Den034071 wrote:Hi oak stove owners .Please your comments .I see at house auctions here in Pa. quite a few Oak stoves but all did not have the indirect backpipe .A Columbian blue porcelain oak with a 13 times 15 deep firebox sold for 500 bucks .Skirts an nickel wings an finial were somewhat dull from age .How do these do in fall spring temps .I have also seen green porcelain stove .Rest of Blue stove was solid but i left it go .Please give me your comments. thanks
The problem with the OLD stoves with big round firepots, is they had cast iron firepots, brittle, ancient metallurgy, prone to cracking. This goes for any of them, oaks, baseburners/baseheaters, backheaters, radiant micas, double burners, etc. If the round firebrick insert burned out, and they continued to fire the stove, the cast iron firepot is a dead player, it'll be cracked on the larger stoves. The smaller size firepots are more durable, because smaller ones have more structural rigidity.
I have a Lehigh Oak with an 18" firepot that was cracked half way around. We paid $100 for it, and while loading it in the station wagon, noticed it was cracked. The antique dealer said "keep it" and handed us our $100 back. We did him a favor taking it away. At that point it's good for scrap, or parts, unless it's a highly rare valuable model worth restoring. A new firepot is a lot of money, like $450 with shipping back and forth- you have to send your old one in repaired with cement, to make a casting mould from.
There is a beautiful stove on Ebay now, with a cracked firepot. Here's a picture of it. Imagine laying out a couple grand for this. Need I say more ? Ebay is now filled with stoves that are cracked. The sellers take pictures of the cracks and post them in their ads, to cover their return liability. There's about 5 vintage stoves on their now with closeups of cracked castings. Deleting posts about this here, doesn't cover the truth. It just becomes a badge of honor, for the guy trying to inform everyone about it.
There's a darn good reason why they don't make stoves like this anymore. It's got nothing to do with efficiency, it has to do with reputation. WTH would want to warranty something like this today ? If that cracks and the coals fall out and burn the house down, and kill the family and kids, the judge and jury won't care too much about efficiency of the stove
It has to do with simple thermodynamics and physics- heat any iron or steel that's a round hole, it gets larger. How do we get a rusted bolt off ? Heat it, then it comes free. Heat the big firepot enough, it expands and can only go so far, cast being less malleable than steel- and it cracks.