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Review of Jotul --- 602 Classic -- Freestanding Stove burning Wood only
Hearth.com Wood Stove and Fireplace Review Section - thousands of ratings and reviews on wood, pellet and gas stoves and fireplaces
Easy to light, gives off a lot of heat, simple design, clean good looks
small firebox, can easily overfire, no back interior heatshield, frequent loading
We've had this stove for over 10 years. It came with the house and was almost new when we got it. This is a fine little stove if one works within it's design constraints. The firebox is small and one must avoid the temptation to squeeze in bigger logs that "almost" fit. At about year 5 we accidently dislodged the upper heat shield doing just that. This allowed hot flue gases to head right out the back instead of around the front of the shield. The back casting is unshielded (on the interior of the stove) and is quite vunerable. If overheated it will quickly burnout or crack. I have rebuilt our stove once. It was a not to bad weekend task. At that point I replaced the back casting (ours had burned out). Only a year later, we had someone housesitting for a few winter months and came back to find the back had a hairline crack from over-firing. I had a friend cut a pice of 3/16" steel to fit the interior back of the stove and have bolted this inside the stove as a heat shield. It is working very well and has prevent further damage to the back of the stove. I've looked at several older 602's and they all seem to have this problem. It's too easy to burn out the back of these stoves. Jotul really should have made the stove about one inch longer and designed in a factory rear-heat shield.
That said, with the minor modification, I think the stove is good to go for many more years. The new heat shield is invisible from the outside except for the 4-#10 screwheads showing on the back. It has handsome good looks and is very simple to use. We have it connected from the back to an elbow tha connects to a straight-up stack of about 14 ft. Draft is so good that we have a stovepipe damper installed above the stove. Once the fire is going well, we damper down the pipe and stove. Average burn time with northwest softwoods is about 2hrs., so one has to tend the stove frequently. We have an old farmhouse with an open floorplan and this little stove will heat the whole house until the temps go below about 30. Getting parts from Jotul is getting harder. Seems everyone is going to gas.
* Dates that reviews were submitted were not recorded prior to Nov. 2004