Osburn Fireplace Insert

Discussion in 'DIY Lounge' started by Mike B, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    This is going to be a long tale with lots of pics that easily is the hardest DIY I've ever done. At one point I was ready to call it quits. But I didn't and the result is very good.

    A tale of how this;


    Became this;


    Off to lunch now, more later.
  2. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    Spiffy! Do tell...
  3. Jack

    Jack Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    Holy crap Mike what a huge difference. It looks great.
  4. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    OK, I looked up the old thread in the VIP lounge and this was going on about Nov 18;


    Yup, me happily cutting metal out of that zero clearance to make room. If I didn't have that plasma torch that doesn't make fumes I never would have considered this, it would have been much harder if not impossible.


    As it turned out I had to remove much more metal. Here I'm ready to start with the bricks;


    And now the bricks are in and the sheet metal plate made ready for install of the stove insert.


    But the stove didn't install and despair started to set in.

    More later, going over to Kelly's for Valentines day - :)
  5. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    Have fun with Kelly.

    On topic is this a wood burning stove inserted into a fireplace?
  6. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    Yes, it's an EPA phase 2 certified wood burning stove insert, an Osburn 1100. I ordered it up right from the linked factory page with all the fancy trim and the flue liner kit. It was shipped on a pallet and it's a good thing I bought a strong dolly to put it on so I could roll it to the front porch.

    On with the tale and this is where the problems started. There was no way the flue liner was going to connect to the stove. Not enough room. The stove outlet is at 45 degrees and happy me thought this would be easy, Flex liner, so just bend and insert, easy eh? Not. It's a "flex liner" all right a double wall stainless steel flex liner and not really that flexible. They have to be strong to handle the heat from a wood fire. The existing flue is an 8 inch steel duct inside a 12 inch and the idea is you just drop the new 6 inch liner all the way through. But there was no way the liner was going to bend enough and there was just not enough space (between the stove top and the existing flue to do it.

    So I called a local install shop that also sells inserts and told them the tale and asked for help. I told them what I had and what I wanted to do. They told me I was nuts. Stop everything, there is not enough space to put an insert in a zero clearance fireplace.

    Yup, the despair was with me big time. These people are not going to help me and I've destroyed the existing FP that parts are no longer available for as the manufacturer went out of business years a go. I've wasted my time and money as well as destroying my house. I saw my stove out on the curb and an ugly hole in my house to forever remind me how stupid I was.

    But when you hit "rock bottom" your mind can start working again. I knew that the flex was not going to do it but a 45 degree elbow could be fit and now I saw the light. I got out the tape measure and worked out just how much space I could get and where that would put the stove with respect to where it needed to be relative to the hearth wall. I could always make a custom surround too. And I really needed to put the weight of the stove (300 lbs) on something better than the sheet metal floor of the zero clearance. I needed to go to the slab.

    I was on a mission. Cut the bottom out, put bricks and mortar right on the slab and work the numbers. One last shot, balls to the wall, nothing left out, this was going to work or the stove was going on Craigs list and an electric (picture of a fire) fireplace would fill the hole.
  7. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    Did you send the photos and a letter to the install shop? ;)
  8. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    To get as much clearance as I could I removed the full size bricks I installed before and mortared in "half thick" bricks. I cut the bottom out of the FP and saw the slab. A brick on the slab was about 3/4" lower than the half bricks on the hearth, OK I can mortar the top to level.


    I "glued" these bricks with high temp furnace cement which is a thick black paste and I found out just how good it was, I had to buy a bigger hammer (2.5 lb) and some heavy duty masonry chisels to break the bond. All you need is an eighth inch. I needed to clear the FP frame (bridge it) as however crazy I am I'm not crazy enough to cut the frame of the unit. This was looking good, by lowering the base and relieving the flue top to the max I had enough room to do what I needed to do. I can't tell you how many times I "doubled checked" the numbers.

    Then I glued 8 bricks to the slab and built a sheet metal form around them, mixed up 25 lbs of mortar and poured and troweled it in.


    The 4 "bridges" from the hearth bricks to the slab pedestal are 2 inch wide eighth inch steel with a another eighth inch bar welded to the underside so it's stronger and won't shift. Then I leveled it all with steel pads glued to the mortar before the 22 gauge steel pan went over it all.

    While all this was going on I was ordering all sorts of SS elbows and rigid duct work out the geometry before attempting to fit the stove again. It ain't easy to move around. 45 degree adjustable, 15 and 30 fixed, custom length straight and most important the telescoping section.

    That was the key, the ability to just align the ends and slide the pipe up. These duct pipes all fit together with an inch and three quarters overlap. Oh, and one more thing, stainless steel rivits to lock the connections. A lot of work cutting the stainless steel duct pieces, making custom support brackets, but it was coming together. Finally it was "liner connection" day.


    Kelly came over to eyeball the FP and I got on the roof with this fucking anaconda and shoved it down the chimney. A lot of force was needed. I was worried about the thing slipping and made wedges to hold it in place but they were not needed. A lot of trips up and down the ladder as she didn't know what to do when it got stuck and I need to clear it. So, stuff it down, rivet on the 45 degree elbow and then pull it up to the top of the FP. Then dolly over the stove move to a wood bridge I made and then into the FP. Close, but no cigar, needed another half inch. Back up the ladder, pulled it up one duct "spiral" and this was easily one of the best days of my life.


    The telescoping pipe fit up to the elbow and I riveted the telescope. Miller time. More later.
  9. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    They give you this little plaque with the stove and (by law) it needs to be attached in a prominent location should you remove and dispose any fireplace parts. Yeah no kidding eh?


    People have been known to take their inserts with them when they move.

    It's all downhill from here, life is good - :)

    The chimney cap was installed and the whole assembly sealed and waterproofed with high temp RTV. Tested by lots of storms, no leaks.


    The FP has an outdoor air supply controlled by this lever which is not accessible once the surround is on so I made an access;


    Made a bracket with a screen door roller and attached a beaded chain to the lever with a speaker binding post I had laying around.

    The stove sits in the opening exactly one inch further than spec. Spec is surround mounting flange should be even with the hearth wall, mine in one inch further in. Here is where I got lucky (and I deserved a little luck for sure) the factory surround had a one inch backward lip for the trim kit (that I'm not using) and I just cut it off. The surround had to be modified a little because I had some interference with the hearth now but that was pretty easy. Then I found and ordered some stainless steel sheet metal edge trim and voila' I have a custom spiffy factory surround modified for a 1 inch setback


    Here is a close of the 2 air controls, the beaded chain turns on/off the outside air and the bottom slide is the air feed to the stove. There is no flue damper, just supply side.


    Next up - fire, fun and all finished up!
  10. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    I think this was first fire, the bricks are still clean;


    The manual said it needs 3 "break-in" burns to cure the paint slowly so the color is uniform. The first is just 250 stove top for 20 minutes followed by 250-300 for 30 minutes and then 450 for an hour. They said you will smell paint fume and I did.

    The second fire got to 270 and the blower kicked on. It has a thermostatic switch and doesn't turn on until the stove is hot enough so that creosote is avoided. Yeah Baby! When the blower turns on you get the heat big time. The design is a refractory lined firebox within a box and the blower drives the space between. There wasn't much time or fuel involved either, just newspapers and kindling. Sweet.


    I verified that the flue was working and I saw the smoke, but not a lot and the "stink" was way less than the old fireplace. This has secondary burn tubes and vents that bleed air into the top of the box and "reburn" the particles. Last "breakin" blaze and I actually used 1 piece of cordwood to burn at 450 for 1 to 2 hours. It got to 450 and then the blower turned on and I reduced the speed so that it ran at 400 after.


    The temperature in the room went up 5 degrees. Yeah, this is what it's all about. The romance of a real wood fire w/o the cost of a chilly room and house because all the heat is going up the chimney and sucking all the warm air out your house in the process.

    Final touch. You really didn't think I was going to leave that blower cord on the hearth eh?


    Aluminum angle glued to the bricks with RTV with a painted cover.


    Fini - :)
  11. John Celardo

    John Celardo Well-Known Member Donor

    THAT IS BEAUTIFUL! Can't believe the amount of courage you have to take on such a monumental project. Did you have any help moving that monster into the fireplace?
  12. Saurav

    Saurav Active Member War Zone Member

    This is the best part IMO :)
    CJ likes this.
  13. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    Thanks guys! Yeah, I'll tell you that I started having doubts when that thing arrived on a skid and the driver helped me put it on the dolly. Oh the flue liner kit came in a separate box (huge) and the liner was coiled up and held with shrink wrap when I cut the wrap free it expanded about 8 inches with a big "klung" noise. Geez, what have I got myself into...

    John, that's why I made that sheet metal pan to cover it all. I knew that sliding the thing to do the connection was going to be hard, so the continuous steel surface makes it a lot easier than bare bricks and mortar.

    It's in and it's in good. The structure is sound, the connections are sound, the flue draws well and it doesn't leak. The entire flue assembly from the stove to the cap is solid laser welded stainless steel and secured with SS rivits.
  14. Chris Slade

    Chris Slade Active Member War Zone Member Top Poster

    I removed something like you just installed about 6 months ago, and dry-walled over the opening. This was no small project. I had to carry my old insert down two sets of steps. It sucked big time.

    This is a job well done.
  15. GHilinski

    GHilinski Well-Known Member War Zone Member

    wow! nice.
  16. Rick C

    Rick C Active Member

    Nice job Mike. I miss having a wood fire!
  17. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    Made a wood rack. Eighth inch steel angle and bar. Cut, bent, drilled and welded and brazed (whatever was easier) and primed. My place is so small they just don't have stuff that fits so you have to DIY.


    God I love my plasma torch - :) Tomorrow the flat black.
  18. Jack

    Jack Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    Awesome Mike, you did a Great job of overcoming the seemingly impossible. Is there anything you cant do ??
  19. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    Thanks and there are lots of stuff I can't do. I suck at sports (all sports), I'm a nerd - :)

    I'm going to give it another coat, but I installed the channels and you get the idea. Cordwood on the bottom and kindling on top. I'll get some sexy acorn nuts and trim the all thread too.

    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017
  20. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    All finished up, I changed the aluminum channel to steel tubing and painted it. Added a stainless steel handle on top and the chrome acorn nuts of course. Nice and sturdy!


    All loaded up and ready for Fall.


    It's gonna hit 82 degrees here, time to get out the shorts!
    Barry_NJ likes this.

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