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    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Hearthstone opperation.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Marty, Oct 30, 2006.

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  1. Marty

    Marty Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2006
    Messages:
    284
    Loc:
    Pittsburgh
    I'm wondering what temperatures other hearthstone opperators see/shoot for on their stoves.
    How quick do you get there?
    Where does your air control end up?
    How many splits do you load in (how full is the firebox) for how long a burn?

    It typically takes me a couple of hours to get up past 500° F then I damper down to about ¼ open and let it ride down to coals.
    I usually have roughly 4 logs in there, I'd say about 70% full, and It will burn that way for 6-8 hours and end up between 125-175° F.
    Ive only been past 600° F once when I left a fresh load on a bed of 500° F coals set half open for an hour and the stove approached 700° F... I'm wondering if that is unusual for soapstone, and if the opperating temps are different than steel/cast.

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  2. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    824
    I have the Clydedale soapstone insert. The fastest I've ever from a cold start had it come up to 180F so the blowers kick on was about 1 hour 15 minutes. It's about 2 hours before I start feeling any real heat. That's a big improvement from where I was last year before I made changes to improve my draft. Your Mansfield is more soapstone by a big margin.

    It sounds to me like you're turning it down too late. If you wait too long, you get a roaring fire that all the heat quickly goes right out the flue before it's had time to warm up your unit. If you close down too soon, your fire will shortly die way back and smolder.

    When I start my fire, and the more packed the better it runs I wait until the fire comes up and covers about half the top of my secondary burn tubes. I then turn it down 25%, that slows down the flames & heat from being able to escape as fast and it transfers. Before then, I hear the occasional clicking sound and once I turn it down 25%, in a few moments the clicking really starts happening so I know more heat is transferring to my unit once I close it down a little. Once it recovers, and once again the top 1/2 of my secondary burn tubes are being covered in flame or secondary burn I close it down another 25%, and shortly after the warming clicks really go crazy. I will usually leave it there for a while, or turn it down a little from that point but in my install my Clydesdale doesn't do well if I close the air more than 75%. At that point, I start getting flames that periodically jump up and light the secondary burn, and then die back, only to jump up and reignite it again. I usually will have smoke come out that low as well. I turn it down until it settles on about a 6" wide main flame coming off the logs which reaches the secondary burn. I'll have other flames here & there, but the main flame has to be around 6" wide and constant. If it moves left & right, my air is too low. If it's wider than 6-8" my air is too high. If it's periodically lifting off the logs and settling back down on them, my air is too low. Also, be sure you leave plenty of space between the logs. When I started I stacked 4 logs in there so they fit pretty tight. It wasn't that good. When I started stacking the top 2 logs sort of in a V shape instead of parallel leaving about a 1" gap in the middle, flames would rise between all the logs and light the secondary burn when I closed it down some, which really makes the clicks go crazy.

    It takes months to figure things out, make sure you experiment with the air setting. Eventually, you'll get a sense of when things need to happen but, that sense develops over time. It took me 3 months of burning every day before I started to get a sense of when things needed to happen. On my second year and I'm still learning. I like to say it's like Othello, takes a minute to learn but a lifetime to master. The first several months were frustrating for me as I tried to figure things out and I've been burning wood decades, by the end of the first winter with my new unit afterward I looked back and was amazed at how much further I progressed over the months. It will take time.
  3. eruji

    eruji New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2005
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    Mountain Home Village, CA US
    Hi Marty,

    I have a Hearthstone III Catalytic stove. This is my second year burning it in the San Bernardino mountains in southern california. I think ive got a good feel for how this stove works now. (it was my first wood burning stove in a new home).

    My stove on average is between 500-600 degrees. I got it up to 700 once but that was letting it just go.

    Here is my procedure:

    1.)put 1 chunk of fire-starter from the local grocery about the size of a pack of gum, make a triangle of wood around it, light the fire-starter, lay some pine kindling or small pieces on top of the triangle, then pack the stove full of hardwoods. Catalyst is disengaged, door is about 1inch open and damper is wide open. Dont touch it for 20-30 minutes

    2.) after 20-30 minutes should have some coals and some of the hardwood is glowing, add more wood and close the door. leave damper full open. wait another 10-20 minutes and then damper down, (my stove has a cylinder type damper that opens a hole) im somewhere around 300 in 1 hour

    3.) after 1.5-2 hours im at 500-600 and i engage the catalyst and damper all the way shut. The stove and surrounding hearth will be still be warm after 10-11 hours with little bits of glowing embers under the ash.

    i usually do this once in the evening around 8-9 and if i have time in the morning when i first wake up.

    My hearthstone manual says that surface temp should be around 500 so i think you are just fine there. Its just a matter of fine tuning according to your wood and draft and stove types.
  4. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    Messages:
    609
    Loc:
    Bristol, Connecticut
    I agree with Rhonemas. If you damper down alittle bit sooner, you will notice your stone heat up alittle quicker. The more you open your damper, the more air will be forced up the flue. It's a tricky balance, which I'm still learning. But I'm making progress. I can have my Heritage up to 450-500 in about an hour.
  5. suematteva

    suematteva New Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    605
    Loc:
    Rutland, VT//Southern Quebec
    As the boys above said dampering sooner will get her clicking sooner..In the event we have a cold stove and house and need heat quick I just use small splits and log cabin it, when doing this I start with two medium sized splits running front to back on either side of the air inlet, so the air can get all the way to back of the stove.

    I think we can be in the 400-500 range in the hour range..It is so infrequent that I do this, I will check next time..
  6. Marty

    Marty Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2006
    Messages:
    284
    Loc:
    Pittsburgh
    Rhonemas, eruji, Don & Vintage
    Thanks for the excelent description of the fire building process. I haddn't really considered the importance of restricting the airflow as a heat building technique and had been tending to see the air control as the on lever more than is appropriate. the clicking is a good indicator that I plan to see in a new light, upcoming. I've had a lot of experience with fire pits /outdoor wood burning but none with air controls.
    Knowing what I know now I not sure I wouldn't go for a catalytic stove Not to say I am not very happy with the Mansfied, It's a great big fire box that is both beautiful and capable of generating all the heat I've needed thus far. But a cat seems to extend the efficiancy of the process another level, beyond perhaps what I think can be reliably maintained in a non cat. I do know I can come closer to the ideal than I have been. I'm glad to here that I'm getting similar opperating temps to some folks with similar stoves... I'll have to shoot for an hour to 500 from cold as a goal. Thanks for the feedback.
  7. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,345
    Loc:
    south central WI
    Are there any soapstone catalytic stoves that can heat as large of an area as the Hearthstone Mansfield?

    northwinds
  8. Marty

    Marty Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Pittsburgh
    Not on paper anyway... I get the impression that a cat and a thermostatic air control can add levels of efficiency to a stoves oppreating curve that involve less fire maintainence and wood usage... that said I do love the Mansfield and while I can see the advantages of other stoves I think I ended with the right one.
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