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  1. #1
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    Default Old Wood Stove - Firebrick

    Hi, I have an old wellstood wood stove, its been in the house since the 50's, and this is what we have for cooking, as well as the hot water supply. Yesterday I had the flue box and flue replaced as the old one was pretty past it.
    I was looking throught the shed and found what looks to be the complete set of firebricks for the firebox (with no fitting instructions.
    The firebox (cast iron construction) has a 10mm thick steel plate sitting on one side, with broken firebricks behind it, the other side (next to the oven) has a couple of firebricks that have been cut to fit. The couple of remaining bricks in the firebox, above the waterjacket housing are crumbling.
    I had a look tonight, pulled out the steel plate and cleaned behind it, with the intention of trying to see if I could work out how to fit the set of firebricks, and noticed that the wall of the firebox has a crack in it!!!!!
    This side of the stove is built in next to a kitchen cupboard, and inside the cupboard it looks like there is asbestos sheeting between the cupboard and the stove.
    I have no idea of how long this crack has been there (I have been using this stove for the past 20 years) or whether it has appeared recently. At the moment, I have replaced the steel plate with the broken firebricks behind it, and filled the gaps with ash.
    I am quite aware that this is not the best solution
    The inside of the firebox is designed to be covered by firebricks, and I am going to try to get someone to fit these in as soon as possible, or try to find out how they are supposed to fit.
    Are firebricks in a stove dryfitted, or do they require fireplace mortar between them?
    When the firebricks are fitted, will they provide a solution in that they contain the fire?
    The only problem that i can see with the crack (other that it eventually getting worse:mad being a fire danger is if it were exposed to naked flame getting through it and finding a combustible.

    I could probably source a replacement part for the side, but that would entail removing the cupboards, disturbing the asbestos, maybe getting a plumber in to disconnect/ reconnect the waterpipes, getting someone in to fit the part, and trying to replace the cupboard and working out an alternative for the asbestos.

    Yes, this is a long boring posting, I am trying to work out options, and any comments people have would be very much appreciated (especially if someone would have any idea of how to install the jigsaw of firebricks

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  3. #2
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    Hi Tameriska, I grew up with a bakery in my back yard as my family used to be bakers back in horse and cart days. the fire bricks were layed with a thin layer of clay between. Don't ask me what sort of clay all I know is that it was still moist and could scrap off easily after 50 - 60 yrs. The best people to approach or google would be potters as they're constantly building kilns.
    DONT DISTURB that asbestos!

  4. #3
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    Hi tameriska, I do not know enough to advise you but lobethal sheet metal
    8389 6678 aparently specialise in repairing this sort of thing if all else fails they may be able to point you in the right direction

  5. #4
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    Tameriska
    built a few kilns years ago and for this application you can stick the bricks together with some fire clay. Mix it up to thickened cream consistency and butter the bricks together with it. Putting the bricks in the fire box isn't a real science, just cut them to fit, a little it loose is better than a bit too tight. Buy yourself a cheap angle ginder and a diamond blade (if you haven't already for your bathroom reno) and have at it. And like bleeding Thumb says, Don't touch or disturb the Asbestos.

    Mick
    "If you need a machine today and don't buy it,

    tomorrow you will have paid for it and not have it."

    - Henry Ford 1938

  6. #5
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    Journeyman Mick, the problem with the firebricks is that they are a premade jigsaw, they have fitting lugs, and codes on them. The only problem is that they have been sitting in the shed for years with my Dad 'getting around' to putting them in, and the instructions are probably rat bait years ago. Do you think that there would be any problems just replacing the firebricks and leaving it at that? From what i can remember, that steel plate has been sitting in the side for a 'few' years, and that might be what caused the problem.
    Too late for not playing with asbestos, saw too much of it when I worked with Dad.
    So, what do you think of my new bathroom colourscheme, sir?

  7. #6
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    So what are you like at jigsaw puzzles? I'd sort all the bricks into sizes and types and play around with them, do it long enough and I'm sure you'll get them to fit. Is the plate steel? weldable? easily removed? If no, probably leave it alone. Also, it only takes one bit of asbestos in your lungs apparently..... . This stuff will probably have way more asbestos in it that the old AC sheeting you dad used to work with too, so be real careful.

    Mick
    "If you need a machine today and don't buy it,

    tomorrow you will have paid for it and not have it."

    - Henry Ford 1938

  8. #7
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    Hi, I have pulled all the firebricks out of the shed, and it looks as if they are a full set of firebricks for the whole stove, looks like a whole interlocking mess I have been searching on the net for instructions/ information on the wellstood stove, (seems too be like a state secret)
    Did find on the net a place in melbourne that specializes in restoring and converting wood stoves, heres the link http://www.scandiastoves.com.au/secondhand.html

    Rang them up, and they seemed very helpful. previously I had rang around locally and, although helpful, couldnt find anyone with information. The guy from Scandia told me to ring back a business locally, ask them to get out the spare parts book, and photocopy page 65.
    Will be doing that tomorrow.
    Havnt been able to light the fire, as I had some locals replace the flue box and flue Tuesday, BUT they left a 2mm gap between the fluebox and the top of the stove, with a good fire, the flames go past there.
    Went in and spoke to them, originally they wanted to give me some stuff to take home and put in myself, after they got it in on order. After explaining to them that I was not happy with the prospect of cold showers they finally agreed to send a guy around and fix it yesterday. Seeing as it cost me over a grand to get the flue replaced I wasnt happy with the idea of patching up their work myself (maybe issues with insurance?)
    Hopefully soon I will be able to post pics of rebricking a wood stove
    Soon, no more cold showers:mad: (brrr)

  9. #8
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    Tameriska, could you post a photo of the existing stove, it may not help but you never know?

  10. #9
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    Hi Bleedin Thumb, I will post pics shortly, (after I get the plaster dust off it and give it a wash:mad: ) If you open the previous link, the really nice black wellstood, top left is the one I have. Anyone got ideas on removing old baked enamel so I can paint mine like that one?

  11. #10
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    Hi Tameriska,
    sorry I really meant the stoves surround. As in the brick work.

  12. #11
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    Hi all, I have finally managed to get hold of a diagram showing where the firebricks are supposed to go. Walked back into the local business this morning that I rang up the other day, talked to the lady, and she photocopied page 65 for me!!!, (also spent 90 bucks on fire mortar and fiberglass rope, so that should have kept her happy)
    Went home, started to pull out the firebricks, got them all out except for one, that you can see in the top of the picture looking down into the firebox, to get that one out, I would have had to take the top op the stove off, which is not an option, so that one stayed. Started to dryfit the bricks, and found out that I am not one of those people not blessed with four sets of hands, which woud have really helped.
    I was originally told to start from the bottom and work my way up, but found that you have to hold the top brick up, then slide the bottom one in beneath it. There seems to be a specific order to fit these in, as if you put the wrong one in first, you dont have the room to manouver the other one in.
    I had to encourage one set of bricks to fit in with a diamond blade on a grinder.
    I should have some pics here, showing the bricks, looking in from the front of the firebox, looking in from the top, that nice crack, and dryfitting the bricks which needed adjustment. In the bottom left of the picture of the bricks, there are two cast iron plates, one of which was supposed to go in, but I couldnt get the old one out. I did intend to have some shots of actually putting the bricks in, but I kicked my bf out of the house because there was some insulation behind some of the bricks, presumably asbestos.
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  13. #12
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    Here should be the pic of the finished bricks (mortar everywhere:mad: ) There were some spare bricks left over, as it could be the full set for the whole stove. Does anyone have any ideas on how long I should leave it before I can light the fire?
    I was thinking of lighting a small fire tomorrow (cold showers since wednesday:mad: ) but not sure if the mortar needs to set longer.
    Thanks everyone for their help, much appreciated.
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  14. #13
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    Hi, just including a pic of the stove, am currently tiling behind it for a splashback, and will run three tiles straight to the ceiling behind the flue. The stove has been there since the 50's (and obviously the cupboards, which need repainting) Am intending to tile the benchtops up to the current level of the stove.
    Lit the fire tonight, Hot Water, I have missed you.

    While I am on this thread, I should ask, is there a reccomended height for a rangehood? The whole top surface of the stove doed heat up, and occcasionally some days we do have it lit for up to 12 hours. I was just wondering what a safe distance would be so that the radiated heat doesnt mess up the rangehood.
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  15. #14
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    Tameriska,
    you should be able to fire it up as soon as the moisture has evaporated out of the fireclay. If you have an electric fan heater pop it in the opening to dry the lot out. From memory there's three temperature points that are a worry when firing clay. The first is 100C as water turns to steam, expanding rapidly in the process. If you get to this point too quickly you can damage things. The next ones somewhere around 300c as water that is chemically bonded in the clay is released and the last one is in the 700s when there's a change in the crystal structure of the clay. I'm assuming the fire bricks are pre-fired so you've really only got the thin joints of fireclay to worry about. I doubt that the two higher temperature points would be a worry at all, so as long as you dry it out really well and then light a gentle fire in it all will be well.

    Just wondering though, wouldn't it have been cheaper and easier (not to mention more convenient) to fit an electric HWS to your house? I've got a woodstove and plan on fitting a secondary HWS to it for back up service, but I wouldn't fancy keeping our house in hot water from a wood stove, especially in summer.

    For an electric stove the minimum height from burner to underside of a rangehood is 600. For gas it is 650. I've no idea, whatsoever what the figure is for a wood stove and have a sneaking suspicion that no one has even thought of it.

    Mick
    Last edited by journeyman Mick; 1st Oct 2006 at 08:56 PM. Reason: added rangehood height
    "If you need a machine today and don't buy it,

    tomorrow you will have paid for it and not have it."

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  16. #15
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    Journeyman, basically, I prefer to keep the existing set up. In the shed somewhere, I think there is a kit that can be put on the HWS for electric boost/backup. To keep the hotwater up, just cook a roast once a week. To heat the water from stone cold only takes 4, 5 hours. The timber wont cost much, we are about to start cutting wood again, have been buying due to lack of a good vehicle with a towbar, (should be out of the mechanics soon ) Dont need the water as hot in the summer.
    Basically, it is what you get used to. If I had an electric HWS installed would nearly make the stove reduntant, besides electric HWS have elements that need replacing, this system is gravity fed, and I think the only thing that would need replacing, one day is the hot water jacket in the stove, and maybe the valve on the holding tank up top in the ceiling.
    If you are in QLD, have you considered solar hot water as a backup to your stove in summer? I assume that you would get enough sun up there, and, not sure, would work on the same gravity fed system?

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