VigIIPeaBurner wrote:Interesting take on the evolutionary history of the Vigilant from the early hybrids to the current coal-'only' model 2310. I wondered why VC made the move away from the hybrid kit models to single fuel units. When did your dad stop making them, or maybe more telling, when did the pattens expire on his design? I've never looked at a Crane stove but will given a chance. Did his designs incorporate the side/back burner space for heat exchange? I believe VC used artisans in creating the original molds for their stove exteriors. The fact that they managed to put an efficient coal burning package into the original -70's stove and maintain the long exhaust path (with your dad's design?) is a positive that makes this little stove throw some serious heat. FWIW, I've been using mine for 12 seasons and have only replaced the front grill and door gaskets.
Truth be told, many of us Vigilant II users (and respectfully~) sure wish the grates were a little more aggressive. With crunchy coal ash, they need to be a little more persuasive. With a little prodding and slicing, they do get the job done without the fear of ever dropping the fire. I've found that the ash content makes a huge difference on how easy it is to operate. Doug, did you dad's cam have more lift? I often question if a larger differential between the high and low grates wouldn't help move the ash more efficently.
This Vigilant II grate system is the same grate system in my fathers Crane model 404 design (designed in 1979 and in production in 1980) any patents are long run out. The same problems held true for my fathers grate system in that people wished for as you say "a more aggressive shake", VC has its own foundry (one reason they have survived over the long haul) and i would think they have greater quality control over their castings, but i will try to explain how to make this grate system achieve what your looking for... the trick is trying to make a cast part into a "machined" part... if you take out the cam shaft and smooth/grind all the areas each of those finger grates touch and then do the same for all the fingers where they touch the cam shaft to make a "machined type" fit it enables the system to preform better, also where the finger grates slide at the front of the stove (grind smooth the underside where they make contact with the front of the stove). We also made a few of these cam shafts from steel and where able to achieve a better throw back and forth by slightly bending every other one of the sections of the cam which contact the finger grates (this cant be done with cast iron and i would suggest anyone alter their stove to that degree), but if VC tested this they would learn to have a new mold made to improve their current aggressiveness or "throw" as i call it. another technique i used was do a more vibratory shake with it rather then trying to make the finger grates slide back and forth try wiggling fast the handle to create vibrations for the ash to loosen and fall.
jesssus i need a job.... maybe i should ask VC if they got any