New Coal stove that looks as good as a VC Vigilant

Re: New Coal stove that looks as good as a VC Vigilant

PostBy: wsherrick On: Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:09 am

Doug, I know you are new, so I'll be gentle.
Comparing your box stove to a Base Heater is like comparing a Ferrari to an ox cart with wooden wheels. Your box stove at best can only manage about 70% efficiency, mostly they operate around the 60% range; whereas the cast iron ones you disdain operate at well over 90% consistantly over a wide range of operating temperatures. As far as their durability goes. I have one Glenwood Base Heater built in 1900 and the other built in 1909. They are used daily and I depend on them for 100% of my heating needs as I have no other heat source. And I bet there are a lot more Glenwoods from 1909 as well as several other brands around today than your stove. So I guess they last pretty good. Base Heaters, Base Burners and high quality Oak Stoves from the era of coal burning represent the peak of coal stove design. They spent a lot of time and money researching the nature of how various fuels combust and applied a sophisticated knowledge of thermodynamics and physics to their products. They aren't just pretty they are formidable heating machines. A comparable Base Heater will blow your stove away in every catagory, every one. It will produce the same or more BTU's of heat while using half the coal to do it than the box stove.

As far as the Vermont Castings is concerned: It is the only modern stove that I am aware of that tries to recreate in some degree how a base burner works. And the finger grates with cams was thought of well over a century ago. Take a look at a steam locomotive firebox. I'm not trying to disparage you at all. You just need a little exposure to the Wide World of Coal Burning and the long, long history behind it. You find out that most everything was already thought of and applied by the time the Wright Brothers made their first flight.
wsherrick
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Glenwood Base Heater, Crawford Base Heater
Baseburners & Antiques: Crawford Base Heater, Glenwood, Stanley Argand
Coal Size/Type: Chestnut, Stove Size

Re: New Coal stove that looks as good as a VC Vigilant

PostBy: dcrane On: Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:55 am

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 :P
dcrane
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404

Re: New Coal stove that looks as good as a VC Vigilant

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:08 pm

dcrane wrote: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 :P


You have the opportunity of knowing how these systems work and can be improved. Why not work in that direction? I think the number of residential heating systems using coal will increase in the future. Retro kits for Cranes and Vigilant II (???) and a new line of Crane stoves ... just thinking :)

When I wrote my post yesterday, I was thinking about cam mods similar to what you were discussing. I wonder if brazing on tab extensions and filing them to create the offset on the high lobes might not work. It would give the high set a little more offset and lift causing more of a stirring action at the bottom of the ash remains.

The vibratory shake might work with sandy ash but definitely not with crunchy ash. Coals that thend to fuse the silica content so the shape of the original piece of nut remains are the ones that create the problem. The easiest way I've found to clear them is to poke with a piece of flat stock (turned flat) and following the angle of the finger grates at the level of the fettle. I poke inward feeling for resistance then crush it through the grate into the ash pan.
VigIIPeaBurner
 
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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Re: New Coal stove that looks as good as a VC Vigilant

PostBy: carlherrnstein On: Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:36 pm

It seems to me that you would need a slightly different tweek to the grate system for each different "flavor" of coal. Which just doesn't make sense for the manufacturer they have to make a system that works ok for all coal ash. One thing I like about it is I think you would have to try awfull hard to dump a fire

My ohio bituminous burns up into fine tanish dust and I have no problem getting most of the ash out of the bottom of the fire with 15-20 lever strokes, the only times Iv had to use the slicer doom-a-jiggie is when there is a peice of limestone jammed in between the grate bars.
carlherrnstein
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: combustioneer model 77B
Coal Size/Type: pea stoker/Ohio bituminous

Re: New Coal stove that looks as good as a VC Vigilant

PostBy: nortcan On: Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:39 am

One other thing that helps to dump more ash is to make the gap between each grate larger and irregular by grinding the sides of the grates, plus making some grinder vertical slots. So more grinded stuff will go down where supposed to go, in the ash pan. Yes hard to kill the fire in these stoves but that is not a + but a -.
Again don't try to compare to the antique ones. So different, and in the past days they didn't have all the heating choices we get now so they made stoves to do the job not to play engineers like we have to do with our "modern" advenced stoves :lol:
nortcan
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Stuart,Peterson/ Grander
Stove/Furnace Model: Sunnyside/ Golden Bride

Re: New Coal stove that looks as good as a VC Vigilant

PostBy: dcrane On: Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:00 am

nortcan wrote:One other thing that helps to dump more ash is to make the gap between each grate larger and irregular by grinding the sides of the grates, plus making some grinder vertical slots. So more grinded stuff will go down where supposed to go, in the ash pan. Yes hard to kill the fire in these stoves but that is not a + but a -.
Again don't try to compare to the antique ones. So different, and in the past days they didn't have all the heating choices we get now so they made stoves to do the job not to play engineers like we have to do with our "modern" advenced stoves :lol:


good idea, the main problem that occurred with an irregular pattern on the sides of the fingers (we had tried several patterns which involved 1/2" - 1" alternating gaps) was that it would jamb the grate system, Your idea however only involves grinding some slices into the sides of the fingers which may facilitate a more aggressive shake without this jamming problem (just be careful not to grind to deep because this would allow for warpage of the fingers at these vulnerable areas if they become to thin). GJ
dcrane
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404

Re: New Coal stove that looks as good as a VC Vigilant

PostBy: nortcan On: Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:23 pm

dcrane, if I compare to the gaps in my Golden Bride's grates, grinding the V2 grates sides is not a problem. I did it on mine and it helped. If I was to keep that stove I would even remove some more on the sides. If the stuff is removed gradually, we could find the perfect size so the slicing would becomes useless. The vertical grinder slots are also important to break/grind the harder pieces in powder.
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nortcan
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Stuart,Peterson/ Grander
Stove/Furnace Model: Sunnyside/ Golden Bride

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