How To Change Rope Seal
Over time the glass fibre rope seals on your wood burning or multi fuel stove door will either compress sufficiently so that they no longer effectively seal the door or they will begin to pull away or frey. Your door seals should be checked periodically using the paper test. Take a piece of paper, similar size to a £5 note is ideal and open your stoves door, place the paper between the door and the stove body. Close the door and then attempt to slide the paper out. The paper should either stay locked in place or slide out slowly with resistance. Work your way around the door and check each point, just because it seals by the hinges doesn't mean it will by the latch. If at any point the paper slides out easily then it is time to replace the rope. If you have a double door stove and one door seals and the other doesn't don't simply replace only one seal, do them both.
Firstly we need to establish whether or not it'd be better to remove the doors or change the rope in situ. Doors that are held in place with simple drop pins are easy to remove. Carefully lift the door off it's hinges, if you get a lot of resistance carefully wiggle the door back and forth until the pins come free. Do not force the door or try to prise the pins out with excessive force. Once removed place the pins back into the hinge on the stove body for safe keeping, you should use the same pins for the same hinges as sometimes the pins can wear and they never seem to work as they should once mixed up!
If the door is bolted in place then it is best to leave in situ as they can be notoriously difficult to refit and realign.
Many stove manufacturers sell kits in which to reseal their stoves, with the correct diameter rope all cut to the right length. This is the easiest way of doing things but can be slightly more expensive than buying rope at your local stove shop and cutting it to size yourself. If you source the rope yourself be sure to take some of the old rope with you to ensure you get the correct diameter. Also remember to pick up some heatproof tape in which to wrap the cut ends which stops it from freying. You will also need rope glue.
Once you have all the correct materials you can start to remove your old rope. The rope for sealing the door is usually glued into a groove around the door (occasionally rope is simply pressed into a much deeper than normal groove with no glue, this just pulls straight out with minimal effort), take a flat headed screwdriver and lift and scrap the rope out of the groove. You should remove all the old rope glue too. Once you have done this wipe the groove clean with white spirit, ensuring there is no dust or grease and the rope glue can properly adhere the rope to the stove door.
If the seal between the door and the glass needs replacing then proceed to remove the glass by loosening the retaining clips. These can frequently become seized in place so they should be removed with care, WD40 or other thread releasing sprays should be used if the screws do not move with reasonable force. In some cases the screws will prove impossible to move without drilling and in which case the door should be taken to a reputable metal working engineers for drilling out and retapping. Once the clips are removed then it is time to lift out the glass and remove the seal. This seal may be made with either a heatproof foam strip or a small diameter fire rope and should be replaced like for like. Cut your new seal to the same length as the previous perished seal. Lay the seal into the groove and place the glass down making sure it's sealed all the way around. Replace the clips, use copper grease (not an excessive amount) on the threads of the screws and tighten until the clips just grip the glass. You should now proceed to tighten each screw a little at a time and at opposing sides, much like one would do when tightening a car wheel. This stops any uneven strain on the glass which can lead to it cracking.
Cut your door seal to the size of your original seal. Any joints should fall in the same place as they did previously but if in doubt always put joints on the lower part of the door. Loose ends should be taped up with heatproof tape to stop fraying and neaten the seal. Run a thin bead of rope glue all the way around the groove in the stove door. I always use a little more where the joint will fall as this can be a weak spot but it is important to not use an excessive amount of glue as this can harden and cause lumps which in turn can stop the door sealing properly. Carefully press the new rope into position being careful not either stretch or compress the rope as you do so. Once you are happy with how the rope is sitting then leave the door for an hour if you've removed it if not carefully shut the stove door and leave for an hour so that the glue can hold. The glue cures properly under heat so once this period is up light the stove and gradually increase the temperature. Once you've had a fire and the stove has cooled then do the paper test again to make sure the job has been done properly.
Article written by Ryan Brocklehurst