seem to shake loose.
Stove/Furnace Make: harman
Stove/Furnace Model: sf250 magnafire

PostBy: bigchunk On: Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:19 pm

my apologies that was a question for Ls Farm. thanks
Stove/Furnace Make: harman
Stove/Furnace Model: sf250 magnafire

PostBy: LsFarm On: Wed Aug 29, 2007 5:49 pm

The problem with most 'franklin' stoves is that they need to be airtight to control the rate of burn. The franklin I had had way too many leaks around the doors, and interlocking sides/top/bottom. The doors did not have anyway to add a gasket or seal, and even after I took it apart and used sealer on all the interlocking panels, it still was pretty much uncontrolable.

I couldn't seal it off enough to cut back the air to the wood fire. I resorted to keeping some rther green logs around so that when the fire got too hot, I'd toss a 'wet one' on the fire to soak up the heat. Of course the resulting creosote was an issue....

I ended up building my own wood airtight wood stove, it heated my house for over ten years and is still heating that house for the current owners 25 years later.

I like the looks of a Franklin, but they aren't very effecient.

Greg L.

Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

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PostBy: bigchunk On: Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:14 pm

yeah ive known a few people who had them, thought they were gonna be something that there not. I seen one for sale on the side of the road $40.00 talked to the owner he was trying to use it to heat his home, said lots of back draft (smoke in his house) and not enough heat. another guy has one in his field it was in the barn when he bought the house. and then another guy who picked one up for free this one has all four legs the doors and its very nice pretty large indeed with the fancy mantle he uses it outside his house for a gathering place to sit and chit chat. all in all thanks for the info.
Stove/Furnace Make: harman
Stove/Furnace Model: sf250 magnafire

Re: Anyone burn a Vermont castings Vigilant II?

PostBy: ScubaSteve On: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:45 am

I get between 10 and 15 hours depending on how high or low I set the thermostat. I love it and have zero complaints. Nothings better than going to bed,and getting up the next morning and its still crankin out the heat!!
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont castings Vigilant II model 2310
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings Vigilant II
Stove/Furnace Model: model 2310

Re: Anyone burn a Vermont castings Vigilant II?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Sat Oct 11, 2008 6:34 am

LsFarm wrote:Hello Olliver, there is no such thing as 'hogging the site' .
LsFarm wrote:This is what the forum is all about !!

LsFarm wrote:So Please keep on 'hogging' the site, post away!! We all gain from everyone's participation

I guess you just can't get enough of my political musings too, eh Greg? :lol: :devil:
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Anyone burn a Vermont castings Vigilant II?

PostBy: nuthead On: Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:40 am

i have a vc, my first stove I use niu and it heats my 1850 sq ft cape style full shed a 2 dormers house built in 96. it does get a little cool in 2 bedrooms on the 2nd floor and looking at cir some of the heat ( I would like to cut holes for vents but I am not sure if that ok in mass building codes) but does a good job of heating, not sure if it the best, ? what's better cast iron or steel if I had the replace please fire off some modles.
Stove/Furnace Make: vc
Stove/Furnace Model: vig 2

Re: Anyone burn a Vermont castings Vigilant II?

PostBy: pzou812 On: Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:44 am

I have a vermont castings vigilant II. I have been using it about 2 1/2 yrs. Its great I get a good 18 hrs out of it. I burn nut in it, tried pea oal just don't burn as hot. Its better to use the pea in the early winter when its not so cold. The only problem I have is the dust, I work 12 hrs a day and no one home to shake it so when I get home I have a thick bed of ash. Thats when I have to open it up and rake the coals and knife the ash. That is my problem and the dust goes every where. I wonder if a stoker automatic stove is cleaner. It shakes it automatic when you are not there. Anyone run into the problem.
Stove/Furnace Make: leisure line
Stove/Furnace Model: pioneer

Re: Anyone burn a Vermont castings Vigilant II?

PostBy: Sid the Fire God On: Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:09 am

I recently purchased a Vigilant II stove and am asking questions about chimney height. For best operation how high of a chimney should I have?

Sid the Fire God
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings

Re: Anyone burn a Vermont castings Vigilant II?

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:10 pm

I've got one. It's hooked into a 16' SS chimney and 6 ft of vertical stove pipe. I've got plenty of draft but every instalation is different.

Search for my posts for some more conversations about this stove. I'm on my seventh heating season. I have replaced bricks and the grill. The first grill, replaced after 7 seasons ($65)was still usable but was hurting for appearance. Did the bicks after 5 yrs. Don't be concerned about the bad comments as they are usually referring to the older designs. The newest model is the Vigilant II 2310, coal only - so the mfg says(EPA rating). The older models do fine too. It's like anything, you need to learn it to operate it well. If it's an older model, multi-fuel with a hopper, search for member rewinder 's posts. He's got it down. I've had VC cast iron stoves for nearly 30 years total and have not had a problem with either of the two I've had. I've alway broken them in with successively hotter fires so the assembly can stretch out over the progressively bigger expansion/contraction cycles. Cast iron has the highest resistance to heat but is brittle and has to be assembled in pieces. Never disassembled them but do clean'em out at the end of the season. It's easy and takes maybe a 1/2 hour.

Heats fine. I use it for my main heat in a 10 yr old 3,100 sq ft frame house. It isn't the largest output rated at 50,000 BTU/hr. The Hitzer referred to earlier is at lest 1.5X more BTUs so it's not comparing apples to apples. 2310 does the entire job until in my house 'til it falls into the low 20's and lower at night. Then the oil furnace, T-stat @ 68, makes up the dif by running 1- 3 times/hr for 3 minutes each time(I've heated solely with the coal stove down to 2 but I was pushing it). I'm still on the same tank filled 10/07. Once the sun is up, it heats the whole house in the low teens. After the Koker is hooked in, oil will be used only for winter vacations. I run the stove 600-700 degrees measured on the stove top and get 12- 15 hr burns with Reading pea. Just did a short 1+ day burn with 80Lbs Superior nut and got longer burn times w/less air. Air inlet is thermostatically regulated so it keeps the temperature steady even if the weather swings when you're away. Edges do build up with ash as do many stoves with square or rectangular fire boxes. I carefully rod horizontally below the lowest grill into the ash below the fire an push the ash down and thru the grates. Doesn't make a big mess if you take your time. Don't be afraid to thoroughly shake it. You have to really to try drop the fire. I usually pull the lever 50 - 75 times to get all the powder down after a 12 -15 hr burn. The grate configuration isn't a rocking bar, it's a series of winged "W"s hanging from front to back. They raise and lower and simultaneously fore and aft. I've had a single grate come off twice in seven years, mainly because I was pulling at the lever too hard and fast. Smooth even strokes, no problem. Clinkers do not lock them up as they might in pivoting designs. Just pull the plate off the front of the grates, with the fire going, and slice in between them if you need to. Careful attention to burn temperature swings and you won't have clinker problem.

If you'd like to, check out the videos I've done, They're linked below my sig block. They're crude and amateurish - done quickly- but you get the point.
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

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