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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. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Hearthstone has a thicker top, I think it's 1 1/4" while Woodstock is 3/4" on top. The sides are two layers of 1 1/8" and 3/4". The thinner top will get hotter, if I have a stove top of 600 and place another 3/4" slab on top the temp drops about 100 degrees. But it's not the soapstone you have to worry about when it comes to temps, it can handle the heat, it's the cast iron you have to worry about so Woodstock is thinking a 700 degree stove top is probably close to a 1400 internal temp which is the high limit for cast iron.

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  2. xraydog

    xraydog Member

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    Metelsped,

    Here is a copy of a post of my soapstone (Fireview) stove I made on this forum about 18months ago. 2 seasons of burning and I am still loving the soapstone experience. Nice always having a warm room. It has make me a 24/7 burner.

    Rick D.


    Hello All,

    I have been burning my fireview over the past 2 months and thought I would post my thoughts about the Fireview vs. my former stove (Avalon Rainer).

    A little history….. I have been burning Avalon stoves/inserts for the past 20yrs. I have owned everyone of their sheet metal stoves during that time. I was very happy with the performance of my Avalon stoves (otherwise I wouldn’t have purchased so many). My decision to switch to a Fireview was to satisfy a 30yr desire to own a soapstone stove. That and the tax rebates helped. I read all the posts and there were not too many negatives coming from Fireview owners. It sounded sort of cult-ish. I even had some friends locally who have Fireviews and could not say enought good things about them.

    Initially I was a little uneasy with my purchase. The operation seemed more complicated than with the Avalon. The whole concept of the catalytic converter took a little time to get used to. So much so that I kept the crate the Fireview arrived in just incase I decided to send it back.

    OK after 2 months I have survived the learning curve and thought I’d share my PRO’s and CON’s about the Fireview

    CON’s
    1) Rear controls….. not in direct site. Reaching around a 500 deg stove not the most convenient. Also the damper control knob gets very hot. Why not make it similar to the bypass control know so you can adjust it with out gloves or whacking it with some other object
    2) Sealed Front window: I like to keep the glass clean. Cleaning the glass throught the window is difficult enought through the side door and then you have to negotiate the andirons.
    3) Side Door only access: I actually like the side door for loading the fire, however, having front access would be much easier for starting.
    4) Warm-up time: no real heat for the firs 30-40min
    5) More complicated to use than Avalon (just slightly)

    PRO’s
    1) Soapstone heat retention: Real nice waking up to a stove you haven’t fed in 10 hrs to find it still 200 deg and the room still warm. My heater was always going on in the early morning hours with the Avalon
    2) Long burns. Burn times similar to that quoted in brochure (I’m a hardwood burner). Much longer that I could get with the Rainer
    3) Appropriate size stove for room. The Avalon Rainier was a little oversized for the room it was located. I know Avalon has a smaller stove (I owned one) however it accepts a shorter log and didn’t have the burn times of the Fireview
    4) Glass stays clear. While cleaning the glass is more difficult I don’t really have to clean the glass very often. Aside from the first few burns in the Fireview the glass stays amazingly clean. I would clean the Avalon’s glass much more frequently.

    UNKNOWN
    Chimney? I never had any problems with significant creosote buildup with the Avalon. It’s too early to tell how the Fireview will do.

    FINAL THOUGHTS
    The fireview has grown on me and I am extremly pleased with its performance. For me the PRO’s vasty outweight the CON’s. I’m keeping the Fireview. The crate has been split into kindling.

    Rick D

    P.S. Thanks for everyone posting their comments. I learned a lot from the forum about the positives and negatives of all stoves.
  3. leeave96

    leeave96 Minister of Fire

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    The Heathstone stove can't take that much heat because they are crap stoves......

    JUST KIDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bill
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Nice review and comparison Rick.
  5. Milton Findley

    Milton Findley Feeling the Heat

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    "A high burn rate is recommended once or twice a day to fully heat the stovepipe and chimney, which will help minimize creosote accumulation. Sustained top, center stone temperature should not exceed 600° Fahrenheit (316C)" or the stones could crack. (Hearthstone 8020 Manual, pp. 21,22)

    What is a mere hundred degrees among friends? I know we have at least one regular who burns his Hearthstones up in that 700 degree range regularly. I have never been able to fire mine up to more than 525 degrees. Mostly, even with secondaries blazing away, it seems to stick around 475 on the top, 30 more on the upper sides according to the IR gun my forum peers shamed me into buying :sick: . The cast insert blocking the top exit is often over 600 degrees, so I know that there is plenty of heat in there, and the sides are usually hotter than the top. I would bet that it might have to do with the heat differential through the stone which might cause sufficient stress to crack the stones especially if they are thicker than is common in a Woodstock.

    Besides, if I wanted a hot, clean burning, efficient beyond belief, never even needs the ashes dumped from beginning to end of the season, I would have bought me a Blaze King.
  6. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    The hearthstones are all 1.25" stone, not just the top. That is thicker than anything on the woodstocks. I don't know if it is good or bad, it just is.
  7. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    The Woodstock's side stones are 1 1/8" on the inside then a small air gap, then another layer of 3/4" stone on the outside, all together thicker than the Hearthstone. :p Maybe the air gap between helps even out the heat and relieve stress?
  8. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    It must help that they are double walled. This way, the differential temp across the stone is much smaller. Why else go through all the trouble of double wall stone? Maybe it would be harder to see the cracks that way. I like the inner steel wall of the new stove. Just like the inner steel wall of the PE alderleas.

    I'm also thinking that the top of the woodstocks is so much hotter because the cat is right there under it. The heat source for the non-cats is somewhere much lower.
  9. MF1529

    MF1529 New Member

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    It seems I'm coming in late on this post as the responses have quickly added up. I'll out line my experience with stone. I started with a VC Defiant Encore I wanted more heat so I started looking for another stove. On paper the Hearthstone Mansfield looked to be exactly what I was looking for. I purchased the Mansfield installed it and I thought it would be all I needed/wanted. It turned out it wasn't. The only positive I have to say about the stove was that it looked great.

    Soap stone negative IMO-
    -I didn't get an adequate amount of heat from the stove to keep my 1700 sqft home warm when the temps got into the 20's and high teens (often in VT). This was the same problem I had with the VC, yet the mansfield was rated 30,000 btu's higher. I only burn hardwood, but to be fair I don't think it was properly seasoned.

    -The stoves are fragile and the stones WILL crack. This is the way it goes with soapstone. Some cracks are fine others require replacement, which usually require a rebuild. Prepare yourself if you spend $2500 + on the stove some stones will crack. Minor or not I never felt comfortable with a crack in the stones.

    - I always had a large coal bed that seemed to never burn down. My VC always had white ash and burned down. With the Mansfield I routinely scooped out coals(fuel) and disposed of them.

    -The ash pan is useless on the hearthstone

    -The Hearthstone takes a long time to heat up. If you work during the day, sleep through the night, or the stove is allowed to burn down there will be significant lag time before it starts throwing out enough heat to heat your home. Yeah yeah yeah people say it radiates heat for hours after. It will stay about 150 degrees, and that doesn't do anything when its cold out and your house temp is dropping.

    I burned the Mansfield for a season and a half and it really made burning frustrating. I wrote quite a few posts and read up as much as I could. All I really ever found was that people were getting great heat out of them and loved them. Well I didn't love it even though I really wanted to. I started researching and I settled on a Pacific Energy Summit Classic. I wanted a work horse of a stove that looked nice and required close to zero maintenance. This was the ticket. The stove has an all steel welded firebox lined with bricks. The exterior has porcelain coated panels that sit approximately 1 inch off the steel firebox. These assist in radiating heat, The stove can reach temperatures of 900 with no issues. I called the company directly to verify this was safe. They said if it hit 1200 the stainless parts may warp. The interior reburn set up is stainless steel and the entire stove has a lifetime warranty. This stove heats up almost instantly and it radiates heat as long if not longer than the mansfield. It burns down the coals more completely and leaves white ash. I effortlessly obtained temps between 700 and 950 with the Summit using the same wood I couldn't get heat out of with the Mansfield. This wood was seasoned for 8 months. I swapped the mansfield for the Summit late in the season last year, but it still hit the teens up here in VT. The Summit cranked out the heat and kept the house toasty for longer than the Mansfield on a single load. The PE Summit made burning fun for me and I'm excited to blast the cold out of my house this year.

    I hope this helps. Again, I know my opinion differs from most but I will never own another Stone stove again.

    Best of Luck
  10. metalsped

    metalsped Burning Hunk

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    Appreciate it MF. That is definitely my biggest concern... not being able to keep the house warm. I don't think soap is gonna fit my requirements. Now I just need to make a basic decision between a cat stove, and a non cat... then go from there.
  11. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I've always found it amazing that when there are many posts that are positive not too much is said but let one negative get thrown into the pot and it is latched right onto! It matters not even if the poster admits he was not doing things right. Something can be said that if others have no problem but one person has a problem, that seems to point in one direction. Be that as it may, it is great that we all have choices and there are enough choices to suit everyone.

    I also cringe every time I read that someone scoops out the coals from their stove. That is sort of like siphoning off a gallon or two of fuel oil from the tank. Also, excess coals and they don't like to burn down points to operator error; not stove error.

    As for stones cracking, fortunately we have never experienced this nor do we expect to. I have also read from Hearthstone that the reason they want a burn in fire every fall is because the stone can absorb moisture so they want that to dry slowly so the stone does not crack. Yet I see nothing in Woodstock's literature and that also was one question I had asked before purchasing. I was told that it was not required in a Woodstock stove.

    Our soapstone also takes a long time to heat up according to some but I have not noticed a problem with this. It heats up rather nicely.


    Highbeam, you are correct that the cat is sitting close to the top of the stove and therefore that part of the stove will actually be hotter than the rest. It is amazing when starting a cold stove and watching the temperature of the stove top. It goes up rather slow.....because of the bypass not much heat is getting to the top of the stove. But once the cat is engaged the temperature goes up really fast then.


    My humble apologies if this post seems to come across negative or trying to run someone down as that is definitely not what I am attempting to state. Rather than pointing out the negatives I usually will much rather point out the positives. Sometimes this means certain points have to be made. Again, I apologize if this came across wrong.
  12. MF1529

    MF1529 New Member

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    My VC was a cat stove and it worked great when it was functioning properly. I know that the Cats do wear out and need replacing every 4 or so years depending on how much you burn, and they are not cheap to replace. Also you have to make sure the stove is up to a proper temp before you can close the damper and the cat will begin activating. If I remember corectly the VC was around 450 degrees. Both my Mansfield and my Summit had/have the non cat reburn technology and both their systems are lifetime warranty. They are easy to get going and when they are burning it looks like a gas grill burner going on the top of the stove. I guess it really depends on how you plan on using your stove.

    Looking forward to hearing your decision.

    Derek
  13. MF1529

    MF1529 New Member

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    Dennis,

    I pointed out that my wood was probably not the best. I did that for a reason though. It was to point out that the Mansfield did not put out much heat while burning, and the Summit put out a ton of heat burning the same wood. This could be important for someone that does not have wood stacked for 2 or 3 years prior.
    As far as scooping the coals out of the stove it also made me cringe.......why else would I have replaced the overly expensive stove. However I didn't have much of a choice when the firebox was half full of coals and I could only fit a few splits in. I could have sat around the house watching the temp drop inside while I waited for the coals to burn down for a day and a half. I figured it was cheaper to scoop out the coals than listen to the boiler sucking down fuel oil.

    Now I may be an exception, but my experience happened. There are also plenty of posts talking about cracked stones, and I know there are others with issues of coal build up because I received a lot of advice from other members when I posted about it. Shawneyboys method was one suggestion.
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    MF, I do understand and to let you know, I too had a problem at first with too many coals. I asked at the time but really did not get any help so we just did some things for trial and luckily we found the answer quickly and from then on have not had a problem. I say this and also recall that at the time we were burning wood that had been in the stack for many years, so indeed, coaling can be a problem if not handled correctly.

    As for your situation, I am indeed happy that you found a solution but just wish it had been a bit easier for you. And I am glad you did post that for all to see because that way many will learn. Thanks.
  15. Milton Findley

    Milton Findley Feeling the Heat

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    Not being able to heat 1700 square feet with something the size of a Mansfield stove is kind of mind boggling. :bug:
  16. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I agree Milt as most of the reports I've seen on the Mansfield state the thing roasts them out and some are in some very large homes; much more than 1700 sq ft. But we have to remember that there usually are exceptions to every rule and perhaps this is the exception.
  17. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Yep, sharing info is what this place is all about, but drawing the conclusion about stone stoves "not being able to heat the house" based on 1 testimony is a lil' extreme. I'll add another, by Johnstra. . .dumped his Mansfield for an Englander 30, I believe. There, that doubles the number of negative testimonies(both about the Mansfield. . .hmm. . .), but what about all the folks who do successfully, many exclusively, heat their homes with stone stoves?
  18. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Double Post
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Possilby the folks unsatisfied with the Mansfield needed a more instantly radiant stove. That big rock takes about an hour to heat up. One of the original mods here upgraded to the Mansfield for his Rocky Mtn home. He was a very happy camper with that stove, as are many others.

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/2690/
  20. metalsped

    metalsped Burning Hunk

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    Let it be known that I don't think soap is going to be a good idea for me because of my particular heating needs... not because of cracking, and any other negatives that he (or others) may have posted. Give me some credit here.

    With the layout of my house, and the issues I will be fighting with when it comes to heating from one side to the other (and all other variables already put into this thread), I just dont see a soapstone stove working from an output view. I think the only way its going to work for me, is to get a cast iron unit (or a hybrid like the Alderlea series). Maybe if I had a lot of money, Id use two soap stoves.. but the hard facts are that I dont, and I would be doing this on a budget to begin with... so I need to make sure I put function over a few things at this point.
  21. snowleopard

    snowleopard Minister of Fire

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    When I was house-hunting, I noticed that the cathedral ceilings were a big hit with the real-estate salespeople, and they certainly are striking--but taking into account my climate and my budget, I scratched them off my list. I looked at one that a co-worker later bought, and she told me that they were spending $700 a month to heat the place. I ended up buying a house that was actually larger, but had 8' ceilings throughout, and spent a lot less for fuel.

    Your ceiling makes this a game changer when it comes to predicting how you'll do with heat. I know there are folks on here who post about plans to do that, ask a lot of questions, and when they get their questions answered, they're gone. It would be great if they'd come back and let us know how that worked out, thereby adding to the collective wisdom of the order, but thus it is. There were a couple of people who were on here earlier this spring/summer looking for just this kind of information in just this kind of layout. I know one has ordered a Fireview, but I haven't seen her post back since. I have thought that positioning a stove to where it is backed under the loft area might help keep some heat low, but I've not seen it where anyone has tried that position.

    All I can tell you is that if I were in the position of needing to choose how to heat a home, I'd go with stone. It heats up, holds the heat, heats my house. I am two sizes down from a Mansfield, and the "getting down to the 20's or even high 'teens" quoted in MF's post are what is considered a heat wave around here--even if it's the below-zero version. My house is 300sf larger than his. My firewood is poplar, a wood one poster dismissed as "garbage wood", but for which I was heartily grateful; he was burning L48 hardwood.

    I didn't buy my stove for form, but I appreciate its beauty. It has exceeded my expectation as far as function goes, and has exceeded every other stove I've lived with. If you want to know what the stoves are like, find someone who has one and ask if you can come over and visit their stove on a chilly day. I would not describe my stove as fragile, but I do treat it with respect because I want it to last my lifetime and beyond, and I believe that if I take care of it, it will be around for decades.
  22. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Let's be clear; with those factors, one stove, no matter the size or design, will not heat the whole house. I speak from a experience. I have a leaky, old, two story, 'L' shaped farmhouse that is 2150 sq ft with enough stoves to heat three times that space.

    I could have thrown in the biggest Buck stove or and Englander 30, or a Blaze King, or an Equinox and the whole house would not have been heated. The layout does not allow for it. And of course the leakiness does not help, either.

    If you are on a budget, buy used stoves (I've bought four stoves used at a total of $2,150) or pick up two Englander stoves (the 30 and the 13).

    Long term, with a bigger budget, you might want to figure out if a cat stove is something you are comfortable with. Two large firebox cat stoves will give you the firepower when you need it, but will allow you to run at lower temps during the shoulder seasons.
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    You are a wise lady sl. I would add another floor in that empty space if we had cathedral ceilings. Ever been in an old cathedral in the winter? They are really cold!
  24. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    If I was still burning oil, I'd have that number beat by about $100 a month.
  25. MF1529

    MF1529 New Member

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    To follow up with what Snowleopard wrote... I do have a cathedral ceiling. It is a log home built with 8 in logs in 1997. The house is actually described as a story and a 1/2. When standing on the second floor you can look down into the living room which is where the stove is. I have a ceiling fan on the top of the cathedral and I reverse it to move the heat around plus one in the living room entry way to move the air around the kitchen and dining room. The house set up makes it easy to heat the upstairs rooms as well as the first floor. Perhaps my house design is why the Mansfield did not work for me. Whatever the reason the Summit fixed my issues. Believe me I wanted that soapstone to be everthing I read it was, but in my case it wasn't.

    Have a good day all. It's 85 out and burning seems so far away.
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