Craft wood stove modification to fit in fireplace (Nov 2011)

The expensive Jotul wood stove purchased last year turned out to be a huge disappointment. We heated our other house with a Craft wood stove insert for 20 years and missed it badly. A former neighbor had removed their Craft stove and stored it on the back porch for years. This was purchased and plans to make it fit in our new home began. These old Craft stoves with large fan boxes on the sides were originally configured to fit out in front of the fireplace opening. In the new home a zero clearance configuration was needed such that the stove face would be flush with the fireplace face.

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These older stove had a simple rectangular opening at the back that just dumped smoke to the open fireplace. That practice was bad to cause creosote buildup in the damper portion of the fireplace. For this application a rectangular to round adaptor will be built allowing an airtight connection from the stove to the flue. The new metal bits at the back are added to create a flat surface that the adaptor can be mounted to.


The stove had a poor damper system that simply scattered the flame, directing some of the heat to the sides. Not too effective. Later Craft stoves had a U shaped pan in the top of the stove that held a catalytic converter. When you pulled the damper out, the gas path was out the back of the stove. When the damper was pushed in, the gas path was redirected to the front of the stove and horizontally thru this pan and thru the catalytic converter. The converter sucked and most owners simply removed the converter to let their stoves breath. With the converter out the stoves worked great, and with the damper in, lots of heat could be extracted off the top plate. I decided to duplicate this exact arrangement by adding the U and updated damper.


From the top you can see the damper is pulled out and exhaust will exit at the back to of the firebox. Useful when starting or loading the stove to prevent smoke in the room.


Here the damper is pushed in and the gas path is toward the front of the stove, thru the U channel, and up and out of the stove. This is the normal operating mode and where the most heat is realized.


Here construction of an adaptor connecting the exhaust outlet to the chimney liner has begun. 1/4 x 1" flat bar was used and 11 ga 6" DOM tubing was used. The entire part was 3D solid modeled and perpendicular views projected to allow full size plots to be made for the flat plates. These were traced onto metal and then cutout. Here tack welding has begun.


View from the back side.


All welded and ready for some grinding to clean up welds. It will be blasted and painted with high temp paint.


The entire stove was sandblasted 100% clean removed all old paint and rust.


Tape was placed on the air vents to try and keep sand out of the air chamber. Cleaning out sand there would be difficult.


A wet new coat of satin high temp black sprayed on it.


Meanwhile a pair of elbows were being made. Cut from 18ga and 14ga the pieces are being tacked together and the elbow is beginning to shape up.


Everything has been solid welded and the welds ground flush.


Last the 3" round was rolled and welded in place. The entire elbow was blasted and sprayed with a coat of high temp satin black.


On 11/22/11 the refurbished stove was loaded in the front end loader and brought around to the front of the house. It was placed on a large dolly and wheeled over to the fireplace and with bars and rollers, it was fitted into the opening. With the fan boxes removed on each side, the stove now fits back completely into the fireplace opening, making for a safer installation with the short hearth in this house.


Here you can see the first elbow installed on the side of the stove. The aluminum flex has been attached and temporarily run back to the single blower to try it out. The stove was fired up on 11/25/11 and even with the single blower, it nicely heated the entire house. Very pleased with the results!


Here is the adaptor that attaches the outlet of the stove directly to the stainless steel chimney liner. This is the safest stove installation and also makes for easier cleaning of the smoke path each year. A round brush will get all nice and clean inside.


A flat pattern was developed and plotted to scale. The lines are the bend lines. Above the paper, the sheet metal pieces have been formed using the paper layout.


All welded and the square flange and round tubing welded on each end.


Everything blasted and painted in the same black as the stove. Beside the transition ducts are frames made that will hold the blowers.


Here are the blowers fitted onto the frames and the transitions bolted onto them.


To make the stove installation look nice a decorative trim piece was needed between the stove and the fireplace opening. 5" wide aluminum was used in both 3/8" thick and 1/2" thick (corners). The grooves were milled on a Bridgeport one Saturday morning.


Next the pieces were blasted and painted in the same high temp paint as the rest of the stove. Also on the table are some 11ga sheet metal pieces made to attach the five aluminum pieces together.


The pieces were attached with the brackets and installed in place over the stove. Really trimmed out the stove and fireplace opening. Quite pleased with the result.