joeq wrote:Hey Mark, just out of curiosity, what happened to your stove? Did it not perform to your expectations, or did it have a catastrophic failure? In my opinion, It has a certain appealing look to me. Is it not worth fixing?
nortcan wrote:I second that, it's a very nice stove
Nort and Joe,
My FB doesn't have the gold trim like the one pictured (got that off the web) but otherwise it's identical. I've had two FB stoves like this for a total of 28 years. Got the first when we built our home back in 1984, an older model with a coppertone sheet metal shell, but essentially the same stove. Bought the second one used about 9-10 years ago with about 5 years use on it. The FBs have done exactly what I wanted...heat the basement, plus supplement my heat pump so it runs minimally and only rarely kicks on the electric heating coils, even on the coldest days.
This past spring, everything looked ok when I did my cleanout and inspection--no cracks or seal failures. I planned to light one evening this week, and did one more check around the back. This time I found two vertical cracks opening up in the cast iron backplate of the firebox and hopper. Both were in the flange area that overlaps the side of the stove--if they went all the way through, they wouldn't have been into the firebox. The cracks were stable enough that I could put a small screwdriver in and wiggle it a bit, and couldn't make either side of the crack move. If that was all, I'd have probably filled them with furnace cement, lit up, and kept a watch on things.
More serious was the exhaust ports that run around the sides and back of the stove to the flue outlet. The ports are rectangular and have a back and front casting that are bolted together on either end. There are tabs cast into the parts on top and bottom, with a hole in the center so the bolts can be put through. On one side of the port, one of the tabs broke completely off, so the bolt wouldn't hold the two parts together. The gap was spreading open and the cement seal was cracking.
Neither problem is really "catastrophic failure." I'm sure many of the "old hands" on this board could have fixed it, or suggested a fix. Probably it woulda been fine if I patched it up with furnace tape, or resealed with cement and banded it with metal strapping. I could also likely find another used FB to buy and scavenge the parts, but I don't have a pickup or trailer to get one home if I did find it. Plus, I'm at work 10 hours a day while my wife is here at home, and I wouldn't want to patch the FB and then have something fail during the day that would set the CO detectors off.
I do know, with the price of FB parts these days, that replacing these parts with new would be pricey, and I don't want to put that kind of money in a 15-year-old stove.
So, I think I'm ready to get a new one. But before I scrap the FB I plan to remove all the uasable parts I can, and in case any FB burners on here are interested in them.