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Baby or Grandpa in Alaska Cabin ?

Post in 'Fisher Stove Information, Parts, History and More' started by Erik Myers, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. Erik Myers

    Erik Myers New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    Alaska
    Hello Everyone, I am new to these forums and looking for some guidance. I am currently building a 480 sf cabin with a large loft closed off from the main level. It is stick framed, well insulated and sealed tight. I have two wood stoves available for heat, a Baby Bear and a Grandpa Bear. I am trying to figure out if the Grandpa Bear will be too much stove for this cabin and if the Baby Bear will be enough. The cabin is weekend use (2-3 days) all seasons near Talkeetna Alaska. Thank you for any input.

    Erik

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  2. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Messages:
    1,559
    Loc:
    NE PA
    Welcome to the Forum;
    I gave you your own thread since your question isn't Fireplace Series only related.

    You're gong from one extreme to another with stove sizes. You're also going to need some sort of air intake in such a small area AND into the loft. Variable registers to adjust the amount of heat allowed into it from below.

    A lot depends on the insulation, windows and construction of the cabin and other stove uses as well as duration of burn cycles.
    I have a solid wall log cabin in NE PA twice your size, that is used like you describe, with a Mama Bear. By square footage, Baby is plenty for us - I have all the models, so could choose between any I want to use there. For our climate in a cabin about your size, the Baby Bear would drive us out. BUT........ when we get there, the cabin is cold, so more heat is required to bring the mass of the structure up to temp. It's also our only cook stove, so the larger top on the Mama is needed.
    So if used for other uses, you will have more room on the Grandpa for kettles of water for washing, if you don't have another water heating source. Once the interior is warm, you can always burn the same amount of wood the Baby would hold and reload more frequently. The efficiency isn't going to be near the Baby since you would loose so much heat up the larger flue. Granted the Grandpa will drive you out, once up to temperature, and the Baby may be too small for other uses. I would not go with a 8 inch exhausted stove in your case, since if in the future you get a newer stove, it will require 6 inch. Then you have the added expense of a chimney liner reducing down to 6.
    The Grandpa was designed with fire viewing in mind. If this isn't one of your main goals, stay with a Bear Series - perhaps a Mama size for the best performance and other uses. I know that doesn't answer your question between the two. I guess I'd build a 6 inch chimney and try the Baby, if found too small, I'd switch to something larger. Technically it's against codes to reduce the chimney size of the Grandpa. However, it will physically work since the firebox square area is no larger than a Papa Bear having a 6 inch outlet. The larger outlet on Fireplace Series was due to open door burning with screen in place to prevent smoke roll in. With doors closed it becomes a radiant heater and the 6 inch flue works fine.
    Another reason I lean towards Bear Series stoves is the firebox shape being long and narrow is more conducive to split log burning than a more square firebox placing logs sideways and not getting the oxygen pulled lengthwise through the logs.
  3. Erik Myers

    Erik Myers New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    Alaska
    Thank you for the insight. A big part of this question was what size pipe to install which you covered perfectly. I have a 3 burner propane stove for cooking and what not so I don't really need the larger surface area. Also the Baby Bear is currently on site installed in an old cabin that will be taken down when the new one is ready to occupy. The Grandpa Bear has traveled from south Dakota and still has 120 miles of highway and 7 miles of ATV trail to go to get to the site. I am not exited about hauling that monster all the way in just to be cooked out of the cabin all the time. The Baby Bear currently can cook us out and is difficult to keep coals through the night. I added a damper to the flue and still playing with intake and damper settings. Their is plenty of air getting in with the door closed and intake closed tight, you can actually see light from the fire where the "c" channel is welded to the firebox for the door seal. I will definitely go with the 6" flue.
  4. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Messages:
    1,559
    Loc:
    NE PA
    Duration lasting all night was another reason I went with the Mama Bear. It holds twice as much, and there is no problem raking the coal pile ahead in the morning and building a fire on it. Wood species is the way for a longer burn. We're lucky to have a mix of Oaks and White Oak here, so we tend to use larger White Oak overnight. A couple nights of that kind of burning and we have coals that last until 3 O'clock in the afternoon before it's do or die time.
    You didn't mention anything about a baffle plate. Installed on a steep angle (if it's a rear vent) won't affect loading volume much. It may increase your burn time as well. It will certainly stop the pipe temperature spikes and loss up the chimney when burning hard.
    The door seal isn't supposed to be welded with a non stop bead, so many have leakage between the stove front and channel iron seal. It's usually tacked on the corners and in the center of each piece only. A couple coats of high temp paint may help seal it up. Rutland used to have it in a brushable can. It's thicker, so brushed into the crack takes care of that.
    Depending on the wood, you should then have coals in the morning.
  5. Erik Myers

    Erik Myers New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    Alaska
    no baffle plate and this stove is a left side vent stove. I have been reading the comments about baffle plates and have definiately been thinking about that. seems a little difficult with side vent on this little stove. I burn a mixture of spruce and birch since that is pretty much all I have available.

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