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Looking for input on a new stove -- Oslo, Cumberland Gap...or Progress Hybrid?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by LitUp, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. LitUp

    LitUp New Member

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    I’ve been reading these forums for the past 5 years but this is my first post. For the past 5 years I have been heating my house with a 30 year old Timberline insert. My chimney has degraded to the point where it needs to be lined and there isn’t enough room to hook up the liner to the thimble on the Timberline so its time to upgrade to a more efficient stove.

    First a little bit about my house. It’s an old two story farm house with approximately 1500 square feet of living space, located in south central Michigan (Battle Creek area). The exterior was remodeled last year and the house was insulated with a combination of sprayed in urethane foam and fiberglass insulation. Most of the windows were replaced with double pain high efficient windows with the exception of one large picture window downstairs and another upstairs. The house is not an open floor plan. The masonry fireplace is located on the west wall of the house in the living/dinning room, which is approximately 470 square feet. The Chimney is 24 feet tall. There is a doorway to the kitchen which is on the east side of the house (along with a full bath). There is a staircase on south side of the house that leads to three bedrooms upstairs. There are two smaller bedrooms over the living room on the west side and the larger master bedroom and bath on the east side above the kitchen. My goal is to burn 24/7 and use the wood stove for as much of my heating as possible. Long burn times and a large firebox are important…but I don’t want to cook myself out of the living room, which is the main living area where we spend most of our time when home.

    I initially planned on an insert and settled on the Jotul 550 Rockland. I considered the Blaze King Princess Insert but I will admit that it wasn’t attractive enough for me once I got to see it. The hearth/fireplace is the focal point of the room and a good looking insert was important to satisfy both me and the significant other. I also considered the Fireplace Xtraordinaire. I couldn’t seem to pull the trigger on the Rockland and decided I would rather go the hearth stove route. Because I’m dealing with a masonry fireplace, I have some space limitations. The opening is 41” wide, 28” high to the lintel (and the lintel is doubled up with two steel plates that are 13” deep in total) and the hearth itself is 16” deep. The fireplace is 34” deep inside, so that’s not an issue no matter which route I plan to take. I narrowed my selection down to two stoves: Quadra-Fire Cumberland Gap and Jotul F500 Oslo. I have read literally every thread on the forum that pertains to either stove. This is a large investment for me and I want to make the right decision. The two stoves seem to be very comparable in performance and quality.

    The Cumberland Gap, with the short leg kit, will fit with an inch and a half to spare on top. Set out onto the hearth, where the ash lip is flush with the front of the hearth, a majority of the stove will be outside the masonry fireplace opening. Unfortunately, I will be about an inch short of being able to use the side door on the stove. I like that the CG has two front doors and it’s a sharp looking stove. One of the local fireplace shops has a great deal on their floor model - $1845 with a $100 off Quadra Fire coupon. I’d need to order the short leg kit, though.

    The other stove I am considering, and the one that I am leaning towards quite frankly, is the Jotul F500 Oslo. The Oslo, with the short leg kit, will have 2” of clearance on top and is just a little shorter depth than the Cumberland Gap. Based on my measurements, I believe I will still be able to use the side door on the Oslo in my application. That’s a huge plus and probably what has me leaning towards that stove. The Oslo construction seems to be a little more substantial than the CG…but it weighs less even with the slightly bigger firebox. It takes a little longer log, too, which is a plus, since I have 3 years worth of seasoned wood, much of which is 21-22” long (cut for my big Timberline) and the CG may not be able to handle the extra inch or two on half of my wood. The Oslo is considerably more expensive than the Cumberland Gap at $2400 with the optional short leg kit. Performance wise, the CG and Oslo seem very comparable. Would you guys concur?

    I don’t expect anyone to make the decision for me. There are a lot of factors to consider. I just don’t want to have any regret on my stove purchase once its all said and done. I want to do this right the first time. Any thoughts, ideas, input or recommendations would be much appreciated.

    I’ve attached a couple pics of the hearth as it stands right now for reference (and one with the old Timberline so you can see why I needed to get that thing out of there, that was a dangerous installation).

    Attached Files:

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  2. LitUp

    LitUp New Member

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    There’s one other option I’m strongly considering. I really like what I've read about the Woodstock Progressive Hybrid. However, it’s half an inch too tall! I know, what are the odds. But I could add on to the hearth to make room for it. The feedback about this stove makes that option very tempting to me. While I don’t find it quite as attractive as the Phoenix, Oslo, or Cumberland Gap per se and I’m still a little skeptical about not having a front opening door on the stove, performance is my #1 priority and the Progress Hybrid appears, on paper at least, to be the best performer among the stoves I’m considering. By quite a bit. The question is, do I need that extra performance…and is it too much for my application.

    With a short leg kit, the PH is 28.5” tall…that’s half an inch taller than my lintel. If I extend the hearth outward one more row of bricks (9 inches), though, I will have 25” of depth…the Progress Hybrid is listed at 25” deep. That should give me enough room, I believe, so I can avoid the height issue. I don’t have a copy of the schematics for the Progress Hybrid to see how deep the stove really is at 28.5” of height. I can’t seem to find them, or an owner’s manual, on the website. The Woodstock website says the rear exit flue height is 22.75” at center…so tack on 3” and a little space for the flue collar and that’s no taller than 26”, 2” shorter than my lintel…so no problems there. The Progress Hybrid would be the most expensive of the stoves I’m considering at $3195 (+shipping) and the work on the hearth would be an added expense. But if its worth it, performance wise, the investment now will pay off over the life of the stove. Because there’s no front door, I wouldn’t have to add any stone/tile in front of the hearth (which I need to do for the Oslo or Cumberland Gap)…and I already have the 24” of side clearance necessary (I actually have 25”). My concern about the Progress Hybrid is first and foremost output. It appears to be a BTU beast. Sure, I can build smaller fires. I get that. But I need long burn times, too. Would the Progress Hybrid’s hybrid cat design allow me to dampen down the fire more so than a typical non-cat stove like the Oslo or Cumberland Gap would? That was one of the things that attracted me to the Blaze King Princess catalytic insert…the long burn times. I’m concerned the Progress Hybrid’s BTUs will heat me out of the living room when I load it full to take advantage of a long burn time. I hate to add on to the hearth, incurring the additional expense and taking critical space from the room that is already a little tight, if its not going to gain me enough performance over the Jotul Oslo or Quadra Fire Cumberland Gap, which already fit in the current space. I know Woodstock has a 6 month money back guarantee, but if I add onto the hearth for that stove, and then end up with an Oslo, Im stuck with the big hearth extension.
  3. LitUp

    LitUp New Member

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    I also have an installation question about the liner. Seems like everything I have read on here, I should use an insulated flexible liner. The installers I have spoken with thus far say that’s not necessary, even though the chimney is on the exterior. Should I still go with insulated? I don’t mind paying a couple hundred more if its worth it. One installer uses a Stainless Steel liner with Titanium that they says is a 15 year liner vs. a 5 year on a regular stainless steel. Is that worth it? I plan on going with a block off plate where the liner goes through the damper. I have read that others have put insulation on top of that plate. The installers say that’s not necessary…they just will high temp seal it. Is that sufficient? Sorry about all of the questions…I know I’ve asked a lot in this “first” post of mine.
  4. Tenn Dave

    Tenn Dave Feeling the Heat

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  5. Todd 2

    Todd 2 Feeling the Heat

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    Hi LitUp and welcome, As far as the liner goes on an outer wall chimney I would insulate it, Gets pretty cold in Michigan and the insulated liner will draw better (heat up quicker) made a great improvement to mine. I also spent a little extra and installed the hard stainless pipe (rigid) You can be aggressive with the sweep brush and it stays in place well and the smooth inside cleans nice and easy. All depends on your package budget, good luck with your stove choice some more should chine in on that subject .

    Todd
  6. LitUp

    LitUp New Member

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    Thanks for the link to the Progress Hybrid manuals. No clue how I missed that on the site.

    I'm leaning towards the insulated pipe as well. The installers said that rigid would be too difficult to get through the damper. Normally I would want to do my own install, but this is a little above my pay grade and I don't do heights/roofs very well. I think I will leave this one to a professional. My chimney sweep recommended an installer and I hope to meet with him tomorrow.
  7. stovelark

    stovelark Minister of Fire

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    Hi Litup- All good choices, all will probably do the job nicely. I used an Oslo for years, great burning great heating stove. The Quad CG is a good stove too. It's hard to go against the Jotul, here in NE, for cast stoves they and VC have always ruled. Quads are more known for their steel stove line, but the Isle Royale is pretty popular too. If you can buy, I'd go with the Oslo. The extra log lengths and quality of Jotul would be the deciding factor. Good luck, you can't make a bad choice.
  8. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    You may also want to look into a Woodstock Fireview. It should do the trick pretty well for your 1500 sq ft and give you easy 12+ hour burns.
  9. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    I wouldn't worry about that. Side loading is where it's at, like loading North-South on a front-loader. I think most people who have two doors load through the side door most of the time.

    The Progress is a larger stove than the Cumberland Gap or the Oslo. The Isle Royale and F600 are more comparable in size to the Progress.

    http://www.quadrafire.com/Products/Isle-Royale-Wood-Stove.aspx

    http://jotul.com/us/products/stoves/jotul-f-600#technical-area

    http://www.woodstove.com/progress-hybrid

    I dunno, but that's what needs to be figured out first, then choose a stove from the appropriate size category. If your main concern is being run out of the stove room with too much heat, then I second Todd's recommendation of the Fireview, with the understanding that, depending on the insulation/tightness of your house, it may be too small to heat all of your 1500 sq ft on the coldest days in MI. If you went with a larger stove, you could always crack open that door right next to your hearth whenever you had too much heat.

    Spec for depth = 25". Pics show that the deepest part of the stove is at the top, where the flue casting bulges out to allow top venting. If you want to be 100% certain, call Woodstock.

    You should be able dampen it down more than a non-cat (EPA doesn't permit non-cats to be dampened below a certain point, because they don't burn cleanly like that.) This has been the subject of some debate regarding the PH, with owner reports of how well the stove burns on low varying somewhat. I reckon it's safe to say that the PH won't mete out BTU's for 30 hours like the BK will, but it should give you longer burns than a non-cat.

    As you noted, you would have to add something for a front-loading stove, so I'd say you're looking at six vs. a half-dozen here.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2013
  10. teutonicking

    teutonicking Feeling the Heat

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    I’m concerned the Progress Hybrid’s BTUs will heat me out of the living room when I load it full to take advantage of a long burn time.

    I love my Progress Hybrid stove--it is able to keep my entire house of 3400 square feet at 70 degrees or warmer even when it is in the 20s outside. So in my opinion it is probably too large for a 1500 square foot house. I recognize the climate is lot colder in your state than in mine, but I think you would be better off with the Quad, the Jotul Oslo, or the Woodstock Fireview. I think any of those stoves should be able to handle that area with no problem.
  11. LitUp

    LitUp New Member

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    I appreciate everyone's input. As much as I like the idea of the Progress Hybrid, I think teutonicking is right...its too much stove for my application. The Fireview is too ornate and doesnt appeal to me. I think the Oslo is the front runner. Other than a few who complain about ash buildup (and spillage) from front loading, it doesn't seem to garner many complaints. Its interesting how different the Cumberland Gap's firebox is in comparison to the Oslo...the Oslo employs only 4 firebricks, whereas the CG's box is firebrick lined.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The CG is essentially a steel stove with a cast iron jacket. Like a side-loading version of the F45 or Alderlea T5. It's a good stove and very nearly ended up in our home.
  13. LitUp

    LitUp New Member

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    Would there be any benefits to the CG over the Oslo?
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Right side door vs left door was attractive for our location.
  15. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    + the welded steel firebox of the CG would never need new gaskets and cement, which the Oslo would eventually need. . .probably after, say, 20 years.

    Spec for the CG says 2.4 cu ft. I dunno how much of that is actually usable for loading with wood (mfrs tend to exaggerate this spec) but it might hold more wood than the Oslo, which is somewhere around 2 cu ft, I think. (Jøtul doesn't publish specs for capacity.) You might want to measure the usable space, where you can actually fit wood, inside each firebox.
    Woody Stover likes this.
  16. LitUp

    LitUp New Member

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    The Jotul brochure I have publishes firebox sizes for their wood free standing stoves (but not their inserts). The Oslo firebox is 2.54 cu ft. and max log length is 24"

    Quadrafire brochure says the CG firebox is 2.39 cu ft and max long length is 20"
  17. stovelark

    stovelark Minister of Fire

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    Hi all- yeah Oslo is a little bigger in the firebox at 2.54 sqft, but prob not enough to notice. The big differences are double front doors for the CG (some people prefer) and of course they side load on opposite sides, sometimes that helps. Prices are similar too, but we sell the Oslo for less. Both good choices for heaters.
  18. LitUp

    LitUp New Member

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    I prefer the double doors and I can get the CG for nearly $500 less here locally. The thing that seems to be tipping in favor of the Oslo is that I can better access its side load door in my application and the advertised 24" log length (as opposed to the CG's 20" limit). I have about three years worth of wood seasoned...half of which was cut 20-22" for my old Timberline.
  19. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Unfortunately, you can't really go by the mfr's specs at the nitty-gritty level of loadable firebox capacity. The best way to compare them would be to measure the fireboxes yourself. We've sorta started a standard here called the "usable space" in a firebox.
    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/how-big-is-your-stove-really.51736/

    Looks like the Oslo = 14 x 13 x 24"
    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/jotul-f500-vs-woodstock-fireview.72916/page-4

    How much of an incentive is $500 to you for recutting your wood supply? :)

    That would be the decider for me. Side. Loading.
  20. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Are you putting it completely out on the hearth or partially into the fireplace?
  21. LitUp

    LitUp New Member

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    About 80% of the stove will be on the hearth and the rest under the lintel.
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Sounds like it should work out pretty well. Keep us posted and take pics.
  23. lumbering on

    lumbering on Feeling the Heat

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    I've been looking hard at the Oslo, but Jotul's F55 captured my attention during the search process. Elegant in it's simplicity, though not as classically beautiful as the oslo. One door, one gasket, steel box, cast iron cladding, load front to back or side to side. also bigger firebox and I think less expensive.

    Does anyone have the retail price on the F55?
  24. LitUp

    LitUp New Member

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    I've decided on the Jotul. One of the area dealers is running Jotul Days this week and with the discount I can get the Oslo for $2200 before tax (retail - 15% sale). I'll be buying the stove this week. Installer is coming tonight to look things over and the stone mason tomorrow to get the ball rolling on the tile/brick work. Hopefully this will all be done by the beginning of October. I usually start burning wood by mid October. Once complete, I will definitely get pics and post them. Thanks everyone for their input.
  25. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Good choice. Beautiful stove. Once you try it, I think you'll really appreciate the functionality of side loading.

    Since you're bringing in a mason, you might want to consider doing what Todd did with the top of the fireplace. Then you wouldn't have to worry about installing a block-off plate in the top of the fireplace or buying short legs for the stove.

    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/started-woodstock-keystone-install-pics.51259/page-2

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