Novice wood burner help please

Having absolutely no experience of wood burners, I would like some help with the Invicta in our new home. Firstly, does anyone recognise the model (its an oldie I think)? Secondly, should the lever at the top be to the left or right to open the vent for lighting? Finally, when I attempt to pull out the ashtray, it only seems to pull out a little bit - should I just give use muscle power and give it a strong tug?!

Sorry no idea about your particular stove but on our quite new one the top thing only concerns the draw - you set it according to how your chimney or flue draws and leave it there. I should think the ashtray is supposed to come out in order to be emptied ours does.

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I had an Invicta wood burner for nearly 25 years but a big solid square one that fitted into the chimney space. The ash drawer at the bottom always came out for emptying and cleaning where ash had fallen at the back of the drawer and also for making the fire flame higher or lower depending on how much the wood had burned down. Mr.Bricolage were agents for Invicta when I replaced the grate inside a few years ago and worked out cheaper than Invicta at Rennes sending the same part as it was very heavy. Every summer I painted the stove with a special paint in a pewter colour that buffed up and became nice and shiny but when lit for the first time in autumn it gave off fumes for a bit from the treatment. If you google Invicta and your nearest supplier, they may be able to help you more with your particular model.

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The top lever is an air control. The easy way to test which way it works is to screw up some newspaper, put it in the fire, light it and close the door. Move the control from extreme left to extreme right and observe the flame. When it’s at its biggest, that’s the maximum air flow. Set the control to that position when you light the fire and once it’s established, move the lever back some way towards the ‘minimum air’ position to regulate the fire. Every fire is different and they all take some getting used to.

As to the thing at the bottom, could that be a secondary air control? Many modern fires have them as it helps to get the fire going and to keep the glass clean. The amount of movement is often very small - a cm or two. It doesn’t look like an ash pan to me - although there must be one somewhere.

Edited to add: You could try sending Invicta an email with a picture of your poele and ask if they can send you the instructions. There’s a contact form on their website here.

Bon chance!



Thanks for all your helpful comments :blush:

Our woodburner (not an Invicta but definitely ancient) functions the way @_brian describes. However, it definitely doesn’t have an ash pan - for that make, only the small multi-fuel stoves had ash pans - the ones that were designed for wood only didn’t, as wood is supposed to burn on a layer of ash rather than on a grate as for traditional solid fuel.

Good luck @MauraChambers1 !

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Gave the tray at the bottom a good tug and it is definitely the ashtray. I’m wondering about your suggestion about a secondary air vent with the knob at the bottom - it does move left to right a couple of cms but it is also the means by which you pull out the ashtray? :woman_shrugging:

That could be reasonable - it suggests that the secondary air intake is beneath the fire bed which would make sense.

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Which paint did you use? Ours could do with a spruce up :blush:

Google invicta mode d’emploi

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The problem is that they have nearly 100 different current models and the OPs poele is an old model whose name is, I think, not known.

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It’s an Invicta poêle a bois La Borne. Haven’t found any useful documentation though.


Can download a booklet in french like the one that came with our stove. As I said the top thing is the secondary intake it should be at least half open or adjusted to suit your conditions then left alone. The bottom thing is the primary intake and is used when fire is lit to regulate burning. It seems very similar to our Invicta Romilly which we find very good.

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Eureka! :bath: Thanks, @ChrisK

Scroll to the bottom of this page and you can download the manual!


Thank you! :hugs:

Hurray! Thanks for all your help Brian! :hugs::clap:

Just as an afterthought, my Invicta had two large round holes either side of the ash drawer which you used to control the flames/heat and turn completely to shut down the stove at night for safety when it had died down. The paint was a thick liquid especially marked for Poele à bois and I got it years ago in Castorama so if you go to the section in the big brico stores you will find all sorts of products for your stove. It was painted on with a brush, left to dry for an hour and then buffed up with a duster/old rag to a beautiful shiny pewter finish even though the cast iron was black but it fades with each use. If you do it, remember to light it at least once with all the windows open prior to using for winter as the paint gives off a light smoke and smell once it heats up but soon goes with ventilation. Just seen their catalogue and mine was the Chaumont 8kw. Can’t believe the current price, we paid FF3350 back in 92 from Bricomarché and it took three men to lift it indoors.

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Thanks so much for the information. :blush:

We’re a lovely bunch on here

I can say that because I offered you no help at all :laughing:

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