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About to take the plunge and would appreciate some insight; Jotul, VC or ?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Black Locust Burner, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I have absolutely no interest in "looking for reasons to defend the product (I) own." That is an absurd accusation. I was simply providing an opinion based on my own observations and statements made by other BK owners, that I thought might be interesting to the Jotul owner considering a switch to BK.

    If you don't like my comment, ignore it, and instead read what jeff_t wrote. He must have been looking for reasons to defend what he owns, too.

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  2. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Seems like we lost Black Locust about three pages ago.

    Hope he found some answers here.
    Black Locust Burner likes this.
  3. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Mass and feel.. Mercedes yes. BMW is more about driving Dynamics.. And oh what a feel it is, I know. My roommate before I got married drove an E36 M3. Sweet car to drive, I borrowed it often. But I'd never ever want to own one. After a year of monthly service visits, breakdowns and loaners he got rid of it ( my other roomate put up with even more frustration with his Audi)but 10 years later I'm still driving the Acura I had at the time. I don't think its ever been in the shop for more than 3 hours.

    This is not meant to attack your choose in automobiles. Personally I love the looks, handling, feel of most German cars; I'm just not willing to put up with the headache of relying on one as primary transportation. Everyone has different priorities.
  4. Black Locust Burner

    Black Locust Burner New Member

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    Funny you say that, I just figured out that my phone and computer loaded the first page only and did not pick up on the other 3 pages of comments until now. Playing catch-up - was wondering why I was abandoned?
  5. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    Well, in Joful's defense, when I was researching what stove to buy myself back in Oct/Nov., I spoke at lenght (45 minutes) with a BK dealer via phone (no dealers around my area). He told me, "to be honest, I do not really like the build quaility of the BK's", he thought they used very thin steel throughout compared to alot of other stoves. HIS WORDS, not mine! However, he strongly pushed the "Long burn times" for them. When questioned deeply about there burn times vs heat output, he admitted when getting burns longer than 12 or 16 hours they do not really put out much heat, or in his words, "any heat at all".

    Haven't seen one in person myself. But I think I would love to have a BK right now, since it's been 50-60 degree's out for days now, I could have been burning one long easy BK fire all this time. ;) Instead my PH is cold.
    Joful likes this.
  6. Black Locust Burner

    Black Locust Burner New Member

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    Thank you for all the advice. I've learned there are a multitude of great stoves out there and I have looked at 40-50 models in person over the last 3 weeks, plus online viewing from suggestions. I have not bought the stove yet but will list some observations that I owe those of you who offered advice (and may help assist the salespeople who are on here on some level):
    • Jotul Rangeley top load opening was designed too small for my taste and was eliminated
    • Jotul 600 and Oslo are the frontrunners, need to revisit my dimensions to decide (local dealer is knocking $200 off the MSRP and charging only $100 for delivery and set up)
    • My corner location reduced my options and I will be right at the limits for side door openings, even though my pad seemed enormous when I built it!
    • Woodstock PH looks great but unable to open the front door would severely hurt ease of operation with my corner location - and keeping it local to the NE would have been ideal
    • Lopi Cape Cod is a big hog and a single door makes me nervous - lots of weight on the hinges and I don't trust 1st or 2nd year models of anything (cars, etc)
    • I feel better with CI over Steel and know it is denser (worked in metal pipe industry for 25 yrs) which would lead me to believe it would hold heat longer
    • I do not want to deal with replacing Cats on Cat stoves, this outweighed my desire for 10+ hour burn times
    • Marketing literature claims of EPA measurements for house sf and efficiency had little effect on me - I believe almost any stove meeting accepted EPA standards will burn effeciently enough
    • A large firebox volume (with a current design/efficiency) and ease of use are still my two main deciding points
    • I will feel spoiled with anything I buy and learn to reach its maximum burn times/best loading tricks etc because I am boring and like to experiment with that stuff
    • Cutting and splitting16"-24" lengths (for NS and EW if I get the 600) will be a welcomed changed to 16" max for my current stove
    • People who love their stove will defend it to the death!
  7. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    Your on the right track! Your doing the same thing I did, I looked at about 20 or 25 different stoves in person, and "studied" about 30 or 40 online. Your checking and comparing the details, which I think is important. Many on this site think their all the same, just pick a size and order it! ;) Here's some comments to add to yours for ya, for whatever it's worth, since I just went thru the same thing, and looked at many of the same units:

    I noticed that very small opening as well. I do like the cooking grill insert thingy though, that was/is pretty cool if you like to cook and like a wood grilled flavor.


    I also liked these units, the Jotuls in general seem to be well built stoves and get the same feedback here. ($100 for delivery and setup, wish I had that luxury! Ever see my install pics? ;))

    ok, I'm going to defend my stove till death! ;)My install is a corner install as well. I placed a PH at just over the minumum 12" spec (12" off each rear corner to the wall, which makes all the rest of clearances ok). Pay attention to the install clearance specs on the PH for install WITH THE HEAT SHIELD on. It goes from 36" down to 12" with heat shield, and the docs don't depict that enough, the 12" is only a footnote at bottom of the specs. And if you get the front Ash lip, it reduces the front hearth clearance to 8" which is great. Mine is 9", and the floor in front of it is barely warm. I was also concerned the side door would not open enough or allow enough room to load the stove between the wall and stove. So prior to ordering, I made a mock up of the stove and door out of cardboard, and placed it in the corner. I suprisingly found no issue at all with the door or space to load large 22" splits... Now since having it a month, I can say it is even less of an issue, actually, no issue at all. You would not even know there is a wall there at all really, it mise well be standing in the middle of the room, very happy about that.

    I like this stove alot. I liked it while shopping, although one dealer who only had it in shop 2 or 3 days commented he didn't think it had good burn times. Since, the comments here show that not to be true. I just happend to go into a stove shop I passed by yesterday I had never seen before in my area, low and behold they had the Cape Cod front and center and it was burning. It had a really nice burn to it, and threw out alot of radiant heat out the front. The front glass window is nice and large, so it had a nice display. The blower was quiet and also was kicking out alot of air and heat. Very nice looking stove, and looks well built. The hinges would not bother me a bit.

    The whole cat maintenance and running/learning thing on this site is WAAAAAAAAAY out of proportion if you ask me. Maybe it's just the PH has an easy to run and maintain CAT compared to other stoves, I don't know? But I can tell you there is nothing to burning with it, I doubt it would make any difference when starting a fire if my PH had a CAT or not. Either way, you tend to the fire for 10 or 15 mintues as it starts up and you shut down the air. With a cat, after 10 or 15 you also just flip the bypass switch, Big Deal! As for maintenace, I removed my CAT a few days ago since it's been so warm and the stove has been cold for days now. It took all of 1 minute to remove the top soapstone stones, pull up the stove top cast iron (cooktop), and pull out the CAT with one hand. Mine was burning 24x7 for the most part for 3 weeks, looked the same as it did the day I installed it. If it had been dirty or dust, I would have blown it off, and stuck it back in. A new one is $200, which from what I hear I "might" need it around 5 years from now. Again, big deal, it's like an oil change on a car. Yet, I will get longer burn times with it, and I will get more heat from the same amount of wood with it, and lastly, my chimney will see less heat over the years which can't be a bad thing (when you engage the cat, the flue temps go down).

    I've said this before, I'll say it again. Find a stove that is the right size (heat wise) for you, meets your burn time needs/wants, and lastly meets your astetic needs (matches your decor if required...). Whether or not it has a CAT is a mute point.

    As long as it's EPA approved. who really cares about the emissions? 1.2 vs 1.4 grams per hour.... meaningless really. But the sf heated, and/or BTU outputs estimate are important. You don't want to under gun the heating capacity, especially if it will be your main source of heat. I think they are good comparison #'s, to compare one to another.

    Having the ability to load 22" splits is nice. I have some older splits from 12 to 16" which are great for smaller fires, starting.... but all my new stuff (from Sandy and Irene last year) has been split betweem 18" and 20", will make for some nice full loads and long burns.

    Hope that helps some, good luck in the search!
    Black Locust Burner likes this.
  8. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    Your choice is a good one , I hope you enjoy the wood burning experience.
    Keep us updated on how it goes.
    I have thoroughly enjoyed my Vogelzang Performer Wood Stove , its saved me lots of money.
    I suggested the Wood Stock PH to you , I now have to pay the other guys $20 since you went with the Jotul brand. No just kidding :cool:.
    Black Locust Burner likes this.
  9. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    Not so fast! ;)

  10. Nonprophet

    Nonprophet Minister of Fire

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    We've burned a VC Defiant-Encore, a Jotul F500, and now have a Quadrafire Isle Royale.

    While I loved the looks of the VC (ours was cobalt blue enamel with the warming racks) liked the top-loading, and it was a pretty good heater (8-10 hours no problem) it was "finicky" to operate and high-maintenance with fairly expensive parts.

    Our Oslo did not work out for us, though many seem happy with them. We could just never get ours to burn well. We've reached the conclusion that you need strong draft and/or cold temps (below 30) to get an Oslo to burn well--at least here in the PNW. Our biggest complaints with the Oslo were a poorly designed front ash lip that always spilled ash when you opened the front door, and, the lack of andirons to keep logs from rolling into the glass doors when you load East-West.

    We love the Isle Royale, HUGE firebox, simple operation, easy to light/easy breather, aesthetically pleasing, andirons, low maintenance, efficient, 7-9 hours burns, top loading, and it really cranks out the heat! We wish it had a single front door instead of the double door, but other than that the IR is the closest to a "perfect stove" that we've had in 20+ years of burning.

    NP
  11. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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  12. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    +1 or rather +1000

    This idea that cats are difficult to maintain just wont die. I dont think Ive ever seen a post claiming that from a member who actually owned a catalytic stove... mostly its second hand scare stories that somebody heard from a dealer.

    I own whats often considered to be one of the more difficult catalytic stoves to deal with, and I can get my cat out in 5 minutes. lift out combustion hood, tap out 2 wedges, lift out fireback, lift out cat.

    And the woodstocks are far simpler than that.

    The replacement timeframe for the cat is around 12,000 hours of use. Even if you burn 24/7 from Oct straight through till April every year that's only once every 4 years or so, for many of us the interval is closer to once per decade.
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I thought that the Rangeley's firebox was slightly larger than the Oslo (2.5 vs 2.3 cu ft?). Not so? Have you looked at the Pacific Energy Alderlea T6? This was the final, fitting solution for our corner install. The Quad Isle Royale was a front runner, but the clearances were challenging for our location due to a window.
  14. Black Locust Burner

    Black Locust Burner New Member

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    My concern with the cat is the $200 every 4-6 years and the possibility that 25 years from now I cannot locate the model I need...yes I like to keep things in good shape and run them to death. Blame my Depression-Era influenced father - if it doesn't last 20+ years it was junk!
    Also, I had a cat go on a 4Runner at 82,000 miles and had to shell out major money just after the warranty and I have a hatred of cats from that experience. I am not worried about the change out/maintenance
  15. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    He was referring to the "Top Load door" on the Rangely being small. ;)

    I also like the Alderlea, that was also on my list. What kind of burn times do you see out of the T6?
  16. Black Locust Burner

    Black Locust Burner New Member

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    The Rangely is larger 2.67 to than the Oslo 2.54. I don't like the small loading area in the top, it seems narrow and I picture myself fooling with a log that's too big with a raging fire below.

    I am going to take a trip to look at the Quad Isle Royale before I pull the trigger on the 600 - I still need to double check the dimensions for my space. I'm going to make a new cut-out that can fit underneath my existing stove instead of on top for accuracy. I'm that close!
  17. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I can't speak to the Rangely, as I've seen them, but not run one. What I can say is that the top load door on my Firelight 12 is much smaller than the firebox width, but I have no trouble getting big splits in thru it. You sort of drop one end in, angle it, and then drop the other end in. I can measure the opening size of my top load door, if you care to compare it to the size of the opening on the Rangely.
    jotulguy likes this.
  18. Trilifter7

    Trilifter7 Feeling the Heat

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    I am currently looking at replacing my Resolute with the Isle Royale. I've gone and looked at it twice now and it is a great looking stove. Like NP said, it looks very simple and easy to maintain. Definetly worth checking out. For what it's worth... My dealer told me to keep an eye out in march bc most manufacturers will discount there stoves then. Not sure how soon you are looking to buy but worth knowing. Also remember the $300 tax credit for purchasing a new stove this year.
    Black Locust Burner likes this.
  19. dyerkutn

    dyerkutn Feeling the Heat

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    I love this thread as I am possibly in the market for a new stove. I have posted elsewhere but this post may be the most relevant to me so I hope someone is patient enough to read this--sorry to be so long-winded--bear with me. My story--I have a 1980's Dutchwest India 224CCL which was in the house when I moved to it in 2000. The thought of having a stove had never entered my mind as I am a city and suburbs person with pretty much no mechanical skills but since it was here I taught myself to use it. I had camped quite a bit as a teenager and felt pretty confident about making fires. This is particularly useful as it is located in an area that was an addition and has the modern vaulted ceiling open space look and they only put two (hot air) vents in the whole area--as opposed to the original bathroom which has its own vent and is 10 by 8. So whenever I am home for a fair part of a day, or evening, I fire it up to stay warm. I have seen people post that it is finicky and hard to use but since I have nothing to compare to I don't know if that is true. I have to get it going in several steps--start, then close damper when therm. is at 500, then close front air intake when therm. is at 800. Then every few days empty the ashtray, and there is always ash and coal behind the tray that I have to clean out--I just stick my hand in and pull the stuff from the corners and sweep with a little broom into the ashtray, then go out and dump in my woods.(Though I am intrigued with the idea mentioned on this forum of not bothering to clean the tray at all) So given all of that, I guess I am not afraid of some work!! I do have to tend the fire--add logs very hour or so (the box is pretty small), and the heat is not that even--sometimes I am sweltering, but those could probably improve if I paid better attention to my technique--I doubt I could get an overnight burn unless I slept for only 4 hours! The thing is no longer shiny and the inside looks pretty awful--and the stationary grate has caved in so if I cannot get that fixed I will probably have to purchase which is sad because with all that being said I LOVE this stove--how it looks, the warmth it gives out--I love the smell, like I am at a campfire--and when my son (who lives with me) starts a fire before I get home I can smell it before I turn into the driveway--it is now totally part of my life. And I have never had problems like smoke in the house (except when I open the door to put in wood and forget to open the damper) or with the CAT (forgot to mention it does have one and I do remove it myself to see if it is dirty--still the original.) Oh yes, I should say that I live in a pretty upscale suburb surrounded by McMansions, but that my house is small and pretty funky so having ashes and little pieces of wood flying around my living room is not a problem as long as I can vacuum every few days especially if I am having visitors. Also, I work a lot of hours and am also out some evenings. My main purpose for the stove is to provide me with HEAT when I am home in the main living area (the new part) and also as insurance for times when we are off the grid. The stove does get very hot and you cannot sit near it when it is going well and my living room is small which limits the number of guests who can be comfortably seated during the winter so a stove that has less outside convection could be useful--although it seems to me that that is mainly what provides the warmth. So this brings me to my point of posting. I am nervous about getting a new stove that looks great and has all the right EPA stuff and is more convenient to run and have it be more of a problem than my old funky stove. On the other hand, maybe there are some great advantages that will make me say--why didn't I do this sooner. I did visit a showroom lately and the guy seemed to be very knowledgeable and showed me some stoves that looked like they were amazing in their simplicity and efficiency yet I know new things tend to have lower quality than old things. I see that VC still makes my exact same stove but would it work as well. Of would the new VC's like Defiant work as well as the old ones. I have to find out which of the brands people have been posting about here are available in my area (New England). WHEW --so any words of wisdom are appreciated.
  20. rijim

    rijim Member

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    dyerkutn, If I were in your situation I would look at the Woodstock Fireview; they are sold direct from the factory. It is soapstone so the heat is not as harsh and the CAT technology will let it burn clean when turned down. Located in NH, excellent products and customer service that has the highest regard around here.
    But you may want to start another thread to focus on your requirements.
  21. Black Locust Burner

    Black Locust Burner New Member

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    So I'm down to my most likely option. The jotul 600 was our (wife = aesthetics) choice but my corner installation has pretty much killed all side loads unless I end up with a funky layout, off center etc. I would love to put eyes on a Woodstock lineup but can't travel that far to browse and I'm not in love with the blue stone against my slate hearth. So now the best fit is the VC Defiant Flexburn. Big box, locally made within 4 hrs, good dealer, top load. I think about how the top load will be better every time I open my front load lopi and have to clean ashes. I know there have been noted issues with quality but believe they are back to concentrating on making stoves well and will be sure to baby it. I'm handy enough for basic repairs and like the way it matches my clearances and it's a good looking unit. Wasn't really looking cat but it sounds like it was designed with the thought that many owners will not replace or utilize the cat so it can operate fine as a non-cat.
    Thanks for all the advice and stove descriptions, sorry to the reps who may have hoped their line would take 1st place.
  22. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Love it when someone finds the perfect stove for them. Must be nice to come home to on your chilly wet days. Enjoy!
  23. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Yes, start a thread. Some things about your present burning etc are a bit scary. Getting to 800 every burn is awfully hot. Are you sure your stove is in safe condition and your flue is clean? And it really isn't a good idea to take your ashes directly out and toss them i your woods. Your may burn your woods, your home and some neighors' homes down. Put them in a fireproof covered container for a week, on a non-combustible surface. Pleas start a new post so you get some help. You should get a new stove, probably a cat, because you can easily control the heat output, the Fireview suggested would not be a bad choice.
  24. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    VC Defiant Flexburn! You surprised me.

    If you went to Woodstock to browse, you'd leave with a stove. :rolleyes:

    Good luck.
  25. dyerkutn

    dyerkutn Feeling the Heat

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    The temperature is on the little thermometer in the middle of the cookplate--these temperatures are all according to the manual--and I only dump the ashes when they are totally cold--which they are because I only do it when the stove is cold. And I have a large piece of woods behind my house. The grate generally keeps the hot coals from the ashtray. Thanks for the advice on the cat and I will look into the fireview.

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