Help me pick out a medium size woodstove.

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JJXB

New Member
Jul 18, 2021
11
New York State
Good morning to all. I've been a long time lurker to this site. I've had a VC Defiant for 21 years. After spring cleaning, I have decided to buy a new stove. I really didn't care for the stove since day one, with the puffing issue, access to the catalyst for cleaning, and now I have to replace the catalyst again, along with the whole refractory assembly. I don't see the sense into putting over $500 into this stove. I am heating a raised ranch, with the woodstove in the first floor. The first floor contains the garage, so half is not heated. The room the defiant sits in is a little too small for large stove that size. So my next stove will be a size down. I'm not that concerned about heating the whole house as I was in the past, as I've upgraded the main heater to an on demand condensing unit. I just can't get wood heating out of my blood. I love it.

My local searches consisted of a Hearthstone Castleton. Then a friend shared with me a facebook page, that had to be 95% negative reviews on the stove, due to quality and lack of support from the company. I also stopped at a local dealer of Hearthstone, and they echoed the same concerns, and told me they were phasing out of the brand due to support from the company.

I then had my sights on a Jotul F45 Greenville. Size was perfect. Not having a catalyst was a huge plus. But this is basically a steel stove with some cast plates hanging over it. I'm not sure if I would like a steel stove, as I have never had one (besides a diy steel barrel conversion I did back in the 70's in my parents basement). The Oslo 500 is the same size as my Defiant, so it's too big. The dealer did say, that Jotul is coming out with an all cast stove, one size down from the Oslo, it might be a 450 model. They had no more info. Anyone hear of this new model?

Then I went to a VC dealer. They had an encore on display. If I didn't know the ins and outs of a catalyst stove, I probably would have bought it. I'm still a little intrigued by it. The size is perfect. Top load and swing out ash pan, as I know are great features. The catalyst was super easy to access, and the assembly that houses it is solid, and easily accessible. It looks like it won't crumble as my old refractory assembly. And the dealer said that I can run without the cat if I so desired. I read reviews of the stove, and again the puffing problem comes to the forefront. Since my other half runs the stove when I'm home, she doesn't care to fiddle so much with correct temp to engage the cat, etc. Can someone here explain to me how this stove works without the cat as the dealer told me? Can I really run it that way? I do understand I will loose some efficiency.

Based on what I have looked at so far, does anyone have any other brand recommendations to look at, or comments on my shopping so far? I live in NYS. I appreciate the time for looking and those who respond.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,628
South Puget Sound, WA
The 2n1 VC stoves can burn in downdraft mode or with a catalyst. Though good-looking, they are still over-complicated and rely on a refractory assembly for the secondary combustion chamber.

The Jotul F45 is a good stove. In this genre, also look at the PE Alderlea T5. We had cast stoves up until getting the T6. The last was a Jotul Castine. I wasn't leery of steel stoves. They have been around for a long time and work well but my wife doesn't like the black box look. Still, the Castine was not up to heating the house in very cold weather without constant reloading and we didn't really need a radiant stove in our small living room. Temperature swings were a daily occurrence. Thus entered the T6, which is a cast-iron, jacketed, steel stove. From day one it was apparent that this was a much better fit for our house. The heat is even and without temperature swings. And I don't need to think about a rebuild every 10-15 yrs. In the past 11 yrs of service, all I have replaced is the door gasket.
 
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JJXB

New Member
Jul 18, 2021
11
New York State
The 2n1 VC stoves can burn in downdraft mode or with a catalyst. Though good-looking, they are still over-complicated and rely on a refractory assembly for the secondary combustion chamber.

The Jotul F45 is a good stove. In this genre, also look at the PE Alderlea T5. We had cast stoves up until getting the T6. The last was a Jotul Castine. I wasn't leery of steel stoves. They have been around for a long time and work well but my wife doesn't like the black box look. Still, the Castine was not up to heating the house in very cold weather without constant reloading and we didn't really need a radiant stove in our small living room. Temperature swings were a daily occurrence. Thus entered the T6, which is a cast-iron, jacketed, steel stove. From day one it was apparent that this was a much better fit for our house. The heat is even and without temperature swings. And I don't need to think about a rebuild every 10-15 yrs. In the past 11 yrs of service, all I have replaced is the door gasket.

I just looked where I could see one of these, and my local Jotul dealer carries these. I'm surprised he didn't mention this line as I was checking out the F45. Thanks for the heads up on this stove.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,628
South Puget Sound, WA
Interesting to hear the dealer talk about a 450. We had the F400 Castine which was one size down from the Oslo. I would expect them to call it an F400 v2 or v3 like they did with the F500.
 

bikedennis

New Member
Jun 21, 2021
47
Nor Cal
I'm new here and to stoves and I decided on a Woodstock. While on a road trip I stopped at a stove dealer and the sales person gave me a convincing pitch on Kuma stoves. Now after reading up on Kuma, I'm rethinking my decision. They look great. Advertised ultra clean burning, 10-14 burn time and made in USA. Anyone have a new hybrid model?
 
Last edited:

rijim

Feeling the Heat
Jan 19, 2009
250
RI
The PE Alderlea is a proven stove, take a closer look if you have ruled out a cat stove. I have an employee with one of these and has nothing but good things to say about it. It would have been my next stove if the wife didn’t agree to the BK cat stove.
 

buc74

Burning Hunk
Oct 16, 2012
150
Fort Atkinson, WI
I'm new here and to stoves and I decided on a Woodstock. While on a road trip I stopped at a stove dealer and the sales person gave me a convincing pitch on Kuma stoves. Now after reading up on Kuma, I'm rethinking my decision. They look great. Advertised ultra clean burning, 10-14 burn time and made in USA. Anyone have a new hybrid model?
I have the Kuma Alpine and love it. Gets 8-11 burns between loading, CS at Kuma is outstanding, as is the warranty.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,628
South Puget Sound, WA
Congratulations. When do you take delivery?
 
Jun 1, 2019
59
MN
The dealer did say, that Jotul is coming out with an all cast stove, one size down from the Oslo, it might be a 450 model. They had no more info. Anyone hear of this new model?

I haven't heard anything about it, but it might be a really nice size.

I have the old non-cat 400 Castine. I like it a lot, but it's not an overnight burner or really a full-time heater (at least in my climate).

Bumping up the size just a little bit might turn it from a 4-6ish hour stove into a 8 hour stove without making the footprint huge.

The other stove I really like that's similar to the Jotul F45 is Morso's 7110. The Morso doesn't jump out in photos, but when I saw it in the showroom the fit and finish was outstanding.
 

JJXB

New Member
Jul 18, 2021
11
New York State
Update over the past six weeks. I sold my old VC Defiant for $400. Fair price considering it needed.

With the new stove, my wife and I decided to redo the whole room. The wall where my stove sits was brick from top to bottom. Covered it up with sheetrock. Then built a raised hearth with porcelain tile, and tiled the wall behind to the ceiling. Next up is paint the room, then put down a laminate floating floor. Again, thanks to everyone who chimed in. The T5 was lit last night for the first time; we were both very impressed with the operation. My wife kept saying how it looked like there was no glass on the door.

brick wall.PNG new setup.PNG
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,628
South Puget Sound, WA
Nicely done. You folks are going to love the nice fire view.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,970
Long Island NY
Looks very nice. I'm jealous :)

Clearance to the back wall (which, if you went from brick (and no studs?) to drywall, has just decreased) still ok?
 

JJXB

New Member
Jul 18, 2021
11
New York State
Behind the old brick wall was a studded wall. Determined that comparing the depth of the room to the room next door. The sheetrock was just glued to the brick. And have that ceramic tile wall there now too. Clearance to combustibles in the rear is 8", I have 12" to the tile. All is good.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,628
South Puget Sound, WA
There's just one thing wrong with the picture. We like to see FIRE! :ZZZ:cool:
 
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JJXB

New Member
Jul 18, 2021
11
New York State
One pic was from a camera, the other a screenshot from a video I shot.

Can anyone explain the airflow on the T5? The diagram provided was the only thing I can find.
The lever in the front feeds to bottom front air inlet. My question is, what is the vertical tube in the
back? Is that a secondary that cannot be controlled, and feeds the tubes on the top? Where does the
air that comes down the front of the glass came from?

fire 2.PNG airflow.PNG fire.PNG
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,628
South Puget Sound, WA
That looks more like it. Looks great.
The tube in the rear feeds air to the secondary air distribution in the bottom of the baffle. It is regulated by the EBT2. The ceramic glass gets it's air via the primary air supply I believe. There is one other air supply, that is the boost air which feed the front of the fire at the bottom of the firebox. It is unregulated and gets its air from a small hole on the bottom of the stove in the front.