Quadrafire Isle Royale repair project

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Wombat Ranger

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I think this is where I can post something like this? If there's a better spot let me know. I'm hoping somebody or 2 might have some experience with this stove, or others like it.

A little back story. I have never had a stove newer than late 70's. Like many I have had a real hard time getting used to the idea that there might possibly something better out there than a Fisher. This is our 2nd winter in our current house and we've been using the Earth Stove 100 that came with the house. I've never been happy with it, the damper assembly doesn't work right due to missing parts or something, there are cracks around the corners of the door, the door itself is annoying to use due to the downward opening design, sloppy "hinges" that sometimes just drop the door on the floor, and overall warpage. The top is warped as well, not a big deal, we do cook on it all the time though and a flat top is preferred. It doesn't hold coals worth a crap probably due to air leaks and such, and I never got around to dragging it out and welding up the cracks last year. So one way or another that old stove is wore out. I will put it in the shop and it will be a fine heater in there with an oil drip added, as well as welders & torches nearby for experimentation purposes.

Since moving in and learning that we want to replace the Earth Stove, we have been very back and forth on what we want. My wife grew up in a house heated by a Sierra, and I am used to Fishers and Schraders, and we enjoy the control allowed by that era of stoves. There's always coals in the AM. But the idea of burning less wood is enticing as well, especially since we have a large shop build underway, and her parents are building a cabin on our land where they'll live full time. Wood is our only heat source, unless we have to leave in the winter time for any amount of time, then we have a single propane wall mounted heater in the house to keep the pipes from freezing. Anyway, after hearing some "testimonials" from folks I know who had good condition old stoves and went to new style ones, I decided I would have to try one or I would always wonder. I shopped and shopped and was starting to think I'd have to pony up the big bucks for a brand new one, because nothing good ever came up used. But last night I bought a beautiful red 2007 Quadrafire Isle Royale that has some damage from being over-fired, and therefore was quite cheap.

Here's a pic showing our whole wood stove room arrangement currently.

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And here's the new stove.

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I will attempt to repair the warped/sunk cast iron baffle using my brother's forge, and then put a new fiber-board liner on it. And I am planning to remove the top and weld the cracks in it. Cast iron is tricky but doable. I am not sure what I will do about re-finishing the top once repaired, it may just end up stripped and coated black. However I do have a powder coat oven and may look into whether I could re-apply any sort of enamel coating. Any ideas or suggestions are welcome. Furthermore if anyone knows of any parts for this stove for reasonable cost, I'd love to hear about them. Online/retail prices for the baffle assembly alone is $750 or something. A new top piece is $900 in black or $1600 in the matched enamel. I do think I can get this repaired and functional without buying those parts though. I would love a set of the original warming shelves too since I'm wishing.

We are excited to get this stove in and installed. It will be able to sit much closer to the back wall thus opening up the room with more space. I intend to run a 6" flu straight up out of the stove into a 90* elbow straight into the wall with a 6-8" adapter. Hopefully it performs as we expect. I didn't need another project by any means, but here we are.
 

mark3885

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I have a black Isle Royale that I bought a few years ago , believe it’s a little newer than yours . It works great , easy to get going in the morning with a few coals . One thing that can lead to overfiring is the air inlet control on the lower right side that controls the air which comes out of the 2 holes at the back of the stove. It’s easy to leave that open , when open the knob is pushed back , so you won’t see it readily. I try not to use it unless I can sit right at the stove and close it before getting distracted. Another point to mention, my Royale has 32 ft of pipe straight up through the roof , I have a damper on the pipe about 2 ft above the stove, gives me greater control of the fire . You will love your Royale , I have never heard of a lifetime warranty either .
 

Wombat Ranger

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I've weldered her up, ground the top and blacked it, replaced the brick, and come up with a temporary flat baffle to replace the swivelling factory piece. The stove works pretty good, but I am quite surprised that no matter what I do, I cannot get top temps over about 600 degrees. Most discussions I read about this stove talk about how easy it is to overfire. Is it possible that the original baffle, with it's 3 integrated secondary tubes, made that much difference? The baffle I made has the same coverage as the original, so other than the lack of secondaries, it should route the heat and smoke the same.

I've never used an EPA stove and had high hopes for this one. As is, it is barely enough for our 1728sqft house (specs say good up to 3400!) Anyone got any insight?

P.S. the chimney was just cleaned, it is 20' of block after 4' (vertical) of double wall pipe inside.

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mark3885

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The secondary air tubes will make a world of difference in getting your stove top over 600 . Mine would get up to 800 -850 , hence the damper to slow the draw. With out the damper , I’m sure it would be up to 1000 . I was thinking of adding another damper. We’ll see.
 

lwmibc

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That looks like the same stove my brother bought to put in his new house about 4 years ago; if so, it's an excellent one. I'll check what he has and get back.

I second the opinion that without the secondary air supply it's only half the stove it could be. Seeing that top baffle deformed like that makes me scratch my head wondering how someone could mistreat a stove that badly, but I bought a Pacific Energy one also badly fired--for cheap--and welded up the burn-through areas. It was the pretty red enamelled one with gold sunburst door, and I took out the plain black PE we bought brand new just because of how pretty this one was. Fully repaired it works like new.

If yours is the stove I think it is--note that it has more stringent requirements for floor protection than most wood stoves; apparently they can direct heat straight down more than others, I remember special floor arrangements my brother had to make. You might want to check by finding the owners manual online.

BTW, enamel on these stoves I think is a glaze, not a paint; requires pottery glazing temperatures up above 2,000F if it is. I used to build pottery kilns and assay furnaces for a living. (Another thing to verify; I never built wood stoves, all my stuff was capable of temps around 2300-2600F inside.)
 

lwmibc

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That looks like the same stove my brother bought to put in his new house about 4 years ago; if so, it's an excellent one. I'll check what he has and get back.

I second the opinion that without the secondary air supply it's only half the stove it could be. Seeing that top baffle deformed like that makes me scratch my head wondering how someone could mistreat a stove that badly, but I bought a Pacific Energy one also badly fired--for cheap--and welded up the burn-through areas. It was the pretty red enamelled one with gold sunburst door, and I took out the plain black PE we bought brand new just because of how pretty this one was. Fully repaired it works like new.

If yours is the stove I think it is--note that it has more stringent requirements for floor protection than most wood stoves; apparently they can direct heat straight down more than others, I remember special floor arrangements my brother had to make. You might want to check by finding the owners manual online.

BTW, enamel on these stoves I think is a glaze, not a paint; requires pottery glazing temperatures up above 2,000F if it is. I used to build pottery kilns and assay furnaces for a living. (Another thing to verify; I never built wood stoves, all my stuff was capable of temps around 2300-2600F inside.)
This is the reply I got from my brother; it is the same stove. He went on to mention this--

"BTW, I think you were here the first time we used the stove. I remember it got very hot. I realized afterwards that it is easy for the ash pan to be inserted at a slight angle, and when you close the door for the ash pan it may seem to be closed but is slightly ajar. This provides the opportunity for significantly more combustion air to enter the firebox through the bottom grate. I would not be surprised if that is how these stoves can be damaged by over-firing. After that first time, I always bend down and confirm that the ash pan is inserted straight in and is all the way back, and then make sure the access door is fully closed and properly latched."
 

Wombat Ranger

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Thanks for the replies, and for the warning on the ash pan. We're a bunch of hicks in the Montana mountains and the stove is parked on bare concrete. No problem if entire burning logs fall right out.

I guess I will keep it on my mind to consider replicating the original baffle exactly. The price tag of $800+ after shipping is too much for me to even think about. I think I could make a functionally identical piece using scraps I have around the shop.
 
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