1976 Fisher Grandpa Bear Obtained - excited but concerned

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New Member
Oct 5, 2022
Madison WI
This past weekend I purchased a Fisher Grandpa Bear III Fireplace series from a local seller in Wisconsin who purchased the stove new in 1980. My boyfriend encouraged me to purchase a wood stove. He saw the ad and is concerned with rising fuel prices that I may not stay warm enough this winter. He is experienced with woodburning, and with his guidance and teaching I agreed it seemed smart. I paid $350 for it, which fits my pretty tight budget,, just minutes away. I quickly began researching, knowing this stove would likely sell fast. I learned Fisher is a solid stove, a work horse in heating homes. UL listings began in 1980 as I recall, and I felt good about that.
I was 2nd in line for the stove, and fortunately for me, the other party was in the next state and decided against it by mid-day on Friday. Now that we have ithe stove - I have learned it is a 1976 pre UL listed model. My boyfriend is a contractor/tile/concrete and plans to make the hearth and surround. I contacted a local Stove/Chimney company to inquire as I would like to have them install the chimney properly. I was asked if it was UL listed, and I said no - and he said it may be a problem. The plan is to install in corner of the living room. From what I have read I know we need a 1" air space between drywall (combustible) and cement board which will have stone tile, double wall stove pipe.
I found a manual on line, but it doesn't give me clearance to non-combustible material. Has anyone in this forum had issues with insurance when adhering to code for install? I called my insurance agent to give a heads up I was planning to install a wood stove for secondary heat and she was going to look into it.

I found in this forum directions for adding a baffle. I also learned that the former owners may have burned this stove too hot as the sides have some of the white discoloration at the top half as you can see on the top and doors. This is an informative forum! I have learned so much in less than a week! Learning that an insurance company/inspector may state one is burning too hot due to discoloration and may deny a claim - would it be prudent to repaint this stove before install?

I am very excited about this stove and have enjoyed learning the history from Coaly. Now that I have it, I am concerned we will not be able to use it without a UL listing. My sister has worked in insurance and she tells me not all companies require UL listing. I am not beholden to my agent so if any of you have a non UL listed stove installed and are willing to share the name of your insurance company I would appreciate it. Thank you in advance.

1976 Fisher Grandpa Bear Obtained - excited but concerned

1976 Fisher Grandpa Bear Obtained - excited but concerned
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Congrats on your Fisher stove, and welcome to the forum. I'm sure Coaly will check in soon to help you with any questions you have.

Best of luck with getting your stove installed. I bought a Mama Bear 10 years ago, refurbished it by removing all the rust, new paint and new firebricks. It's been my only heat source since 2012. I have aan old 2-story house in northern NY. We wouldn't trade our Fisher stove for anything.
Welcome to the Forum, wish I had better news;

First, your state has adopted the 2015 International Building Code that requires all appliances to be UL Listed with Label attached.

It is against code to install in a new installation only due to the adopted code requiring the UL testing. This stove was made before UL became the recognized nationwide testing standard. Testing back then was done by different laboratories accepted in different areas before testing was standardized.

Before this code was adopted by most states, NFPA 211 was the Standard used to install safely. Some owners still install to this safety standard and claim it was existing, hence the used stove market. Codes adopt this Standard and can add to it, but not take anything away from it. The code is for a new install, not preventing use in a existing installation. Many insurance companies also require UL Listed appliances. That is up to each insurance company that can make their own requirements.

This is not a Grandpa III. Use the manual which was the first one for the 3 Bear Series models as well as the two Fireplace Series models. All the stove models were simply called by their model name. In 1977 revised plans were sent to fabricators with optional bolt on shields that became the Series II. Series III became the redesigned models for 1980.

Only the later models with one piece firebox without angle iron corners were UL Listed. They incorporated shields, baffle, and UL tag with serial number. Many fabricators continued to make the pre-UL design after 1980 and sold for $100 cheaper since the UL Listing was not required on a non-combustible hearth.

The white areas show heat damage only to the paint. It is common, and stove should be repainted. Stove Bright Satin Black will give you the original color.

The clearance when no combustible material is involved, such as in a basement on cement with cement or masonry walls should be enough for air flow around the stove to allow cooling of the rear and side plates. Warranty issues installing into hearths without enough airspace caused uneven heating and cooling causing cracked welds and warped sheets. I believe a 3 inch minimum clearance was agreed upon to noncombustible material for air flow. The more the better, since these are primarily radiant stoves.
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Thank you for the input on this stove. After meeting with the stove and chimney company recommended, we decided to sell the Fisher and purchase a new that doesn't require the expense of the surround build out. Going with a model such as TrueNorth TN20 the cost is a wash.