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Author Topic: Choice between a Portage & Main and Legend  (Read 9104 times)

MrDan27611

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Choice between a Portage & Main and Legend
« on: September 26, 2012, 07:29:04 AM »

I am in the process of replacing an Aqua II OWB that has been in place in central NC since the 1980s. The boiler itself works fine but it has always been undersized for the heat load and when the weather gets below about 35 degrees, it cannot keep up no matter how much wood I stuff in it all throughout the day and night. My reason for replacing the boiler now is that the requirements for EPA wood stoves are here and I have no control over when a traditional boiler will still be available. It could be 20 years before NC requires an EPA stove or it could be in the next government session. Either way I figure the old Aqua II has served it's hitch and it's time to replace. (It'll be for sale if anyone is interested. It does work fine)

In case someone wonders why I'm opposed to EPA stoves, my wife likes the smell of the wood fire. She informed me any new wood stove better produce smoke. Since I'd like to be welcome back in the bed on those cold nights, no EPA stove for me. Also we live on a farm so there isn't any issue with neighbors, zoning boards, HOAs, or any other annoyances of modern society. We also have an unlimited supply of wood so efficiency isn't my main concern.

One distinct thing about my setup is that the OWB is actually inside, in a separate building dedicated to the wood stove. You can see what I'm talking about in the first few seconds of this video. Redoing the underground pipes on my wood boiler This is significant because whatever boiler I get HAS to be able to fit inside of the existing space. The most critical limit is a height limitation of 76" but there are other limitations as well. Obviously I'd remove any A frame roofing on an OWB to get clearance. This requirement has eliminated a number of units from my search as they had height issues, length issues, doors, controls, etc. in places that simply wouldn't work in my application, etc. 

I have a local vendor who performs all my work so I have no need of a dealer. Based on my experience with the dealers I've met so far, I'm considering that a good thing. Lastly, I'm an accomplished welder so stainless steel vs. mild steel matters to me but not for the normal reasons. I'd prefer to weld on mild steel so if I have a problem later, mild is a plus. Also, we've NEVER treated the water in the existing boiler (I'd never heard of it) and it has survived just fine for 30 years. I'm not worried about corrosion.

I've looked at a number of boilers and have narrowed down to two brands that I am favoring, Portage & Main and Legend (obviously, since I'm posting here.)

Here are the distinctive pros as I see it for each one:

P&M -

Under grate draft. Air is supplied to the bottom of the fire, which I like.
Full penetration welds, both sides. As a welder I can appreciate the difference that makes to strength.
All mild steel. I can weld any cracks.
Can be oversized to my needs. The ML42 is bigger than I actually need, hopefully allowing me to idle for longer periods of time thereby increasing my time between refills. The ML36 is probably the right size, maybe a tad small.
Can be ordered without insulation, cladding, etc. This is a factory option listed on the website. This makes it much easier for me to fit the unit into my building without first taking the unit apart, then installing it.
Johnson controls. My vendor of choice is actually a stock holder with Johnson and is intimately familiar with their products.
Stack is out the back of the unit. This makes it easier for installation.

Legend
Freight. I can drive down and pick it up myself. No freight.
Likely cheaper. It looks like a nice unit, but it sounds like it's built with outside welders hired on a job basis. Doesn't seem like quite the same setup as a dedicated factory.
Maybe able to be build without cladding and insulation, not sure yet. Since a it's local build, I can actually drive down there and talk to them before it's build and likely have it built to my specs. I'll have to investigate this.
Local - For all the reasons above and many more, that's good.

Negatives

P&M
$1500 just for the freight from Canada it looks like.
Cadillacs are expensive and this one will likely be as well.
The exchange rate isn't favorable right now to the US, making it even more expensive than it would normally be.

Legend
It does have some stainless so I could weld it, but I'd have to TIG it instead. No big deal but now I have to remember 10 years from now that this piece is mild, that piece is stainless. Memory isn't my strong suit.
Aqua II was a good stove, but they went out of business. How long will this crowd be around? Just because this fella ran Taylor's shop doesn't mean he can run a business. No offense, it's just a different skill set.
No grate, it's just a big firebox which is different from what I'm used to. I like having the ashes fall into a catch basin under the grate. I can dump the ashes while it's running vs having to clean it out on a separate trip, then re-fire.
The largest unit Legend makes is just barely at my spec for capacity. I like the idea of being oversized.

I'm expecting quotes from both manufacturers shortly so then I'll have hard numbers to compare. Until then I'm trying to get my head straight on which one I prefer while numbers aren't the deciding factor. I definitely like the P&M and I think if they cost exactly the same without freight, I'd buy it over the Legend.

My question to you is, do you see anything I'm missing in my thoughts above? Also, do you see another brand that I should investigate prior to making my final decision?
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koutsman

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Re: Choice between a Portage & Main and Legend
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2012, 09:04:42 AM »

Dan,
        Legend has a wood/coal combination furnace with a grate. With it the air would be supplied from under the grate up through the fire and it has a few more btu's than their biggest wood boiler if that is what you are looking for.

    I'm not a dealer but I've had a Legend since 09 and love it!!!

   I liked the P&M and was going to buy one but when I called them they gave me a price (over the phone). I told them I'd take it and that was on a Friday. On Monday they called and said they couldn't honor that price and that the furnace had in fact gone up in price. So I went with Legend and have been very happy!!!!                                                                             
                                                                                             
      Good Luck,
                       Mike
,
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jerkash

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Re: Choice between a Portage & Main and Legend
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2012, 12:38:20 PM »

I bought a Legend last year and love it.  I also went and talked to the owner of Legend and saw them being made.  I did have a dealer that sells other unit including Legend tell me that Legend will heat more btu's than they say as compared to other brands.  Also on your height, I'm sure that since it sits up on skids that they could lower the skids for you in height.  There is some talk that the Taylor stove is not a good stove and the Legend is about the same.  That is NOT true.  I burn dry wood and have very little smoke and very few ashes. I also think you will find the Legend to be priced a little cheaper.  Good luck with whichever you choose.  I just put a top on mine a month ago!
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koutsman

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Re: Choice between a Portage & Main and Legend
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2012, 04:19:24 PM »

Looks good Jerkash!!!!    Can you still see your red light????  It probably illuminates in the dark so you can tell if it's on???
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tanner

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Re: Choice between a Portage & Main and Legend
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2012, 06:31:22 PM »

hey guys were can i buy some extra sticks of stove pipe my dealer told me he though that lowes sales it but he wasnt four shure i was wondering were yall got yalls? By  the way jerkash what size pump did you buy for yours? IM not shure how far your pex pipe is but mine will be about 65 feet and its 1inc i was just wondering what size i might need?
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jerkash

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Re: Choice between a Portage & Main and Legend
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2012, 07:27:00 PM »

I added the red light so I could tell when my fan was running. 

Lowes does sell the pipe.  I googled Lowes and found  the name brand pipe and found it somewhere else online cheaper.  Sorry, but I can't remember the size or where I got it from.  :bash:

I'm about 125 feet away with 1 inch pex.  I will check the pump size tomorrow.  My pump does have three speeds and I use the low speed
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koutsman

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Re: Choice between a Portage & Main and Legend
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2012, 08:01:51 PM »

tanner,
             I called my dealer to get a price on adding on to my stack. From the price he gave me to get to 6ft. I went to Menards and bought 2 3ft. sections for less money.

                                           
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MrDan27611

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Re: Choice between a Portage & Main and Legend
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2012, 12:43:49 PM »

Just FYI, the P&M quotes came in with the ML36 at about 8 grand stripped and the ML42 at about 10 grand stripped. I'm waiting on the Legend quotes now for comparison.

Dan
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Scott7m

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Re: Choice between a Portage & Main and Legend
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2012, 08:12:00 PM »

Of course portage and main will be higher, your comparing 2 products on opposite ends of the industry spectrum, not knocking legend, but p and m is a major player where legend is a new kid on the block
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MrDan27611

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Re: Choice between a Portage & Main and Legend
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2012, 04:00:44 PM »

The Legend quote showed up today. Mid 8 grand vs. the low 8 grand for a comparably sized P&M boiler so in reality the P&M came in cheaper. Of course freight is a factor but not a show stopper. I didn't realize until last night that the P&M boiler has a gravity closed air dampener vs. the Legend having a powered actuator. I have some history with gravity closed dampeners and it wasn't good. Soot caused the dampener to stick. I haven't heard of this with the P&M but wanted some feedback from the collected wisdom. Anybody have issues with dampener on the P&M?
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Scott7m

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Re: Choice between a Portage & Main and Legend
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2012, 04:13:36 PM »

Heatmaster has gravity closing dampers, never a problem

Amazed that legend is asking that much.  Figured for sure they'd have to be cheaper to generate some sales.
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jerkash

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Re: Choice between a Portage & Main and Legend
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2012, 05:00:28 PM »

What size Legend did you get the price on?
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MrDan27611

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Re: Choice between a Portage & Main and Legend
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2012, 08:40:54 PM »

What size Legend did you get the price on?

The model 8230.
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tanner

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Re: Choice between a Portage & Main and Legend
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2012, 02:00:25 PM »

what size is the stove pipe on the legend? im kinda haven a hard time finding some
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koutsman

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Re: Choice between a Portage & Main and Legend
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2012, 08:57:00 PM »

    8 in.
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