I wanted to take a minute to thank you all for a spectacular resource. I am obviously a new user, however I have been visiting your forum for some time to learn all that I can about the world of coal heat. I grew up in New England in a house where our primary heat source was wood. My brothers and I spent our summers moving and stacking between 7 and 10 cords of wood. Due to my familiarity with wood I began looking at installing a wood stove in my house a couple of years ago. Truth be told I kept revisiting this purchase becasue i was not fond of buying, stacking, storing, and handling several cords of wood every year. Then a friend of mine gave me a gift, a franco belge coal stove. He heats his house with a coal furnace and had the stove for ancillary heat but decided he preferred his large walk in fireplace for sunday afternoons in front of the fire.
I picked up my "new" stove with much excitement and anticipation this fall. Once I got the stove home I took it apart to clean and paint it (it had been stored outside for a while). Upon dis-assembly I found that there were 2 cracks in the top of the fire box and a crack in one of the bells on flue wrap around. Upon this discovery I began assessing how best to repair this unit and looking for parts stoves for sale, or a suitable replacement. After looking for a while I found a Vermont Castings Vigilant II. I was very happy to get this stove for $300.00 and after some new glass, gaskets, and paint it looks like a new stove.
I finished my install (both stove and chimney) the week before Hurricane Sandy which was a stroke of good fortune since I was out of power for 5 days and heated my house for those 5 days with my "new" stove. I have been running the stove since then and could not be happier. In short I do not know why people waste their time with wood. Coal is easier, cleaner, and cheaper. Not to mention it is fine left on it's own for the entire day while I am at work, without needing to be restarted. It is wonderful.
Thank you to all of the members of this wonderful site since they were an incredible resource and a huge help, even though none of you knew that since I was busy lurking in the shadows. Thank you again.