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cat vs. non-cat - pro's and con's

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Joful, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I've been looking at the Woodstock stoves, and it seems the three models people are recommending (Progress, Keystone, Fireview) are all side load only. Is this correct? Also seems the one that's the appropriate size for my space, the Fireview, is rear flue only.

    Here's a crazy quesiton... what about the VC Encore?

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  2. kingquad

    kingquad Minister of Fire

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    Good thread about the VC 2n1
    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/vermont-castings-encore-2-in-1.60640/

    Have you looked at the medium dutchwest? I hated the looks of it on the internet, but when I saw it in person I really liked it. It's a little more proven than the 2n1's too.
  3. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Thanks! Looks like an 8 page thread! Should be keep out of trouble for a while.

    I had not previously seen the Dutchwest, but I'm looking at it now. I'll dig into it some over the weekend.

    Found an interesting quote from the VC Encore manual:

    "Avoid using a full load of very dry wood in the firebox. This may result in continuous very high temperatures in the secondary combustion area and damage the combustor. Wood which has been split, and stored under cover for more than 18 months may be considered very dry. If you must burn extra-dry wood, mix it with greener wood for a longer fire and less stress on the combustor."

    Looks like I might have a problem with the hearth insulation requirements on the VC 2n1 stoves, but will keep looking into it.

    Can anyone confirm that the Woodstock Fireview and Progress are side-load only? Looks to me like their ash pans can also only come out the side.
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Extra dry wood can be loosely interpreted as construction scraps. I wouldn't worry too much about it unless you are baking the firewood in a kiln.
  5. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    You are correct on the Woodstock stoves being side loaders. I like the side loading doors except they may be a little bit on the small side which keeps you from loading those really big ugly splits that you run into from time to time. One advantage of the side only loading door is the reduced front clearances for your hearth.

    I like the looks of the VC's but with comments like the one above with 18 month old wood I'd stay away. I think those secondary rear cat chambers are poorly designed and get too hot. The cat stoves that have the cat in the top of the stove and baffle to protect it seem to be better.
  6. kingquad

    kingquad Minister of Fire

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    Joful,
    There have been a lot of happy Dutchwest users around here. The problem with these cast stoves is that they appear to be better top/side loaders than front loaders. They all have arched doors. They look great though.

    If you read the entire VC thread(I did), it seems like they are trying to right the ship. I hope they succeed. They are a part of American history.

    As far as having wood that is too dry, it almost never happens. If you know your wood is dry, then you need to watch your stove temps closely and engage the cat/shut the air down at the appropriate times. I don't think I would own a cat stove that didn't have a probe. Overfire seems to be more of an issue with non cats than cats.
  7. BKVP

    BKVP Feeling the Heat

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    Blaze King defines burn time as when the catalyst becomes active until it is no longer active. That generally is considered to be 550 degrees F. Our new Sirocco stove is selling quite well to those that appreciate the apprearance of the more popular look in wood stoves. Wait until you see what we have for the cast stove lovers this Fall! (No I will not have any photos) But it is based on the larger firebox of our Chinook 30.

    As for retail price issues, solved. The posted retail price is now the same across the USA. We have added several industry leading sales reps and distributors. New dealers are taking on the line each and every day, so they should be readily available to shoppers.

    As for efficiencies, the EPA has alerted industry that they would prefer a HHV % of at least 70%. All our our current and future catalytic models will vastly exceed this requirement. We'll have to work on the non cat models a little to fine tune them if this becomes the new requirement.

    Thank you.....

    Chris
    fox9988 likes this.
  8. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Is this going to be like weber BBQs where the retailers are forced to sell for your MSRP? Where are the prices posted?

    Looking forward to your cast stove.
  9. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    If you can get some photos and clearance spec's in the next few weeks, I might be your first buyer. How soon do you expect to start taking pre-orders for the new model? Would hate to miss out on the awaited marriage of good looks and BK's performance due to a few weeks or months timing.
  10. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    All these new stoves coming out sure gives an addict like me the itch, wish I could try them all.
  11. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    You can try my heritage and I'll try one of your keystones! Meet you in Montana? Not sure of the market value for each but I've also got the itch.

    The 30 series BK box looks to be superior to the princess. Sorta like the PE stoves, they just dress them up in different outer skins.
  12. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Sorry I've already burned a Hearthstone and it didn't impress. Lol
  13. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    That one didn't have a side door though. An inferior model. Oh well, worth a try.
  14. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Sure hope you aren't teasing. I'm not shopping, but my sister will be. She really likes the performance of my stove, and is tolerant of the looks. It is more stove than she needs, so a 3 cu ft stove that looks a little nicer would be great. Any info ASAP would be outstanding. Would it be safe to assume clearances won't be any greater than your similarly sized stoves?
  15. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Spoke with a tech at Jotul factory today about the jamming air control lever on my Firelight 12, and had the opportunity to ask him whether Jotul had any plans to reintroduce any catalytic stoves. He told me they're waiting to see what the EPA does, for if they go to a 4 gram limit (as he suspects they may), Jotul will be forced to convert most/all of their stoves back to catalytic designs. However, if they keep the limits at the present levels, they intend to stick with all non-catalytic stoves.
  16. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I wonder why? I know that "same is safe/different is dangerous" but the guy must surely have a better reason that just that?
  17. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Lol, those damn dirty burning jotuls need to go! Does it really make that much of a difference pollution wise whether a stove burns at 1 GPH or 7 GPH? The EPA would be better off leaving the standards as is and put more time and effort into educating the public in proper wood burning practices.
    jeff_t likes this.
  18. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    EPA aside, I wish Jotul would offer both technologies in their stoves. This tech explained why the dropped the cat's in favor of the non-cat technology, which is all the reasons we've discussed before, primarily the service headaches generated for the manufacturer, by putting cat stoves into the hands of an uneducated public. Then he agreed that cat stoves are likely a preferred option those wanting to heat around the clock with their stove, and were willing to maintain a cat. I wanted to ask why they can't offer both options, but was interrupted, and had to cut the conversation short. The answer may be as simple as not wanting to spread their resources too thin, supporting too many different models, with low sales volumes.
  19. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    It's also expensive getting that many models tested and approved.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The answer may be that Jotul subscribes to the KISS principal. It keeps stoves reliable, simple and with lower maintenance. I can't argue with that philosophy.
  21. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Well, I am retired, and I will be home most of the time to tend a stove, and around here the shoulder seasons go on and on and on. Are you saying that if you can tend a stove regularly, that a cat has less of an advantage? I don't mind fooling with the stove but I imagine that even regulation would be very important to overall efficiency as well as comfort, so I'm trying to figure out if it is possible to regulate a non-cat as well as a cat. Say, with a high mass stove.
    Also, how is the view of a non-can nicer? Part of what we're after is the ambiance.
  22. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I wouldn't say less of an advantage just less important if you can add wood as needed during the day.

    My non cat the fire was more dynamic/lively, almost fake looking but nice to watch. With my BK once I dial it down it'll be a dark firebox with some occasional flare ups of flames(not much to look at). I know some of the other stoves like the woodstock stoves are reported to still have a nice fire until they're dialed down really low. With one of their stoves you could get a stove with some nice mass good burn times and nice looks.(if you like stone)
  23. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Well, that would be an important aspect for us, since seeing the fire is part of the experience. I'd love to have the cat's qualities for shoulder season burning, which is maybe 50% of the whole season, but especially considering the lack of cat models to choose from, I think I'm inclined to find a heavy non-cat. Does anyone have another take on the fires' visual quality in the cat vs non-cat discussion?
  24. Armoured

    Armoured New Member

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    Note the comments were all that the fire was less lively _once the air was dialled down_. So don't dial it down when you want more of the visual aspect - or dial it down to where you have the right balance.

    When you've finished watching caveman TV, dial it down and go to bed. Best of both.

    If you really want both, look at the Progress Hybrid - secondary burn tubes for the northern lights experience, plus the cat.
  25. BKVP

    BKVP Feeling the Heat

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    Good morning all!

    Just a little history. Way back in 1983, Blaze King made a stove that was both catalytic and also had secondary heat/air tubes. Some companies are now making this design and calling them a hybrid. In 1984, Blaze King received the very first certificate for a clean burning wood stove, the KEJ1101 at under 2.0 gr/hr. This was through the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the foundation of the current EPA program.

    In 1988, for Phase I of EPA requirements, when so many manufacturers tested their products without combustors and failed, the silver bullet was to place a combustor in or near the flue collar. These horizontally positioned, draft sensitive designs were actually not designs but after thoughts.

    If someone designs a catalytic wood stove from the ground up, from day one building that design around the fact a combustor will be used, really perfected designs can be achieved. "Adding" combustors back to stoves will only result in problems for all parties and savvy shoppers should look carefully to make certain the design is all new. It is a very costly proposition for manufacturers, that is starting from square one on a whole new design.

    The CHC (catalytic hearth coalition) is a group of suppliers and manufacturers that work together to make certain solid, dependable and long lasting products using catalytic combustors are available. You can google the CHC and read about studies and where we are headed. The good news, some larger manufacturers are joing the CHC and benefiting from the meetings and discussions we have about the technology.

    As for my earlier post, no I am not teasing. We do have in the works a cast iron wood stove, scheduled for late 2012 introduction. "Scheduled" is the operative word. We have the firebox complete, so it comes down to design and castings at this point. More details will get posted as we move forward.

    Now all of you should stop posting for 24 hours and go cut some wood! And while you're at it, cut some extra wood and donate it the little old lady down the street!

    Take Care,
    Chris

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