Vigilant II Is Just Humming Along!!!

Modern and vintage hand fired coal stove are similar to a wood stove and in some cases can burn either. They need to be regulated and fed by hand usually every 12 to 24 hours depending on your usage. They require no power to operate making them ideal for rural settings with long power outages.
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vmi1983
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Posts: 233
Joined: Mon. Mar. 28, 2011 1:55 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Godin Large Round/ La Belle Epoque
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Anthracite
Location: Wadhams, NY

Post Sun. Jan. 22, 2012 11:30 pm

nortcan wrote:Hi vmi1983.
In what part of France were you ""decades"" ago? Did you like that country and did you got time to visit?
For the French question, just try some words and you will see, it's like riding a bicycle, you never forget it :up: and you know it's not always easy for me to write in English but If I had the choice, the English would be my first one language. Here on the forum, peoples are very kind and never :lol: to my English.
Salutations et a la prochaine.
J'habite en Aix-en-Provence, et j'etudie a l'instute pour les etudes americains. Ok au jour d'hui je ne parle pas souvent ni ecrive la langue tres bien mais j'aime
le cinema francais et je comprend un peu :D
'St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.'

Visit Hitzer Stoves

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vmi1983
Member
Posts: 233
Joined: Mon. Mar. 28, 2011 1:55 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Godin Large Round/ La Belle Epoque
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Anthracite
Location: Wadhams, NY

Post Mon. Jan. 30, 2012 4:40 pm

Hello Folks!

Well the Vigilant continues to burn steady as she goes... the normal operating range is just after recharging is 500 f and ten
it is up to 600-700 f... which is needed to heat the home. Winter seems to be flying by, and I am enjoying the cold weather :D

Hope you ViG owners are having as much success as I!

Thanks,

Matt
'St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.'

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VigIIPeaBurner
Site Moderator
Posts: 2293
Joined: Fri. Jan. 11, 2008 10:49 am
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace
Location: Pequest River Valley, Warren Co NJ

Post Mon. Jan. 30, 2012 7:56 pm

Really great to have a few more happy Vigilant users on board. It's been getting lonely here, especially since Nortcan when to the other side :lol:

My unit is chugging along just fine. I'm enjoying burning UAE in in too. Really, it does cut down on the work of keeping a hand fed happy and purring along 24x7 :)
3 Videos: Chavez can shov(el) it . . . & he's @ it full time now!

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nortcan
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Posts: 3080
Joined: Sat. Feb. 20, 2010 3:32 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Stuart,Peterson/ Grander
Stove/Furnace Model: Sunnyside/ Golden Bride
Location: Qc Canada

Post Mon. Jan. 30, 2012 9:00 pm

vmi1983 wrote:
nortcan wrote:Hi vmi1983.
In what part of France were you ""decades"" ago? Did you like that country and did you got time to visit?
For the French question, just try some words and you will see, it's like riding a bicycle, you never forget it :up: and you know it's not always easy for me to write in English but If I had the choice, the English would be my first one language. Here on the forum, peoples are very kind and never :lol: to my English.
Salutations et a la prochaine.
J'habite en Aix-en-Provence, et j'etudie a l'instute pour les etudes americains. Ok au jour d'hui je ne parle pas souvent ni ecrive la langue tres bien mais j'aime
le cinema francais et je comprend un peu :D
Tres bon Francais! La France est un tres beau pays. J'ai visité le Nord Pays de Calais... les Chateaux de La Loire... WOW!
Nous aimons aussi les films de France.
Bonsoir et a plus tard.

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nortcan
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Posts: 3080
Joined: Sat. Feb. 20, 2010 3:32 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Stuart,Peterson/ Grander
Stove/Furnace Model: Sunnyside/ Golden Bride
Location: Qc Canada

Post Mon. Jan. 30, 2012 9:22 pm

VigIIPeaBurner wrote:Really great to have a few more happy Vigilant users on board. It's been getting lonely here, especially since Nortcan when to the other side :lol:

My unit is chugging along just fine. I'm enjoying burning UAE in in too. Really, it does cut down on the work of keeping a hand fed happy and purring along 24x7 :)
You'r very hard on me Vigll. I still love my Vigll and I think these stoves are the best ones in the new ones choice. The Side Back burning mode is like the old Base Burner models but much more air tight. No one can match the swing out ash pan/sliding lid for ease of use and cleanliness. Mine has no MPD, no Baro, no trouble! And that works very well like that. I already gave my opinion about these dampers. Not many new stove can match the efficiency of a Vigll when on BS mode: just compare the Temp. on the griddle top with the Temp. on the stove pipe at about 17" H only. That is what I call Efficiency: the heat produced from the stove stays in the house.
I didn't find the Pearl that will replace the Vigll but if I do it will be because of the Antique sickness, when you get it it stays on you and very close to you, just like my Bride ( I mean the stove :lol:) .

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Wadhams Ironworks
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Posts: 15
Joined: Fri. Apr. 01, 2011 7:38 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant II

Post Mon. Jan. 30, 2012 10:17 pm

I think the Vigilant II is the Dodge Dart of coal stoves (read 225 CID Slant 6)! By far the best Stove AND car I've ever had. This stove has been running straight out for a bit over 2 months now. I think it was thanksgiving when I last had to fire it up with any kindling. The furnace has not run in over a week (the tems have been mild). Temps just fell below 20 F and it 80 in the living room and 73 on the far end of the house. I can't wait to get my hands on some of that UAE for next year. Hopefully the boiler will be coal fired as well. Then I can say that no wars were fought to heat my home...Just good ol' hard working americans down in PA are all I need!

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VigIIPeaBurner
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Posts: 2293
Joined: Fri. Jan. 11, 2008 10:49 am
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace
Location: Pequest River Valley, Warren Co NJ

Post Mon. Jan. 30, 2012 11:33 pm

nortcan wrote:...8<...I still love my Vigll and I think these stoves are the best ones in the new ones choice. ...8<...I didn't find the Pearl that will replace the Vigll but if I do it will be because of the Antique sickness, when you get it it stays on you and very close to you, just like my Bride ( I mean the stove :lol:) .
Now THAT'S the Nortcan I know :lol: :up: That sure is a nice stove you've got there - I mean the G.Bride too. It's hard to keep up with the thread you've got going at nearly 25 thousand views! I hear you about that sickness thing, or is it my bride that I'm really hearing :oops: My ears ring.
Wadhams Ironworks wrote:I think the Vigilant II is the Dodge Dart of coal stoves (read 225 CID Slant 6)! By far the best Stove AND car I've ever had. ...8<... I can't wait to get my hands on some of that UAE for next year. Hopefully the boiler will be coal fired as well. Then I can say that no wars were fought to heat my home...Just good ol' hard working americans down in PA are all I need!
Well put, though I'm looking for that Overdrive button on the dashboard! If it was really there, you'd need a gloved hand to operate it because it'd be so darn hot! The car must be in that dark blue or I'm not getting in :verycool: Actually, I think that VC cast that proverbial transmission button into the stoves they built. I can't imagine that these cast iron workhorses won't be around as long or longer than the original base burners of 100+ yeas ago. I like your ending comment very much. Exactly as I feel too. It does help too when you find a fuel that makes effort of running a hand fed a little easier.
3 Videos: Chavez can shov(el) it . . . & he's @ it full time now!

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vmi1983
Member
Posts: 233
Joined: Mon. Mar. 28, 2011 1:55 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Godin Large Round/ La Belle Epoque
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Anthracite
Location: Wadhams, NY

Post Tue. Jan. 31, 2012 9:57 am

VigIIPeaBurner wrote:Really great to have a few more happy Vigilant users on board. It's been getting lonely here, especially since Nortcan when to the other side :lol:

My unit is chugging along just fine. I'm enjoying burning UAE in in too. Really, it does cut down on the work of keeping a hand fed happy and purring along 24x7 :)
That's really exciting :D

Wadhams and I love the stove, that's right we are on opposite banks of the Boquet river, pretty cool huh? Ok so we are using Reading a lot of Reading Pea right now.... it's good hot coal, but we have been thinking about UAE coal... I can say the Blashack is great stuff too, but it is expensive up here near the border.

It was pretty cold last night... at 2100, the temps was 20 F... I am sure it got colder, so I loaded the VigII, this morning she was at 650 F on the top, but that
so she was blasting waves of heat from the front and sides... house is fairly warm, so I wear my summer shorts and t-shirt. I got a pretty big house too.

There's got to be more VigII burners out there.... maybe we can hear from you? :!:

VigII... thanks for the advice. Your help has been invaluable to me. Got a pockets of dead ash on both sides near front fettle right now. I am laying pea across the
bed and waiting for the coal to ignite...it's working... I am on my second layer... once the blue ladies are established... in force... I will slowly remove the ash.

Wadams angle bricks are at such a height I can slip-in the slicer through the front fettle and remove the ash easily. The slicer rides in along the angle and removes the built up ash. Then I do another slice along the 90 degree side of the brick and go down... this eliminates all the dead ash. Then it's just a few shakes... this really shortens the daily recharging... :D

Thanks guys!

Matt
'St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.'

Visit Hitzer Stoves

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VigIIPeaBurner
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Posts: 2293
Joined: Fri. Jan. 11, 2008 10:49 am
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace
Location: Pequest River Valley, Warren Co NJ

Post Tue. Jan. 31, 2012 8:00 pm

Hey Matt - thanks again for the positive comments. I did a lot of trial an error until I figured out either what was wrong with how my stove was set up or what I was doing wrong :)

If you are where I think you are (add it to your profile!), I've spent a fair amount of time up your way in the past. Wife's roommate owns a campground (Hidden Pond) not too far south from you near Brant Lk. Cut some wood near Schroon Lk, visited Peckham Ind. plants and not to mention a few watering holes too. It's been a while ;)
3 Videos: Chavez can shov(el) it . . . & he's @ it full time now!

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vmi1983
Member
Posts: 233
Joined: Mon. Mar. 28, 2011 1:55 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Godin Large Round/ La Belle Epoque
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Anthracite
Location: Wadhams, NY

Post Wed. Feb. 01, 2012 8:46 am

VigIIPeaBurner wrote:Hey Matt - thanks again for the positive comments. I did a lot of trial an error until I figured out either what was wrong with how my stove was set up or what I was doing wrong :)

If you are where I think you are (add it to your profile!), I've spent a fair amount of time up your way in the past. Wife's roommate owns a campground (Hidden Pond) not too far south from you near Brant Lk. Cut some wood near Schroon Lk, visited Peckham Ind. plants and not to mention a few watering holes too. It's been a while ;)
Hey VigII, you are welcome, yep I am about 50 miles north of Brant Lk. It's really is beautiful up here, but employment is tough to come by... so we eke out a living.. no complaints

Ok big turn of events today. Wadhams came by and made a closer inspection of my older VigII. See his stove kicks out more overall heat. There had to be a problem. Well he found numerous air leaks around the stove. Where ever there was a cemented seal, there a leak could be found!!! Basically the entire stove was leaking :!: Now this stove is old. Not sure how old, but it is enameled model. So I missed a big step, I never checked to see if the stove was air tight. But you know what? The stove has been running for nearly 3 months and was kicking out some serious heat even with the leaks.

Any rate, we had to apply cement from the outside by forming narrow beads. It ain't so pretty, but hey it works.

The improvement is very dramatic. The stove is kicking more heat. The couch had to be moved back away from the fire (again). The air inlet had to be set at about 1/8 th of an inch opening last night. Before I had to keep it open 1-1.5 inches. This morning there is plenty of coal left to burn , so she's got quite a ways to go. I have been burning pea only. I just laid a thick layer of pea on, and it took about 10 minutes for the blue ladies to arrive. No need to open the
ash pan to revive the fire.

Wadhams showed me how to gently remove ash from grates. No hard slicing, but just a gentle upward push to allow the ash to fall through. The
angle brick Wadhams cast is just tall enough so the top can be sliced through the front grill. ( Or is it referred to as a fettle?). So I am learning.

I am 12 ft from the stove, and I can feel the waves of heat... life is good!

Matt
'St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.'

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VigIIPeaBurner
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Posts: 2293
Joined: Fri. Jan. 11, 2008 10:49 am
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace
Location: Pequest River Valley, Warren Co NJ

Post Wed. Feb. 01, 2012 5:57 pm

Yes, it is beautiful in the Adies area. I haven't spent time there in 25 years but I remember :)

Progress is good! I was thinking that with your flap open 1.5" you had terrible draft. Now your stove runs about like mine at 1/8" open. Did you use a flame to find the leaks? 11 years and my stove is still tight but it's never been moved after installing as new.

I'm interested in the technique you and Wadhams used to move the ash down. Were you slicing between the fettle and grill or did you have the lower grates exposed and sliced between them? I usually slice between the fettle and the grill, much like in my video but I've changed my slice a little since then. I do it when I clean the fettle once a day. You probably don't have to clear the ash from the grill daily but I like looking at a 9" tall pile of glowing red coals as they light up the room :lol:
3 Videos: Chavez can shov(el) it . . . & he's @ it full time now!

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Wadhams Ironworks
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Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant II

Post Wed. Feb. 01, 2012 10:16 pm

Hey folks, Matt seems to have the potential for an excellent draft with over 20+ feet of chimney. I have only 15', 10 of which is Metalbestos and the other 5' being single wall (totally safe as long as your clearences are legit as mine are). Seeing as how we have the same stove/coal combination it seemed odd that he felt he wasn't getting the same heat output. His house is nice and warm but the response after adding fresh coal seemed slow and on cold days that can translate into hours to make up for the temperature drop that takes place with a slow/long recharge. We vacuumed the cleanouts, brought the firebox back to factory specs but the opinion was that the 2 stoves were not generating the same heat. The expansion and contraction cycles will over time loosen up the tierods. Usually it's not a problem because of the furnace cement that vermont castings uses to help seal their stoves. Seeing as how Matt is probably, at the very least, the 3rd owner of the stove it is safe to say that most of the cement had passed it's serviceable life expectancy. (BTW, Matt your stove I believe is circa 1992). A lighter confirmed that almost all of the seams were leaking air into the stove...above the grates. It seems to be tight now but we'll have to do a complete teardown this spring to really do it right (furnace cement dries instantly on contact on a hot stove...yuck!).

I start to rid myself of the ash by poking the sides (next to the triangle firebricks, between the fettle and the grille). Then I will expose the bottom of the grates and slice upwards the sides as well and then lift, not slice, between the grates so that the fine ash falls through. I'm a lover not a fighter and a slicer and not much of a shaker. This goes back to my bituminous/forging approach. Up here in the!
Last edited by Wadhams Ironworks on Wed. Feb. 01, 2012 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Wadhams Ironworks
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Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant II

Post Wed. Feb. 01, 2012 10:26 pm

Adirondacks coal is precious and it pains me to waste unburnt coal through the grates. Shaking wastes alot of coal (read over shaking). It is good to leave at least 1" thick of partially burnt coal to keep the grates from coming in direct contact with hot coals. A quick shake will let some of the fines fall through but on about 5 or 6 quick ones is all I do. If ever a hot coal falls through the grates I know that I've over done it.

Btw I priced out a manometer today, to make measuring the draft a bit more precise that a bic lighter (read burnt thumb) but the only one I saw was $200! Are there cheaper versions rhat will give me the precision that I'm looking for? This way apples would be apples when we speak of draft and leaks.

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vmi1983
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Posts: 233
Joined: Mon. Mar. 28, 2011 1:55 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Godin Large Round/ La Belle Epoque
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Anthracite
Location: Wadhams, NY

Post Wed. Feb. 01, 2012 10:42 pm

VigIIPeaBurner wrote:Yes, it is beautiful in the Adies area. I haven't spent time there in 25 years but I remember :)

Progress is good! I was thinking that with your flap open 1.5" you had terrible draft. Now your stove runs about like mine at 1/8" open. Did you use a flame to find the leaks? 11 years and my stove is still tight but it's never been moved after installing as new.

I'm interested in the technique you and Wadhams used to move the ash down. Were you slicing between the fettle and grill or did you have the lower grates exposed and sliced between them? I usually slice between the fettle and the grill, much like in my video but I've changed my slice a little since then. I do it when I clean the fettle once a day. You probably don't have to clear the ash from the grill daily but I like looking at a 9" tall pile of glowing red coals as they light up the room :lol:
vigII, once you hang out in ADK, you never forget its beauty!!! :D

Wadhams articulates very well. that is the process I am learning. I slice the ash off the front and push the ash below the coals. Taking the slicer I wedge the
blade to the rear wall and lift up a bit and then gently lower it. I try to get the ash in the far backside of the grate by angling the blade up and down a bit .
I also am searching for any clinkers which I suspect may be hidden in the rear of the grates. I have not encounter many clinkers since mid-november.
I am trying to dislodge enough ash until I see fine red ember. The grates on the sides require special attention, the idea being to remove gently the fine ash
so that the sides and back corners do not become ash-bound.

The fire tells me if I did a good job. It comes to life with vigor and dancing blue ladies adorn the coal.. Time to close the internal damper. If I have the air inlet wide open, the fire comes to life at an alarming rate, so I think leaving it set in one position might become a habit, and just let the stove rev up at a nice
pace.

Thanks,

Matt

Of course all the above occurs after fresh coal has been laid on the bed. Shake down is the very last action I take, if needed.
'St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.'

User avatar
VigIIPeaBurner
Site Moderator
Posts: 2293
Joined: Fri. Jan. 11, 2008 10:49 am
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace
Location: Pequest River Valley, Warren Co NJ

Post Wed. Feb. 01, 2012 10:45 pm

Wadhams Ironworks wrote:...
I start to rid myself of the ash by poking the sides (next to the triangle firebricks, between the fettle and the grille). Then I will expose the bottom of the grates and slice upwards the sides as well and then lift, not slice, between the grates so that the fine ash falls through. I'm a lover not a fighter and a slicer and not much of a shaker. This goes back to my bituminous/forging approach. Up here in the!
Ok, I'm getting some of the picture. I understand the first sentence. It looks like ... but closer to the side.
I'm not clear on "I will expose the bottom of the grates". Do you mean you remove the solid piece below the fettle so one can see directly into the ash pan? Like ...
Then slice up between the grates like nortcan demonstrates in his video?
3 Videos: Chavez can shov(el) it . . . & he's @ it full time now!

Visit Hitzer Stoves

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