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Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by begreen, Jun 2, 2006.

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  1. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    We're having the possible new stove discussion. I am trying to promote the idea of a soapstone stove like the Hearthstone Heritage due to less frequent loadings and more even heat. She doesn't really like the look of the Heritage due to the rectangular , door ceramic glass. Her preference is the look of Jotul's and VC stoves due to the attractive door muntins. (She doesn't like plate glass windows for the same reason.) The Mansfield's door is at least arched at top and that is better, but it appears to be too big a stove for us. Unfortunately there are no door options on these soapstone stoves. We also looked at the PE Classic and she is on the fence there, maybe a black with nickel, but she's not really sold on that look either. Her preference is the Castine or the F500.

    Any suggestions for stoves we should check out? House is 2000 sq. ft. Moderately well insulated and we're improving on that. The Jotul 3CB can heat it by itself until it gets below about 35. Normal winter temps are about 35-45, with maybe a few weeks in the 20's at night.

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  2. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    Though I love soapstone stoves, I recall you go to work in the morning, and when you come home want to heat the house quickly? Soapstone stoves do not fair well in that area. They're like a steam loco, getting them going from a cold start is not particularly pleasant, the fires are difficult to get started, the draft takes a long time to get going but, the good news is once you get them warmed up and moving they like to keep moving and with minimal effort.

    They do much better being constantly fed, and in fall do not do well taking the chill out of the morning taking too long to warm up. I recall you come home to a cold house at 5:30-6pm, and lighting a fire in an averaged sized soapstone unit it can be 3 hours later when the place is beginning to warm up and your wife is probably not going to be too happy waiting that long. It's great if you can feed it constantly and not let it cool. Is there a change that will let you prevent letting the soapstone unit cool down by evening? I sense a situation here with the wife wondering why the choice of a stove that takes 3-4 hours to heat the place, with you unable to light a fire at 3pm so it can be putting out warmth when she comes home. Instead, her coming home to a cold house and by the time it's started warming it's bedtime. Then again, loading it at bedtime the soapstone should keep the house warm by morning so she doesn't have to wake to as cold a house.
  3. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Arrrh the wife approval factor. Improved insulation might be enough with the 3cb to now carry the heat load?. But the F400
    has the bigger fire box and longer burns more heat, which should get over those 20's days. You may not have to push it as hard on most days. I agree with Rome, you need the quicker response of cast iron to fit your life style. What about a cat stove, longer cleaner burning, more BTUs
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Well, you all will make my wife smile. Given the terror that is happening to our house right now, she could use a perk or two. Don, what cat might you be suggesting ;-). I have a friend that went from a Resolute Aclaim to an Encore cat. She doesn't like it at all, so there is a remote possibility of a horse trade here. My problem with cats is that I'm not the only one feeding the fires. My wife likes a simple no fuss stove. She can handle the Jotul ok, but may not like the additional steps to get the cat fired.

    So if we're looking at Jotuls, VC, maybe Harman, what is the largest stove that is practical? I don't want too big a stove or we'll be running it on idle all the time.
  5. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    there is something called keep it simple stupid. at times we can turn a simple opperation into a complex one A cat stove can run fine without engaging a cat. Have you or wife seen the harman oakwood stove? Got to love the top loading feature,,especially if your partner likes ease of use.

    http://www.harmanstoves.com/features.asp?id=2
  6. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    Elk, if you dont engage the cat, then what? Isnt all its efficiency and pollution based on the cat being engaged? The harmon link is a nice looking stove. Here is another top load non cat that looks nice too. Isle Royal
  7. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    How about the Osburn 2200? Does she like the bay window?

    picture of the 2200

    At first I wasn't sure I liked the look because I though they look like a generic pellet stove, but It's a great look when it's buring.

    I have to second the Harmon too. Really nice stoves if you can get one.

    The VC stoves also look nice, but I'd stay away from the enamel. I haven't seen one yet that isn't chipped. Same for the jotul, but to a lesser degree.

    If you like the soap stone, what about one of the Morso stoves with the soapstone sides? They're cast iron and the soap stone is not an integral part of the stove. http://www.woodstove.com/morso 3450

    Woodstock stove are another nice soapstone company but the woodstock stoves are all cat stoves. woodstock stoves
  8. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I agree with you nice looking stove. so many other stoves I would like to try out. Problem being, finding a decent used one I can refurbish and buy right
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I like the Oakwood and think she would too. Our first stove was the original VC Resolute. We loved that stove and the top-loading feature. One concern is that the Harman might be too big for our house. Does anyone have experience with how it is at lower burns when it's about 40 outside?

    The Isle Royal is nice looking, but seems too big for our house.

    Woodstock may work, I need to read the manuals about it's cat operation and show her some pictures. I think they look pretty nice, but....

    Most steel boxes just won't work in our old farmhouse, they look a bit too utilitarian for my SO and I have to agree. The stove will be a strong visual focal point in the livingroom, so the hearth and stove should look as good unlit as when the stove is burning. She perceives it as another peice of furniture, but might go for a PE stove or a Napoleon because they have the enameled shell.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I just read through the Harman Oakwood installation manual . Unfortunately they don't give corner installation clearances to a non-combustible surface the way most manuals do. Instead they refer you to NFPA 211 for reducing clearances. How does one figure this out? It shows 19" or 16" with the rear heat shieldfor corner clearance to combustibles .
  11. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    A non combustiable enclosure can be built to reduce the clearance up to 12" to combustiables NFPA 211, with or without
    heat shields. If the resolute did the prior job rated at 40,000 max BTUs, then the Oakwood at 42,000 btus would indicate simmilar results
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    We had the resolute in 1979, pre EPA, in a much smaller house, so I can't compare, but I agree. I think the Oakwood might work well for us. My wife likes the grill option. Unfortunately the only listed, local Harman dealers are not my first choice. It's a chain that also sells tubs and spas and not a dedicated stove shop. From what I've read, Harman does not communicate with customers, so the dealer is pretty important.

    Regarding clearances, it sounds like the code doesn't give specifics for the individual stove. If I get the Oakwood, I need a specific, minimum corner dimension to show the inspector to indicate that I've placed the stove within code required dimensions. I will write Harman, I don't understand why Harman doesn"t supply this. Many stove mfgs. have non-combustible surface dimensions in their installation specs. It has a lot more credence when you can show the inspector the documented dimensions.
  13. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    IF need be, I will copy the NFPA 211 reduction to combustiables, so you can produce evidence to your inspector. I doubt you will get a response from Harman that is usefull. Unless they have tested the application, ( distances), and have it approved and certified,
    no manufacture can change the approved specs of an appliance, without sumbitting it to testing. They have to go threw the whole routine again. They tested their heat shield options and left the rest of the installation specs and regs, to NFPA 211 code. There are other comapnies tha also offer top loading and very attractive stoves. Really, I'm not the one to compare heating and usage. When I need heat I do not damper down, but control the stove with the air feed. Your climate really lends its situation to being able to damper down. My stove will carry my house up to 10 degrees. But I will get up in the middle of the night and re-load.

    The Encore will replace that stove for a number of reasons:
    18% more heating capacity.

    I have a lot of seasoned wood longer than 16". The encore will take 20". I now have less work shortening and processing wood

    Just like everbody else. I Was told cat stoves were hard to run and expensive cat replacements. So I bought the non cat.
    I was give a cat Intrepid II. I leanred replacing the cat is easy and not that expensive. I learned how to opperate it effeciently.
    I could not believe the extended preformance over the plate metal stove It replaced. Again there is more to opperating it, But not rocket science. I really like the top load feature.

    The encore I got, was used only two heating seasons Almost everbody here looking for a stove, would have bought this encore for $500. When I done it will look and preform equal or better than new

    just looked at the 3cb Jotul specs max heat output 42,000 BTUs, same as the oakwood. If that vollume BTU's does not get it done, then I would consider something with a capacity of 47- 55k btus.
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Well, the Encore is still a contender, I like it's clean burning efficiency. But given our past burning practices, I can see where there would be times when the cat would be a pain. Last winter we had some not so dry wood that might have clogged the cat. A friend gives me all his cabinet building scraps that I would need to be careful about if it is a laminated veneer. I also want to speak with my friend about hers. The F400 Castine or F500 are wife's favorites so far, but she is going solely on looks.

    Your observation about heat output shows an industry weakness. Each manufacturer tends to state their heat output differently, just like burn times. Some push for bragging rights, which tend to be misleading and others tell it like it is. Jotul tends to brag, their ratings are for "maximum" BTU's. Harman's are for operational (aka real world) BTU's. VC states both, I like this approach. I would guess the 3CB to be running at about 30,000 BTUs in normal operation. 3CB takes 18" logs, the Oakwood takes 21". The Oakwood's firebox (2.3 cu. ft.) is more than twice the cu. ft. capacity, So I suspect that it would do ok for us. Harman's specs are about the same as the Quad pellet stove insert we removed and that heated us most of the time. If we get into the 20's there is the furnace as a backup.
  15. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    One thing about a pelletstove btu rating, is that it pumps out the heat the same every hour, a wood stove rated for 40k would not do the same job as the pellet stove rated at 40k. I usually use a multiplier of 1.5 to get the equilevent wood stove. The oslo is a sweet stove, its my favriot jotul. :D
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That's exactly right. Jotul lists the "max" btus. Harmon and VC list the continuous output of the stove. I think the later is a much more meaningful figure.

    My wife really likes the Oslo's looks. How does it perform in fall/spring when temps are in the 40's? Does it burn cleanly at a low burn? This is a claim made for the Harmon. What is the typical burn time for the Oslo with softwoods?

    Also, just curious, what do you think about the F600? Overkill for us?
  17. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I don't know if all understand my reason for buying a VC product. The first concern was finding a rear exit stove. That eliminated all top exit stoves. The top of the flue pipe could not exceed 28.25 inches. My existing thimble, in my stone front setup, is the target location.
    These granite stones are up to 16" thick, so relocating the thimble location, would involve quite a chore.
    VC offered a rear exit option reversible flue collar, that the Resolute was a bit lower Also the Encore would work. The Defiant rest too high.
    I considered Jotuls with the short leg kit, but the dealer did not have the best disposition. The final piece fell into place, when I was offered the prior years floor model Resolute Acclaim for $1000. Believe me I reviewed all the consumer ratings here. I saw the complaints. But noted that most dissatisfied logged in within weeks of there purchase. The newbies were impatient and not veteran wood burners. I saw a trend, most veteran burners seemed satisfied with their VC products. A lot of complaints were operational or complaints of manufactures claims not achieved. I examined the complaints. Many were doomed to failure,due to the over-sized direct connect flues, these stoves were vented into. Again being new to burning, how many got Mo's wood man's wood ,claiming to be seasoned but far too moist to run properly? I knew my wood piles were prime. How many newbies complained before a reasonable learning curb was obtained?
    I realised that the company,that had the most stoves in existence, also would have the most complaints It has been well documented, that Majestic to CFM take over of VC, quality control issues escalated. I bought the Resolute Acclaim. I got it all setup when I started noticing flaws. bolts were not tightened, flue collar not set right. I went threw the entire stove and corrected and adjusted everything. I thought it was because of it being the floor model and rushed to final setup assembly. Played with door latch ect.
    During this time I made contacts with the people in Vermont Castings Bethel Vermont operations. The dealer was a 7 hours drive away, never returned my phone calls or e-mails. It took a threat of bad mouthing VC at the Eastern States Building Inspectors convention, to get some one off their duff in the cooperate HQ in Canada. I made mention that while I was giving my seminar that federal officials would be in attendance including the EPA Consume protection agency reps. I might include my personal experiences with VC products in my seminar presentation. Meaning, my audience included all states east of the Mississippi River. including just about every agency in Washington. Someone in CFM called into the state of Ma to confirm my employment. After that I received all kinds of responses I was even able to get VC to replace Mo heats LWW. But a mutual respect developed with the person I dealt with in Bethel VT. I stopped getting the cooperate line. It was then, I got the inside of how fragile the job situation in Bethel was, CFM had defaulted on its loans. There was a real chance they would not exist 3 weeks from now. Yet the people in Vermont helped Mo and I. There was so much uncertainty. Finally the Ontario Teacher retirement account had so much invested in CFM. It was either buy them out and loan more money or. see what bankruptcy brings. If luck a few pennies on the dollar. VC is the last stove castings foundry and enamaling facility in USA. If they go out of business Bethel
    VT will not exist. They may never recover from economic hardship
    I also admit to having American pride. It makes it easier supporting made in America, saving the remaining few foundry manufacturing
    Jobs left in USA. This helps explain why I support Made in USA VC. All other Cast iron stoves are forged over seas

    It appears that new management has righted VC ship. They introduced the non cat encore and everburn technology They have eliminated the non cat Intrepid and now offer a non cat Defiant. Money has gone back into R&D New models are being edveloped

    However the people working in Bethel VT a still face uncertainty. They have to compete with the possibility, someone up on the corporate ladder decides it is cheaper to outsource to the Pacific Basin. They can not afford quality control issues. They have to produce quality products or cease to exist.
  18. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    BG, do take a look at the Morso stoves too... I've been a lifelong Jotul user and always thought they were the best of the non-cat cast stoves. But after using my Morso for a season, I give it the nod in every way... design, construction, performance, day-to-day use.
  19. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I thought it right to explain my loyalty. There are many good excellent stoves to chose from and moroso is one of them
    Again there are some not worth mentioning and so far none have been. Every stove mentioned in these thread warrants consideration. My first suggestion was not a VC product but Harman. I WILL TELL YOU THIS if you interpet my situatioin into a recomdation and opt for a VC product and have issues. Begreen you will have one influencial person talking to VC to get any situation resolved (I wish I had the same influence with other manufactures to help others the same way) IF you have doubts about a product because a friend had a negative experience, then heed those doubts. My situation is unique, exceptional value for a used stove. just happens to be the brand I already have one stove from. I know one product line that works for me. Does not mean it will work for all. Reminds me of a song, "love the one you are with"
  20. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Elk,

    In reading your last two posts, I feel I must applaud you for your USA loyalty. The stove I bought last year was an Osburn, and it's made in Canada. If there is any country I'd like to support it's our northern neighbor, but if I buy another stove it will surely be made in the USA. That leaves a very small list, and given the application, it would most likely be a VC product. They really make great looking stoves, and I really hope they get some of the quality issues under control. From many of the latest posts, it looks like they have.

    All the Harmon stoves are too big for my next stove, given that I have only about 500 sqft to heat with one. (my basement) I'm in the process of re-finishing it, with new flooring and the addition of a home office. In a way I'm really looking forward to a time when I can work from home in my new office and my "break" is 10 minutes to add a little wood to the fire and pop upstairs for a cup of Java, give the LOML a peck and go back to it. I envision a nice Intreped or a dutchwest large.
  21. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    IT is easy for me to go back and edit my post to be North America instead of USA( should go back and edit so it becomes more readable) I share the respect for our northern neighbors
    Corperate HQ for CFM is in Canada.
    Another point of my post is I would like to see this forum gain manufacture reconition ,where the influence of many. influences the way they deal with customer relations. Hot Flame getting the dealer run around Lime 4x4 ordeal with Harman dragged on for months.

    There are times I wish one phone call, would get things resolved. When Mo had the flash of light, I wanted to reach threw monitor and shake him into calling the dealer and getting his issues resolved. I must admit I miss the blogs of his ordeals, told in a way only Mo can. Maybe I should have waited longer, as I was so entertained by his experience. One morning the head of CFM stove works production called mo's home to work out his situation. I had called Mo earlier to make sure he was home to receive the call.

    Many newer member do not know of what I speak of Mo journalism, they missed it all. MSG Brother Bart Hary Shane

    I do know VC monitors the forum from time to time, given the e-mail exchanges I have with them. I have invited them to participate.

    Eventually I will convince them the worth of advertising on Hearth.com. For that I will have get into the corporate HQ in Canada..

    I am developing a relationship with the New England Territory Jotul rep. Craig has better contacts than I do.

    Warren IF interested I can arange a tour of the Bethel facilities. I also have a VCR produced by VC A plant tour Did you know that every stove cast there uses 46% recycled metal? I will give Craig a copy if we get together this weekend. Anybody else wants a copy let me know. I will probably have it converted to a Cd or DVD
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    There's also the Quad Yosemite.
  23. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    I want a copy Elk. Let me know where to send the $$ for shipping and reproduction cost.
  24. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That's a great offer Don. If we get a VC stove, I hope we don't have to take you up on it. We're fortunate to have a good VC dealer locally that has been in the business several decades. That's where I bought the resolute back in the late 70's.

    It is amazing what a little better tech support can do to help a company. I didn't get the correct answer, but at least Jotul's system worked. First I contacted the dealer with the problem, then the dealer referred me to Jotul tech support after going through his checks for common errors and bad wood. Then the tech tried to solve it. My problem with the 3CB could not be solved by the tech support person because he had never installed or operated the stove. At that point the dealer was ready andauthorized to come out and fix or replace the stove. Fortunately, after meditating on the problem and close scrutiny, I found the error (my error-top not installed level) and easily corrected it. Hopefully this info is now in Jotul's TS database. The only thing I would change in the system is better TS training. The best experience I can think of for a tech support person is to go out in the field with the installer and help with some installations. One for each model. I would make that recommendation to every stove manufacturer.
  25. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    quad castings come from belgium, hearthstone castings are in vermont. Quad and Jotul assemble there castings here in the states, but the foundrys for castings are in europe. All fine castings in my opinion.
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