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Jotul Firelight 12, should I buy?..

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by execute.method, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. execute.method

    execute.method New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2012
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    Loc:
    Middle Tennessee
    I am going to be looking at a Jotul F12. Can anyone give me any advice on what to look for? For instance, how can I check the cat.

    The lady said she used it about 40 times total and it was bought new in 1997.

    She did disclose that one of the door glasses has a small crack in the corner. Where can I source new glass for it?

    I looked at the manual for the unit and it says it's 27.5" center for rear exhaust, and my existing opening is 26", so the duct would swoop down before entering the existing masonry chimney.

    I will be building out the hearth to accommodate the stove, although I didn't see any clearance measurements in the stove manual for the bottom.

    here is the pic she sent me:
    1115121219a.jpg


    and here is the existing space.
    IMG_20121114_102256.jpg

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  2. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    You should do a thorough inspection take a light and look for cracks. Ask why the glass is broken it may have been run very hot and over fired. I am not to knowledgable about cat stoves. There are a lot of cat stove users here though ! It is possible that it was only run 40 times but why would be my question. Keep in mind that a 400 dollar stove may be good but if you have to put 400 more into repairs it is worth buying a new one.

    Pete
  3. execute.method

    execute.method New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Middle Tennessee
    Pete, do you think the $400 + $400 rule would apply when a new stove of this caliber goes for $2-3000?

    It seems that some users here have paid $1500 for the same stove, while still needing to put some $$ into it.

    Here's a little story. I recently bought a car. When I bought it, it had a blown motor and needed a little tlc, but the body is near perfect along with most everything else. I bought it for $1000 and replaced the motor which I got for $400. In the end I have a great car that I could resale for about $4000 and only have $2000 into it.

    Another story. The house I'm buying is a foreclosure, and needs some TLC. I'm under contract for far less than 1/2 the most recent appraisal, so I'm starting out with a ton of equity and by adding some/lots of finishing touches it will be an amazing house. I should be able to stay very close to the 1:3 ivr I'm at right now.

    I really do appreciate any input you guys have. For instance, if this model has lots of known issues, or if I don't know what to look for, and I will be putting $$ into it hand over fist, then it wouldn't be a good investment.
  4. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    I really do understand where you are coming from I do the vast majority of my repairs to everything as well as buy used a lot. That said when it comes to stoves there are only so many repairs that can be done and they advance so fast that parts can become hard to find over time. Don't get me wrong that is a great stove and well loved however replacement cats can be expensive to get and if you burn wet wood they don't last long. Englander was mentioned earlier as a alternative and the reason is you have a new well loved stove with hands down some of the best customer service for $300-400 more than the original $400 you where going to pay before repairs. When we looked at cat stoves all of them where above 250 for the cat replacement so by the time you have a cat and glass you could easily hit $300-400 in repairs plus gaskets ( which are cheap ). This is of course assuming the cat is bad with only 40 fires it may be like new still. Personally I have been using wood on and off most of my life and am very leery of any stove that has damage such as cracked glass. That is an odd problem that being the case when you look at it you should really look hard at the weld lines, top and sides to be sure it is not warped or cracked. I wish I could come look at it with you ! :(

    Pete
  5. execute.method

    execute.method New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Middle Tennessee
    Thanks pete. I will definitely look hard at it and try to find out how the glass broke.

    If it's a nogo, I'll definitely look at the englanders.
  6. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

  7. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like your rear flue exit height won't work. You don't want to swoop down, you want a slight rise up or you will have smoke and draft issues. You may be able to move that fireplace lintel up a bit?
  8. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    No problem I hope it turns out to be good ! I am not trying to turn you off of it just trying to make you cautious so you don't get ripped off. Honestly I cant believe no one jumped on this thread thats rare !

    Pete
  9. execute.method

    execute.method New Member

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    Yeah, that's definitely a possibility. I was also thinking I could use a different hearth arrangement, instead of those pancakes, to get a little more height.
  10. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    Short leg kit to drop it a little?

    Is that stove Blue/Black enamel?
  11. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I disagree. It is all about budget and your needs. Even at $800, if the stove is in good structural shape, it is a lot more easy to take on than buying a new F600 at the $2500-$3000 price tag. Yes, at the right time you could get a 30 for a little more or a little less. But a 30 doesn't fit everywhere, and a 30 isn't pleasing to everyone. If you have the chance to get a stove that fits, is the right size, and meets the looks you are hoping for, it is still a very good deal.

    As an example, let's say you found an F50 used for $400 before you bought your new one. But the used one, while being structurally sound, has a cracked top load griddle, and cracked glass. You could buy the griddle and new glass for about $400 (and if it isn't that much, pretend it has a cracked leg or two to equal $400)

    For very little work, you are getting a great stove with minor repairs, while saving $1,500 to $2,000 (I do not remember the price of the F50.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Absolutely right. Smoke will not go downhill. It will seek another exit, which is typically the front door of the stove when you open it. Looks like you have a serious amount of work to do on the hearth so I would get rid of those big cement blocks and put in a lower hearth that extends out further to accommodate the stove.

    How large is the room the stove is in and how large an area will the stove be heating? Is this a very open floorplan?
  13. execute.method

    execute.method New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Middle Tennessee
    The room is about 18x18, and adjoins the dining room and kitchen and is very open. The 3 bedrooms are on the other side of the house with a front to back hallway splitting the 2 sides (almost a square with a hallway down the middle). There is a door in the kitchen and living room which both enter the hallway.

    I have been mulling it over and will definitely take out the cement blocks to get more height, regardless of the stove I end up with. Any suggestions or threads to read on hearth materials? I was thinking maybe sheet metal underlayment with hardibacker and slate over? Is that close to acceptable for a stove with legs like the f12?
  14. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Each stove has specific hearth requirements. Find those requirements and then do a search on hearth building. You should see some decent results.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I would lean toward a bit of overkill on the hearth. That way you are better prepared for any option. By using micore under a couple to players of cement board you will have a good foundation for most stoves.
  16. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    I think Joful has two of those stoves, maybe he can chime in with some information for you.
  17. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    He does. He seems to have had pretty good success with them at this point.
  18. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    My comment was in comparison to buying a new englander not a new jotul. If he where planning on a 2000 dollar stove to begin with then yes I would fully agree with you BB.

    Pete
  19. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    +1 for a thorough inspection,
    but I don't know if cracked glass is that weird or indicative of overfiring. I've seen a few posts about glass cracking from coming into contact with logs, one way or another. $400 sounds pretty good to me, but at 15 years, I would think that you will be tearing that stove down and replacing gaskets/cement, sooner or later.
  20. glennm

    glennm Burning Hunk

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    Is it possible to get shorter legs to lower the stove? I know jotul makes them for a few of the current models.
  21. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I seriously doubt the ceramic glass was thermally shocked and cracked as a result. Ceramic glass is extremely stable when it comes to temperature shock and I have seen videos that demonstrate this by having a blow torch on one side and a jet of water on the other side and the ceramic glass did not break. My guess the ceramic glass was hit by a log or fireplace tool.

    Ray
  22. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I have two F12's, and did in fact pay $1500 for one of them, freshly rebuilt with new paint and gaskets. A more typical price for this stove in good used condition is $900... if you can find one local. In my case, the rebuild plus saving a day on driving to any of the others I found (mostly in New England) was worth the extra $600.

    There are not many known defects to this stove. The air control lever does tend to stick in the closed position (better than open !!!), but Jotul added an access plate to the later stoves just below the doors in the firebox to access and lubricate this mechanisum. You can cut the plenum and add your own access plate, if your stove has this issue. The cat chamber is somewhat fragile, which is only an issue when servicing the cat. Otherwise, it's completely hidden behind / protected by cast iron. The cat chamber costs $250, and the other two pieces of refractory (lower and cover) are about $65 each. Cat's cost about $160 - $200, depending on which you buy. Just make sure that any cat you buy does NOT have an expanding gasket around it, as this will destory the cat chamber (this rules out the Condar ceramic cat, although their Steel Cat is just fine in this regard, and is what I have in one of my stoves now).

    Inspect it well for cracks. Don't fret too much about failing cement, unless you think it lead to the stove leaking and overfiring. There are lift-out side panels, so the fire never touches the outer stove body (think box in a box). The side panels, and the lift-out rear burn panel covering the cat, are all replaceable, and are the components designed to take most of the abuse. I had a hairline crack in the rear panel on one of my stoves, which I replaced because I'm anal about stuff like that, although it did not affect stove operation at all.

    The top lifts off easily with the removal of two bolts two screws for the top door lift mechanism. It's gasketed, not cemented. Replacement glass can be obtained thru Jotul, or any stove shop that sells custom cut ceramic glass. Like any cast iron stove, it does require a yearly going over, pulling out any loose cement you find at the seams, and re-caulking those seams with stove cement. It's really not a difficult job, but it must be done.

    Like others, I'm real curious why it was used so few times. Clearly they must have had some problem with it.

    edit: I forgot to add that, if you want the performance of a big cat stove in an attractive cast iron package, this stove is one of the very few options you can find. Sadly, there is simply no directly comparable stove on the market today, and believe me when I say I looked. Hopefully the BK Ashford 30 will change that, albeit in a slightly smaller package.
  23. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    Nice write up Joful. My F3 was over 10 years old when I bought it last fall. One owner with just over a cord put through it in 10 years. Creampuffs can still be had, just few and far between.

    I am wondering if this one the OP is looking at was just hardly used. Looks nice from the pic.
  24. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Did you manage to get the newer 3 with the cat ("TDC" model, I think)? I was shopping for a Series 8 cat stove for a while, but decided to try a 12 first, since I'd have interchangeable parts if one stove goes down.
  25. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    No, F3 was after the TDC or was it TDIC?

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