To me, it isn't fall/winter until I can smell a fire burning. It's an odd comfort smell to me. It brings back memories of my childhood. Playing in the snow, and smelling the wood burning fireplaces is something that is disappearing these days. Especially in my part of the country.(North Carolina) I knew that using a woodstove was going to give me the benefits of having a fire, without the heat loss of a chimney. After my wife and I received a $300+ power bill for the month of December, I started actively looking for a fireplace insert. I came across an old Buck Stove, at a steal for just $200.I did an internet search and found not only this website and forum, but some decent information on the Buck stoves. Turns out they can be used as free standing or as inserts. So I jumped at the deal I had found and bought it. Then I came here and started asking questions. Sure, it was a bit backwards as to how things should have gone. Ask first, buy later....but I didn't want the deal to pass me by. A few weeks have gone by and I have learned tons. Not only about my stove, but about the cost involved and the mistakes and misinformation that is out there. So I thought to myself that I should make a post, here, about all that I have learned about the older Buck Stoves. Identification, use, cost, etc. All in one handy place with a title that should help those searching this forum in the future for the same questions that I had. Here is a list of what I have found out so far, and by all means if you have information that I do not have listed here please add it. Identification: So you bought a wood stove. You know from the trusty bage on the front that it is a Buck Stove, or maybe the owner told you. However neither of you know the exact Model.You know it's an older model with double doors. A 28000, 27000 or 26000. Open your doors and mesure the opening of the firebox: 18 inches = 26000 20 inches = 27000 24 inches = 28000 Before you go any further, you need to ask yourself 2 questions. Question 1: Am I going to burn coal in my Buck Stove? If the answer is no, remove the refractory cement or fire brick from the inside of your firebox if it is there. For wood burning, it isn't needed. In fact, if you are burning wood with the brick in there, the air circulating underneath the firebox via the blower will not be as hot, and therefore your stove will not be as efficient as a heat source as it could be. It should be noted that if you live south of Virginia, you will not be burning coal. Coal is rediculously expensive to ship, and coal yards near you will be suppliers of factories/power stations and you have hardly any chance of getting your hands on some coal at an affordable price. Question 2: will this be a free standing stove, or a fireplace insert. For a free standing stove, your options are wide open. For a fireplace insert, however, not so much. (Note: The following information will pertain to the 28000 model only until confirmation that other models are affected the same.) There were 2 different models of the 28000 made. One was an all steel, double walled stove with single speed blower operated by a 2 prong switch and thermostat. The other was a tripple walled, all steel stove with a 3 speed blower operated by a 3 prong switch and 3 teir thermostat. This isn't to say that a double walled stove can't have a 3 speed blower, and vice versa as these were consumer options. However for the most part, the above was the standard. The double walled unit was intended for use as a stand alone stove, while the tripple walled unit was for use as a fireplace insert. Buck Stove did not then, and does not now reccomend the use of a double walled stove as an insert. You may be asking yourself; "Well why not?". It's all about the design of the stoves, and the way that fireplace inserts were installed back in the "Old Days". (Note: do NOT shoot the messenger) Back when these stoves were manufactured (70's and 80's), installing one into a fireplace was as simple as adding the trim kit, some high temp sealant, and a fiberglass gasket around the trim kit and sliding the stove in the fireplace opening until the trim kit was snug against the wall of the fireplace. This sealed the room off from the firebox of the fireplace. These days this practice is referred to as "Slammers". As the installation just "Slams" the stove in the opening and you go about your business. Hindsight is 20/20 After a decade, and billions in fire damage, people started to realize that this installation meathod was a dangerous practice. However even today there are people who have stoves with this setup, and have no issues. Some swear by it, some warn against it. I'm just here to talk about the stoves themselves so lets get back to business. The double walled unit pulls air from the back of the stove, pushing it between the two walls of the stove and out the front exits. This is an issue if you have the stove installed into a fireplace as it allows the fan to pull smoke from the firebox, and blow it along with it's co2 into the room. The tripple walled unit has the cold air return that pulls air from the room, circulates it through the stove, and blows it back out. Identification: Double walled unit: Tripple walled unit: Notice the cold air returns on either side that run the length of the stove, from top to bottom. You can use a double walled unit as an insert, provided that you use a chimney liner, and block off plate. This keeps the blower from pulling smoke and CO2 into the room. It also keeps the blower from affecting the draft of the stove, further adding to problem #1. However, I will remind you that Buck Stove does not reccomend it. It should also be noted that inserts do not have as much of the stovetop surface exposed to the room. In fact they have almost 1/4th of the stove surface exposed as a free standing stove. This reduces the ammount of heat tranfered to the room. By circulating the room air through the stove via the cold air return, Buck Stove effectively, and efficiently solved that issue. The 26000, 27000, and 28000 were manufactured from the 70's through the 80's and were among the most popular stoves on the market at that time. In 1982, the staff of "Mother Earth News" researched the then new idea of adding a catalytic converter to a wood stove. The research was headed up by a man named B.V.Alverez, who by the time the article went to press in January of 1983, had accepted a position as head of engineering at Buck Stove corp. Buck Stove began offering, based on the findings of that research, a retro fit kit for the older models. Post 1983 models were known officially as 28000-C, 27000-C/CR, and 26000-C and included the catalytic converters as standard equipment. You can find that research article, and instructions on how to build a catalytic converter for your old stove here: http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/wood-stove-catalytic-converter-zmaz83jfzraw.aspx Note: www.servicesales.com bought out Buck Stove Corp's stock of the retro fit kit, and they sold the last one 2 years go. However, the above link should allow you to create your own retrofit kit. As I have mentioned, I'm not an expert on these stoves, so if I have left anything out, please add below.