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VC Encore temp. range and quality

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by billoetjen, Apr 22, 2006.

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  1. billoetjen

    billoetjen New Member

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    Hi Folks.

    I've been heating with the same VC Resolute Acclaim for 15 years. It has its strengths and its issues, but basically, I've been pleased with it.
    Now I'm moving and almost certain to get a VC Encore (non-cat).
    The new place is definitely on the small side of the sq. ft. range for this stove, which means that I'll be burning it with very little air intake to keep temperatures down and burn time up.
    Anyone with this kind of experience, especially with the encore?
    I love the top-load and would never get anything else at this point.

    Thanks for the help,
    Bill
    (PS - I live in Vt and tend to keep a stove going for weeks at a time)

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  2. billoetjen

    billoetjen New Member

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    Hey Dylan,

    Thanks for the reply and welcome.
    Actually, I wasn't thinking about Earth Day when I posted. I'm all distracted with the move and planning for the new stove install.
    Like I said, I gotta have a top-load. Is VC a mistake these days? I keep hearing about quality problems.

    Bill
  3. cbrodsky

    cbrodsky Member

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    I'd take a look at the soapstone offerings if you want a more controlled, slow burning heat - since you mention running weeks at a time (as we do) coupled with concerns about having to damp the stove down a lot, you are a prime candidate to take advantage of these stoves' long burn cycles and steadier moderated heat delivery. (as opposed to occasional users who might do better with cast iron's very fast heatup to quickly take chill off a room)

    Check out Hearthstone or Woodstock depending on your preference of cat/non-cat - and check the ratings section on this website. I am glad I found it and dug into this question myself.

    -Colin
  4. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    No top loading in the soapstone. I think that the swing in opinion about VC is due to the restructuring. We have sold VC for 20+ years, they had a couple of years where the QC did decline. There was alot the old people leaving, territories were being trampled there was alot of things that devalued the brand. I personally am a fan of Larry Robinette and the teachers union and am very excited about the future of VC. I really like that they're cast in the US and they are a good solid unit. I wish they would extend their warranty, they have a sound product and an extension of the warranty would reinforce their "Cadillac" status. That new Encore is a great stove and it's awesome that you can put a fan on it. It was the only top loading non cat cast stove in the industry until Lopi built the Leyden. That's a good stove too pretty much the same concept as the Encore all the same features.
  5. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Don't forget the Harman Oakwood stove. It's also a top loader, and made in the USA.
  6. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Cast in the US? Or is it assembled like many others.
  7. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    only one company makes and casts in USA, VC in Bethel VT. All other cast stoves are imported parts and some are assembled in USA
    Not all VC products are made in USA the Centry line is imported from China and there could be others
  8. billoetjen

    billoetjen New Member

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    Hi again,
    I drive a Chevy Cobalt and a Chevy S10. They're both great and ask me for nothing but fuel. I work in the US and live in the US. Regardless of how I feel about the government these days, I think about how I can help keep manufacturing jobs here.
    I will spend more for American-made. Thanks for the information on origin.

    Bill
  9. seaken

    seaken Minister of Fire

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    Colin makes a good point. And I do think Woodstock still makes a top loader. Maybe not. It's been awhile since I dealt with them.

    My concern is that the Encore may be too big. What size is the space? In all modern stoves it is best if they can burn near their higher BTU range, rather than trying to damper them and get that slowwwww longgggg burn. Of course, the new EverBurn technology is superior (in he same way as the Acclaim is superior in burn technology to a Resolute) at burning clean at the lower settings. Most other non-cat designs definitely need to be burned hotter to burn clean. Why is the Acclaim not in the running?

    As it turns out VC does have the only cast iron stove foundry in the US but they are not the only stove manufacturer who sells cast iron made in America. I'll let you guess how this happens. Anyway, the Harmon wood stove mentioned is also 100% made in the USA. And the technology is the same as the VC EverBurn.

    I have been very pleased with the VC line, in general. Like any manufacturer, they have their faults. One of the nice things from VC is the cast iron non-cat DutchWest line. While not the "Cadillac" of stoves, as some might consider the enamel VC line, it is definitely among the best bang for the buck. It is a side load, which is much nicer than front load, but not as nice as top load. But the price is right for a great wood heater.

    Hearthstone and Woodstock are also made in America, but I'm thinking they get their castings out of the country. Not sure. Maybe someone else can fill us in on that. Haven't seen the new Lopi yet. From what Shane said I expect it is in the same "family" as the VC, and Harmon. If you follow the history of the VC folks (before they were sold) you'll see a lot of overlap among the R&D and Design people that now work for other companies, or freelance. I will be seeing the new LOPI stuff next week at our annual dealer meeting in western NY.

    There are lots of good stoves. And not all are made in America. Some good stuff comes out of Europe and Canada. In time, the castings from China will improve and we will see more outsourcing from some of these companies we now believe to be all-american. Can't fight progress. But I like to support the local manufacturing whenever I can also. But many times I make purchase descisions based more on who I am buying from rather than where the product was manufactured.

    Good luck,
    Sean
  10. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Of note a recent visit to VC stove site, the non cat Encore has the ssme max Btu output as the Resolute acclaim 40,000
  11. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Chinese castings are right on par with US and European castings. I wouldn't say I like the fact that the stoves are cast in America because they are superior to European or Canadian but just that manufacturing jobs are not as common as they once were in America and it's nice to see once in a while.
  12. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    If one lives in Vt it really hits home jobs can be saved in your community. Its not that most want to wave the Chinese flag
  13. billoetjen

    billoetjen New Member

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    Good debate folks; I don't pretend to know the answer for everyone. Like I said, this is where I live and work.
    It's even better to learn that VC still makes a helluva stove.
    Back to burning wood - One look at the Everburn chamber tells me that it's way different than the design of my old Acclaim. That one was (still is, because it's like 40 f tonight as I write this and there's some maple and yellow birch in the flue right now) kinda picky. The temp and air intake and the draft and the fuel load had to be just so... BUT when it's right, it has this low rrrgrrrr like a furnace. Let any of those variables change just a little bit and it back puffs and stalls or can take off like a jet engine.
    Folks say that the new Encore is more forgiving.
    It's interesting to note (thanks Elkimmeg) that the Acclaim and the Encore are listed with the same output. I like the bigger fireboxe and log size. 18 or 20 inch pieces will seem like a luxury after dealing with 14 and 16 inch in the Acclaim. Yer pays yer money and makes yer choice.
    By the way, no Woodstock is top loading (the company rep told me today). Too bad, I like the way they present themselves. A money back guarantee is hard to beat too. I'm trying to imagine taking back a VC to the Chimney Sweep and saying, "nah, it's just not right."
    Bill
  14. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I don't think the Chimney Sweep is going to be all that warm and friendly especially after the sale

    Got to love that everburn technology
  15. billoetjen

    billoetjen New Member

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    One of the nice things about living in Chittenden County is that I have a couple of choices of places to get my next stove.
    I'm still waiting to hear from folks who live with the Encore and have experience running on low-low. If any of you dealers out there can point someone to this thread, I'd appreciate it. http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/smileys/#

    Thanks,
    Bill
  16. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Don't know about Hearthstone, but Woodstock's cast iron is made in Belgium and the soapstone is from Canada.
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