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Review of Jotul --- Black Bear F 118 CB -- Freestanding Stove burning Wood only
Installation Type: Wood/Coal - Freestanding into metal Chimney
Date Reviewed: 2016-01-11 23:37:59

Satisfaction Ratings from 5 stars (best) to 1 star (worst)
Satisfaction with unit = ✰✰✰✰✰
Satisfaction with dealer = ✰✰✰✰✰
Satisfaction with manufacturer = ✰✰✰✰✰

Other Information about the Home and Stove
Room Size (Sq ft): 242 | House Size (Sq feet): 1450
Bought in 2014 , Price Paid: 1850
Location : Wakefield, Rhode 02879, USA
Purchased from: Fireplace Retail Store - Stovepipe Fireplace Shop

Likes: Clean burning and efficient. Barely any smoke coming out the chimney. Remarkably high heat output for such a small stove.
Stove takes up to 24-inch logs for long burn times. There are always hot coals in the morning ready to start a new burn.
Functional cook plate works well with a stovetop humidifier.


Dislikes: No ash removal solution. Requires that I let the fire die and shovel out the ash weekly.
Front air intake control slider moves only 3/16-inch between full open and full closed making fine adjustment difficult. It also gets quite hot.


Comments: I heat my 1450 sq ft, 100 y/o (well insulated) farm house almost exclusively with the Black Bear. It easily keeps the house at 50-degrees over outside temperature even on windy days. I try to keep the inside temperature at around 72-degrees. It’s an all-electric house with no heat in the basement. Last winter (2014/2015) was colder than average here in coastal RI. I burned approximately 3-cords of seasoned oak. This winter, so far, it has been relatively mild. I've burned a little less than a cord of oak from mid Oct. through early Jan. (For you data hungry readers who are mathematically inclined, climatology reports and degree days for the Providence area are available on weather.gov.)

My stove is less than optimally located on a far outside corner of an 11'x22' living/dining room with a 10' ceiling. This room is connected by a double opening to an adjoining 11'x17' kitchen with a cathedral ceiling. The living room has a large French double-door opening onto the deck. Both rooms each have a pair of skylights. Stairs to the second floor bedrooms are located on the opposite wall of the living room so upstairs stays cozy. Two rooms off the kitchen, located down a short hall at the opposite end of the house, stay a little cooler. On extra cold and windy days (single numbers or below) I close off the upstairs during the day with an insulated curtain at the bottom of the stairway. I have an EcoFan on top of the stove (just behind the humidifier) and I run ceiling fans in the aforementioned living room and kitchen.

It took me a season to figure out optimal log size and surefire starting and restarting techniques. As advertised, the wood burns from front to back so longer log length means longer burns. I cut my cordwood into 24-inch logs and split it so I can fit three to five pieces in the stove. The stove cold starts easily with a few pieces of fatwood, some dry 1-inch thick pieces of kindling, topped off by couple of small logs. To restart a warm stove, be sure to rake the coals to the front before adding new logs. Lastly, it burns best with a bed of ash and coals.

Nice design – everyone comments on it. Stove looks great in my funky old farm house. Despite the minor cons noted above, I really like this stove and recommend it highly.


* Dates that reviews were submitted were not recorded prior to Nov. 2004