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Talk me out of an Oslo...

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by slindo, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. slindo

    slindo Member

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    THe Oslo seems to be looming as the inevitable no-brainer replacement for my ailing VC Encore. So far everything I hear is positive, but there must be a downside, the sort of thing one normally doesn't hear until you get the it installed, and the first person you show it to says "Did they ever fix the problem with the....?"

    So please play devils advocate. Tell me why I shouldn't buy it.

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  2. milleo

    milleo Feeling the Heat

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    There are a lot of good reviews, look at the "stove reviews" at the top of the page and search Oslo . I don't own one so I can't tell you anything but there are plenty here that do and will pipe in later....Good luck.....
  3. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Did the Encore heat your house well, or did you have to run it hard to get the heat you need?

    I ask as the Oslo has about the same size firebox as the Encore. So, if you had to run your Encore hard, you will have to do the same with the Oslo. This will mean shorter burn times than most owners are reporting.

    If you ran the Encore hard, I would look at the F50 or F55. Both are larger than the Oslo and will provide longer heat production for each burn cycle.

    If the Encore easily heated your home, than the Oslo is a good choice.
  4. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Hmmm . . . I love my Oslo, but here goes . . . I'll try to be as picky as possible.

    Front door: For some reason if you burn a lot and use front door it tends to spill ash out and on to the ash lip . . . nitpicky, yes . . .but messy . . . which is why some folks have made some mods and most folks tend to use the side door . . . although technically with a corner install you're not supposed to use the side door . . . which could be a deal breaker for some folks. Other folks may not like the door being on the left.

    Air control: Some earlier models had issues with the air control lever. I think they fixed the main problem, but occasionally you hear folks having issues with the air control sticking or not moving as smoothly as it did when brand new. Solution is to open the doghouse (while the stove is relatively cool) by taking out two bolts, cleaning and applying some graphite powder to the slide mechanism. Before I started using my ash vac I would guess this 10-minute job was done maybe twice a year. Again, nitpicky, but still annoying at times.

    Ash pan: I find the ash pan very functional with the Oslo. Burning 24/7 I usually only dump it once to twice a week. Only issue here is that over time some ash can drop down behind the ash pan into the ash pan area . . . if you don't notice this and clean it out over time it can build up to the point where when you go to push the ash pan back it will not allow the ash pan door to secure very well . . . or at all. For me, I routinely get in the habit of using my flat fireplace shovel and cleaning out the bit of ash back there before I put the ash pan back.

    Things I wish . . . in an ideal world . . . the Oslo would be bigger on those few days that it is really cold outside (easily remedied by going to the F-600 I suppose -- but the Oslo keeps up and truthfully I would only really need or want the larger stove for maybe 3-8 days tops) . . . it would have the burn times of a cat stove (although I cannot complain as I load the stove around 9:30 p.m. and get up at 5 a.m. to find enough coals to easily re-light the stove and usually our house has not dropped below 60 degrees in temp -- but hey, I'm a guy . . . I always want something to be bigger and last longer) . . . and then of course it would be handy to have a butler maid Princess Leia in the slave girl bikini outfit loading my stove. :)

    My one and only regret: At the time I just went with what was cheap and available. If I had to do it over again I would splurge and go with the blue-black finish . . . the black looks good, but it does go a bit grayer and less black (I have yet to ever polish the stove) . . . the blue black finish just is . . . well . . . the cat's meow.
  5. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Oh yeah . . . as BrowningBar pointed out . . . make sure you size the stove to your home . . . figure out the square footage, check the ratings and then go one stove larger . . . most folks that go with this philosophy seem pretty happy as it often seems more folks come on here in the Spring and complain about their stove sized for their home not being quite big enough to keep the place as warm as they want . . . vs. folks saying the stove was too large and they roasted all winter.

    As much as I love the Oslo . . . if it's too small or too big for your home . . . it's not the right stove for you.
    milleo likes this.
  6. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    You don't want to downgrade from a cat to a non cat. Take a look a Woodstock or wait for the new Blaze King cast iron stove release.
  7. CarbonNeutral

    CarbonNeutral Minister of Fire

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    Ditto for every point from Jake. I don't even use my ash door - I let it build - it insulates the floor nicely - and just scrape out from the box when I need to. I bought the ivory - don't think you can get it anymore, but enamel if you can splurge is the thing to do.

    Jake - I'll send Leia over later when she's done cleaning my chimney.
  8. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I disagree. The OP has had a problem with burning a cat stove previously and is quite tired of the maintenance of the stove. We can argue why this has occurred for the OP, but, in the end, he is still tired of the maintenance of a cat stove. In this specific case I think a non-cat stove is the correct direction.
    Pallet Pete and raybonz like this.
  9. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Both of those have a plate-steel firebox, no? If so, no worries about the stove getting leaky and having to tear it down and rebuild it later. They are new stoves though...no track record yet.

    Also, there is no such thing as a no-brainer when buying a stove. ==c
  10. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Even an Oslo would require far less maintenance than the Encore. So, it is a move in the right direction.

    Also, based on how the OP went through catalysts, I think it is a smart move for him to move to a non-cat stove.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    How tall is the chimney the stove is connected to? Are there any elbows or is it straight up.
  12. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Just trying to stir the pot a bit. ::-) The Oslo is a fine stove but there are better stoves out there imo. His maintenance headaches were just like many other VC owners and there are better made cat stoves that don't require as much maintenance. By the way, he wanted to be talked out of it.
  13. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I completely understand. I was only trying to announce that there is a back story here that is not mentioned in this thread.

    His main issue was his ongoing problem of destroying the catalysts. Yes, VC stoves are high maintenance PIAs. I fully admit that. But, the OP would have had the cat issue no matter what cat stove he had. It has already been determined that he does not want to use a cat prob.

    I just think that some buyers should admit how they like to operate a stove and go with one that meets their expectations. In this case, a non-cat would cause the OP less headaches.

    My reason for talking him out of the Oslo is that he mentioned in another thread that he ran the Encore hard. If that is the case, the Oslo is not the best choice and that he should move up to the next size stove.
  14. Blue Vomit

    Blue Vomit Minister of Fire

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    I went from an encore to an Oslo. I was not thrilled with the maintenance associated with the encore. To be fair, we did not run it perfectly, thus creating maintenance issues for me.
    I like the piece of mind the Oslo gives me. The Oslo has a rep of being more forgiving, some say "near bullet proof". My wife has to run the stove every once and a while when I'm not around. We have about 2400 sf so we are pushing it a little sometimes.
    I enjoy knowing I will not have to pay for it later when I have to run it a little harder during the cold weeks.
    One more thing. I DO miss the long burns of the CAT... I dont miss replacing it.
    neumsky likes this.
  15. Todd 2

    Todd 2 Feeling the Heat

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    Browning's remark about the F50 or 55 sorta makes some sense, He ran his stove hot so that sounds like a little bigger stove wouldn't hurt. Steel-cast mix should handle wifes over temps, with no cat to have problems with, longer burn being a little bigger stove, Jotul's quality, just might be a winner ! Sure would make for some good unknown reviews too. Whats that about a BK cast cat ? Interesting!!! you guys are gonna have me canceling my PH on order yet, The wait is bad enough, and reading all these addicting threads makes it worst ! LOL
  16. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Blaze King VP told us there is a new cast iron stove to be out this season. 2.75 cu ft fire box with 30 hour burns. So many stoves, so little time. Hang around here enough and you catch the sickness!
  17. Hanko

    Hanko Minister of Fire

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    The oslo has been allmost the perfect stove. The only poor design aspect is the front door. I would be very disapointed if that was the only way to load it. It does make a big mess. Simply just dont use it. Located in the ideal part of your house it will do 2000 sq ft. the enamel finnish is the way to go, mine still looks new
  18. FullCompliment

    FullCompliment Member

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    The Oslo's a great stove and built like a tank. It likes DRY fuel and a decent draft. With those two things in line, it's very easy to run. Everything inside seems built for the long haul: cast 'flute' supports, really good door latches, and what seems to be a thermally durable baffle (as opposed to a cast or steel baffle).

    That being said, I bought too much stove for our 2,100 sqft home in NW Montana. Maybe we've got too much insulation! This stove starts to burn reliably clean for us at about 350deg for us and if we run it at that temp continuously, it's speedo weather inside--600deg is really a party. We can get around this with fires that we just let go out, but I'd much rather have something I could run all day.

    Great stove for the right application, though.
  19. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    I will just repeat what FFJake said (and note the blue black comment, also :) )

    One thing I will say - our stove is picky picky picky about well seasoned wood - but I think that goes for all the newer EPA rated stoves.

    We are just starting our 3rd heating season with our Oslo - I don't regret a minute of our choice. :)

    One thing I haven't seen mentioned: When we bought, the dealer said that with ANY stove reduce the manufactures sq ft ratings by 25% and then choose the stove for your living space - his recommendation has worked great for our house/climate.

    Shari
    CarbonNeutral likes this.
  20. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Maybe one day I will have an insulated home that works as well as yours. One day. ;hm
    Todd 2 likes this.
  21. clr8ter

    clr8ter Member

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    Another plug for the Oslo, and FFJ's comments. I have not seen the blue/black finish, but we're satisfied with the black finish ours has. One plus to it; it's easy to touch up with the generic black stove paint they have at the hardware store. Matches perfectly once you fire the stove. The Jotul dealers around here do not stock touch-up paint for some reason....

    And +1 to the likes DRY wood comment.
  22. charly

    charly Guest

    Slindo, I agree with Todd. Shoot down to Woodstock and look at their stoves. Then tell us you "didn't" buy one;)! I think you'll be glad you went. Best thing, if you don't like the stove after 6 months, your not trying to sell it, they'll refund your money! A win-win situation.
  23. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Somehow I knew you would be here to mention the blue black finish . . . and rub my proverbial nose in the fact that I have the matte black. ;) :) It's good to see you back here Shari.
  24. slindo

    slindo Member

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    I started this thread almost a bit tongue in cheek, but it has been a very useful one. BAR has stated my position better than I have myself, and this thread has made me realize what a love-hate thing I have with cats in general, and VC in particular. I love the long burn and ability to really throttle it down. I particularly love the real, unobstructed top loading of the VC stoves, to say nothing about the great swing ash tray. 4 or so cats in 25 years is not all that bad for a 7/24 stove run by by people who are not obsessive about wood dryness or operation. On the other hand, I just can't deal with the mush refractory box anymore - I don't mind overhauling the stove every 8-12 years, but I do mind paying through the nose for the right to do it, and having to replace the old, semi-defective parts with exactly the same thing, but lower quality. And I just can't make myself to believe that the current encore has gotten it right.

    I was in a stove shop yesterday looking at the Jotul and found my eyes slipping over to the Encore 2in1. I mentioned my conflict to the salesperson, who was trying to sell me the Oslo, and he said "The way I explain it to people is that the VC stoves are lovely but they are ten to 15 year stoves, and you'll put some more money into them for parts in that time, and by the time they are 10 to 15 years old they won't be worth fixing anymore. With the Oslo, you'll hate it a little everytime you load it, but you'll get 25 years out of it, easily, without having to do any work on it."

    Oh, re size, the house has heated fine for the last 30 years, first on a Vigilant and then with the Encore, so it should do fine with a Oslo from everything I've heard.
  25. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like the Oslo will work for you. Good luck on your purchase and install.

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