Cat vs Non-Cat: Flame show only

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WoodyIsGoody

Minister of Fire
Jan 16, 2017
1,437
Pacific NW Washington
Back to the whisky comment....Middleton Very Rare 31 anyone?

Don't invite Hearth.com members over. It won't last 15 minutes! And they would drink it from the bottle. ;lol
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,572
South Puget Sound, WA
Of course you are right, I made a logical assumption that the expert chimneysweep's method resulted in proper clean burning operation of the noncat which requires fire temperatures of over 1000 degrees which requires a lot of air. I'm sorry that it was not clear to you that I wasn't quoting chimneysweep directly.

Here's how a proper quote from me would look

The source:

https://www.hearth.com/what/noncat.html

" BECAUSE: Hot fires (i.e., temperatures of 1000 to 1200F) are required to maintain secondary combustion and burn the pollutants in the smoke."
Internal fire temps never came up, though it's the same as a cat firing off at 1000-1400º and for the same reason. Nothing new here, just the way it was stated.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,312
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Internal fire temps never came up, though it's the same as a cat firing off at 1000-1400º and for the same reason. Nothing new here, just the way it was stated.

Actually, that's 500 degrees for the cat to fire off and begin clean burning. At high burn the cat temps can climb really high, often to 1400. This low temperature, low air operation is superior for several reasons as described here in an article from Woodstock that is quite anti non-cat but has lots of good information. Dirty glass and less flame activity is a negative result of low temperature, low air operation.

https://www.woodstove.com/pages/pdffiles/why_cats.pdf

Nothing new there either. Did you want to go back on topic BG?

I watched the flame show last night and will agree with the earlier folks that when operated normally (low to medium output for me!), the flames go away pretty early in the cycle. But then the glowing logs are also quite pleasant to look at and dynamic. Sparks occasionally and that radiant heat like a good s'mores fire.
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,717
Philadelphia
I love my BK, but I miss the flame shows of my previous 2 non-cat stoves! Not enough to ever consider switching back, but still.
... and there we have it.

Last night, I lit the first fire of the season. I sat on the leather sofa in my office watching TV, and the BK running on a higher setting with a great flame show, which was nice. An hour later, I turned the stove down to "black box radiator" mode. It burned right thru the night on six smaller splits, roughly half a load of wood, without spiking the room temperature up past where I'd want it.

BKVP is going to be disappointed to hear I'm running the stove before installing the new ash pans, but the last two weekends have been busy. They will be installed soon! In the meantime, enjoy your Midleton!
 
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BKVP

Minister of Fire
Don't invite Hearth.com members over. It won't last 15 minutes! And they would drink it from the bottle. ;lol
I spent a month in Ireland this year. I have enough.
 
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Sailrmike

Feeling the Heat
Sep 20, 2017
288
06371
“I miss the pretty flames,” said no BK owner, ever. You’re really getting way too stressed out about this, and making it into something it’s not. You may think the rest of us too unrefined to care about aesthetics, but it’s not that. It’s just that this one romantic aspect of wood burning becomes less important rather quickly, when you’re burning 24/7.

Want flames for a few hours, turn the BK up to a burn rate similar to any non-cat. Want long gentle burn times, turn it down to where only BK can run. The beauty is having both options, not worrying about whether the cat needs to be run 5% hotter or cooler to achieve identical flame show.
After 2 seasons of burning my Chinook 24/7, I did miss the pretty flames of non-cat stoves. When a cat stove is turned up on high, the flames are very similar to an open fireplace in color and movement. When non-cat stoves are burning on a low setting, the flames are totally different in color and movement, and much more enjoyable to watch IMHO
 

lsucet

Minister of Fire
May 14, 2015
1,687
San Ysidro, New Mexico
After 2 seasons of burning my Chinook 24/7, I did miss the pretty flames of non-cat stoves. When a cat stove is turned up on high, the flames are very similar to an open fireplace in color and movement. When non-cat stoves are burning on a low setting, the flames are totally different in color and movement, and much more enjoyable to watch IMHO

I know a few members here that went back to other type of heating sources for other reasons but never for the flames on a tube stoves. Oh well. I don't know what to say. I think everything is possible in life. What kind/brand do you have now?
 

Sailrmike

Feeling the Heat
Sep 20, 2017
288
06371
I know a few members here that went back to other type of heating sources for other reasons but never for the flames on a tube stoves. Oh well. I don't know what to say. I think everything is possible in life. What kind/brand do you have now?
I'm sorry, I didn't switch to non-cat only for the flame show. Many reasons, and nothing against cat stoves or BK, led me down the path to owning a Jotul F55
 

lsucet

Minister of Fire
May 14, 2015
1,687
San Ysidro, New Mexico
I'm sorry, I didn't switch to non-cat only for the flame show. Many reasons, and nothing against cat stoves or BK, led me down the path to owning a Jotul F55
Hey, we all have our likes and dislikes and of course BK is not neither everybody's stove. But that was the way it sounds.
 

Sailrmike

Feeling the Heat
Sep 20, 2017
288
06371
Hey, we all have our likes and dislikes and of course BK is not neither everybody's stove. But that was the way it sounds.
My apologies, I thought were just discussing the difference between the flame shows of cat stove vs. non-cat in this thread. That's all that I was referring to
 

lsucet

Minister of Fire
May 14, 2015
1,687
San Ysidro, New Mexico
It is all good. I do love the show of the tube stove but so many other details make me not missed it with the BK. But I know the differences and I agree that the show is more intense.

I learned to love the black box that now when I see flames looks weird.lol
 
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SculptureOfSound

Feeling the Heat
Sep 9, 2017
372
Wisconsin, USA
Lots of great feedback and I really appreciate it. Thanks everyone, you guys (and girls) are awesome!

I'm still confused about one main thing though... Most all seem to agree to there is more secondary action with tube stoves.

With that in mind, assuming you are running a cat vs tube at the output where the differences become apparent (medium high or wherever) what is the difference in flame time?

I get that cats are mostly primary flame only. But not sure what that translates to in difference in flame time. Is it like 30-45 mins of primary on a cat and then almost nothing? Sounds like most are getting 2-3 hours of primary + secondary per load on a tube stoves.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,572
South Puget Sound, WA
As I noted earlier, there is a lot of difference in stove and secondary design as well as firebox capacity. Duration of flame time is going to depend on how large a load of wood is burning, the species of wood, how much air the fire gets, draft, etc..

Can't comment on the cat stoves but in our stove with a full load the flame duration is more like 6hrs or more with stronger secondary flame maybe only for 2-3 hrs.. The later flames are much calmer and visually more off of the wood.

In the smaller Castine the secondary flames kicked in about 20-30 minutes into the burn and lasted for maybe an hour. Then there were gentle wispy flames off the coals for an hour or two more.
 
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branchburner

Minister of Fire
Sep 27, 2008
2,758
southern NH
Is it like 30-45 mins of primary on a cat and then almost nothing?

I can't speak to how a non-hybrid cat shows flame, but the show in my stove really depends on how low I want to run it. If I want to run it low, then yes, the flames will mostly disappear in the time frame you mention. But if I open the air back up, I can get a good display. Also, when it is very cold out and I'm running a very full firebox, because I have a cat/tube hybrid i can get quite a good display of secondaries for a good long while.

I have often tweaked the air supply just for the sake of chasing some cool ghost flames in a dark room, with pretty good success. In that respect, I'm guessing the hybrid is probably going to be superior to the straight cat, but someone who's run both would have to confirm that.
 

SculptureOfSound

Feeling the Heat
Sep 9, 2017
372
Wisconsin, USA
Begreen - unfortunately there really are so many variables that I know it makes it a hard comparison. Still your personal experience really helps. I'm looking for flames for say, 1/2 (1/3 minimum) of the burn cycle when burning around medium or higher. Imagine the same amount of wood and burned equally as hot in a cat or tube stove. If the tube stove gives 4 hours of flames and 8 hour burn time, and cat stove gives 1 hour of flames on this same 8 hour burn, then that's going to be a deciding factor for me.

As I mentioned, we have cheap natural gas and burning wood will be supplemental and for the joy of the flames and wood heat, but it is not necessary for me to try to heat exclusively with wood or be burning 24/7 (although I probably will burn close to 24/7). With the location of our fireplace being non-ideal for heating the whole house, but 100% ideal for viewing from 3/4 of the house, flame and ambiance really are more important consideration to me than I realize it is for most here.
 

SculptureOfSound

Feeling the Heat
Sep 9, 2017
372
Wisconsin, USA
I can't speak to how a non-hybrid cat shows flame, but the show in my stove really depends on how low I want to run it. If I want to run it low, then yes, the flames will mostly disappear in the time frame you mention. But if I open the air back up, I can get a good display. Also, when it is very cold out and I'm running a very full firebox, because I have a cat/tube hybrid i can get quite a good display of secondaries for a good long while.

I have often tweaked the air supply just for the sake of chasing some cool ghost flames in a dark room, with pretty good success. In that respect, I'm guessing the hybrid is probably going to be superior to the straight cat, but someone who's run both would have to confirm that.


Hybrids seem pretty cool for that reason - at least the well done ones. I've considered the FPX large flush hybrid, although it seems to have almost none of the cat benefits except cleaner emissions. Burn times on it seem = to any other 3.0 cu ft box. I wish Woodstock would make an insert!
 

branchburner

Minister of Fire
Sep 27, 2008
2,758
southern NH
With the location of our fireplace being non-ideal for heating the whole house, but 100% ideal for viewing from 3/4 of the house, flame and ambiance really are more important consideration to me than I realize it is for most here.

Take a look at this video, starting well into it at about 18:00 when he close the bypass. You see there are still pretty good flames, and then he closes back the air. At around 25:00 he shows how opening the air gets back a good flame show for viewing.

As he mentions, you are basically wasting a bit of fuel by doing this... but the way I see it, that is the same fuel you would be wasting by having a tube stove instead of a cat stove!

So as I said earlier, the cat gives you the option of greater efficiency w/ no flame viewing, or of reducing your efficiency (to burn-tube levels) to get better flame in the times you desire it for viewing. Realize, the cat is going to give you a bit more control when the weather is cool but not cold: you can opt for no flames and keep the room more comfortable by not overheating the place, burning a partial load at low air.

BTW, the Buck cats do come as inserts, and the Buck 91 in the video is huge (4.4 cu ft)...

 

branchburner

Minister of Fire
Sep 27, 2008
2,758
southern NH
I also found this video, of the same stove I own... you can see in the beginning that most of the flame is that burn-tube type that resembles a natural gas flame, but at around 4:00 you see the flame die down, and then burst back into life out of nowhere. Great stuff!

 

Dmitry

Minister of Fire
Oct 4, 2014
1,062
CT
Here is the link of my Travis hybrid just after loading . If you close air now , the show is going to be awesome . Too bad I did not record it . Not burning by this season yet . Will post later if you still need it
 

SculptureOfSound

Feeling the Heat
Sep 9, 2017
372
Wisconsin, USA
I still love that insert Dmitry, such a great view and the secondaries on it seem awesome, as per this other YT vid I found of it


Once the flames slow around 20 seconds in that vid... in your experience how long will it keep burning with a fireshow like that with a moderately full load of wood?

Also, we've only got about 1650 sq feet total, all 8 foot ceilings. The bedroom and bathroom area, about 650sq ft, is on the far end of the house, there's only about 1000sq feet of communal area (family room, kitchen/dining and living room) that I really expect to heat well with an insert - do you think the Large Flush would be too big for this area? I was thinking I could build smaller fires but thought that is less efficient and also might be hard to get the fan to kick on that way?
 
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Dmitry

Minister of Fire
Oct 4, 2014
1,062
CT
Hey , if you into this kind of fire get Travis Hibrid . It’s not going to be too big , it’s not 4 cu ft after all . And you not going to load north south, it’s not that deep.so it’s not going to be filled with 3 cu ft of wood .( As you don’t put wood against the glass). Every fire will be different and show time will wary , you will get even better show than that with full load . After this kind of fire goes away , the other kind of rolling crazy blue fires coming out of nowhere will appear . Quite often we just pause Tv and go to the insert to watch the fire. I’m not gonna give you times as yours will be different because of wood , setup etc. Travis is perfect for fireshow , good heat output , looks . The drawback is you have to keep eye on it and adjust air first hour or so. ( Not a problem if you Home ) and shallow firebox , so you can’t put a lot of wood in there , as oppose to north south load
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,717
Philadelphia
I think the management at Comcast spent less time discussing the purchase of Time Warner Cable, before they dropped $70 billion on it, than you have spent discussing the potential purchase of a $3000 stove. It's time to move on this, SoS! ;lol
 

TreeCo

Member
Feb 4, 2007
35
Jotul Firelight F600CB.

Jotul F600.JPG
 
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Dmitry

Minister of Fire
Oct 4, 2014
1,062
CT
Jotul Firelight F600CB.

View attachment 201576
I think the management at Comcast spent less time discussing the purchase of Time Warner Cable, before they dropped $70 billion on it, than you have spent discussing the potential purchase of a $3000 stove. It's time to move on this, SoS! ;lol
I’m with you , I’ve already told OP he is stressing too much about flames
 
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