Ideal Steel question

jeromehdmc

Member
Mar 1, 2009
212
Kansas City
I've been burning a little Scan Anderson A10 for quite a few years now. I am constantly amazed on how efficient this little stove is and just how much heat it can crank out. It's time now to get a stove with a longer burn time. I have settled on an Ideal Steel and am wanting to order before their prices go up in May. I have a few questions for you guys that are running one. First off are you happy with it? Are the soapstone side inserts a good thing or not, I am leaning toward them for the heat sink effect and also for looks too. I'm up in the air about the ash pan, is it useful or could you live without it?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,290
South Puget Sound, WA
There are very few complaints about this stove other than its looks. It's well designed and a serious heater. Sounds like you want the soapstone sides, so go for it. I am not a big fan of ashpans. Fires seem to burn best on a bed of ashes but others like them if they are well designed and the ash pan is large.
 
Feb 2, 2020
231
Madison, WI
I've been burning a little Scan Anderson A10 for quite a few years now. I am constantly amazed on how efficient this little stove is and just how much heat it can crank out. It's time now to get a stove with a longer burn time. I have settled on an Ideal Steel and am wanting to order before their prices go up in May. I have a few questions for you guys that are running one. First off are you happy with it? Are the soapstone side inserts a good thing or not, I am leaning toward them for the heat sink effect and also for looks too. I'm up in the air about the ash pan, is it useful or could you live without it?
Going on year #2 with my Ideal Steel and no complaints thus far! As far as burn times are concerned, they are generous depending on what wood you put in the firebox and how stuffed you can get it. With a 3.2 cf firebox, on paper that sounds great but here's my only dislike about the stove: the roof of the firebox is slanted towards the back. That's just how they designed the secondary burn area. Unfortunately with that slanted roof you lose a bit of space overall so packing the wood in can be interesting at times especially when dealing with larger pieces of wood or non uniform pieces of wood (knots, crotches, shorts, etc). But regarding the burn time, even with the slant you will easily get 8-12 hrs most of the year burning dry hardwoods. Easy 8 hours as well even with softwoods. You'll always have enough coals in the morning to restart too so that's a plus!

I personally don't know if the "thermal mass" produced by all that soapstone really does anything for heating your home/stove room except for the fact that I do feel it keeps the stove warmer even if a fire has died out. I do not think there will be a huge advantage one way or the other if you line your firebox with the brick or soapstone blocks. For my stove I got the soapstone blocks and while they were pretty looking before the first fire, you couldn't even tell what color they are these days due to the soot and char on them. They're going to get super dirty and stay that way is what I'm saying :) The panels on each side of the stove though are nice. Are you getting some of the custom artwork on the stove as well? It looks very nice with the big soapstone panel behind it.

Ash pan, hell yes you will want the ash pan. And actually, buy 2. Trust me, worth it so much!!! Some species of wood, like cherry, are notorious for making ash. When I get into my cords of cherry (when I have them) and am burning that for weeks and weeks, I literally will have to dump the ash pan almost every other day due to the ash produced. It is much nicer having it go into the ash pan and then dumping that rather than trying to scoop tons of ash out every day to make room for wood!

Overall, I would give the stove 9.5/10 stars. It only loses a bit due to the slanted roof in the firebox sometimes making it a challenge to properly fill it like you'd want to. But you cannot beat the ease of use (including ash removal option and the air control) as well as a very good hybrid design that does burn super clean. This year was my first year using a cap with a screen on it and although blackened from use, there has not been one clogging issue and I know there were crappy (wet) pieces of wood that went through the stove this year. The firebox will get really dirty and have build up but the chimney remains super clean (didn't even have a cup of soot last year after sweeping) and in my case this year, the cap as well. The catalyst is super easy to access and clean and maintain as well.

I would say you would be safe in ordering one ASAP before the price increase. When ordering, do remember that they ship freight so it will not (likely) be delivered to your house. It should be shipped to a nearby freight depot where you will have to pick it up. These things weigh around 700 lbs crated so make sure you have a good truck or a trailer to take it home. Once you get it home, if possible, do the new stove smell burn in fires outside to lessen the smells that a new stove will give off once it's inside. To bring the stove in, make sure you have a very heavy duty dolly to move it into your house. You will want a couple of people to help you. Otherwise I would recommend movers to get it in or call your local stove store to have them move it.

Hope my novel here helps! :cool:
 
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Sailrmike

Feeling the Heat
Sep 20, 2017
263
06371
Going on year #2 with my Ideal Steel and no complaints thus far! As far as burn times are concerned, they are generous depending on what wood you put in the firebox and how stuffed you can get it. With a 3.2 cf firebox, on paper that sounds great but here's my only dislike about the stove: the roof of the firebox is slanted towards the back. That's just how they designed the secondary burn area. Unfortunately with that slanted roof you lose a bit of space overall so packing the wood in can be interesting at times especially when dealing with larger pieces of wood or non uniform pieces of wood (knots, crotches, shorts, etc). But regarding the burn time, even with the slant you will easily get 8-12 hrs most of the year burning dry hardwoods. Easy 8 hours as well even with softwoods. You'll always have enough coals in the morning to restart too so that's a plus!

I personally don't know if the "thermal mass" produced by all that soapstone really does anything for heating your home/stove room except for the fact that I do feel it keeps the stove warmer even if a fire has died out. I do not think there will be a huge advantage one way or the other if you line your firebox with the brick or soapstone blocks. For my stove I got the soapstone blocks and while they were pretty looking before the first fire, you couldn't even tell what color they are these days due to the soot and char on them. They're going to get super dirty and stay that way is what I'm saying :) The panels on each side of the stove though are nice. Are you getting some of the custom artwork on the stove as well? It looks very nice with the big soapstone panel behind it.

Ash pan, hell yes you will want the ash pan. And actually, buy 2. Trust me, worth it so much!!! Some species of wood, like cherry, are notorious for making ash. When I get into my cords of cherry (when I have them) and am burning that for weeks and weeks, I literally will have to dump the ash pan almost every other day due to the ash produced. It is much nicer having it go into the ash pan and then dumping that rather than trying to scoop tons of ash out every day to make room for wood!

Overall, I would give the stove 9.5/10 stars. It only loses a bit due to the slanted roof in the firebox sometimes making it a challenge to properly fill it like you'd want to. But you cannot beat the ease of use (including ash removal option and the air control) as well as a very good hybrid design that does burn super clean. This year was my first year using a cap with a screen on it and although blackened from use, there has not been one clogging issue and I know there were crappy (wet) pieces of wood that went through the stove this year. The firebox will get really dirty and have build up but the chimney remains super clean (didn't even have a cup of soot last year after sweeping) and in my case this year, the cap as well. The catalyst is super easy to access and clean and maintain as well.

I would say you would be safe in ordering one ASAP before the price increase. When ordering, do remember that they ship freight so it will not (likely) be delivered to your house. It should be shipped to a nearby freight depot where you will have to pick it up. These things weigh around 700 lbs crated so make sure you have a good truck or a trailer to take it home. Once you get it home, if possible, do the new stove smell burn in fires outside to lessen the smells that a new stove will give off once it's inside. To bring the stove in, make sure you have a very heavy duty dolly to move it into your house. You will want a couple of people to help you. Otherwise I would recommend movers to get it in or call your local stove store to have them move it.

Hope my novel here helps! :cool:
Very nice review of the IS, I like how many color choices woodstock offers, and they're free too! I visited the factory 2 winters ago, very cool to see all of their stove options and some being built as well. The IS with brown body and charcoal accents looked really nice to me.
 

nastyn8

Member
Nov 23, 2017
5
ohio
Overall I like the ideal steel and it seems to be a good stove. My only dislike about the stove is smoke, or ashes when you stir them around, will come into the room if you have to open door when wood is smoking. Might be my chimney setup or it might be the large loading door. Make sure you have the minimum 15 ft or Woodstock's crazy draft requirements or I think you will be unhappy. Also the ashpan setup is awesome. As for the soapstone it came with the steal of the month. They do stay warm for a while after stove is out.