Going back to wood...

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au2183

Member
Dec 30, 2007
44
southern Maine
Hi,
I’m new here in the wood stove forum, but not to Hearth.com. Back in ‘05 - ‘06 I spent some time here getting input on a pellet stove. That’s served us well but is starting to get costly to maintain. That and recent power outages have convinced me to go back to burning wood.
We currently have a 2006 Enviro Empress free standing pellet stove that will be sold as soon as I get the new control board and get her fired up again. I’ll post a picture as soon as I’m able to do so. It’s already had both fans replaced.
The Empress is rated for 35k btu, and heats our 2100 sq ft raised ranch well until temperatures dip down near zero and/or the wind really blows. All by itself the temperature upstairs is usually 4-8 degrees cooler depending on how cold it is outside. For several years, at my wife’s request, we had a second one on the upper floor at the opposite end of the house. Together we were very toasty all the time. The upstairs stove burned about a ton a year, and 2 1/2 to 3 tons downstairs.
Now the upstairs Empress resides at my youngest daughters house, where it drives them out of their super insulated cape. It’s been replaced by an 18k Mitsubishi air source heat pump. That’s been our upstairs backup and our air conditioner for 2 years now and it’s great so far. Very cheap to run for heat and A/C.
I’m looking at replacing the Empress with a Woodstock Soapstone Fireview. I’m hoping it will heat our entire house without driving us out, and I believe it will despite our previous experience.
Prior to the Empress we had a Jøtul 3CB on the hearth that we bought new. That stove got us through the ice storm of ‘98 when we had no power for 10 days. But it was extremely hard to regulate and we didn’t use it much because it would drive us out of the house without a window open. Consequently it didn’t get used a lot, and when oil went up in price I sold it and installed the Empress. I didn’t put 5 cords through it in 10 years. We only used it when it was really cold.
I wanted soapstone when I bought the Jøtul but just didn’t have the money at the time. I believe I’d still have it though if I had. I’m looking forward to any input I can get. Anyone have a similar situation, or seen one? A friend of mine in northern Maine has had a soapstone stove for about 40 years now, and the thing that always impresses me about it is how even the heat is. Unlike cast iron stoves I can actually stand or sit near that one comfortably.
The rest of the plan is to also add a second heat pump downstairs, as well as a heat pump water heater, and eliminate my oil boiler altogether. I can’t wait to get oil off my property! The heat pumps will be used in the warmer parts of the shoulder seasons, and when we’re gone too long to maintain a fire. Solar panels are in the long range plans to make us completely independent hopefully.
We live in southern Maine near Sebago Lake, for the past 24 years. Prior to that we lived in northern Maine, where we always burned wood as a major heat source, so I have lots of experience with wood, but not with soapstone. We’ve had 3 steel stoves and a beautiful red Resolute Acclaim back in the early 90’s that we loved. Our busy lifestyles got us away from wood, but the kids are in their 30’s now and we’re close to retirement age. I’ve actually been disabled from the past 9 years and my wife has been handling the pellets because I can’t handle 40 lbs. I can handle a couple splits though.
We have a field stone hearth at the north end of the house with an exterior brick chimney with a 4” SS liner in it currently that will be pulled. I’l have the chimney cleaned and inspected but I’ll do my own install with the help of my SIL. I used to turn wrenches in the wood harvesting industry so I’m well versed, just not as physically capable as I used to be.
I plan to drive to NH to get the stove at the factory and take a little tour. I have looked at other soapstone stoves but haven’t found a stove or a manufacturer that I like the look of nearly as much. Perhaps someone has some input on that? I’ve done a bunch of reading here and I can’t seem to find anything bad about Woodstock or their products. Am I missing something?
My hope is that with a small convection fan on the stove we won’t need to run the heat pump upstairs 95% of the time and we’ll still be able to sit in the family room where the stove is and enjoy it. What do you guys think? I’ll post a picture of my hearth as soon as I can. I uploaded one but it’s being reviewed.
Thanks for your time!
 

toddnic

Minister of Fire
Jul 13, 2013
782
North Carolina
We have just over 2000 sq. ft. in our ranch style single level home and the Woodstock Soapstone Progress Hybrid heats the entire house. We almost never use our supplemental propane furnace. Woodstock does a phenomenal job on their stoves as well as with customer service. I'm not that familiar with the Fireview stove however. The Woodstock website says that it heats up to 1,600 sq. ft. Now, Woodstock is normally conservative on their numbers but you might want to consider one of their stoves that heat a larger sq. ft. area. They have a couple of other stoves, including the Progress Hybrid, that will heat a larger area.
 
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weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,805
Central Mass
My sister lives in Maine and she has the fireview. Her house is about 1600 sf ranch and it heats the whole house. I actually tried to talk her out of buying that one and going bigger but she didn't and is very happy with her choice.
 
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au2183

Member
Dec 30, 2007
44
southern Maine
We have just over 2000 sq. ft. in our ranch style single level home and the Woodstock Soapstone Progress Hybrid heats the entire house. We almost never use our supplemental propane furnace. Woodstock does a phenomenal job on their stoves as well as with customer service. I'm not that familiar with the Fireview stove however. The Woodstock website says that it heats up to 1,600 sq. ft. Now, Woodstock is normally conservative on their numbers but you might want to consider one of their stoves that heat a larger sq. ft. area. They have a couple of other stoves, including the Progress Hybrid, that will heat a larger area.

Thanks for your input toddnic. I love your Progress btw! It’s a beautiful stove and a gorgeous install. That’s actually my second choice, but I want to talk to the folks at Woodstock and see it in person first. I’d have to do quite a bit of work to make that stove a safe installation in my case, when the Fireview is a perfect fit for setbacks, etc. I realize it’s only rated for 1600 sq ft, but I only have 1000 on the lower level where it will be. The rest is directly above and we’ve had great luck with the heat making it upstairs, especially with a ceiling fan at the top of the stairs.
Also, it’s rated at 10k more btu than my Empress, which heats the house nicely except for in the very coldest weather. I think the Fireview will outperform it considering the experience we had with our last wood stove. The 3CB is a smaller stove I believe and that was too much most of the time.
Our house was built in the 70’s with electric baseboard, and is pretty tight and heats easily compared to the average home now, and we’re planning some window replacements and insulation upgrades in the attic. This is part of our plan to get the place as maintenance free and cheap to run as possible before the wife retires.
Bottom line, I’m afraid the Progress is too big for my space but I’m not 100% convinced yet. I know it will burn low also but I’m afraid I’d be running it like that constantly and never really use the secondary burn efficiently. How down yours do in the shoulder seasons?

My sister lives in Maine and she has the fireview. Her house is about 1600 sf ranch and it heats the whole house. I actually tried to talk her out of buying that one and going bigger but she didn't and is very happy with her choice.

Thank you for that weatherguy! Is it a new house, and do you know how much wood she uses? I’m assuming it’s the primary heat source?
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,266
Southern IN
In soapstone, I would go with a PH in that size home and climate unless the air-sealing and insulation is extraordinary. I'm going with one of their steel stoves next, as I'd like to have welded seams that will never leak. I'd think a complete rebuild would be needed on a stoner a lot sooner than 40 yrs. I haven't seen their steel stoves yet but I sure like the quality and engineering of the two straight cats I have run so I think I'll be equally impressed with their steel stoves. I gotta have a grated ash-handling system..another reason I will get another Woodstock. I might get a tube stove as a backup (even after I get a mini-split,) just to try one out.
 
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Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,266
Southern IN
it’s rated at 10k more btu than my Empress, which heats the house nicely except for in the very coldest weather. I think the Fireview will outperform it considering the experience we had with our last wood stove. The 3CB is a smaller stove I believe and that was too much most of the time.
The Fireview is IMHO a cool-looking stove, and a pleasure to run and maintain (except the seams.) I kept the Keystone and my BIL got the Fireview, because I wanted the ash grate and bigger glass. The steel stoves would give you another gear for when it gets cold and windy, but with your weatherization upgrades you should do OK with the Fv. That baby will crank out some heat, now.. ==c
 
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firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,407
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I have no doubt that somewhere in Michigan right now there is a certain old fella sitting in front of his Fireview still enjoying both the beauty and the heat . . . and telling anyone who will listen that splitting wood vertically while sitting on a milk crate is truly the best way to split one's wood.

Woodstocks are well loved by most folks here . . . in fact their Progress Hybrid is the one stove that made me reconsider my purchase. Their customer service is well known . . . it's truly hard to go wrong with them.
 

au2183

Member
Dec 30, 2007
44
southern Maine
In soapstone, I would go with a PH in that size home and climate unless the air-sealing and insulation is extraordinary. I'm going with one of their steel stoves next, as I'd like to have welded seams that will never leak. I'd think a complete rebuild would be needed on a stoner a lot sooner than 40 yrs. I haven't seen their steel stoves yet but I sure like the quality and engineering of the two straight cats I have run so I think I'll be equally impressed with their steel stoves. I gotta have a grated ash-handling system..another reason I will get another Woodstock. I might get a tube stove as a backup (even after I get a mini-split,) just to try one out.

The Fireview is IMHO a cool-looking stove, and a pleasure to run and maintain (except the seams.) I kept the Keystone and my BIL got the Fireview, because I wanted the ash grate and bigger glass. The steel stoves would give you another gear for when it gets cold and windy, but with your weatherization upgrades you should do OK with the Fv. That baby will crank out some heat, now.. ==c

Hi Woody! I was hoping you would chime in once I saw your sig. Sounds like you had some leakage issues with your Fv that caused you to pass it on? I’d be interested in hearing about it if you don’t mind.
I can’t say my friends has never been rebuilt btw. It probably has but that’s not something that scares me at all providing I’m not doing it every other season. I hear what you’re saying about a welded steel box though.
I’ve had stoves with and without an ash pan, and they’re convenient unless you happen to get one that leaks air, which I definitely wouldn’t expect in a Woodstock stove. I don’t really mind going without anyway. I’ve spent more time maintaining this pellet stove than I thought necessary and that’s part of the reason for going back to wood. So I’m looking for simple and reliable, not necessarily indestructible lol.
Service is a huge issue for me as well. I do my own and find a lot of dealers don’t like dealing with DIY guys. They keep saying how complicated they are and I tell them they should try working on wood harvesting equipment, then compare lol. I don’t think I’ll have that issue with Woodstock will I? They’re only a 3 hour drive away if necessary, which I feel pretty good about vs BC Canada where my pellet stove came from. From a manufacturer that refuses to communicate with end users. I won’t make that mistake again, so that narrows the field considerably.
 

au2183

Member
Dec 30, 2007
44
southern Maine
I have no doubt that somewhere in Michigan right now there is a certain old fella sitting in front of his Fireview still enjoying both the beauty and the heat . . . and telling anyone who will listen that splitting wood vertically while sitting on a milk crate is truly the best way to split one's wood.

Woodstocks are well loved by most folks here . . . in fact their Progress Hybrid is the one stove that made me reconsider my purchase. Their customer service is well known . . . it's truly hard to go wrong with them.

Thanks jake. There does seem to be a lot of them around.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,580
South Puget Sound, WA
Woodstock lately has been developing steel stoves. They are work considering. There are no blowers on Woodstock stoves however. If you need to improve convection you'll need to do this by other means or choose a different stove company.
 
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Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,266
Southern IN
Sounds like you had some leakage issues with your Fv that caused you to pass it on? I’d be interested in hearing about it if you don’t mind.
I can’t say my friends has never been rebuilt btw. It probably has but that’s not something that scares me at all providing I’m not doing it every other season. I hear what you’re saying about a welded steel box though.
I’ve had stoves with and without an ash pan, and they’re convenient unless you happen to get one that leaks air, which I definitely wouldn’t expect in a Woodstock stove. I don’t really mind going without anyway. I’ve spent more time maintaining this pellet stove than I thought necessary and that’s part of the reason for going back to wood. So I’m looking for simple and reliable, not necessarily indestructible lol.
Service is a huge issue for me as well. I do my own and find a lot of dealers don’t like dealing with DIY guys. They keep saying how complicated they are and I tell them they should try working on wood harvesting equipment, then compare lol. I don’t think I’ll have that issue with Woodstock will I? They’re only a 3 hour drive away if necessary, which I feel pretty good about vs BC Canada where my pellet stove came from. From a manufacturer that refuses to communicate with end users. I won’t make that mistake again, so that narrows the field considerably.
I got the Keystone first. It was one of the stoves that begreen mentioned when I discovered the forum and decided to get a new stove. I'm glad he got me thinking along those lines. :) I already knew a bit about Woodstock since my SIL had bought a Fireview used, and that's where I first saw the heavy-duty parts and the design features built into their stoves, things like all cast iron parts in the top of the stove and the ease of cumbustor removal for dusting..lift the lid, pull it out..it took all of three seconds. >> Her 10 yr. old stove had some air leaks but I'm convinced that it was over-fired more than once by the original owners..the combustor scoop was warped but thankfully none of the other components in the top of the stove were damaged, owing I think to the heavy-duty construction of these stoves. Woodstock parts prices are reasonable, so that helps as well.
A while after I got the Keystone I noticed that the box was leaking a bit of air from the front/right vertical seam. When conditions were right in the box, the oxygen coming in through that seam would ignite the smoke in that area. Sure, I could have returned the stove under their six-month 'no questions asked' warranty, but I just got a tube of their furnace cement and ran a new bead over that seam. BTW, their cement, made in house, is great stuff..super-tacky and stringy. Highly recommended.
Well, after the first winter with the stove, I began second-guessing weather I had gotten a big enough stove. Even though I live in a milder climate than yours, our house has no wall insulation and had a bunch of air leaks. Woodstock had a pretty good sale on the Fireview, and I snapped one up. It definitely had another gear of heat output above the Keystone. But as I eventually started getting some of the worst air leaks in the house sealed up, I began to have more confidence in the ability of the Keystone to do the job. As I said, I liked the ash grate and the big window of the Keystone so I ended up selling the Fireview to my BIL, to replace his old Vermont Castings Resolute III, which now resides in his basement fireplace. I got hooked on the ash grate on my previous stove, the Dutchwest 2460. But no, the Fireview never had a problem with any air leaks, and is still tight as a drum seven years later. If the prospect of an eventual rebuild doesn't scare you, and you like the soapstone, go for it..you will be glad you did. Woodstock realizes that with no dealer network, they have to step up to the plate when owners need assistance. They are a pleasure to deal with, and will go the extra mile to make sure their customers stay happy. I'm somewhat handy and would rather just do any needed work myself, and try to do it right, than to roll the dice with a local dealer. There are a lot of horror stories here of installers and dealers that wouldn't know their ass if it was handed to them. ;hm
If I lived as close to the plant as you do, I would be all over the tours of the facility that they offer (as you mentioned,) where you can see how the stoves are made and meet the folks that make 'em.
As begreen pointed out, there are no blowers on the Woodstocks. However, all stoves are a combination of convective and radiant heat output. If you need to move more heated air to other parts of the house, a small 8" fan on low, blowing cool air along the floor and into the stove room will set up a convection loop that will move heat. I've even heard of some folks using the same small fan on low to move air under the stove and pull additional heat off of it. The better sealed and insulated your house is, the less of an issue moving warm air around will be, as the issue will tend to take care of itself when various rooms are closer to each other in temperature. Besides, your house doesn't sound huge, where moving heat is going to be a problem. I'm not a big fan of fan noise to begin with, even though some blowers on stoves that I have heard, like on the Lopi Liberty, are very quiet. But it sounds like you already know what to expect with regard to how heat will move through the house. With your upgrades, heat pumps etc. it sounds like you should be comfy. When the power goes out, of course, it will be up to the main stove to carry the load, and you may have to move a bit closer to the stove. ==c We both sit within 6-8' of our stove location, and never get roasted out by the stone stoves.
I like your plan of increasing your independence from "the man," and a stove can definitely help you toward that goal. BTW, where is your wood going to be coming from, your property or a supplier?
Now, I have to issue a disclaimer here; I am such a rabid fanboy of the Woodstock company that I have even been known from time to time to decry and deride other stove brands for their over-priced and under-performing products, as well as their cheesy design and its execution, not to mention their flimsy construction and other shortcomings..so take everything I say with a grain of salt. ;lol
 
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rdust

Minister of Fire
Feb 9, 2009
4,580
Michigan
I have no doubt that somewhere in Michigan right now there is a certain old fella sitting in front of his Fireview still enjoying both the beauty and the heat . . . and telling anyone who will listen that splitting wood vertically while sitting on a milk crate is truly the best way to split one's wood.

Woodstocks are well loved by most folks here . . . in fact their Progress Hybrid is the one stove that made me reconsider my purchase. Their customer service is well known . . . it's truly hard to go wrong with them.

He has everything right except that vertical splitting thing! ;lol
 
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weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,805
Central Mass
Thanks for your input toddnic. I love your Progress btw! It’s a beautiful stove and a gorgeous install. That’s actually my second choice, but I want to talk to the folks at Woodstock and see it in person first. I’d have to do quite a bit of work to make that stove a safe installation in my case, when the Fireview is a perfect fit for setbacks, etc. I realize it’s only rated for 1600 sq ft, but I only have 1000 on the lower level where it will be. The rest is directly above and we’ve had great luck with the heat making it upstairs, especially with a ceiling fan at the top of the stairs.
Also, it’s rated at 10k more btu than my Empress, which heats the house nicely except for in the very coldest weather. I think the Fireview will outperform it considering the experience we had with our last wood stove. The 3CB is a smaller stove I believe and that was too much most of the time.
Our house was built in the 70’s with electric baseboard, and is pretty tight and heats easily compared to the average home now, and we’re planning some window replacements and insulation upgrades in the attic. This is part of our plan to get the place as maintenance free and cheap to run as possible before the wife retires.
Bottom line, I’m afraid the Progress is too big for my space but I’m not 100% convinced yet. I know it will burn low also but I’m afraid I’d be running it like that constantly and never really use the secondary burn efficiently. How down yours do in the shoulder seasons?



Thank you for that weatherguy! Is it a new house, and do you know how much wood she uses? I’m assuming it’s the primary heat source?
She averages just under 4 cords a year, she burned more with her older stove, I tried to talk her into the PH or the IS but she's been really happy with her stove. I don't think she ever uses the oil furnace other than for hot water.
 
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au2183

Member
Dec 30, 2007
44
southern Maine
I got the Keystone first. It was one of the stoves that begreen mentioned when I discovered the forum and decided to get a new stove. I'm glad he got me thinking along those lines. :) I already knew a bit about Woodstock since my SIL had bought a Fireview used, and that's where I first saw the heavy-duty parts and the design features built into their stoves, things like all cast iron parts in the top of the stove and the ease of cumbustor removal for dusting..lift the lid, pull it out..it took all of three seconds. >> Her 10 yr. old stove had some air leaks but I'm convinced that it was over-fired more than once by the original owners..the combustor scoop was warped but thankfully none of the other components in the top of the stove were damaged, owing I think to the heavy-duty construction of these stoves. Woodstock parts prices are reasonable, so that helps as well.
A while after I got the Keystone I noticed that the box was leaking a bit of air from the front/right vertical seam. When conditions were right in the box, the oxygen coming in through that seam would ignite the smoke in that area. Sure, I could have returned the stove under their six-month 'no questions asked' warranty, but I just got a tube of their furnace cement and ran a new bead over that seam. BTW, their cement, made in house, is great stuff..super-tacky and stringy. Highly recommended.
Well, after the first winter with the stove, I began second-guessing weather I had gotten a big enough stove. Even though I live in a milder climate than yours, our house has no wall insulation and had a bunch of air leaks. Woodstock had a pretty good sale on the Fireview, and I snapped one up. It definitely had another gear of heat output above the Keystone. But as I eventually started getting some of the worst air leaks in the house sealed up, I began to have more confidence in the ability of the Keystone to do the job. As I said, I liked the ash grate and the big window of the Keystone so I ended up selling the Fireview to my BIL, to replace his old Vermont Castings Resolute III, which now resides in his basement fireplace. I got hooked on the ash grate on my previous stove, the Dutchwest 2460. But no, the Fireview never had a problem with any air leaks, and is still tight as a drum seven years later. If the prospect of an eventual rebuild doesn't scare you, and you like the soapstone, go for it..you will be glad you did. Woodstock realizes that with no dealer network, they have to step up to the plate when owners need assistance. They are a pleasure to deal with, and will go the extra mile to make sure their customers stay happy. I'm somewhat handy and would rather just do any needed work myself, and try to do it right, than to roll the dice with a local dealer. There are a lot of horror stories here of installers and dealers that wouldn't know their ass if it was handed to them. ;hm
If I lived as close to the plant as you do, I would be all over the tours of the facility that they offer (as you mentioned,) where you can see how the stoves are made and meet the folks that make 'em.
As begreen pointed out, there are no blowers on the Woodstocks. However, all stoves are a combination of convective and radiant heat output. If you need to move more heated air to other parts of the house, a small 8" fan on low, blowing cool air along the floor and into the stove room will set up a convection loop that will move heat. I've even heard of some folks using the same small fan on low to move air under the stove and pull additional heat off of it. The better sealed and insulated your house is, the less of an issue moving warm air around will be, as the issue will tend to take care of itself when various rooms are closer to each other in temperature. Besides, your house doesn't sound huge, where moving heat is going to be a problem. I'm not a big fan of fan noise to begin with, even though some blowers on stoves that I have heard, like on the Lopi Liberty, are very quiet. But it sounds like you already know what to expect with regard to how heat will move through the house. With your upgrades, heat pumps etc. it sounds like you should be comfy. When the power goes out, of course, it will be up to the main stove to carry the load, and you may have to move a bit closer to the stove. ==c We both sit within 6-8' of our stove location, and never get roasted out by the stone stoves.
I like your plan of increasing your independence from "the man," and a stove can definitely help you toward that goal. BTW, where is your wood going to be coming from, your property or a supplier?
Now, I have to issue a disclaimer here; I am such a rabid fanboy of the Woodstock company that I have even been known from time to time to decry and deride other stove brands for their over-priced and under-performing products, as well as their cheesy design and its execution, not to mention their flimsy construction and other shortcomings..so take everything I say with a grain of salt. ;lol

Thank you Woody! That’s exactly what I was looking for, a real life story with the good and the bad, and you gave me more than one. I can see why you’re such a fan boy and I may be well on my way too. I really appreciate your input! You’ve reinforced my positive view of Woodstock, and that’s critical. The fact that they’re a New England company helps a lot also, especially being next door. I want this to be our last stove purchase, so figure a 20 + year life or so hopefully. As a last resort there’s always the six month warranty. If it’s too small that’s a chance to upgrade but I doubt it will ever happen.
The wife and I were just discussing the stove size issue, and she says in the rare instance that it’s -30 outside and the power goes out, she doesn’t mind hanging out down by the stove at all. We both want to spend a lot of time down there even when it’s not that cold, so we’re also concerned about going too big.
As far as wood, I have about 2 cords of dry split that’s 2 years old now, about 3 more that was just cut in late November but needs to be cut up and split. It was mostly a huge oak so that will be 3 years. I’m also buying a few cords of local “dry” in March to mix in along the way. I’ll probably buy 5 cords this year, 5 next, and settle in to what I’m using minus a few dozen beech trees I’ll be cutting on my own property, a few at a time. I hired out the oak it was so big. I’m really looking forward to that one.
We burned 8 cords a year up north and always bought one year ahead. First year outside, second covered outside and then about a month right across from a beast of an add on wood boiler that tended to kiln dry it from there lol. I figure once I get to all 3 year old splits I’ll be covered so the first couple years will be a bit more challenging maybe. I won’t be burning anything green though, I have a meter and will use it.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,407
Unity/Bangor, Maine
He has everything right except that vertical splitting thing! ;lol

HehHeh . . . I was thinking of another guy who used to hang out here who was a huge Woodstock fan . . . and a fan of vertical splitting which I never could get used to doing.
 
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fire_man

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
2,466
North Eastern MA
I have no doubt that somewhere in Michigan right now there is a certain old fella sitting in front of his Fireview still enjoying both the beauty and the heat . . . and telling anyone who will listen that splitting wood vertically while sitting on a milk crate is truly the best way to split one's wood.

Yup those were the good old days - and thanks to that certain old fella I learned about the Cant hook which saved my back and tricks of the trade operating the Fireview properly.
 
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rdust

Minister of Fire
Feb 9, 2009
4,580
Michigan
Yup those were the good old days - and thanks the that certain old fella I learned about the Cant hook which saved my back and tricks of the trade operating the Fireview properly.

Yes, him and his “ornery wife” are good people. :)
 
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au2183

Member
Dec 30, 2007
44
southern Maine
I appreciate all the great information guys! Just what I expected here. You have me considering the Progress Hybrid very seriously. I need to talk to Woodstock and get their input, but if they think it won’t be too much for my situation I might go that way instead of the Fireview.
My wife is mainly interested in a pretty stove with a big fire viewing window, so Im sure once she sees the PH in person she will want it. She likes the looks of both in the brochure equally well. Price is a little higher than I’d like but I see it as an investment. I know the ROI will be good on either.
Again, my only concerns are overheating my house and safety on my hearth. I’ll need to rip up some rug around the hearth and put down some tile to meet requirements I believe, but that’s not too bad. That should take care of it. My hearth is 18” thick behind the stove, up against cement, and the upper portion is 10” thick. The base is 64” wide by 39” deep by 9” thick, on cement. I think I can set the stove back as close to the hearth as possible, but I’ll still be a little close on the side and possibly the front, although I didn’t see a front setback. Maybe because there’s no front door?
Does that sound right to you guys?
With the dimensions on the Fireview, I would have exactly the required setbacks front and rear, but no more. It’s not as deep or wide as the PH, but the Fv is rear outlet only so the PH should be able to sit closer.
Woodstock claims the widest spread of EPA output as well as the highest. What do the current owners here say about that? I know some of you have replaced smaller Woodstock stoves. Have any of you found this stove too big? Can you run it at a low fire rate a lot without issue?
 

toddnic

Minister of Fire
Jul 13, 2013
782
North Carolina
ottom line, I’m afraid the Progress is too big for my space but I’m not 100% convinced yet. I know it will burn low also but I’m afraid I’d be running it like that constantly and never really use the secondary burn efficiently. How down yours do in the shoulder seasons?
I think that you will really like the Progress Hybrid. I can run it hard and hot when needed to get us through the really cold nights, but I can also run it slow as well. For instance, in the shoulder season, I'll start a fire in the early morning using soft wood (pine, hemlock, poplar) and only fill the firebox half full. The fire will burn out after a few hours but the soapstone will continue radiating heat for a few more hours. This keeps the house comfortable without making it too hot. Also, when you need to run the stove hard, I fill mine with red oak or locust and it will burn for 12 to 14 hours. I love that I don't have to mess with it every few hours like my old "smoke dragon."

FYI, I burn wood solely to heat our house. Rarely ever use the gas furnace. Our home is at 4,000 ft. elevation so we get some fairly cold weather in the western NC mountains. Using the PH, I burn between 2 1/2 to 3 cords of wood each year. A significant difference from the amount of wood burned in the "smoke dragon" days.
 
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Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,266
Southern IN
I’m also buying a few cords of local “dry” in March to mix in along the way. I’ll probably buy 5 cords this year, 5 next, We burned 8 cords a year up north
I would expect your wood usage to be down significantly. Under 4 cords may even be possible, I don't know. Buying wood for the Fireview might be a little tougher, as most guys cut to 18" or more, and 16" is really what you want. Not sure how long you cut for the PH, but you want at least an inch or so between the sides of the box and the wood so that the fire can work around a new load at startup and heat the flue and the top re-burn section of the stove well.
You have me considering the Progress Hybrid very seriously. I need to talk to Woodstock and get their input, but if they think it won’t be too much for my situation I might go that way instead of the Fireview.
My wife is mainly interested in a pretty stove with a big fire viewing window, so Im sure once she sees the PH in person she will want it. She likes the looks of both in the brochure equally well...Can you run it at a low fire rate a lot without issue?
Yep, even though it's a little more initial outlay, I would go PH if they think it will do what you want it to. As toddnic says, you can cut it back to a cat-only burn when you don't need as much heat, so I think they will tell you not to worry about roasting yourselves out. I'd want the bigger window and the ash grate if it was me. A big window lets you see what's going on with the fire a lot easier when starting a load, and gives you a nice view when you cruise with flame in the box. A lot of folks say they don't mind shoveling out ashes but those who now have a stove with a grate rave about it, and don't want to go back. It's quite a bit more work moving coals around in the box to save them, trying to contain the dust, having to carry a hot pan outside right now, etc.
 
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Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,266
Southern IN
The 'used Fireview' thread reminded me that the owners with PH ash grates also report less ash buildup on the face of the cat. I might even be inclined to try running the screen in the PH to reduce the need for brushing the cat even further, even though I think they recommend not using the screen. I'd have to talk to them to find out what their reasoning is..
 
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au2183

Member
Dec 30, 2007
44
southern Maine
I spoke with someone at Woodstock today, gave them all my specifics, and they said the Progress would be too large for my needs. The IS was actually their top recommendation, with the Fireview coming in second.
My wife is firm on aesthetics, and she doesn’t like what she sees of the steel stoves online. Honestly, I could go either way, but we have to agree, and we both love soapstone.
Considering the weather this weekend we’ve decided to make a day trip tomorrow to Woodstock to check out the stoves in person and make a final decision. Hopefully the wife and I can agree on a stove and that will be it. I’ll let you know the outcome.
I really appreciate everyone’s opinions and want you to know they all help in my final decision. Thank you all very much!
 
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fire_man

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
2,466
North Eastern MA
The 'used Fireview' thread reminded me that the owners with PH ash grates also report less ash buildup on the face of the cat. I might even be inclined to try running the screen in the PH to reduce the need for brushing the cat even further, even though I think they recommend not using the screen. I'd have to talk to them to find out what their reasoning is..

The sceen was clogging even more often than the cat. And the cat is easier to clean.
 

Calentarse

Feeling the Heat
Feb 25, 2011
444
MD
My parents have a Progress Hybrid because they needed rear vent and wanted to.upgrade to a more efficient stove. It's beautiful and they like it. Glass is huge and stays clean. Love the side load and the grated bottom. (my stove has a plug which I do not prefer). Their house is 2300square feet, leaky farm house, and they can't keep it heated on our coldest nights (single digits) even in our climate (MD). Hope that helps you. If I were you, I'd scale up on the size of the stove. Just being able to put longer wood in would have me sold! I'm jealous of the length splits he puts in that thing!
 
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