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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. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    jotulguy likes this.

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  2. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    Ouch.
    The shot from the front is just ok.
    The shots from underneath the secondarys show that he has that cranked. Possibly overfired.

    Keep in mind that I did not say that E/W loading stoves have a bad secondary display. I just think (and I qualified that with 4 IMO's) that the N/S is better.

    The OP wants to help advise his friend on a stove purchase. It makes sense to give him more than one opinion.

    I also have to acknowledge that there are shallow boxed N/S stoves. It just seems that in general most E/W stoves are narrow.

    MnDave
  3. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    This is our second top loading stove and to be honest I would not trade it for the world ! Top loading is a very nice feature at times our primary use of the top load door is when we load mulberry or hedge wood and similar poppy sparkly types. It allows us to load and not worry about it sparking into the room at all. Plus it gives us a very nice steel cooktop to use and a grilling grate to set into it.

    Pete
  4. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    If that is a photo of an overfired stove then I have overfired every stove I've owned. Seriously. That's a pretty standard looking burn when a stove is going..

    I get better looking burns loading e/w than n/s on the 30, which is a front loader.

    You keep saying that, but OP just wanted to know how top loading stoves work and why they are designed that way.
  5. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    Ok. I am tip-toeing to the exit.

    MnDave
  6. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Bizarrely complicated inner mechanisms?? Its a lever. The first working tool man ever created beyond a stick. And at 3 cuft I wouldn't consider my Isle Royale a "smaller firebox". Not picking a fight, just clarifying for discussions sake.

    And to the OP - no smoke on top loading with the IR. But....I also don't use it much (if ever). I prefer the front load. Just my pref.
    Joful and jotulguy like this.
  7. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest


    Have you even looked at at the Rangeley it could not be simpler ! It is simply a hooked plate on a tube that turns. As for the firebox size it is enormous I can stuff it up and go all night 12 hours and still be at 250 F on reload !

    Sorry did not mean that rudely I am just surprised that it would be considered complicated.


    Pete
  8. SteveKG

    SteveKG Minister of Fire

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    Out top-loader has been in constant winter use at our house since 1975. Trying to recall when we get smoke out of it when reloading, can't remember a time. It is a great heater.

    Also, as to "all top loaders have other front doors to load from"...nope. Mine only has a door in the top and ditto two of our neighbors.
  9. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    What stoves are you and your neighbors running?
  10. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Side loading, Bro.
    Side. Loading.

    Many, if not most, of those good-lookin' cast stoves you lust after have a side door.
    Side loading is where it's at!
    (. . .or N-S loading in a deep stove. . .or possibly top loading, which I have not experienced.)

    I think I know what you're trying to get at with the 'light show' theory, but I think this depends on a stove's air flow/combustion design, more than firebox shape. My relatively shallow firebox floats nice secondaies with E-W loads.



    +1
    This house came with a 20"-high hearth, and I wouldn't have it any other way. :)


    All crucifiction has been postponed until after Christmas. ;)
  11. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I found side loading to be the more annoying of the three options (front, top, side). I might have a different opinion if I try a side loader with andirons. But, without the andirons, it was a pain.
  12. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    I assume you mean keeping the splits off of the glass was a pain. . .
    I dunno. The good folks at Woodstock provided this stove with andirons. ;)

    AFAICS, side loading(with andirons) is pretty much equivalent to N-S.
    Of course, a square firebox that let you load N-S would also give you the option of loading E-W, or a combination of the two. Having more options is always nice. :)
    I have to set 10" shorties aside for loading N-S on the bottom of an E-W load, which I like to do.
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That really is BS. The stove is not close to overfiring. If you are not familiar with the stove, just say so.

  14. flhpi

    flhpi Burning Hunk

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    I have had two top loaders and they were great to load. My Encore was on a raised hearth and I never had to bend down to load. Just a little word of caution, when the stove is on a raised hearth and is a top loader you can stand close to it while loading. Wear pants when reloading it. Each night I would load up the stove for a all night burn and had a too close for comfort situation once.
  15. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Worse than that is if the stove is side-load only, and the door only opens to 90*. :confused:
    You can have nice, big andirons though. Great for cramming a small box full...

    [​IMG]
  16. dougand3

    dougand3 Minister of Fire

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    Maybe get some Roxul boxer shorts for those night time loads???? May be some chafing in the morning, tho. LOL
  17. Blue Vomit

    Blue Vomit Minister of Fire

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    I was raised on an old VC top loader.
    I love my Oslo but...I'm still not used to side loading.
    I miss the top loading feature.
  18. Mitch Newton

    Mitch Newton Member

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    How about a little talcum powder for that spanking!
  19. Flamestead

    Flamestead Feeling the Heat

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    MnDave, I had been using a top loader (non-EPA) for the last 11 years. This Fall, with the new end-loading stove, I've been mulling over the differences. I don't mind bending over for the new stove, but I do feel I tend to make more of a mess on the hearth with the end-loader than with the top loader. I used to be able to brush my arms/shirt off over the open top loader, so there was almost no hearth mess.

    My top loader was a round cover in the middle of a flat top, with no front or end door; I can fit more more wood in with my end-load. Cleaning ashes was a little more difficult (I am really enjoying the grate/ash pan combo of the PH).

    Back-puffs caused more anxiety with my top load because there was the possibility of having the top settle back partially open and have the fire run away with excess air. We kept a large teapot of water on it to help with that worry.

    The top loader was excellent for safety with coals - zero chance of something falling out. Both of our daughters ran the stove, starting in their pre-teen years.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Excellent points Flamestead. Our first stoves were top-loaders and I liked them for all of these reasons. However, I did get some regular burns on my hands and arms from them. It was harder to arrange wood pieces for a good full load packing. But this might also have been because ours was the smaller VC Resolute with the smaller opening. I rarely get a burn now with the large door opening on the T6, but Murphy's law says that I'll get one now that I've said this.
  21. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Jimmie - I would highly recommend that you edit your contact info out of your post above and start a private conversation. Protects your privacy a bit more.
    BrowningBAR likes this.
  22. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    I would not list that info on the forums i would do pm
  23. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Modern Top-loading stove owner here.

    The Rangeley has a simple hinged lid in between the secondary tubes to allow top-loading. Has a pivoting lever (small) to ensure you cannot leave the baffle open after closing the lid. It loads E-W or N-S, N-S will require slightly shorter splits than E-W but 16" splits fit just fine. It's actually a steel stove in cast iron clothing which offers the benefit of cast-iron looks/thermal mass with steel's low-maint durability. The ash pan is very functional, not requiring the user to find and pull a plug from the firebox floor to sweep ash into the pan. I just stir the coals and reload, the ash falls right through the grate into the removable pan.

    I top-load to add a couple splits to a hot fire/coals and front-load when I need to load N-S or stuff it to the gills. Very happy with the Rangeley so far. Joutl also makes a non-top loading version of the Rangeley, sans ash pan , but a bigger firebox. Called the F55, so if the Rangeley is too complicated for ya' give that 'un a look. ;)
  24. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    My top-load door has a mechanism that automatically trips the bypass damper open. I have more trouble with my front-load doors, as they have no such mechanism. I often forget to open the bypass before opening the front doors.
  25. Nuker

    Nuker New Member

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    Ditto from me too, I have 2 top loaders with no front or side doors. They work very well.

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