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FISHER Papa, Mama, and Baby Bear Details (Bear Series)

Post in 'Fisher Stove Information, Parts, History and More' started by coaly, May 11, 2012.

  1. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    Since the Everything Fisher thread has so much hard to find information, I'll start a thread with detailed info on each model as I put it together.

    Anyone needing information on their Papa, Mama or Baby Bear single door stove is likely to find it here. Please ask if you don't find what you need !

    Papa Bear UL Unlisted pre 1980 with 1 door, and two air intakes.

    Width ; 20" across top plate.
    Depth ; 40" overall with ash fender (shelf)
    Approx. weight 486 pounds
    Logs to 30"
    Heats approx. 2000 s.f. (some ads list heating area up to 2250 s.f.)
    (recommended area 1750 – 2250 s.f.)

    Flue size 6 inch top, rear or side
    Door opening ; 10" wide X 11" high
    Price 12/13/74 $325

    Mama Bear UL Unlisted pre 1980 used same door as Papa Bear;

    Width ; 17 1/2" across top plate.
    Depth ; 35" overall with ash fender (shelf)
    Approx. weight 410 pounds
    Logs to 24"
    Heats approx. 1500 s.f. (some ads list heating area up to 1750 s.f.)
    (recommended area 1250 – 1750 s.f.)
    Flue size 6 inch top, rear or side
    Door opening ; same as Papa Bear
    Price 12/13/74 $300

    Baby Bear UL Unlisted pre 1980 with 1 door, and one air intake.

    Width ; 15 1/2" across top plate.
    Depth ; 29" overall with ash fender (shelf)
    Approx. weight 245 pounds
    Logs to 18"
    Heats approx. 1000 s.f. (some ads list heating area up to 1250 s.f.)
    (recommended area 900 – 1250 s.f.)
    Flue size 6 inch rear
    Door opening ; 8" wide X 9" high
    Price 12/13/74 $225

    Measurements from original 1977 prints, weights from ad; Dec. 6 1979

    The first airtight steel plate stove was welded together October 1973, and simply called “The Fisher Stove”. It was the Papa Bear size. Built with a steel plate door and side vented flue to sit across a blocked off fireplace, it was invented to heat Bob and Carol Fisher’s home. Family and neighbors who saw it soon wanted one.
    One of the first stoves made was for Carol’s cousin Ed who rented her old home next door. Helping Bob carry the stove into the house, red in the face and puffing, Ed said “Man, really a bear, ain’t it”? Bob said “yeah, a Papa”, and the name stuck; The Papa Bear was born.
    Shortly after going into production, the need for a smaller stove was realized and the Mama Bear was designed 5 inches shorter, 2 inches narrower than the Papa Bear using the same door. Later, Baby Bear with a single air intake was made for heating smaller areas.
    These were the only three models available up until 1976 with the addition of the double door Fireplace Series.

    The first cast iron doors were “flat top” with FISHER – STOVE across the top, and “Springfield Oregon Pat. Pendg” under the name. They used a chrome ball for the handle and a 2 inch iron pipe cap for the air intake adjustment. A few doors cracked between the air intake holes, so the doors were made thicker with Fir trees across the front for added strength. (Fir being the most common fuel in Oregon) Baby Bear Door.JPG Papa Bear early door.JPG
    The next improvements were spring handles and Bob’s father Baxter’s air intake knob invention, patented as an “air damper” now known as the aluminum finned “draft cap”.

    Safety testing was done by different agencies across the US, and during the late 70’s Fisher pioneered testing that became standardized by Underwriter Laboratory.
    The redesigned stoves of 1980 - 1988 featured the new arched style door top called “Cathedral Style”, with an angled Fisher logo. Stove corners were no longer welded with angle iron corners becoming the legs. A one piece box was bent on the corners to make a seamless box. Papa Bear 2.jpg Mama Bear VI 1983.jpg

    As the stove market became saturated with many copycat stove makers, brass and nickel plated doors along with the coveted “Bear Feet” became available to dress up an otherwise black box. (Casted with white metal or "Pot Metal" they were available in Nickel or Black oxide finish for $3.00 each !) Glass doors and screens were only available for the Fireplace Series to view the fire and had a good share of the market even though the efficiency of the Bear Series could not be beat.

    The Bear Series models were the most efficient due to a large stove with small 6 inch outlet. As EPA smoke regulations became stricter, Fisher refused to enlarge the outlet or make other changes that would decrease the efficiency. Along with many other stove manufacturers, they were forced to stop production in 1988.

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  2. Todd67

    Todd67 New Member

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    007 (480x640).jpg 009 (640x480).jpg 012 (640x480).jpg 013 (640x480).jpg 014 (480x640).jpg 015 (640x480).jpg 018 (640x480).jpg

    Hello fellow Fisher enthusiasts! I'm new to the forum, and really enjoyed reading all 30 of the forum pages and the Fisher Stove Story. The house I bought 5 years ago had a Fisher Baby Bear in the mud room, but it wasn't set up for use. I had never heard of the Fisher stove brand so I called around to see if the local stove retailers knew anything about it. They told me the same thing you've all heard before, about how dangerous it is to use, not EPA certified, get rid of NOW, blah blah....

    So I did the smart thing and took it out to my garage to keep it in "storage" until I could thoroughly research it and take the time to re-finish it and install it in my house for some wood heat. It looks to be an early model Baby Bear with tapered legs and the old ball handle. I am working out of state until this fall, so I will not be able to start working on it until September, just in time to get ready for our cold NY winter. I had my wife take some pictures of the stove last week so I could at least know what kind it is. In all of these forum conversations I don't remember reading about steel draft caps, but my 4 fin draft cap appears to be rusty like the rest of the stove. I haven't touched the stove or looked at it in almost 5 years, and all I have are these 7 pics my wife took for me, which I will try to post here. I plan on installing the stove in my mud room, using single wall stove pipe on the inside of the house (with a damper) and the triple wall chimney kit from Tractor Supply. I downloaded the proper owners manual from this forum (thanks, by the way).

    I have a brick chimney that runs from the basement up thru the kitchen, and all the way throught the inside walls in my 2.5 story house (I have a full walk-in attic). I plan to get the chimney inspected by a certified inspector next summer because there is an old chimney flue hole in the kitchen (in the exposed brick chimney), as if it had a wood cook stove hooked up at one time. The house was built in 1930 and it had been re-insulated and dry-walled a few years before I bought the house. I don't know if the chimney has a liner in it or not, but I would love to put that Baby Bear or a Mama Bear in the kitchen next year to use the way Bob intended. My house is 1600 SF with a very open floorplan downstairs. I know the Mama Bear would heat my house better than my Baby Bear, so I will be looking for one in the next year IF my chimney is safe for use. I will also install a baffle in my Baby Bear before I fire it up.

    I would like to says thanks to all who are keeping the Fisher Stove story and history alive and thriving. You have answered just about all of my questions without me even having to ask. I'm just curious about my rusty draft cap, which will clean up just fine. I will also shop around for some new fire bricks so I can have them on hand before the price goes up any more. Without being at home and getting a better look at the bricks in the stove I don't know if they will get me thru this winter or not. Just by looking at the pictures, I can't tell if the rear bricks are missing or not. Looks like that angle iron in the back is broke off on the front.

    Thanks again and keep up the enthusiasm!

    Todd
  3. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to the forum,
    I would hope stove salesman know your stove is as safe as the installation. Their brand new ones would certainly cause a fire if installed incorrectly. Fact is, what they sell is likely thinner than 1/4" steel plate, and has less firebrick. Safety wise, newer listed stoves are going to have shields on the bottom and back reducing clearance and making installation easier. They would have done better selling you a can of paint and firebrick. Just maybe when you needed a larger stove , you would have gone back to that dealer. Using scare tactics and telling you how dangerous something is without looking at it looses your trust real fast.
    As you've read, HOW you use it and WHAT you burn can make a huge difference in smoke.

    The Baby Bear radiates a lot of heat for it's size. In a small room where you don't want to be roasted out, they're fine. An open floor plan, or larger area than 1000 s.f. requires a Mama. The main difference is the larger firebox capable of much more fuel and longer burns. I've burned all three and liked cutting, splitting and loading wood in the 24 inch size for the Mama best. Matter of personal preference and building size. I was heating 1800 with a Mama in the kitchen , open floor plan, until I went with a cook stove in it's place for the oven and water heating capacity.

    As for the cast iron draft caps; I probably have enough pictures of different caps to fill a thread about draft caps alone.
    I've seen some iron caps on early stoves like yours and have a few. These iron caps don't have the patent numbers or any markings on the back like the aluminum caps. Without markings, there is no confirmation that these are a Fisher product. I believe you'll find yours match these ferrous (magnet sticks) cast iron;
    Cast Iron Draft Caps.JPG


    The patent date on your stove door dates it after Nov. 25, 1975.
    The caps with no patent number would be before July 26, 1976.
    However, the patent filing date for Baxter's draft cap was Nov. 18, 1976.
    We know he was not the kind of guy to put his product out there without filing for a patent to protect his ideas, so we can assume a cap with no patent date was between Nov. 18, '76 and July 26, '77.
    No material specification is given on the patent drawing, but the first patent does not show a steel nut cast into the aluminum for thread strength, so it could have been iron, or threaded aluminum.......... I have both.
    The other scenario is when Bob decided to send his fabricators his dad's caps, he was afraid the price was too high, and some dealers did have their own made locally instead of buying Baxter's.

    The draft caps in your pictures match the pair shown above that I removed from a stove I bought in NJ, not far from the PA border just north of RT. 80. They have no markings on the back, are cast iron, and have steel nuts cast into the back.
    The best way to explain the size, is the aluminum caps measure 3 1/2 inches diameter and have a thin flange around the perimeter making a round circle if traced on a peice of paper. The iron type don't have this flange. My unmarked set like yours measure only 3 inches, and where the fins stick out at the side, measures 3 1/2 across the fins. Tracing on a piece of paper would be a quarter semi-circle with the fins sticking out.

    This stove is stamped with a clear NJ serial number on the left rear at top. I found written in weld on the bottom, a large clear N with a second N cruched down like a poorly drawn Y ?? with a clear 77 after it. I'm not aware of a NJ fabricator. Like others, the stamped serial number on the back does not match the welded "stove number" on the bottom. Here's the stove the above iron caps came from. I put the caps in my collection of draft caps stored in a few empty stoves, and installed plated brass caps on the stove.

    Prepping NJ Stove for Paint.JPG Paint Burn Off on NJ Stove.JPG

    NJ Serial Number.JPG NJ Stove Bottom.JPG
  4. Todd67

    Todd67 New Member

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    Coaly,
    Thanks for the additional information about the types and dates for the various draft caps. I didn't notice the flanges on my draft cap until you mentioned it. I'll have to ask my wife to look closely at the bottom of the stove and take some more pictures for me. I have no idea if there are any markings anywhere on the stove other than the door. She's not strong enough to tip the stove over to look at the back of the stove. Sometime this month I'll ask her to visit Tractor Supply to get a gallon of PB Blaster so she and my son can start working on that rust. I will be in the market for a Mama Bear sometime after November of this year to hook up in our kitchen, after the chimney is inspected and ready for a wood stove. We like the idea of leaving the Baby Bear in the mud room because we can block that off from the rest of the house if we want to cook on it in the summer time or warmer months (which we plan to do quite often).

    I'll be installing that stove to code because I don't want to burn the house down by taking shortcuts or being lazy. We'll build a 4" thick brick hearth and make sure we follow the recommended clearances. The fact that I can't work on it until September is driving me nuts! I will only have about a week in September to install the stove before I have to go back to Georgia for 2 more months, then back home for good in November.

    Thanks again for the information. This forum is a treasure trove of information, and it keeps getting better all the time!
  5. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    And thanks for the heads up on the "New" Fisher Stove outdoor wood furnace.

    A guy by the name of Tim Arrowood owned Timber Ridge, that later became Free Heat Machine, folded in 2010, became Biomass-Direct LLC and has gone into hiding to avoid warranty issues.... Seems this guy Larry has it now, and tried a few things including putting the Fisher badge on the old Biomass Wood Furnace.
    300 Cherokee Park Dr. Elizabethton, TN
    Biomass Direct.jpg I'm on this guy like a hobo on a hot dog. ::-)

    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/i-just-stumbled-upon-fisherstovesusa-dot-com-2012.87813/
  6. Todd67

    Todd67 New Member

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    Wow! I finally managed to pull myself together and sit back upright in my chair after nearly falling out of it from laughing so hard. The last time I saw a hobo on a hotdog It was ugly, and I as scared for the hotdog :eek:

    Those "new Fishers" have too many parts for my blood anyway. I like Bob's way of thinking, with fewer parts to break or replace. We've looked into one of those kitchen queens too. But then we go back to the old chimney not being inspected and certified for wood stoves yet. Getting this Baby Bear hooked up is our quickest option because it's sitting right there in my garage. I can get new bricks at Tractor Supply for $3 each, and I'm still pricing them at other stores. A 5/16" baffle plate will be easy to acquire and install. I'll be sure to post the pics on here as I restore and install my stove. I've been using a pellet stove for the last 6 years because we bought it before we moved out to the country 5 years ago. It has too many parts and requires constant maintenance to keep it running. As far as I'm concerned, it's as useless as hen s**t on a pump handle:eek:
  7. Todd67

    Todd67 New Member

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    Coaly, another question about the Mama Bear stove fitting my brick chimney, and since you've used a Mama for so many years...

    I know nothing about chimney liners or the condition of my chimney. With the Mama having a 6" flue, what size flue or liner should the shimney have? I know that proper draft is paramount, so I don't want to have too much or too little diameter in the chimney. We can get our chimney inspected for $150 in August to see if it has a liner, or clay square tiles, or nothing at all. I believe my propane hot water heater and oil fired furnace are venting thru the chimney now, from the basement. I also know that there are some repairs that need to be done to the chimney mortar in the attic and above the roof line, and I know there is no spark arrester on top of the chimney. So, what I'm trying to say is, I don't know much!
  8. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    All the Bear Series single door stoves should have 6 inch all the way. No other appliances may be vented into it. All solid fuel heaters require their own chimney flue. Any appliance connected to it (or an opening into the flue) allows cool air to be pulled into the flue, cooling the rising gasses and killing the draft. The hot rising gasses from combustion need to pull the air through the air intake and through the fire. That's what the proper draft is for.
  9. Todd67

    Todd67 New Member

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    Okay, that confirms what I gathered from my research. Re-venting the furnace and hot water heater won't be a problem. Thanks again.
  10. Todd67

    Todd67 New Member

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    My wife has put the 1st coat of PB Blaster on our baby bear. I'm glad she enjoys restoring old items because I think most wives out there would tell you where to go if you asked them to restore an old stove :eek:. She's good with power tools and happens to be a huge fan of places like Tractor Supply, Harbor Freight, Lowes and Home Depot. I'm a lucky guy!

    1st coat of PB Blaster 14 JUL 12 (3) (640x480).jpg

    She applied the PB Blaster with a paint brush, and not a thin coat either. She knows to let it soak in for 24 hours to really loosen the rust. She has a drill with a wire brush, plus all sorts of hand brushes at her disposal. She wanted me to ask what steps to take after she gets all the rust off the steel. I read a post from Coaly (#80 on Anything Fisher) where he mentioned using mineral spirits to remove the last bit of PB Blaster-type penetrant and then it would be ready for paint. Do you apply the mineral spirits, then wipe it off with a rag, and wait a few hours before you paint it? She doesn't want the paint to run because of the mineral spirits acting like a paint thinner. I'm thinking it should evaporate if she wipes a thin coat on, and then wipes it off the best she can. Thanks.
  11. weminu

    weminu New Member

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    Hello Coaly,

    I'm new to the forum and wasn't sure which thread to post to. Anyway, I recently found and refurbed this "Baby" and am hoping to get her fired up in my off-grid cabin soon.

    I'm curious about the chimney pipe elbow that was attached (photos 2 & 3) and whether I should go ahead and use it as is or consider other options? The back cover plate was missing,so I was planning to attach steel plate to block the hole..........but was concerned about smoke leak. I'm guessing that the idea behind this elbow was to provide a cleanout access after a chimney sweeping?? The stove will be piped vertically for my application.

    Wondering if you've seen this type elbow, and if you might share some wisdom / comments / advice etc.

    Thanks very much to you and other "guides" on this great forum.

    Weminu
    Fisher Stove 005.jpg Fisher Stove 006.jpg Fisher Stove 007.jpg
  12. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to the Forum;

    That Baby is from the first year (1979) they were available with the flat top door, or new arched top style, "Cathedral" door. The flat top door was soon dropped and all models then had the arched top available only.

    A barometric damper is installed in the horizontal opening and when cold, the flap will be closed, allowing the chimney to heat. When the chimney is heated and there is too much draft, the flap opens allowing indoor air to be pulled into the chimney and cools the rising exhaust, slowing the draft. So unlike a manual damper that is "closed" when the plate is across the pipe, a barometric damper is "closed" to slow the draft when the flapper is open. There is an adjustment on the damper for how strong you want the draft, and they are automatic for wind, atmospheric conditions as well as when the fire burns down. They keep the draft through the fire more constant and are required on coal stoves.

    Below is the barometric accessory box installed on a Papa Bear;

    Papa Bear 3.jpg
  13. weminu

    weminu New Member

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  14. weminu

    weminu New Member

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    Thanks Coaly,
    Most of what I read about the "barometric damper" is negative.
    (ie. in the event of a flue fire) Wondering if I should just replace
    this accessory with a simple tee or 90??
    Would appreciate your thoughts on the matter.

    Regards,
    Weminu
  15. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    I prefer an internal baffle plate and manual flue damper. The Bear Series owners manual did not call for the installation of a damper, and the original stove didn't have a smoke shelf baffle. So they are improvements over the original.

    For precise draft control through the fire, you can't beat a barometric damper. It will adjust itself as you adjust the air intake, open and close entrance doors, weather, and fire condition. I personally use a barometric damper only on coal stoves and boilers, manual type on wood stoves. In the case of a chimney fire, yes it would open the flap to admit air into the chimney. However, since it controls the fire better than you can, chances are you're going to have a cleaner fire / chimney.
    I would use a solid 90* elbow in your case, manual damper, and send the old baro box to someone who collects that old Fisher stuff. ::-) Don't you dare throw it away !
  16. Jason B

    Jason B New Member

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    Looking for help in finding manual with clearances for late 80`s Baby Bear. I`ve found just about every other manual for Fisher stoves on this site but no luck with this one. Have located a very nice Baby Bear in mint shape for sale. Has CSA tag on stove but no info on clearances to combustables. insurance company will not permit install without info on min. clearances. Thanks.
  17. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    Is there a model name on the tag? Like Baby Bear III or VI ? Bottom and rear shield? Where are you located?
    If in Canada, your codes are stricter than the following. If in the US; Without an installation diagram on the stove, or manual, you would need to go by the generic clearances given in the NFPA Code 211. Those clearances are for any unlisted stove and is in the code for this very purpose.
  18. Jason B

    Jason B New Member

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    Baby Bear.jpg Thanks for quick reply Coaly. Yes I'm in Canada and code standards are high. Doesn't look like I'll be able to install without some documentation demonstrating Manufacturer's clearance to combustables. I've done some more research with seller on this stove and appears to be in vicinity of 1984 model. I'm awaiting pictures of the CSA label so as to answer your questions and some pics of stove to post.
  19. jjs777_fzr

    jjs777_fzr Feeling the Heat

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    fellas - the refurb work you've done on these vintage Fisher's is outstanding - looks great! thx for posting
  20. Todd67

    Todd67 New Member

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    I'm getting closer to getting my Mama Bear installed. I had to remove a door gasket (rope type) and all the glue. Also, when measuring for my baffle plate I noticed my Mama doesn't have the steel shelf under the rear flue opening like my Baby Bear does. I was planning to turn a firebrick sideways in the back to rest the baffle plate on, and have 2 more bricks standing upright on the sides to rest the baffle plate on, which should give me that 45 degree angle. 15 inches is a good width, but it's looking like it may have to be 10" to 12" front to rear to achieve that 2-3" gap from the top. The worst part so far has been trying to build a good hearth. I'm hoping I can at least get the stove set in place this weekend and measure for all the chimney and stovepipe parts. There's not enough time in a day or days in a week, and I'm quickly running out of time before my "vacation" ends.

    Coaly, what is the size of your Mama Bear baffle plate? I thought I read somewhere that it was 15x8, but that's way too small for my stove.
  21. mark nagy

    mark nagy New Member

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    I love the information here. It looks like I have one of the early Papa Bear stoves by the dimensions you listed for the first one. I also have no fire baffle and I thought I read some place in of your forums that the first ones did not. The door have 4 trees on it not like the ones I have seen on this thread. My serial number on the door D 237798 under the stove has a 2409 PA on it. I am assuming it is made in PA. Does this tell me anything else? What I'm really looking for is the fire brick lay out. From what it look to me there may be 5 different sizes and I would like to know the sizes and placement before I start pulling them out. Any help in this would be great.
  22. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    Wecome to the forum;

    The D number is the patent number, and it's the 2,409 th stove made at Factoryville, PA.
    (the only other thing that tells me is I'd really like to have it)

    4 trees is the norm for a flat top door. Papa NY after paint 1.JPG
    Mama and Papa use the same door.

    I'll dig out the prints and get a picture of the brick layout page.
    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/papa-bear-firebricks.89792/
  23. mark nagy

    mark nagy New Member

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    Nice looking stove. Thanks for the information on the serial number, I look forward to the rest of the information. Amazing enough this stove never traveled too far. I bought it in Montrose PA 26 mile away from the place it was built. I appreciate the help.
  24. sebois

    sebois Member

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    Man, I love this forum!
  25. Don Huston

    Don Huston New Member

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    I have a papa bear just wandering, the door opens right to left instead of left to right like all fisher stoves ive seen it has the four trees on the door why is this stove difrent thanx Don

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