Vermont Castings Dutchwest Stove handle design is safety risk

Handledisaster_1
Readers Colleen, Don, and Eric confirm that Vermont Castings needs to do a better job of wood stove handle design.

In an earlier article I showed why the new fall-away handles are frustrating and dangerous.  You have only one fragile ceramic handle to open four different doors with and the handle has to be inserted each time you open the door. When you have a log in your hands, you do not want to be scrabbling for a handle that has rolled under the stove.

Stovehandle2_1When the handle is down on the floor or under the stove, there is a tendency to grab the stubby little handle socket and try to use it to open the door.  It looks like this and is very hot. I burned myself on it more than once.

Someone had the bright idea to save the company some money and never field-tested the design.

I finally designed a replacement handle that you can see below and wrote an article about it so you could do the same, but that should not be necessary. Vermont Castings needs to wake up and recall all of the faulty handles they have been shipping before someone gets seriously hurt.

Stovehandlerev2_1For those of you who are considering buying a Vermont Castings wood stove with fall-away handles, I suggest you insist that your dealer provide you with the older wood handles before they deliver the stove.

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A single Dutchwest stove keeps our 3 bedroom house warm and toasty during weeks of 19 degree weather. We absolutely depend on it, but the original fall-away stove handles were a design disaster.

Here is what a safe version of the stove with sturdy spring handles looks like. These are the handles I designed and built.

Unfortunately, Vermont Castings is not providing these yet. Let your dealer know that you want the original and safer wood handles on each door.

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0 Responses to Vermont Castings Dutchwest Stove handle design is safety risk

  1. Ron Campbell says:

    I had a Dutchwest stove in my last house such as the one you have. I finally got used to the drop away handles after a while. I did break a couple.

    In my new house I have a Vermont Castings insert. It also has the drop away handles. The installer showed me a something I was not aware of. If yours is like mine, the short handle on the stove is threaded up inside where you insert the drop away handle. If you unscrew the insert end of the drop away handle and take the remaining ceramic and screw part and screw it into the short handle on the stove, it will be permanently attached to the stove.

    Two of the four handles on my stove, the damper and the air control, do not get hot so these handles are screwed in permanently. If you screw the handle into the door handles, make sure you have gloves or a pot holder before touching it. I think if you forget to use the gloves, you will only forget once or twice.

    This may be another option but it looks as though the new modified handles will serve you well.

    Ron

  2. sflk' says:

    the handles come off so they won’t get hot, the CPSC requires handles that won’t get hot enough to burn the user. you can make or modify your own handles yourself but you assume the liablility if you burn yourself.

  3. Dalton Hooker says:

    Thank you to the individual who pointed out that the stubs are threaded (its in the manual!!).

    Should also note that experienced Vermont Castings and Dutchwest dealers make extra handles available to stove owners who would rather have them fixed in place. They are not at all expensive and are quick & easy install.

    DH

  4. Larry says:

    So how do we go about getting these Spring Handles?

    I just went to the dealer. I have a BLACK stove and they only sell the new replacement handles in WHITE!!!! Crazy!

    Get your into production.

  5. Don says:

    I have a new dutchwest (2478), the jury is still out on the stove…kind of unpredictable as opposed to my 1980 defiant..(wish I still had)…it went with the house when I sold it. Until the “treehuggers & buglovers” started crying & whining to the epa, probabally blackmailing some unscrupulous or gay congressman to support their agenda …which includes selling the general public “unpredictable woodstoves” which may cause fires or worse, because they now “sneak” extra air into them even after the air control is closed, all for the sake of some butterfly or the thickness of the eggshell of some bird.
    Anyway …what I did was purchase a couple of 5-6 inch “hookeyes” for less than a dollar each, screwed them in and “presto!” I have a door and a damper handle. One of the big plus’s is that the door cannot be opened if the damper is engaged…(as the damper handle is in the way).

  6. Don says:

    I have a new dutchwest (2478), the jury is still out on the stove…kind of unpredictable as opposed to my 1980 defiant..(wish I still had)…it went with the house when I sold it. Until the “treehuggers & buglovers” started crying & whining to the epa, probabally blackmailing some unscrupulous or gay congressman to support their agenda …which includes selling the general public “unpredictable woodstoves” which may cause fires or worse, because they now “sneak” extra air into them even after the air control is closed, all for the sake of some butterfly or the thickness of the eggshell of some bird.
    Anyway …what I did was purchase a couple of 5-6 inch “hookeyes” for less than a dollar each, screwed them in and “presto!” I have a door and a damper handle. One of the big plus’s is that the door cannot be opened if the damper is engaged…(as the damper handle is in the way).

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