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Woodstove surround- stone/sand

Post in 'The Gear' started by bjorn773, Sep 13, 2007.

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  1. bjorn773

    bjorn773 Member

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    Hello all, I am a newbie here in search of opinions. I have a Century stove in my basement that I have used exclusively to heat my home for the past several years. With both my wife and I working full time, I cannot keep a fire going all day, so the house is a bit cool when we return. I am curious if there would be an advantage to surrounding the stove with slab stone or even a hollow steel enclosure filled with sand(I like to weld stuff). In the photo gallery here there is a photo of an Englander stove with a slab of soapstone set on top. Is there a real advantage to this or am I wasting my time. My theory is the stone or sand would retain much of the heat and slowly radiate it throughout the day, much like a soapstone stove. Any input will be appreciated.

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    My Englander sits in my fireplace and the surrounding masonry sure soaks up the heat and radiates it after the stove burns down.
  3. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    Hi Bjorn,

    Sure, that would work. That is how masonry heaters and also soapstone stoves work. But I have to wonder if it is worth all the effort. If I were you, I would probably replace the century with a stove that is built for 24/7 burning and that will retain heat, such as a hearthstone or woodstock stove. Or perhaps a PE stove with EBT.

    Carpniels
  4. bjorn773

    bjorn773 Member

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    Thanks for the advise. I figured replacing the stove would be recommended. It's just not in the budget at the moment. I have more time than money I guess. I'm going to try placing a large stainless pan on top filled with sand first. No real investment in time or money. Thanks again!
  5. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I always wonder what it would do if you replaced the firebricks in a steel stove with soapstone bricks.

    (I can't hear Bob down at England's Stove Works yelling "He is is wondering about WHAT?!!" from here.)
  6. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

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    I've wondered the same thing.
  7. Burn-1

    Burn-1 Feeling the Heat

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    Most of the newer Hearthstone models do have soapstone bricks.

    Bjorn I don't think you can take a steel stove and try to make it into a soapstone stove. You can see how this guy made his own heater using mass and a barrel stove, (and an oil tank!), which I'm sure he got pretty hot in order to transfer enough heat into the mass. But a masonry heater works by having a white-hot fire at full bore and lots of mass with a fair lag between firing and actual heating coming from the mass.

    Your Century has way less mass because it is engineered to immediately begin releasing so many BTU's over so much time. If you were to fire it to the point needed to charge the mass you are suggesting with heat then you risk over-firing the stove or burning the wood too quickly at which point your house would probably be cold again.
  8. bjorn773

    bjorn773 Member

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    I'm not hoping to re-engineer my stove, just kicking ideas around in hopes for feedback just like this. Funny, I had the same discussion with my physicist brother. He felt there would be no advantage to the surround. His thought was that I'd be better off burning the stove as hot(safely) as possible to achieve maximum btu from the wood and max efficiency from the stove. But, he has had some theories in the past that have proved less than perfect. Anyway, thanks for the input.
  9. Burn-1

    Burn-1 Feeling the Heat

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    I noticed these soapstone firebricks on the Rumford site. I'm tempted to try them out, at least my Phoenix
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