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    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Soapstone owners... fill me in

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by metalsped, Aug 1, 2011.

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  1. metalsped

    metalsped Burning Hunk

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    I know this is an incredible database of existing threads, but I want to make sure I have the most up to date info from you folks.

    What can you tell me about your individual experiences (both positive and negative thoughts) on these kind of stoves?

    Have you run others before? Did you switch from another to this style, or away from soap to another?

    Tell me your stories!

    Rich

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Yeah. Soapstone has changed a lot in the last five years. :lol:
  3. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I've burned them all and found a cat soapstone to be the best for me. Every stove has their pros and cons but I like the long even heat of a soapstone cat.
  4. metalsped

    metalsped Burning Hunk

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    A cat version huh? Why so? Im still in the research stage here, and everything I have (seemingly) been reading across the 'net is that the secondary reburn stoves are probably a better way to go. Ive never really thought about a soapstone stove, but I just happened to come across one for sale cheap, with seemingly everything going for it.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Ah, that's a different story. If you've found a bargain and checked it out, maybe that is just fine. What stove and what price?
  6. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    How old is the stove? What make and model? If it is a Hearthstone I or II it is an older stove and, based on the reports here, they chew through wood and are not as efficient as a newer stove.

    The older stoves aren't bad stoves, and they will heat, but knowing what you are getting in advance allows you to make a better purchase.
  7. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    A soapstone stove isn't much different than a cast iron stove or a steel stove. It is a box that contains fire and throws out heat. If you get the right size stove for your house and you have good dry wood, it will heat your house just fine.

    Getting the right size stove for your needs is the most important. Everything else falls behind it.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Agreed that the wrapper is less important than the size, but it does make a difference. A large mass, be it cast iron or soapstone acts like a flywheel. It buffers temperature extremes, storing heat as the fire is building and releasing heat when in the coaling stage.
  9. snowleopard

    snowleopard Minister of Fire

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    I've lived with barrel stoves, cast iron cookstoves, a tin (really) stove, steel stoves, and cast iron stoves; I currently heat my 2000sf home with a Hearthstone Heritage. I would never choose unless forced anything but soapstone again. I could foresee a day when I might want to have a small supplemental stove in another part of the house, and at that point, I might choose something different, but I would keep soapstone for my primary heater.

    I have a granite hearth, and between the stove and the hearth, I have a lot of tempering provided by the thermal mass. It's a comfortable heat. The problem people describe with them taking a long time to heat up would be an issue if I was running a trapline and going into frozen cabins and needing to get it warm enough to cook and sleep on a regular basis. I'm not--I live in a modern house with plenty of insulation and supplemental heat through the windows, and try not to get the house much below 65. With that being the case, I find my stove is throwing out adequate heat in relatively short order, and the heat lasts and lasts.

    Cat stoves have lots going for them, and I looked very hard at the Fireview--it was my main contender for a long time. I went with the non-cat for several reasons--a dealer here in town whose rep I had complete confidence in, the firebox was a little bigger (longer) than the Fireview, and I didn't have confidence that my wood supply was going to be as well-seasoned as I would have liked. I also had teen things and the occasional friend that would be operating the stove, and I wanted to keep it simple. Not that the cat is rocket science--easy to operate if you know what you're doing. I also like the large, unimpeded view of the fire. The afterburn in this thing is amazing; if I just load it, and shut it down, hours later I have glowing red logs with hypnotic sheets of blue and green flame flaring out from between them--like nothing I've seen in any other stove.

    I don't care for the ashpan, but I don't use it--just a quick sweep of the ashes into a rubbermaid dustpan, and dump it into a low flat pan that I put right into through the door--takes just a few minutes.

    The Heritage was a better fit with my house--sort of a Craftsman-style influence, low-key, lots of simple woodwork--and I felt that the style was a better visual fit than the Woodstock stoves. Esthetics are a personal thing, obviously, but important to me.

    I could not be happier with my stove. You'll see a lot of recommendations here to size up, but my experience is that a mid-sized stove can do a heck of a job for you. I've gotten twelve hour burns out of it--not "look, I still have a coal!" burns, but a house-is-still-warm-at-30-below,-open-the-door-and-damper,-insert more wood,-enjoy fire 12-hour burn from it, far exceeding manufacturer's specs--and that was with poplar.
  10. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Pro:
    Looks like a million $.
    Stores twice the heat per lb. that iron/steel does.


    Con:
    Costs more than most metal stoves of similar size.
    Takes longer to get up to temp from a cold start. . .not much of an issue if you burn 24/7 for most of the season.
    Stones can crack. Doh!
  11. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I found I had more control and less fiddling with the air with my Woodstocks than my Hearthstone. The cat really shines during the shoulder seasons with the long low even heat output.

    Looks like your close enough to go tour Woodstock? Check them out, I here it well worth the trip.
  12. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    The only time you really really notice the lengthy time to heat up is when you are trying to quickly heat the house up from the 50s to the high 70s in short time.

    I have a non-cat stone stove and they work just as advertised on hearthstone's site. Burn times and everything. What a cat stove will get you is the ability to get a longer burn time, say 12 hours instead of 8. After that 12 then you have the benefit of the slowly cooling stone. If the fire never goes out then the stone really doesn't get you much extra except good looks.

    My next stove will have a cat. Not just a cat under it. Burn time is the MOST important consideration when trying to burn full time.

    Attached Files:

  13. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    You might want to clarify that so the poster doesn't come back with "8 hour burn times my @ss!"
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    You asked for opinions, both positive and negative but then in your next post is seems you have your mind made up already on part of this decision. Evidently you have read some crap about the secondary stoves being better than the cat stoves. Perhaps it is where you've been reading as some of that same thing comes up on this forum occasionally just like the baloney about the cat stoves being complicated to operate and the soapstone stoves taking so long to heat up, etc.

    Okay, now I have that off my chest, here is some other information for you to consider. First off, when we started shopping for a new stove we sort of figured that we wanted to stay away from the cat stoves because we had heard some baloney about them. We liked the idea of the soapstone and naturally we looked at the Hearthstone line. I have to say they are beautiful stoves and we came close to buying one. We also came close to buying a Lopi Leyden. However, we also remembered several years ago when we received literature from Woodstock and we loved the looks and the sounds of this soapstone stove. We had not bought then due to some financial pressures but we wanted to look again so sent off for their literature.

    When we got their literature, OMG! That beautiful stove has a catalyst! What to do? Long story short. We talked to Woodstock and we also talked to a family who were heating their home with a Fireview. That was it. After talking to this family (and his sons and daughters also owned Woodstock stoves) we made the decision to buy the Fireview.....with a cat!

    The end result of us buying the cat soapstone stove is that we cut our fuel needs in half and we stay a whole lot warmer. An additional benefit is that we have one of the most beautiful stoves on the market. It is extremely easy to operate and maintain. And yes, we've heated with steel and cast stoves too. This is the best stove we've ever owned and it does everything we need it to do. And one of the best benefits is that the stove and chimney stay clean. We've burned for 4 years and have cleaned once. We got about a cup of soot and no creosote.


    Now on to your specific questions:

    1. What can you tell me about your individual experiences (both positive and negative thoughts) on these kind of stoves?
    a. More heat; less wood.
    b. Temperature in house stays at a more even temperature rather than the more extreme highs and lows.
    c. Beautiful stove. (Also, the manufacturer has a 6 month guarantee which no other company can match.)
    d. Long burn times.
    e. Much better to run during the spring and fall without having to worry about blackening the glass and a creosote problem (cat stoves).

    2. Have you run others before?
    Yes, as stated above.

    3. Did you switch from another to this style, or away from soap to another?
    Our previous stove was a steel stove; much larger than the present stove.


    As Todd stated, you are not that far from the Woodstock factory and it may benefit you to take a drive some day for a visit. You may be very surprised by what you find and be prepared to meet some wonderful people if you go. I'm sure they will be having an Open House on a Saturday in September or October. That is a great time to get all your questions answered and if you decide to buy then, you'll get some great discounts.

    Good luck.
  15. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    I went from a Franklin style iron smoke dragon to a Woodstock Fireview. Burn times (not coals, but making heat) went from 3 to 8 or more hours, the house is warmer day and night, I use much less propane and less wood. The savings in fuel paid for the upgrade about 2 months into the second heating season. The heat is constant and comfortable without the uncomfortable highs and lows of the old smoke dragon. Yes, the old stove heated up the house hotter and faster, but it used as much wood in 6 hours as the Fireview uses in 36 hours.
  16. Zimm

    Zimm Member

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    Rich, Prior to my fireview, I had run three different steel stoves. I now have two cat soapstone stoves and have no regrets. I use less wood (by about 40%), and get much longer burns (8-12 hours). If I could justify it to the wife, I would get a third for the greenhouse. The only reservation for the cat stoves is the need for well seasoned wood. I am now 4 years ahead in my wood supply, so that is not a issue. Good Luck. Z
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Zimm, were the prior stoves pre-EPA?
  18. Zimm

    Zimm Member

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    BeGreen, Two were EPA exempt, the third an EPA rated non-cat stove (Dutchwest). Z
  19. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    You saw a 40% drop in wood after moving from the Dutchwest?
  20. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    I'd go back.
  21. nayoung31

    nayoung31 Member

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    I have to agree with Snowleopards comments. The Hearthstone Heritage is a great stove. Between the soapstone and the hearth itself you get nice heat for a long time. And it holds hot coals for a long time so its easy to get it going again like after overnight or after returning home from work.

    Soapstone does take longer to heat up and I wouldn't suggest it if you will be starting from scratch every time. It's more the kind of stove you want to light and keep it going and going.

    On the Hearthstone stoves (The Heritage anyway) the ashpan setup is pretty difficult to use so we just shoveled out every few days when necessary and didn't use it at all...no big deal.

    I prefer the non-cat after having a cat stove for 18years but that's just my personal choice.
    I also like the side door loading feature on the Heritage but again that's just a matter of personal choice.

    Good luck with whatever you choose!
  22. gdk84

    gdk84 Member

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    My Brother has a hearthstone mansfield soapstone. It is a great looking unit, works as advertized other than being on his 3rd stove under warrenty because of cracked stones (all the way through) and other shotty workmanship. But thats neither here nor there, many people are happy with them. But when you think about it 35 pounds of wood of the same species loaded into a cast, steel or soapstone is going to net the same BTU ratings no matter what type of stove and is going to give you that amount of heat. Its how the heat is stored and realised that is different. Sure there are other things like stove effieciency that can make a difference, but most modern day units are pretty darn good somwhere in the range of 75-80 percent area. Its all on personal needs and likes/dislikes... and of coarse cost.
  23. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    No need to clarify. I can easily get 8 hour burn times with my junk northwest softwoods. The Hearthstone company has always lived up to their end of the deal delivering on burn times and SF of heated area. My only gripe is the door latch system needs some improvement.
  24. nayoung31

    nayoung31 Member

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    Yes, I agree the doorlatch does make me a bit nervous, it does look like it could wear out easily.
  25. leeave96

    leeave96 Minister of Fire

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    Here's why I bought my Woodstock Keystone:

    1. I felt the stove was the right size for my house and it was/is.

    2. After some research, I decided the cat stove would be great with low shoulder season burns as we wanted to keep the furnance off even during milder temperatures. The cat works as advertised and is simple to operate.

    3. Since this stove install would be in our living room, we wanted something that look great on the 4th of July when not burning.

    4. I wanted a stove with great support and a super history of reliability. All of the Woodstock stoves fit that bill.

    5. I wanted a large glass for fire viewing, ash pan, top or rear vent and the Keystone gave us all of that.

    6. The soapstone offered even heat between peak fire output and minimal output. I found this to be true too after using the stove.

    There's probably some things I'm forgetting.

    Other surpises with this stove were total control of the fire. I could top off the stove at a high temperature with no runaway burns. I could damper down the stove to only a few orange coals, no flame and cat only smoke burn. I went for weeks without lighting a match.

    If you are interested in a soapstone stove, take a hard look at the Woodstock line-up.

    Good luck,
    Bill
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