Wednesday, January 4, 2012


It's cold in the south this morning... only 25 degrees.

Have no fear, these are not icicles in Seagrove! These were hanging off of my little house on Bow Lake in NH. The picture was taken on January 23, 2010. We had tons of snow that year and I don't miss it a bit. It's supposed to get back up to 60 degrees here by the end of the week.

When we woke up this morning the wood stove was out, despite the fact that I had gotten up at 4:00 am and threw some wood in. It was down to 58 degrees in the cabin, luckily we have a back up propane heater. The stove here is a Vermont Castings from the 80's. Typically they are great stoves and very efficient. I have owned one in the past, although it was a little larger. Unfortunately, we realized that this one is supposed to have a pieces of glass behind the fan shaped detail on the front door. It was gone when we arrived, probably broken long ago. That pane of glass sealed the door and since it is gone, the stove is no longer air tight. That means the stove is no longer efficient and we tend to go through a lot of wood. Last year we researched replacement parts but because of the stove's age those parts are limited and of course the glass is no longer available. The local glass company said to custom cut a piece of high temp glass would be very expensive... Jeff is still thinking about how to remedy the issue...

If it isn't too cold out this little stove gets the cabin up to 80 degrees... but when it's 25 degrees it's working hard!


  1. Probably not the time of year to buy a used stove, but air tight definitely makes a difference. Does the loss of the glass mean it actually isn't air tight or was the glass decorative? How about some high temp caulk for the seams? When we heated with wood at three different homes in California we got a temperature gauge made for a wood stove which we placed around the stack inside which whether we were burning the wood efficiently or not, too cold too much creosote build up, too hot, heat going up the stack and using too much wood, I highly recommend one of those. I am loving my electric blanket, I can set the inside temp down and still be warm at night, thank goodness

  2. Hi Linda,
    we use a temperature gauge on both of our wood stoves. it is really the only way you know if you are firing safely.
    we looked at some old schematics that we found on line and the glass was sandwiched between the cast iron plate and the front of the door... it seems like it added to the seal as well as being decorative (though i don't see the benefit since you couldn't see the fire through it!). jeff just talked to a stove supplier and they have a thick seal we can put between the plate and the decorative cut outs. we hope that does the trick! we also ordered new gaskets for both doors.

    i always wanted an electric blanket to warm the bed up before getting in... but every house i have lived in is too hot at night for one. i can't even use my down comforter here... with the wood stove the upstairs bedroom is alway very warm.
    Stay warm!

  3. this is a true southern winter- 60 coming up next!

  4. Ha, we never had an upstairs where we lived, out bedrooms were always way down the hall away from the woodstove and it was always cold, tile floors here are cold, with my electric blanket I just put a sheet over it, makes moving the covers much easier and that's all I need, I hope the addition to your stove helps, don't those gauges work well, I was amazed the first time we used ours years ago, made us realize how wrong we were burning our wood, lol.

  5. oh yes, when we lived in NH ourselves we had a wood stove and loooooved it :)

  6. I'm guessing you guys have figured out how to use the stove. I can't remember if I had a chance to pass on how it operates or not.

    As I recall, there are two mechanisms that can be adjusted. One serves as a thermostat and is located in the back, and one you flip up or down and is located on the side. The one on the side you flip up or down after you have a hot fire going. It actually recirculates the fumes back through the fire to burn again before leaving to the flue.

    If this doesn't make any sense to you, I should come over and show you. I don't think we ever had glass in it. I assumed you could replace the cast iron plate with glass if you wanted the option of seeing the flame inside. I could be wrong there.

  7. Hi Mike, thanks for the input. I had a vermont castings stove a few years back so I am familiar with how it operates... it was a learning curve for Jeff since it is different from stoves he is familiar with.
    We have had conflicting answers on the cast iron plate on the door. One VC schematics sheet showed high temp glass between the grill and the cast iron plate, didn't make much sense since with the plate you couldn't see through it! We called a VC dealer and they have very few replacement parts for that model (1979). The problem we are having is that there is a space between the plate and decorative grill... you can see the flame and sparks will occasionally fly out of that space. Another stove shop thought that a thick gasket would fill in the space solve the problem. It should arrive in the next couple of days... but in the mean time it's WARM again outside!!!


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