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what to look for when buying a fisher woodstove

Post in 'Fisher Stove Information, Parts, History and More' started by fordss, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. fordss

    fordss New Member

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    I have been lurking on this site for over a year now but I just used it to gain info I joined finaly because I am looking to buy a fisher woodstove something in the papa or mama bear size. my house is a little over 1000 sq feet and I have always like the older stoves. I have a vermont casting viglent and it is not air tight anymore and do not want to pull it all apart to do a full reseal. I was just looking for some pointers on what to look for when looking at a used fisher ie.. is there any parts that fail from someone abusing the stove. any help would be great.

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Looking at one of them used is about like looking at a used hammer. What you see is pretty much what you are going to get.

    Look for warping / white paint (sign of overheating)

    Look for cracks

    Look for broken firebrick

    Look for modifications.

    Other than that, not much to hide in one.

    pen
  3. Redbear86

    Redbear86 Member

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    Is it in one piece? and how many firebrick will need to replaced? 'bout all you need to look at. Then you can roll it out of your p/u or attach rockets to it and launch it home and not hurt it any. some of them may need a baffle if it didn't come from the factory with one.
  4. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    You don't need anything larger than a Mama Bear. Papa is for twice the size of your square footage. Baby heats "up to 1250" square feet, and in other Fisher literature is listed as "heats approx. 1000 sf." I'm 2 hours north of you, and heat 1850 sf with a Mama as primary heat source. It's too much in here until December. The larger cook top is better than a Baby, and they are higher for more comfortable cooking. A Papa will drive you out.

    Firebrick are cheap, but make sure it wasn't used without them in it. Sides can warp and bulge. A straight edge held on the sides and top will show if it's flat. Cracks in bricks don't matter as much as pieces missing.

    Draft caps wear out, and are the most expensive part to replace. But still available. The good ones will have a steel nut or steel insert cast in the aluminum cap to prevent wear. If someone greased it regularly, they will have tight threads and not wobble too much. Once the threads strip out, you can't adjust the air, and you will need new.

    Worn sloppy door hinge pins will allow the door to leak a little, and is an easy fix to replace them. Again keeping them greased will prevent wear.

    Taken care of, they will outlast you. A crack in the firebox is as bad as it gets, but this is very fixable and easily welded unlike cast iron.

    By all means put a baffle plate across the vent opening as advised here;
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/82318/
  5. fordss

    fordss New Member

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    Thanks for all the help. I found what looks like a mama bear at an auction tomorrow. Wish me luck. I will keep you posted on what happends.
  6. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    People will do anything to try to ruin a Fisher;
    Hot Papa
    Fridgid Mama

    And post them on Craigslist

    Attached Files:

  7. Redbear86

    Redbear86 Member

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    I know the white is tell tell sign of over fire but is that the steel turning white or the stove paint? I'm guessing this fatigues the metal or makes it brittle?
  8. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    Paint gets like chalk. I'd imagine that one was glowing. It's annealed for sure. Probably fine with a coat of paint. I'd stay away from it as a user, but that is an early one from the first year made.
  9. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Stove paint is designed to handle normal stove temps. If it turns white, it's a sign that it was run hard. Doesn't mean that it hurt the stove, just that you need to inspect carefully for cracks / warpage.

    pen
  10. fordss

    fordss New Member

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    this is a pic of the one I am looking at.

    Attached Files:

  11. Redbear86

    Redbear86 Member

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    Don't pay too much, you have an authorized dealer there in PA who could find ya one reasonably priced!
  12. fordss

    fordss New Member

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    What do you think is a good price?
  13. Redbear86

    Redbear86 Member

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    They go cheaper out here because there were more produced, but i see a lot of good usable stoves sell for $200-$300 the double door models usually get a little more, coaly will educate on the fact that they are less efficient though
  14. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Like anything, depends on what you want to pay. I sold my great condition grandma bear wood stove for 475 and bought my 1 year used englander 30 for 450 (then obama took 30% off that price). Additionally, I went from buring 5.5 to 6 cord of wood a year to 4.5 cord and my house stays warmer (although the fisher could get it hotter, faster).

    It depends on where you are. I had a hard time with insurance companies since the fisher I had wasn't UL approved. So for my home, I wouldn't pay a damn nickle for one now. If it were going into a temp use cabin that I didn't mind shoving wood into it to heat it quickly, I'd probably pay up to 300.

    That's just my angle, take it for what you will. They are great stoves and Coaly is right in that if they are burned correctly they will outlive you and then a whole lot. But in certain areas, they are becoming obsolete.

    pen
  15. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    I'm not Coaly, but I still burn a papa at my cabin and my grandmother (god bless her) still burns a mama at her house (I still supply her wood and help her out). My uncle and cousin still burn a mama as well. From my experience, the single doors are more effecient than the double, but not much.

    pen
  16. Redbear86

    Redbear86 Member

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    From what the information i've gathered, the double door grandma may have soured you to the potential efficiency. The baffle is a must add on if there isn't one in it already. I bet if you ran a momma it would be closer to efficiency of the englander than the grandma
  17. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Been burning mama's and papa's for years (and supplying others who burn them with wood)

    Also did this (see below) to my grandma

    I can't knock these stove as I am very nostalgic for them and appreciate them for what they are and what they CAN do. I also won't deny what they are incapable of.

    [​IMG]

    pen
  18. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, stay with a single door. They are 6 inch exhaust and draw through the fire lengthwise better to get them going. The Mama takes 24 inch wood compared to shorter wood in the Grandma. And the cook top is a better size on the single door stoves.
    300 is about right for that one. 200 would be great. Always cheaper in July. :)
    Gas is going up next year, better watch for a buggy down there too.
  19. Redbear86

    Redbear86 Member

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    Your baffle is actually the design and inspiration of the one I made for my grandpa. There's no doubt that a stove with secondary air will be more efficient but a cord of wood difference is more than the average person can waste with poor burning techniques- you of course being educated on these techniques will not lose that cord. IE I cringe to think how much my dad wastes by not using seasoned wood (not to mention he's getting too old to climb to the roof several times a winter). He wont listen to me though, I bought him a moisture meter for x-mas. Just for my personal knowledge i was wondering how much more efficient your stove was with the baffle, I saw where you were getting it much hotter and i think you mentioned getting longer times between reloads?
  20. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    It's been a few years so it'd be best to bring the thread back up for the specifics. But yes, it definately did get hotter / longer burns (it evened out the stove a lot, vs the hot spike then rapid cool down it had before) but it just couldn't keep the stove w/ hot coals for 10 hours w/out having it shut down so much that I felt bad for the smoke that the neighbors had to deal w/ while I was at work.

    A good buddy of mine who is now on the other side of the sod used to ride out to our cabin w/ me when later in years. I'll never forget him saying (when we were still 1/3 of a mile from our cabin) "There's smoke in the valley!" That was his sign that the wood stoves were burning and we could just sit down to a warm cabin and cold drink w/ little work since someone beat us to that task. If there was a modern EPA stove there he wouldn't have had that indication. However, "camp" is a 2 story cinder block building. If we had modern stoves in that place, it would take much longer to get it up to temp in the winter than the old fisher can.

    As I said before, they are a good stove, but they have room for improvement. Certainly wish the company was still going today in a modern form here in the U.S.A.

    pen
  21. Redbear86

    Redbear86 Member

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    I've toyed with the idea of getting a papa for the shop and adding a secondary air valve in the back, seems like a fairly simple modification my only draw back is that i don't know if i would be able to tell if the secondaries were lighting not having burned one before and having no fire view area.



    PS. Coaly i saw that hot papa for sale, $400, crazy
  22. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    On the east coast it's crazier. 4 to 500 is the norm. Some sellers claim their stove is "same as new stove model' and compare them to the new stove price.
    There's one for $1200, and I saw the highest asking price of any Fisher yet; $2300 yesterday. Poor description, no picture. http://columbus.craigslist.org/app/2661843004.html
  23. fordss

    fordss New Member

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    I did not buy the stove it sold for $150 with no fire brick and the one back leg was bent and the air intake on door did not close tight.looked warped.
    thanks for all your help I will be checking craigslist to see what i can find.
  24. Todd67

    Todd67 New Member

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    I saw a Mama or Papa on craigslist with a large white patch on the back of the stove from over heating, and the ad said the stove was new, never used!

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