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Advice on Vt Casting DutchWest Woodstove

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Verynycegirl, Nov 30, 2005.

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  1. Verynycegirl

    Verynycegirl New Member

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    I looking to upgrade to a new Dutch west Wood stove Does any have a opinion about the Dutch west stoves. My chimney is 22 years old and located Exterior wall it is 25 feet high. My current old wood stove drafts well. What are the advantages of a cat vs non cat stove and do you think my setup will support the cat stove?
    Thanks,
    Tracy

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I am staying out of this one VNC. Next thing we know you will have a new Dutchwest for a few roast beef subs and fries.

    Seriously, twenty years ago I started to buy a Dutchwest but when I found out that, at that time, they were Taiwan specials I ran the other way.
  3. Verynycegirl

    Verynycegirl New Member

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    Well, I do make darn good roast beef subs and fries!!! ;-)
  4. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    The new dutchwest stoves aren't bad, I personally like the look of them, because they look very similar to the old ones. However, as of late, I believe Vermont Castings has left a bad taste in more than one persons mouth, and since Dutchwest is owned under the Vermont Castings conglomerit, you may want to buy carefully.

    That said, I think your chimney setup is capable of supporting either a non cat or cat stove. If it is a metal chimney though, I'd have it inspected, because I believe 22 years is bordering on the end of it's lifetime. If it's a masonary unit, please get it properly relined if necessary.


    The advantages of cat vs non cat are more a matter of personal preference than anything else at this point in the game. The cat stoves usually burn slightly cleaner (like 1 or 2 grams less per hour), but they can be a little more difficult to burn and also have a cat combustor that will need to be replaced every few years. Cat stoves usually don't have a lot of flame during extended burns, so if a beatiful flame is an important part of your woodstove experience, I'd definitely consider a non-cat stove.

    We burn a Dutchwest stove from 1983 that has a cat combustor, but can also burn coal and we really like it. But we're talking about 22 years, so it's safe to say a lot has changed with both the stoves and the companies that produce them. Whether the changes are good or bad is up in the air imo.

    However, if you decide on a non-cat stove, I HIGHLY suggest checking out the Jotul line.
  5. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I do believe they are now cast in Bethel VT foundry. That is correct, VC bought out the tiawanese company to sell
    a lower price range stove. That was in the 80's. Shawn a retail dealer in MT has praised the product line, Seaken got your ears on


    Corie: I believe the Jotuls are beyond her price range, if looking at Dutchwest. If streaching to buy a Chevy Malibu no sense suggesting purchasing a BMW.
  6. shredney

    shredney New Member

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    Hey Bart and VNC

    The Dutchwest stoves were made offshore originally, but when Vermont Castings purchased them a number of years ago, they started building them in the same foundry as the rest of the VC line. The new Cast Non-Cat stoves in particular are extremely high quality and have the new Ever-Burn system with a refractory lined fire box that has a life time Warranty. These stoves and the others in the VC lineup that share this technology are some of the cleanest and most efficient wood stoves available. It is definitely worth checking out VNC.
  7. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, you're probably right. I just went to see a few dealers last weekend and got to get pretty up close and personal with some Jotuls and there really is no comparison.

    Basically, I'm on a jotul kick right now :)
  8. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I have had a few e-mails with VNC. Seen here in a prior post , she currently has 1980 Sears coal wood stove. From her picture post, It has a gasket leak. She just got a full 10 wheeler dump truck load of free wood. Her home has a good open floor plan of about 1800 sq ft. Steve have you sold any steel plate Dutchwest , care to comment, or can you make a recommendation as to which Dutchwest would heat her home? Blower options ? Probably is restricted to 6" flue outlet so 8" is not an option
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Since everyone here is always looking for a little stove history, here's a good one to add to your trivia....

    Dutchwest, or specifically the purchase of same, drove VC into the poorhouse and caused the founder to leave penniless!

    How did this happen? Well you see the Dutchwest guy made some lousy stoves...but he was a heck of a salesperson. It was rumored they spent about $100 on each stove and about $200 on advertising to sell each!

    They were pretty bad...real bad. But they sold a hell of a lot of them since they direct marketed and people could not see them!

    So, the Dutch owners puts his fist on the table like Nakita kruschev and says to VC "we will bury you!" - VC takes the bait and thinks "We better buy them before they destroy us!" ---No kidding, Folks - this is true....

    So, VC bets the farm and pays many millions for Dutch - and when they actually see what they bought (patterns, molds, etc. etc) they soon found it was virtually NOTHING. They stored the stuff for use in future lawsuits and tooled up from scratch...

    Of course, this broke them, so the founder was given $1 and his walking papers. Even since that day, VC has passed from corp to corp, some better...some worse, but they basically fired anyone who had to do with the original company.

    And that's the story of how Dutchwest broke VC! A sad tale it is...because Duncan (founder) deserved to make $$ off of his amazing creation!

    Meanwhile, the dutch of today are decent stoves.....
  10. Verynycegirl

    Verynycegirl New Member

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    Hey....how did I become VNC??? I thought I was VNG :)
    Also I would like to personally thank elkimmeg....He has been VERY helpful ( I might even make him a roast beef sub & fries!!! ;-)
  11. shredney

    shredney New Member

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    Well honestly either the steel Dutchwest or the cast non-cat are both decent stoves. We sell more steel models mainly because of the price, and have had no complaints . It is a well built steel stove comes in three sizes and has a limited lifetime warranty. The cast models are definitely more high tech but are more expensive than the steel. They also come in 3 sizes so finding one in either steel or cast to heat a given size home should be no problem at all. A couple of installation differences are that the cast models are front and side loading so that could have implications as far as your floor protection goes. They need 16" (US) and 18" (CAN.) for protection in front of the front door as well as the left side where the other door is. The steel stove doesn't have this problem/advantage, depending on how you look at it. Also the steel stoves can be installed much closer than the cast stoves to a combustible wall, if memory serves me the small and medium steel models can be placed as close as 6" from a combustible wall with no extra sheilding by only using double wall stovepipe, which is a good investment anyway. So between they offer a lot of flexibility for an excellent price. I don't think there is another cast stove that can go up against the dutchwest cast models either cat or non-cat, based on features and price. And seriously there is nothing to worry about the Vermont Castings company as they are more solid now than they have ever been and they are still built at their foundry in Bethel Vermont. They are a pleasure to sell to our customers.

    Good Luck
  12. shredney

    shredney New Member

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    PS Corie, I couldn't help but notice your Avatar, if you don't mind, what do you ride? My Avatar is my new ride a 2006 black pearl Road King Custom. Beeeyootiful bike. Sold all my jap crap and Triumphs to almost pay for her. Even my 71 650 Bonnie rat chopper.

    Steve
  13. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm glad you feel this way and I also get better feelings from the latest incarnation of VC - BUT, the public should know that the company virtually folded within the past year when they made a number of financial bad moves AND they lost a patent suit to the tune of many millions. The result is that the CEO and all his henchmen were cast out, the stock because virtually worthless and they were taken over by a firm that already had lent them money!

    This cannot be fairly construed as "nothing to worry about!" - at least in my book. While no one wants to muddle in problems, these were so recent that they should be recorded as such.

    C'mon, we ain't talking the Rock of Gibralter here....

    Bottom line, though - I get much better vibes out of them now that the last CEO was canned, and I hope they can once again establish the good name they once had. And, for the record, I would buy one of their stoves.....
  14. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

  15. Verynycegirl

    Verynycegirl New Member

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    Hmmm...I wonder if I'm going to run into a problem with this....I just measured my hearth....from the deepest point it is 31 inches
    Certainly no way I would have 16 inches of protection in the front. Is this going to pose an issue??

    Tracy
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    So what represents the best value (East Coast prices) for VNG? What company has a good reputation for making solid affordable, efficient stoves that stand up over time? How are Napolean stoves?
  17. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Say as you may, hard to touch Englander for price and number of years cranking out good basic stoves.

    Of course I figure Mo Heat is about ready to donate the Winter Warm Large and get him a PE Summit.

    And thanks to Craig for making me feel better about not buying that Dutchwest. I had myself really sold on one twenty years ago. The Sierra just keeps getting it done but I had always wondered what if I had...

    Not any more.
  18. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    If they're made on the same line that made my WinterWarm, caveat emptor. The one onthe floor int he dealer looked pretty good (apparently it had been there for a couple years) but the one delivered had some serious manufacturing/assembly problems. I'm close to getting it all sorted out, but the damn door still doesn't quite seal right (pretty serious buildup on glass after a long cat. burn).

    But it does look good, and does put out some serious heat when managed properly.

    We had a Napoleon 1400 (mid-size) in our last house, cost about 40% of the WWL (under 1000 for the stove and blower), and was basically maintenance free. But it was not terribly attractive. Same basic boiler plate look everyone is doing thses days. But at the time, the price was right.

    A couple things to consider:
    1) flue size. I think the big Dutchwest is an 8" flue, so running aliner gets a little more challenging.
    2) Hearth dimensions. The Dutchwest cast stoves are pretty tall, so make sure you've got space both under the lip of the fireplace and on the hearth.

    I think if I were doing it again, I'd look a lot harder at the Hearthstone Homestead. But wife didn't want a freestanding, and didn't like the looks of the stove.

    VC moves a lot of product, some of them must be decent. But at least one (two if you count MO's original WWL) came out of the casting plant with serious defects.

    Steve
  19. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Mo has figured out correctly too many parts make up the front cast ,
    Essembly created variations where the door does not fit on a true flat surface.
    The dealer in the next town rarily pushes sales of the winter warm line.
    As for the other VC stoves they seem not to have these problems. If you have been following other post it seems Hearthstone is haveing its share of QC issues all manufactures have some issues
  20. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Non-cat stoves are MUCH simpler to operate, create fewer headaches, and produce better fireworks. They are just as combustion efficient (no pollution) as cat stoves for all practical purposes. I can't speak for the heat output. My cat seems to eek every BTU out of every split. My brother-in-law's Jotul Kennebec only warms a medium sized room or two, but then again, that's my brother-in-law. :smirk:

    I doubt you can cook roast beef or french fries on either, but a VNG might just find a way. ;-)
  21. fireman

    fireman New Member

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    Ok Craig so we know you are a bit jaded about Vermont Castings.

    You have brought up a few valid points about Vermont Castings but have left out a key detail.

    So to set the record as fair and balanced.

    Vermont Castings has indeed been through some hurdles but they are now one of the strongest and most solvent companies in the hearth industry. They are privately owned (no longer a stock holder held company), as of March, by the 92 billion dollar Ontario Teachers Pension Fund. A company that makes long term investments in their corporations (Serta mattresses for example). They have spent a lot of money and have redirected the whole product and marketing philolosophy of the company. Their Everburn combustion systems are the cleanest burning stoves on the market (per the EPA) and are backed by lifetime warranties .
    They purchased the company because Vermont Castings is the most recognized name in the hearth industry and worthy of rescuing. Duncan built a great foundation that has yet to be truly shaken. He was not very good with money which sent the company through a variety of owners , some of whom had little respect for their dealers. But the product ,contrary to rumor, has never been effected. They suffered the same growing pains, development wise, that all companies have gone through and in fact their catalytic stoves are still around because they are the only company that made one that worked well (when sized properly for the user).Thier new Everburn system is as state of the art as wood stoves get.
    The foundry has never left Vermont and is in fact one of the largest employers in the state.
    The dutchwest ever-burn stove is one of the best selling stove in North America.

    Never gave up on VC and glad of it!
  22. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    The entire woodstock soapstone line?

    I understand in today's world, a lot of today's woodburners don't want to be bothered fiddling with their stove much. They'd prefer the set it and forget it approach that Ron Popeil loves so much. But I have to say this about cat combustor technology, it's HARDLY complicated, and needs replacement every few years. The difference between a non cat stove like yours and my cat stove is that I have to move a level to engage the cat, whereas I assume the secondary combustion in the non cat stoves begins all on it's own. WHOA!

    I don't mean any disrespect Frank, but you make a cat stove sound about the equivalent of flying a mercury space capsule.
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