I wrote an earlier article about the frustrating and dangerous design of the new fall-away stove handles on the latest versions of Dutchwest wood stoves. Basically, their new handle design make loading and using these stoves unnecessarily dangerous.
First attempt at a solution
Within days of my writing that first article, the fall-away stove handle fell on the hearth and shattered. This made it useless instead of dangerous so I made a temporary fall-away handle out of wood. You can see it here along with the fragments of the original fall-away handle.
The original handle had lasted for only three weeks of use, so we can add fragile to the list of adjectives like useless and dangerous which describe the "new improved fall-away stove handle" from Vermont Casting. The design specification used by the Vermont Casting team must have been a doozy.
I followed up my original article with an email to Vermont Castings and received a form letter in response. There is no way to contact the company and interrupt the thought processes of the design and marketing teams which are creating unsatisfactory products for us wood stove users.
Wood stoves are so 19th century, after all, that it is probably reasonable that Vermont Castings regards customers as sources of money rather than as sources of feedback. It seems likely that newer stove companies like Pacific Energy and SCAN may make greater inroads in the wood stove market if they augment their design activity by listening to what stove buyers are saying.
A workable solution for the do-it-yourselfer
I realized that it will be a cold day in Hell before I would hear from the Vermont Casting design team, so I created safer stove handles for these Dutchwest stoves out of material you can buy on ebay and in your local hardware stove.
These springs come in a variety of sizes and materials. You can buy them on ebay from a number of sources. I bought sample handles in black, brass, and stainless steel and chose the stainless spring handles because their size would allow me to make a simplest modification to the stove.
These springs are almost 5 inches long and they can be threaded on a 5 inch long 7/16 bolt to make a sturdy and safe handle.
I bought four 7/16 bolts from the local hardware store along with a 7/16 thread cutting tap.
I used the tap to cut threads into the sockets of the four handle stubs attached to the wood stove. Then I screwed the bolts and springs into the four stubs and I got the result you see here.
The handles are large enough to operate the doors easily and the springs ride loosely on the bolts which cuts down on the heat transfer from the hot stove. The ventilated springs stay relatively cool and I could touch them with my bare hand when the stove is hot – but I do not recommend that under any circumstances.
I always wear heavy leather stove gloves when opening the stove doors because I am handling heavy pieces of wood and the stove doorway is very hot. The gloves protect me when I stoke the fire or adjust the position of the wood.
These DIY stove handles cost approximately $40 including the thread cutting tap, so it is an affordable solution to the shortcomings of the original handle design .
If you are unhappy with the fall-away handles on your new Dutchwest wood stove, this might be the solution you are looking for.
Tag: wood stoves