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Soapstone Bricks In Firebox??

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Rob From Wisconsin, Dec 30, 2005.

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  1. Rob From Wisconsin

    Rob From Wisconsin Minister of Fire

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    I have a couple of sample Soapstone Firebricks that I would like to use in
    my woodstove firebox for log rests. Is their a risk/problem in trying this??
    Can soapstone firebricks make direct contact with a hot fire?
    Your input is appreciated...

    Rob

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  2. Martin Strand III

    Martin Strand III New Member

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    Hi Rob:

    Sure, soapstone, in brick form, inside your firebox can take the heat. You know, of course, soapstone is a natural masonry used to decorate and assist metal stoves outside the firebox to flatten out the heating/cooling curve. They are also used to create a firebox in non-metal all soapstone heaters.

    So, in your application, they should feel right at home.

    Hope you didn't buy'em since much less costly regular bricks would work as well.

    Aye,
    Marty
    _____________________________
    Albert Einstein said, "Nothing happens until something moves."
  3. Rob From Wisconsin

    Rob From Wisconsin Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the reply, Marty.
    It is an experiment I am trying to see
    if it will assist in re-starting fires (soapstone heat retention).

    P.S. - I got the soapstone bricks as free samples.

    Rob
  4. joshuaviktor

    joshuaviktor New Member

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    Hey, can I get some bricks? Want to play with them some in my insert when I get it.

    I don't think soapstone will help restart fire. IT gets hot, but not ignition hot, as I understand it. Try angle iron, if you can get it up to 800 or so, it'll start stuff.

    Joshua
  5. Martin Strand III

    Martin Strand III New Member

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    Rob:

    Soapstone will not help start a fire. It will only help restart a fire if the soapstone is already very hot which, most likely would require hot coals still present from the previous fire. The difference in time you look for is going to be empiracal unless you have a sophisticated setup.

    If you wish to capture as much heat in your firebox from the previous fire as possible, I would not choose soapstone in a metal stove to line my firebox. I would use firebrick or regular brick since soapstone conducts heat many time faster than these masonry materials. To insulate a firebox from heat loss, and help restart a fire in a 'hot' environment, one wants a material with s l o w heat conduction, not (relatively) fast like soapstone (compared to other masonry materials). Remember, soapstone acts more like metal than other masonry (faster heatup, faster cool down).

    To keep soapstone hot, one needs the fire.

    Keep it stoaked. Keep warm.

    Aye,
    Marty
  6. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    Well, I guess I wouldn't do it because I feel that you shouldn't put soapstone in a firebrick stove, nor firebrick in a soapstone stove because they were designed differently and with different tolerances. When my fire is barely visible coals, my soapstone keeps the blowers on for another 2 hours and putting wood in starts right up. It could be simply that the soapstone is keeping my unit hot, which is keeping a good draft, which that draft makes starting the next fire that much easier or its getting the wood up to temp faster, probably a bit of both.

    Marty & I have been talking about Soapstone in Masonary heaters on the side. With firebrick stoves & inserts they get the heat out of the wood and into the living area as soon as possible. However, that can be spikey, as fires shoot up to high temperatures and then taper off it's not particularly even. How do you get the heat out of the wood and into the living area fast like a firebrick stove but in a way it doesn't go from little heat then too much heat, back to too little? With soapstone. As I understand it, the reason it's chosen is there isn't any masonary that's better at quickly getting the heat into the living area, but it doesn't do it so fast like firebrick units that you get a big temperature swing, it has a little buffer. The reason face brick isn't the same, is that it transfers its heat much, much slower than soapstone and takes much longer to heat up, and much longer to cool off and can no longer be used in the same places, or like a stove.

    Masonary heaters work on two main principles. One is that you can be happy in a room in the low 60's as long as one of the walls of the Masonary heater is in view, it will radiate energy and make you feel warm. Lower air temp = less heat lost and less wood needed. The second is, they burn so hot & fast you get extremely good burn efficiencies and get you more btu's out of your wood. The downside is, as I understand them your house should be built around them so each room has a wall that's part of the masonary heater. Rooms that don't have part of the masonary heater as part of its wall, as I understand it don't do particularly well as then the air temp is cooler and you don't get the radiant heat to make you feel warmer. Masonary heaters as I see heat like radiant wall heating or a tromble wall.

    So, my opinion is replacing soapstone with brick is not the same because in short soapstone transfers the heat so fast your unit will continue to act, and you can continue to use it similarly and usually in the same places as a regular stove whereas, surrounding it with brick you need now consider and operate it more like a Masonary heater and where and how they work. That's how I understand it and not to say it's right.
  7. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    [quote author="Dylan" date="1136338047]

    I'm glad that you "see it" and "understand it". I'm not so sure that I do.[/quote]

    And, what don't you get... My explanation, or the difference between soapstone and brick?
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