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Top loading wood stoves.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Maple man, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. Maple man

    Maple man Burning Hunk

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    i was on the computer looking at a new stove for my friend and while looking i saw an older top loading stove my question is why would a stove manufacture build a stove that would let smoke and other gasses in to your home and does any one have a top loader and if you do how does it work.:)

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  2. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I've owned four top loading stoves, two currently. With a good draft, a top loading stove works just fine. Little to no smoke is involved.
    Pallet Pete likes this.
  3. jwoair23

    jwoair23 Burning Hunk

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    Since you have experience, why would this be a design choice? Is there an advantage to a top loading stove? It just seems peculiar, how do you empty ashes?
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    When I grew up we had 2 top loading stoves and never had a problem with smoke in the house when opening the lid. I know of others who have top loaders now and there is no problem. We also have to remember that many of the top loaders are also a down draft stove.

    I recall when we were last looking at new stoves we looked at a Lopi Leyden which is a top loader. There was a lady running the store and as we talked about different stoves she led us to the Leyden, which was burning at the time. She said she'd go get a few more logs to put into the stove (it was cold outside) so she opened the lid and then went in back for the wood. All the time she was gone there was no smoke or any smell coming from the open stove.

    The top loaders can be nice and it is just one more way to design stoves.
  5. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Well, all top loading stoves still have conventional front doors (VC, Jotul, Quadrafire, Harman, Lopi). All of them have some sort of ash pan usually, except the Vigilant I ran did not.

    I like top loading over side loading and front loading as it is easier for me to place a split where I want and I never bump into a burn tube or baffle. I find it easier to stuff the stove full, when needed.

    I probably like top loading more as it was what my first stove had (Vigilant).
  6. chimneylinerjames

    chimneylinerjames Feeling the Heat

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    Top loading stoves also have a door on the front. It is not top loading only. I am familiar with some of the Quadra-fire stoves. They have it when you open the top, the baffle tips down so you can add wood and blocks the smoke exiting directly out of the top, almost eliminating smoke coming out.
  7. Maple man

    Maple man Burning Hunk

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    ok thanks fore the replies they don't sound as bad as i thought going to show my buddy this thread:)
  8. greenbrierwv

    greenbrierwv Member

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    i had a VC Encore top/front loader. honestly, i love the top load feature. smoke was not a problem and you could load that puppy to the gills at night. but that was good and bad...ive gotten overzealous loading and have had to pull smoldering logs out and throw them into the snow. ha. only did that once and learned my lesson. top loaders are handy!
  9. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    I am sure that those that own top loading cast stoves love them and I am not putting down anyones stove.

    I like the look of the cast stoves better than the plate steel stoves if that is any consolation for what I am about to say.

    IMO, IMO, IMO... IMO - I don't like east-west vs. north-south loading on cast stoves.

    1) Because of the risk that a stuffed-to-the-gills stove will cause a log to roll against the door and maybe shatter the glass, and

    2) Narrow east-west loading stoves will not have the "fire show" of a deep/wide north-south loading plate stove.

    Given this, if you really want a cast top loader I would suggest the GF Isle Royal as it is very deep and would probably have a great fire show and hold a big enough load for an overnight burn. i.e I think the box size is more efficient on a north-south loading stove because you can stack against the sides.

    ok. I am ready for crucifiction.

    MnDave
  10. jwoair23

    jwoair23 Burning Hunk

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    MnDave I can't believe you said that. I am stunned.

    No actually I agree. :) I would love to have a N/S stove, as I hate trying to get the balance of all my splits just right when loading it up for long burns, all the while having my hand/arm in the stove. It would be great to load them up with the sides as a balance point!
  11. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    The Isle is not a deep stove and is an E/W loader.

    Many of the E/W loading stoves have andirons (VC, Woodstock, Quad, Lopi) which prevent a split from rolling and hitting the glass.

    I have found E/W loading provides longer burn times on the 30 than a N/S load.
  12. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    [quote="MnDave, post: 1286702, member: 24589. . .

    1) Because of the risk that a stuffed-to-the-gills stove will cause a log to roll against the door and maybe shatter the glass, and I have had a few splits roll up against the "glass" (neoceram) and have heard of other folks who have had this happen . . . I honestly don't know of too many any folks who have had the "glass" crack with this happening with the newer stoves . . . maybe the older stoves. I have however heard of a few folks who have broke the neoceram by tossing in a split willy nilly or attempting to cram in a split by slamming the door on it and causing the glass to break. That said . . . it could happen in theory . . . just not sure how likely this is to happen from normal usage.

    2) Narrow east-west loading stoves will not have the "fire show" of a deep/wide north-south loading plate stove. Not sure how narrow you're talking . . . the Oslo is relatively narrow and is pretty much set up for East-West loading . . . but it has very good secondary actions. Pretty sure this would be the case with many other stoves . . . not sure if a stove set up to burn "cigar" like like the old Jotuls and similar modern designs with a small viewing window would provide a good view . . . perhaps that was what you were refering to.

    . . .

    ok. I am ready for crucifiction. Hehheh . . . we try not to crucify anyone here for their beliefs . . . heck I think Dennis even likes and respects me even though we disagree on the whole horizontal vs. vertical splitting. :)

    MnDave[/quote]
  13. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Another vote for top load... Agree 100% with browning. When the draft is going air gets sucked down into the griddle when you open it. I can load within 1/4 in of the roof...literally... Once in a while I stuff a piece in and the griddle won't close and I have to shuffle a bit ;)

    Splits rolling on the glass has never been a problem with the andirons. And besides its ceramic... Tougher than it looks.
  14. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    East west fire show... 5 minutes ago....

    Attached Files:

    BrowningBAR likes this.
  15. jwoair23

    jwoair23 Burning Hunk

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    Are those circular posts sticking up the andirons mentioned up above? I have never seen that before, wish my stove had that!
  16. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Yup those are the andirons.
    Defiant likes this.
  17. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Cheater! You still have the damper open :)
  18. Defiant

    Defiant Vermont Castings Geek

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    Love my top loader!![​IMG]
  19. dougand3

    dougand3 Minister of Fire

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    When I first got the Resolute Acclaim, I was wigged out with idea of opening the top "with a fire burning!" Once I did...and no hint of smoke or smell escaping - I'm like "Dayum! this is magic!" But it's physics - the smoke takes the path of least resistance toward the hot stove pipe drafting. Now, if you forget to open the bypass...that's another story.
  20. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    5 years and four top loading stoves later, and I still do this ever so often...;em
  21. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Touche
  22. nellraq

    nellraq New Member

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    Top loading stoves have been around for a long time. My Ideal Clarion, built in 1878, is a top loader. I used it for about 5 years in my previous house; and could put huge "chunks" of wood in through the top. Never once did I get smoke in the house! It doesn't have a bypass --if it did, knowing me, I would have had smoke in the house quite often 'cus I would have forgotten to open it!

    The clarion is also a side loader and a front loader.
  23. slindo

    slindo Member

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    I love toploaders. But unfortunately, if you want an EPA stove, the choice if you want one seems to be between stoves that have delicate and troublesome refractory chambers (VC and Lopi) and stoves that have bizarrely complicated inner mechanisms (Rangely and Isle Royale), and hence much smaller fireboxes and loading doors than one would expect.
  24. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    Just wondering what is the main reason people get excited about top loaders - is it because you do not have to bend down and get on one knee to load then like the really stumpy front loaders (you know who you are)? Some front loaders are set right on the floor!

    If that is the case I totally understand. My last stove (front loader plate steel) came with the house. It was on a hearth but a short one. I got sick of getting down on my knee to do anything in the stove.

    So with my new stove I built the hearth 10 inches up off the floor and I got the pedestal version which added 4 inches (I think) over the legs.

    It not only fixed the bending over problem but it made the stove look massive.

    I went into the showroom today and saw my model on the floor and with the legs. It looked shrimpy compared to mine.

    Anyway, If that is the main reason for top loading then this problem with frontloaders can be overcome with a tall hearth which will also add to the greatness of any size stove.

    I do like the looks of a cast. My last home had a fireplace insert on the main floor and a cast stove on the lower floor.

    I just wanted to give the OP another perspective.

    MnDave
  25. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    Along the same lines I just want to give any shop owners out there a heads up.

    Put your stoves up on something so that the customer doesn't have to get down on his hands and knees to see your product.

    You do not have to connect or build a surround. Just get it off the ground. They look tiny! And some people are there to get a big stove.

    Done ranting. More crucifiction. J/K. :)

    MnDave

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