wingswheelssnow wrote:Thanks much for the feedback folks I will check the inner plates in the stove and make sure they are properly sealed, and yes I do have the hopper that slides in the top of the stove I wil be sure to use it next time and fill it up with more coal . I was also looking at the grates and when they are in place one of them is bowed thus making a tight fit agaist the other one maybe this could be the culprit on why the ash is not falling through to easy when I shake down. ????? How often do you shake down the coal in your v/c vigilant stove?
Couple of things here. You have a warped grate, and it will jam up against one of the others when you try to shake it down. You have a couple of options here. You can take the insert apart and move the grate to a position where it does not bind, or get a new grate. Or you can do like I do presently (because one of my grates is binding a little) shake with very short strokes to settle the ash and clean it out with with the slicer (long flat metal thing ). Slicing is very important on the VC v1.0, in fact sometimes I don't bother shaking at all.
IMHO here is what you need to do
Switch over to nut coal.
Set your hopper for nut. You want the throat of the hopper in the highest position. The bottom of the throat should be about 2" below the hopper body. Here is a drawing of the parts: http://www.stovepartsplus.com/Merchant5 ... G-0054.pdf
Seal the insert and add gaskets like we discussed in other threads. Look for some of "rewinder" threads, he is very good with the VC.
Once you are set up with the hopper in place, start with a good hot wood (stove damper handle open), or charcoal fire, and gradually add coal through the hopper till you get a nice bed going and then fill the hopper, When you are sure it is burning OK, close the damper and set the thermostat. Probably about 1/4 open.
For shakedown and cleaning this is what I do (for what it is worth)
Tools: gloves, slicer, shovel, old screwdriver, old cookie sheet.
Just did it so still fresh in my mind:
Flip stove damper to open.
Thermostat wide open.
Put on your gloves, I use old welders gloves.
I keep an old cookie sheet under the stove to catch any embers that fall out, so slide it out.
Open stove and remove and empty ash pan (should be full of cold ashes from last shakedown). Use the shovel to remove any stray ash from underneath.
Replace pan, but only put it 1/2 way in.
Take your slicer (hold it at about 85° and from above) and clean out the area immediately behind the front cover of the insert (#25). This give you some room for the coal to move when you shake.
Shove the pan in and close the doors.
Shake, short strokes, to settle the ashes.
open the doors.
Here I take an old leather welders glove ( a no good one) and hold it by the thumb and press it against the coal that has moved down from the hopper, this keeps it from spilling over the front cover when you slice.
Starting at the right side, shove the slicer (held horizontally) under the front cover, above the grates all the way to the back of the stove, then move the slicer handle back and forth. This will clean out all of the ash in an area shaped kind of like a pie slice. At first it will go very smoothly as the fly ash falls through, but you will start to feel more resistance as the unburnt coal starts to move down. When you feel resistance and red coals are falling through, move the slicer over a couple of inches and repeat. I usually do this about 4 times. BE CAREFUL THE SLICER IS VERY HOT!!!
Close the doors.
Drop the slicer in the cookie sheet, and sweep stray ashes off of the lip into the sheet. Slide it back under the stove
Fill the hopper (I keep an old screwdriver handy to open the top, as the slicer is hot)
Close the damper and reset the thermostat (make sure that it did not jam against the heat shield in the back).
The whole thing takes about 5 minutes start to finish.
This works very will for me. Will go about 8-10 hours at 400°, 12-14 at 300° (by my thermometer).
You will want to read stove temp on the top of the shelf on the right side of the stove, not the griddle, because the hopper blocks the heat from there.
That is it for now, hope it was not too long winded. Good luck.