New hand fired base burner

Re: New hand fired base burner

PostBy: coalcracker On: Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:29 am

Gekko wrote:I agree....I think the market is not there BECAUSE a top quality new one is not made.

Re building an old one would be childs play for me :mrgreen: , (I've been a jet aircraft mechanic for over thirty years) but the thought of a 100 year old casting that has been heat cycled thousands of times, with no documented provenance, scares the *censored* out of me.


that's the key note, casting vs. rolled steel or forged steel- you hit the nail there !

I have a minors in basic electronics and automotive technology, and a bachelor's in business. I was a mechanic for 20 years, had my own drivetrain rebuilding garage for 7 years. Rebuilt more American V8 engines than I can count. Did a few body-off restorations, rebodied/painted/re-wired cars, changed transmissions, rear axles, glass, interiors, steering/suspension, frames, you name it. Later worked in manufacturing making jet engine rings, these went in modern military fighter planes for USAF. We took straight bars of high heat alloy steel, bent them in a ring, flash welded them, rolled the rings in a huge press to lampshade-like venturi shapes, machined them in CNC's, then these were shipped to GE and Pratt & Whitney, to make F14 F15 F16 etc. jet engines, and welded all together. Later I worked in electronics where they made microwave TV transmission and reception systems to be sold worldwide.

Like you said, a stove is child's play in comparison. Being a technician you realize that. It's obvious to anyone with some engineering design, materials, marketing, and manufacturing experience, why they make stoves the way they do today.

What most don't realize is, ANY old stove is cast iron, a fragile brittle casting.
I worked in the metallurgical lab where we did grain structures, tensile test, heat treat tests, pullman tests on the aircraft rings we made. My boss was a metallurgist with a Masters Degree. In these labs they'd take a piece of steel, machine it into a small length, then put it apart in a huge machine, and when it broke in half, the machine records the pressure at which is snapped.

About half our work was military, the other half was commercial.

There's no doubt, a modern stove with steel plate, has far better grain structure, and pullman numbers, and tensile strength, etc. than any old cast iron ever had. No comparison. If I brought a piece of cast iron to the lab from an old stove, and asked my boss to test it, he'd laugh me out of the lab. May as well ask him to test a piece of play dough, or a wooden stick. We were testing TITANIUM there, and machining it. That's what the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane was made from. These alloys were made to take 1000's of degrees in the plane's engine.

Metallurgy has come a long way since then. Wanting to build it that way, today, is taking a big step BACKWARDS.

The old stoves have nowhere NEAR the strength of a steel welded stove. Cast iron stoves crack often from rust jacking or heat cycling. I've looked at quite a few, and own 6 of them myself. 5 of them I got for free, and the only one I bought was $25. But I run a modern stove to heat my house. Why ? My new Harman stove is welded 1/4" and 5/16" plate STEEL. Way stronger than any casting, it won't crack - ever. You would shoot it with a 38 or 45 or 9mm pistol and the bullet would BOUNCE OFF the steel. Try that with an old stove, see what happens. The welds on it are aircraft quality, you can barely see them.

Making these great vintage designs, today, is a matter of economics. There's a market, but it's small. The availability of coal is also limited to area. Out west in some states like Oregon, it's illegal to burn coal in many counties, even though it's in their back yard, and can be dug for free. Labor and overhead costs are too high, to build a complex design with this limited market. It would be such a small niche market, there would be no profit margin. The temptation to take the factory overseas to China would be great. Then the stove design would really be bastardized over there, like everything they take overseas to make, i.e. Daisy BB guns, Lionel trains, Flexible Flyer snow sleds, TV's, stereos, etc. Today they're all throwaway. They just can't stay in business and compete paying labor $15-$25 an hour here, when the Chinese work for $15-$25 a day over there. We're being undercut on everything.

The answer would be wall off the markets with tariffs, that's how it was back in the boom years of the USA. We could not compete with cheap foreign labor in the 1700's and 1800's and 1900's either, but our manufacturing base was protected with tariffs. Today tariffs have been removed, with NAFTA and GAAT and other agreements, so our manufacturing base it being destroyed in the USA..

see there's a lot to this issue

finally, they ARE building very efficient stoves today. The Coal Gun stoker will heat your house and hot water for about $4-$5 a day, self feeds, self rakes, on a T-stat, hopper fed. The modern free standing, hand fired stoves will heat your house for the same price, I've been doing it that way for nearly 20 years. It's not like the old stoves use one pail a day, and the new stoves use 2 or 3 pails a day. They are equal for all practical purposes, and the new stoves have a fan in them. Harman, Hitzer, Coal Gun, many others ARE made in USA. We're there already. Hitzer is a paying sponsor of this board, how 'bout give the sponsor's product some credit and recognition ?

Even the modern woodburners are made of heavy gauge welded steel, they have been since the 1970's. Do you realize how much time/effort/cost/labor, it takes to make a mold, and pour cast iron into it, to make every part ? It's not feasible today, and the resulting product, is inferior. It's a lot easier to roll the steel out, cut it, then weld it together, and it's much stronger and durable.
coalcracker
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Standard sealed hot water boiler, hand fed
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark I Magnafire
Baseburners & Antiques: Lehigh Oak 18, Washington potbelly, Sears Roebuck parlor cabinet, PIttston 6 lid cook stove, vintage combo gas/coal cook stove 4 lid
Coal Size/Type: nut
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark I Magnafire

Re: New hand fired base burner

PostBy: coalcracker On: Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:45 am

I'd like to add something, when the old stoves were cast as parts, each individual part must first have a mold made for it. I've spoken to old guys who used to make molds for castings, for GM and Ford, etc. years ago. They said the mold making alone is a lost art, many of those guys were irreplaceable.

Now imagine making all those molds, then filling each mold with molten metal, cooling, removing the parts, deburring, machining, painting, assembling it.

Compare to a modern stove- they roll the entire main body into a big squarish tube from high strength 1/4" plate steel, in one process, on a giant machine- then weld one seam- presto they have the main body. They weld on the top/bottom plates, presto they have a stove. Now all they need is a door and legs. See how much faster it is ?

Companies are in business to make a profit- a huge profit.

There's no way making it from a casting can compete in cost, and strength. It would be very costly and the market niche very small today- and weaker. I have an 18" Oak stove with half the firepot cracked, that I had t repair, made in early 1900's.

Here's some pics of the Harman showing how they rolled the main body, and welded the side seam, and top/bottom plates. It probably was 10 minutes to weld this new stove together using machines in the factory. Having worked in factories a long time, I know how the lines work. One must understand the "why" they make stoves this way, it's quicker, easier, cheaper, stronger, longer lasting, and more profitable.

I think it's better to restore the old stoves to like-new, than make new repops of an old design. Why ? Keep in mind if they repopped the old designs, it would seriously devalue the resale value of the older restored stoves. I've seen it happen in the repro musclecar and car parts market. The made in China stuff devalued the NOS parts market greatly.
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coalcracker
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Standard sealed hot water boiler, hand fed
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark I Magnafire
Baseburners & Antiques: Lehigh Oak 18, Washington potbelly, Sears Roebuck parlor cabinet, PIttston 6 lid cook stove, vintage combo gas/coal cook stove 4 lid
Coal Size/Type: nut
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark I Magnafire

Re: New hand fired base burner

PostBy: Pacowy On: Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:57 am

I'm glad the SR-71 wasn't made of cast iron :lol: , but I think you're missing your own point. The materials you use should satisfy the actual application requirements that you face. There might be a few people out there who shoot guns at their heating equipment or subject it to tensile strength tests, but those aren't the types of activities heating equipment is supposed to be able to perform. I heat my house with an H.B. Smith Mills boiler and an EFM conversion stoker. AFAIK both are made largely of cast iron, and both have been in productive service for 60+ years. I'm not aware of any "newfangled" heating equipment that comes with that type of life expectancy. Being cheaper to produce doesn't necessarily make it more durable for the user.

Mike
Pacowy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: H.B. Smith 350 Mills boiler/EFM 85R stoker
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/anthracite

Visit Hitzer Stoves

Re: New hand fired base burner

PostBy: wsherrick On: Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:05 am

So I suppose all of those thousands of stoves still here after a century plus of existence is proof of their flaws. There are still thousands of them left, after the scrap drives of two world wars and a depression where people sold as much iron and steel as possible just to keep food on the table. And the post war period where all things that came before were to be gotten rid of because we were in the, "Space Age."
After all of those decades upon decades and events in which probably millions of stoves were melted down, there are still enough of them left to support a dozen places that make their living selling them full time. And people are buying them in droves. Hmm interesting.
Thanks for letting us know, that was very informative.
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 hand fired base burner

PostBy: Carbon12 On: Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:18 am

SR-71 was the same color as cast iron :lol: I wonder how well a titanium stove would work??? Don't over fire though,......not a good idea to ignite titanium,...apparently :shock:
Carbon12
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite
Other Heating: Heat Pump/Forced Hot Air Oil Furnace

Re: New hand fired base burner

PostBy: Sunny Boy On: Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:28 am

Think about this, the old stove castings that would crack, did so long ago. What has survived all these years is the top quality castings.

And if you think todays casting technology is superior, you haven't spent much time around modern castings. Check out the problems with many different types of modern cast iron stoves. And it's not just stoves, but other machinery made from cast iron too.

In other words, 100 year old stoves, just by the fact they are still here and still working have a PROVEN track record no new stove has yet earned.

Or, as an mechanical engineer friend, who also restores antique cars and machinery said, if it was going to break, it would have done it long ago.

Paul
Sunny Boy
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Anthracite Industrial, domestic hot water heater
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood range 208, # 6 base heater, 2 Modern Oak 118.
Coal Size/Type: Nuts !
Other Heating: Oil &electric plenum furnace

Re: New hand fired base burner

PostBy: franco b On: Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:10 pm

What struck me about coalcracker's stove is how filthy it is. The hearth is so covered in ash it is hard to see the bricks in some places. Latches and blower motor same thing.

In contrast using a Modern Glenwood Oak everything stayed clean as long as I lifted out the ash pan rather than sliding it out, even though like the Harman it is under size as it is in most stoves. Making an adequate ash pan is evidently beyond the engineering capabilities of most makers then and now.
franco b
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: V ermont Castings 2310, Franco Belge 262
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Modern Oak 114
Coal Size/Type: nut and pea

Re: New hand fired base burner

PostBy: Sunny Boy On: Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:21 pm

CC, I see that your still trying to prove your point with apples to oranges comparisons and flawed examples.

One.
Who in their right mind would expect their stove to hold up to gun fire ? For crying out loud, it's designed to be a stove, not an armored car.

Two.
Your much used example of musical cars had A LOT of cast iron in them. If you were correct and cast iron is so weak and fragile (it isn't), their motors , transmissions, differential housings, rear axle wheel bearing housings, water pumps, piston rings, etc., would have all fallen apart, or been made out of plate steel. They didn't and they weren't.

Three.
Cast iron has worked in many forms for withstanding repeated high heat cycling in ways that plate steel can't match. It's one of the unique features of GOOD QUAILITY cast iron (not crap), and why it's used that way. You don't seem to be aware that not all cast iron is the same. There are many types, alloys, and, . . . many ways to screw it up and turn out poor quality castings. Just as there has been a lot of poor quality steel. Which by the way is a hallmark of Detroit's lack of quality during (and after) your muscle car era examples.

Four.
No one expects a cast iron stove to be used as modern aircraft parts. And by the way, cast iron has a very long history in aircraft use too. Far longer than any of your modern examples. And they didn't all fall out of the sky because they used cast iron instead of plate steel.

No one here expects cast iron to hold up to anything other than what it was designed for - a stove.

BTW, I also know a thing or two about working with metals and making patterns and castings. I built/modified for street, road rally, and gymkhana racing, back in those late muscle car days. Since then, for 40 years I've been doing antique car restoration, of which the last 30 years I am the owner/operator of a restoration shop specializing in high-end cars from the 1920's and 30's.

Paul
Sunny Boy
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Anthracite Industrial, domestic hot water heater
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood range 208, # 6 base heater, 2 Modern Oak 118.
Coal Size/Type: Nuts !
Other Heating: Oil &electric plenum furnace

Re: New hand fired base burner

PostBy: dcrane On: Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:45 pm

one point id like to make regarding these antique baseburners and the comments about weak cast iron not structurally sound as "todays plate steel"... fact is those old baseburners were rolled steel (NOT CAST IRON)... i know some people "think" they are cast but some of those old timers new that thin sheet steel radiates heat unbelievably well... they were able to integrate castings so well to the front, rear, bottom, top with functional decor foot warmers, rings for air circulation, top hat ovens for cooking...it goes on and on.... but the combustion chamber in most cases were indeed steel! (I just did not want anyone to be confused with bad info).
dcrane
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404

Re: New hand fired base burner

PostBy: franco b On: Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:51 pm

dcrane wrote: but the combustion chamber in most cases were indeed steel!
I think i know what you intended to mean but a combustion chamber is where the fire is. They were all cast iron, some having refractory lining.
franco b
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: V ermont Castings 2310, Franco Belge 262
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Modern Oak 114
Coal Size/Type: nut and pea

Re: New hand fired base burner

PostBy: Sunny Boy On: Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:04 pm

franco b wrote:
dcrane wrote: but the combustion chamber in most cases were indeed steel!
I think i know what you intended to mean but a combustion chamber is where the fire is. They were all cast iron, some having refractory lining.


Exactly.

The sheet metal barrels of base burners and others like my oak, are not the combustion chamber. Thin sheet metal would not hold up to that. They are a heat exchanger plenum area above the combustion area.

Paul
Sunny Boy
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Anthracite Industrial, domestic hot water heater
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood range 208, # 6 base heater, 2 Modern Oak 118.
Coal Size/Type: Nuts !
Other Heating: Oil &electric plenum furnace

Re: New hand fired base burner

PostBy: BPatrick On: Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:41 pm

Gekko, we don't want you to feel uncomfortable so keep buying the modern stoves. Funny, when I go to the review sites for these newer stoves, I read about all the problems, the corners that have been cut, and the poor customer service after the sale. I wonder how many will be left after 100 years. I was a wood burner before I switched to coal. I spent money and bought supposed quality stoves. One of the best was the Lopi Liberty stove. I was amazed at the poor craftsmanship and poor quality. I had the dealer and stove rep out to the house multiple times and there was always an excuse why something didn't work or something had broke. Finally had enough, the dealer bought it back and I went with an antique coal burner. A friend said, how will you get service if somethings wrong. I said the fact that they're still around after 100+ years tells me they were well made; and any company restoring them has a million times better warranty than the modern HMO type manufacturers warranty. I told him that Lopi's customer service and warranty was a joke and how much worse can this be. Well I've burned for a year with an old Herald No. 18 and it was awesome and then bought a Crawford 40 from Stove Hospital. Had some problems with it. No problem. Emery is shipping back to his place to completely tear it down and re-do it. That's piece of mind and a warranty. Gekko, does your modern stove company stand behind their product like this...no. With all the information on here and the great experienced coal burners, I don't feel there is any issue that couldn't be figured out on this site or by Emery or Brandon from the Stove Hospital.
BPatrick
 
Baseburners & Antiques: 2 Crawford 40 Baseheaters
Coal Size/Type: Stove Coal
Other Heating: Herald Oak No. 18

Re: New hand fired base burner

PostBy: dcrane On: Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:28 pm

Sunny Boy wrote:
franco b wrote:
dcrane wrote: but the combustion chamber in most cases were indeed steel!
I think i know what you intended to mean but a combustion chamber is where the fire is. They were all cast iron, some having refractory lining.


Exactly.

The sheet metal barrels of base burners and others like my oak, are not the combustion chamber. Thin sheet metal would not hold up to that. They are a heat exchanger plenum area above the combustion area.

Paul


I stand corrected... the steel barrel where the ignition occurs (above the firepot)... this area was designed to be large and thin to radiate heat extremely well! when i say combustion chamber i was referring to the area where gases ignite in a parlor stove.
dcrane
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404

Re: New hand fired base burner

PostBy: warminmn On: Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:01 pm

I have a hard time believing any steel or iron that was made 100 years ago was of poorer grade then what is made now.

Is that why China buys a lot of scrap cars to mix with their own crappy steel that they produce?

My father rebuilt antique engines for many years, and a few that were modern at the time and I know he would say that is wrong. The old engines were very hard on the milling equipment. Vintage Mercedes (yes I know its German) crankshafts were the toughest that he did.

I would think stove steel/iron would be in the same catagory for the time.
warminmn
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Chubby Junior, Efel Nestor Martin
Coal Size/Type: nut and stove anthracite. Soft coal
Other Heating: wood

Re: New hand fired base burner

PostBy: Sunny Boy On: Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:58 pm

What many people don't know is that, not all modern engineering is about making things better. Much of it is focused toward making the same thing for less money.

All to often that approach ruins a product.

Paul
Sunny Boy
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Anthracite Industrial, domestic hot water heater
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood range 208, # 6 base heater, 2 Modern Oak 118.
Coal Size/Type: Nuts !
Other Heating: Oil &electric plenum furnace

Visit Hitzer Stoves