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A method to restore permanently etched fireplace insert glass  RSS feed

 
Mark White
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Hello Everyone. Here’s a process I have used to restore fireplace insert glass that has become permanently etched and cloudy over time. Not a problem for everyone, etching of ceramic glass does (or does not) occur depending on how and what you burn. Etching is different from the usual ash or soot layer that can be wiped away. In this demonstration I knew that the glass was etched, so I started with some strong acid to remove any alkali and organic deposits before following up with a cerium oxide polish to restore a smooth, optically-clear surface so I can enjoy the view again. Perhaps this will be helpful to some. The video link is below:


 
Dc Taylor
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Location: Livermore, CA
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Great article, Mark! Before I retired Neoceram was about $10/sq inch. I'm sure it's much higher now. I like your idea better. Keep us posted on the life of your glass...how much longer it lasted. Also, using only the video as my information, it looks like you may have removed the firebrick baffle from inside your insert. Am I wrong on that? If you did, why not replace them? Firebrick splits are only one or two dollars each, and as I recall, Lopi's bricks across the top of the firebox are all standard sizes. They should provide a noticeable increase in efficiency from your unit.
 
Mark White
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Thanks. All the firebricks are actually in place. You might be noticing the large space above the forward recombustion tube and the ceiling of the firebox. After years of use, the forward tube became thin and then started to sag dramatically over the last season. Since making the video, I have replaced the tube. I had to cut the old tube out with a sawzall and, although the tube looked like it was about to fall down, it had a surprizing amount of strength left. Of course, it was cool at time I cut it. Because those tubes get red hot, it is not surprizing they would sag if the metal gets thin.

In the spirit of sharing information for the benifit of others (no flames please), I'll tell you that burning a single piece of CPVC scrap pipe produces corrosive hydrogen choride gas for several hours. That gas, coupled with the high temperatures, can put the equivalent of a few years of corrosion on the inside of your stove in just a few hours. Flakes of corroded metal may spall off the internals making "pinging" sounds as they pop off. Incomplete combustion of chorinated products also produces dioxins (which are carcinogenic). Welding and fabrication skills are helpful in the rebuilding of the internals. On the plus side, it makes very pretty blue flames... so there's that...
 
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