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Hearthstone "Issues"

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by REF1, Oct 16, 2009.

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  1. Linux_Tyro

    Linux_Tyro New Member

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    My brown enamel homestead sits on the shipping pallet in the garage. Likewise just a clear trash bag over the top. While the shipping pallet is sturdy the top and sides were nothing more than a tomato crate. Wouldn't have protected the stove had anything fallen on it in transit. Had the yard guys take the crate off so I could inspect before forking it onto my truck. Had to wipe the dust off with my hands and didn't find any problems with enamel or stone. Inside seemed clean and orderly. This is my first stove so don't really know what to look for.

    Have to check and see if the stove is bolted to the pallet or not. Assumed it wasn't and ratchet strapped the stove to the pallet before sliding it down my motorcycle ramp and onto a furniture dolly in the garage. After all that I noticed a dime sized chip in the porcelain on the back side of one of the legs. My fault for not seeing it before. Dealer did offer to send some repair enamel.

    Now I feel like taking a closer look.

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  2. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    there oughta be some enamel in with the papers, inside the bag, stuck inside the ash pan.

    y'all wanna remove that before firing it up :)
  3. Linux_Tyro

    Linux_Tyro New Member

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    Thanks. Yous guys are great! :)

    For the record. Each leg is fastened to the pallet with a lag bolt. Had to reach in and feel for them.
  4. Greenfactor

    Greenfactor New Member

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    REF1,
    I just had a very similar experience with a Hearthstone Heritage. Got it delivered yesterday afternoon. I'll list the problems like you did for comparison. Also in roughly the order I noticed them.

    1. No crate at all, just sitting on a flimsy pallet.
    2. No plastic wrapping.
    3. Not bolted down.
    4. Top stones not even.
    5. Side stones not even.
    6. Minor paint scratches.
    7. Poor chrome on front door handle.
    8. Random spatters and smudges of stove cement throughout.
    9. Wood shim wedged inside.


    1. 2. 3. I do happen to know how these are supposed to be crated since I helped a friend unpack his Hearthstone a few years ago. His was as several other posters described; Bolted down to a pallet, framed in a crate, and wrapped with plastic wrap. Since that was what I expected I immediately was suspicious and started inspecting the stove. In hindsight I should have turned it away right then on the spot, but I was excited to get it installed.

    4. I immediately noticed the uneven top stone. Again, I should have turned it away right then, but impatience got the best of me since I've been waiting 3 weeks already. This morning I loaded the thing on my pickup, (a difficult process involving a hydraulic jack and wood 4x4s as cribbing to gradually raise it up to the level of my pickup bed), and took it back to the dealer. They were unable to unload it since they don't have a forklift or even a pallet jack, which I found really odd. I had to bring it back home. I have to wait for them to send a truck with a hydraulic tailgate to pick it up, like the one that delivered it.

    While I was discussing options with the dealer he called Hearthstone and asked them if they would fix the uneven stone. They said that if the stone is off by more than the thickness of a quarter they would cover it under warranty. (A quarter turns out to be .065" to .068" thick, or just over 1/16", for any technical geeks like me out there. I measured a few.) I put a straightedge across the gap between the stones and found that a quarter would just barely slide under while just barely brushing the straightedge. Looks like I got one that just barely passed through quality control. Still not good enough in my book. After doing this "quarter test" we were unable to get hold of the Hearthstone people again so I don't know how they would respond to a claim of it being just barely the thickness of a quarter. Regardless, the dealer agreed to order me a new stove and accept return of the one I have. This time we agreed that I would inspect the stove in the store before delivery.

    Concerning the unevenness of the stones, the dealer mentioned several times that these are "handcrafted" like that would make uneven stones okay. To a point I agree but not much. I compare this to tile work on a bathroom floor, where 1/16" offset would be immediately noticeable and you would consider it poor quality, amateurish even, something you might expect if you did the work yourself with no prior experience with tile. In this case the stove top is a critical surface, comparable to a table top, it's the first surface a person will examine up close. When my friend lit his first fire in his stove, my first impulse was to run my hand over the top stones to feel the warmth beginning to come through. I just know it will be the same when people go to admire my stove. Everyone will notice the uneven stone. In reality there's not much "handcrafted" about these stoves anyway. The stones are obviously cut and polished by machine, the frame is cast iron, which is not a process you would consider hand crafting, and cut and drilled with precision machinery. The only thing done "by hand" is grouting in the stones. And I can say that even from my limited experience with tile, I know that it's not terribly hard to get three stones to line up. In fact, if Hearthstone is interested, I could easily design a simple fixture that would hold these top three stones in place with an offset of not more than 0.005" every time. (It would probably involve suction cups or double stick tape and a couple straightedges.) (In case you can't tell, I'm a mechanical engineer. Read "enginerd";-)

    5. Uneven side stones are far less important than the top stones and something I would have accepted if the top was good.

    6. Minor paint scratches would also have been okay if the top stone was good. I would have just gotten some black high temp paint and touched them up.

    7. The poor chrome on the front door handle is something I would not have accepted. I wouldn't have returned the stove but I would expect them to send me a new handle under warranty.

    8. The stray cement I would have just cleaned up or sanded off myself.

    Considering the lack of a crate, I suspect someone else already redurned this stove because of the uneven top stone, it's the Achilles heel.

    Now, all said, It is a beautiful stove if you stand back and look at it, and I still want one, I'll just inspect the next one better before accepting it.
  5. Greenfactor

    Greenfactor New Member

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    Sorry about the long previous post.

    Now, I have a question. I was wondering about the possibility of just removing and resetting the misaligned soapstone tile, since this was the real deal breaker for me.

    Anyone out there ever seen a soapstone tile replaced on a Hearthstone stove, or similar? Can the stone just be knocked out in one piece and reinstalled with new cement? Or will the stone break if you try to remove it?

    I'm just thinking about options in case I can't find a stove that satisfies my nitpickyness.
  6. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Hi neighbor. Don't settle for a bad stove, if he cuts the price in half and offers to repair the stove (making this a rebuilt vs. new stove) then I am sure the top stones are the easiest to replace. They just set there with nothing but the mortar holding them down. New stones are available from Hearthstone should they break during removal. My heritage's stonework is pretty perfect and yes, this does matter.

    Handcrafted my foot. Everything is handcrafted to some degree. It's not like some stone mason sat there with a handsaw and cut your stones out of a billet. It's like saying that your truck engine is handcrafted so it's okay if the spark plug is crossthreaded.
  7. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    Option: drive up to Woodstock Stove in Lebanon, NH.
  8. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    It's a long drive from the west coast.
  9. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Responding to this post as the other one is too long for me to quote :)

    re: "Hand crafted" as an excuse for poor quality. HA! It used to be that hand crafted meant higher quality, not lower. Sad that folks forget that - no pride in workmanship in that shop eh? I know it seems like many of us Woodstock stove owners are shrills for the company, but seriously - they are 'hand crafted' as much as a stove can be and I don't think you will find anyone complaining about the quality. I don't have any mis-aligned stones, sloppy cement or anything of that sort to discuss.

    As to your actual question here - before considering that I would carefully evaluate the frame of the stove. IF indeed the stove was not properly crated and it shifted in transit and 'took a hit' then it may have struck on a corner throwing the whole thing out of true - sort of like bending the frame on a car. If this were the case it may not be too easy to re-set stones and get it all lined up perfectly without having a cascading series of replacements (for the nitpicky folks who really like things perfect). A little time with a square on each corner angle would be all it would take - better yet very accurate measurements of the opposite corner distances to make sure they match.
  10. garyh

    garyh New Member

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    Sorry to hear about your dilema; I just unpackaged my Woodstock Keystone, all I can say is WOW, it came crated so solid we could have tipped it over and would not have damaged it. We looked at the Hearthstone and were very close to purchasing, then we found the Keystone, price was better than the Hearthstone price and everything works very smoothly. Hope you can get things resolved, we should be fired up in about a week.
  11. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Cool! A keystone owner. Please post up an install thread. The fireviews are soooo yesterday.
  12. garyh

    garyh New Member

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    Have some pictures will be posting soon.
  13. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I'm dyslexic - I read MA instead of WA.

    But still an option... a lovely drive if you take the right roads.
  14. joat717

    joat717 New Member

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    This is my second year heating with the hearthstone I that has been installed in this house since 86 and i don't have a single complaint keeps me WARM sometime to warm if that's a complaint thats my one and only
  15. jugarf

    jugarf New Member

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    I just found this thread. I was looking for Hearthstone problems, after talking with a dealer that dropped them because of problems. No details. I'm going to his place today to look at the Jotuls and really to find out why he dropped Hearthstone. I had really made up my mind to go with the Hearthstone, but after the comments here, I will be sure to look at them with a fine-toothed comb. There is another dealer that actually has the Equinox and Mansfield for me to look at, since the only model I have actually seen is the Heritage, which is too small. Any more problems or advice? Should I consider the Jotul?
  16. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    what's your intentions? gonna burn 24/7? just occasionally? how many sq ft / what's the setup?
  17. jugarf

    jugarf New Member

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    1800 sq. ft downstairs plus 1200 upstairs in an old drafty house. This will be a fireplace install. I really wanted soapstone, but all the problems with Hearthstone are making me rethink. I've never seen a soapstone in operation, only on a showroom floor, not hooked up. I've never seen the Equinox or Mansfield either, just the Heritage, which I think is too small.
  18. jugarf

    jugarf New Member

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    Oh, I forgot, I plan to burn 24/7.
  19. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    You've got to realize that most people come here and post with their problems. Note that the folks with soapstone problems are also new members. Lots and lots of hearthstones go out every day, they are a huge manufacturer and we have two or three current posts of problems that haven't been resolved yet so we don't really know how it will go.

    I have learned one thing, if buying a new hearthstone be dang sure to inspect the stove before delivery. It is apparently very obvious when you get a "bad" hearthstone as the whole thing is a pile of junk. Seems to be either excellent quality or it fell off a truck. I am a happy hearthstone owner and yet I make this recommendation. The stone stoves are great heaters.
  20. lindachr

    lindachr New Member

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    We are very happy with our Hearthstone Homestead. Have had it for a year. My question is where did the people with the delivery horror stories order their stoves from? A reputable, local dealer who stands behind his sale, or perhaps the cheapest price from an unknown internet source?
  21. Fsappo

    Fsappo New Member

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    I'm guessing neither. As far as I know ( I am a Hearthstone dealer) You can not buy these from one of those annonymous online stores. It appears he tried to buy it thru a local dealer who in the end proved to be not so forthcoming.
  22. jugarf

    jugarf New Member

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    Thanks guys. I really like the Hearthstone and going tomorrow to see the Equinox and Mansfield in a showroom. I'm finding by calling around and talking to different dealers that they are not all created equal. The one I had been working with came to my house and has only installed 3 Equinoxes. I've got to go see all of them and decide which one has the most knowledge and experience. I certainly don't want any installation problems. I appreciate all your help!
  23. Greenfactor

    Greenfactor New Member

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    Thanks to Highbeam and Slow1 for agreeing with me about the "handcrafted" issue.

    Slow1, good thought, but I'm sure this stove didn't 'take a hit'. I can see the joints from the inside of the stove and the mortar is not cracked or loose in any way. The low stone is just the way it was from the factory.

    Highbeam, you're right, I would probably never have come to this forum if I was satisfied from the beginning. I'm sure most Hearthstone owners are satisfied. It's natural that there will be a strong negative bias here.

    Linda, I got this from a fairly reputable dealer and I know other satisfied people who have gotten stoves from him. I think I just got unlucky. To his credit, he agreed to exchange without too much protest. I just have to wait 3 weeks for the new stove.

    By the way, I didn't mean to hijack this thread from Ref1. I think maybe I'll start another thread and post pictures of the install.

    Thanks, all, for the helpful comments.
  24. REF1

    REF1 Feeling the Heat

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    I appreciate the posts put up here. It seems to me, for three thousand dollars quality control should be much better.

    The possibility of a brand new, yet to be cured stove moving around in transit from NH to VA certainly might explain some issues. If it left the shop correct, but got bopped around in transit, sure, the whole thing could go out of square. Perhaps that explains my trim being off, as well.

    I think such a thread as this is important, if for no other reason than to expose some kind of problem which exists at Hearthstone on their manufacturing/assembly line. Is it Monday? Is it part timers? Is it the guy with the final checklist pencil? Somewhere along their line is a kink that should be addressed. If nothing else, building a stove and sending it out the same day is crazy to me.

    I am appreciative of the dealer willing to make things right, and per a post above I may just go down to the shop (90 min. away) and fine-tooth the stove before he bothers to bring it out. Same problems? Do not bother. Just come get the first stove, give me a refund, and I will go with Woodstock.
  25. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    That's what I would do. I love my hearthstone but I won't tolerate crappy construction. The parts are all right, now the guy assembling the stove has to do his part to either make it a great stove or a steaming pile of dog doo. This is where the Hearthstone company gets to realize that their skilled labor force can make or break them.
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