Need a beautiful lifetime stove for SHTF scenario.

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Hermit

New Member
Sep 10, 2021
35
Canada
Hello everyone. I'm here to ask you knowledgeable folk for a wood burning stove recommendation.

I'm going to provide as much information as I can so you can help me make a decision. If I am missing anything you'd like to know, don't hesitate to ask.

Here is what my conditions are:

I live in northern Ontario, Canada. It gets very cold here in the winters. - 20C is standard and can get down all the way to -35C. I have a small cottage, 1000 sqr ft. It's 1 floor, with 1 main living area that includes the kitchen taking up 1 half of the cottage and 4 small rooms seperated by doors taking up the other half. It's a long a horizontal home, like a rectangle. Ceilings are 8 feet high. It's not very well insulated but I will be working on that this winter. I have a infrared camera so I will fix as many leaks as possible once I can see where they are.
I live here year round and plan to for the foreseeable future. I rarely use the current stove during the summers but run it full time during the winters. My current stove is falling apart, horribly insulated, extremely inefficient. I have to load up wood every 2 hours, remake the fire every morning, and it's terribly cold at night.

The stove will be nested into the corner of my living room, roughly located in the middle of the side of the house. We are going to redo all the piping and chimney when we install the new fireplace.

Another thing is we will need this stove asap. Our current stove is barely functional, and it's already starting to get cold out, so I would like to have the new stove ordered and installed within 3-4 weeks if possible. Not sure if any of these nicer stoves have wait times or not. Didn't realize how bad our stove was until. Chimney sweep came by and pointed out all the things wrong with it. Started researching and now I see how right he was. There is a whole world here.

What I'm looking for:

Im looking for a buy it for life, low maintenance stove that won't need replacing for the rest of my life. I'm slowly transitioning to an off grid lifestyle and want the least amount of dependence on the system as possible. I'm preparing for chit hits the fan(SHTF) scenario and want something reliable that I won't have to worry about breaking down on me and needing replacement parts and repairs.

I like the look of antique wood burning stoves, but I want the modern technology implemented in it. I like the air glass cleaner tech as I find myself needing to clean my glass every week almost. Half the time I'm too lazy and I just can't see my fire at all. Furthermore, from what I understand I would not be going with a cat stove because it needs a replacement part every few years which is not sustainable in a SHTF scenario.

I am not the biggest fan of the modern sleek stoves, as I find they look almost sterile. Vermont Castings has some beautiful stoves. And the Vermont Iron Elm circular style is gorgeous aswell. That's the aesthetic I'm looking for. Something with a lot of soul and character. Lots of beautiful refurbished stoves on the forums as well but as I stated above, definitely want the modern tech inside.

I would like it to be able to burn throughout the night so I don't have to remake the fire in the morning. Even a few coals remaining in the morning would be great. I would also like to have it as tucked in to the corner as much as possible. I don't have a lot of space so the tighter the clearances the better.

I'm not a fan of plastics and composites for handles. Metal or springs preferred. Another bonus is if it has some cooktop that can be used if the power goes out and we want to make food.

I also have a question about Hybrid stoves. Should we get a hybrid, and the Cat failed after a few years, would the secondary combustor be as efficient as a non-cat? Or does it require a functioning cat in order to work. Would it be the best of both worlds or the worst of both worlds?

All that being said,

What is the creme de la creme of stoves for my situation. Give me your best picks, money no object. I don't have a problem spending money on quality. I was looking at Vermont castings but was reading that they maybe weren't as good nowadays and that people were not psyched about the flexburn system. I also had my eyes on the Progress Hybrid Wood Stove by the Woodstock Soapstone Company Inc. The soapstone is really neat, but the debate seems extremely polarized about soapstone aswell.
. There's so much information out there. All these systems like Quadraburn, flexburn, etc.

I need your help guys/gals. I'm overwhelmed and don't even know how/where to start. Throw me all the recommendations you can and some cons to them aswell. Is there any resources you could send my way that would help me learn more aswell?

Thank you so much!
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,304
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
If you’re getting ready to burn soon then you probably have the same 9 month long heating season that I do. That’s a lot of loading and burning.

If you don’t want to replace the catalyst every 2-3 years (10-12000 burn hours) then a cat stove or hybrid is out of consideration. You can purchase them in advance but if you want 30 years of independence that’s a lot of cats.

Even the few remaining noncats on the market require replacement gaskets every few years, and bricks break so be aware you need to have parts for any stove.

Getting a basic welded steel noncat stove is probably the most dependable option but it is hard to heat a small space while also getting overnight burns because modern noncats can’t run really low outputs. They use high heat to reduce emissions.

How long do you really think you could live without civilization providing parts? Be real here, no fuel for your chainsaw, generator, or electric for refrigeration. A year or two?
 

Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,578
Southeast CT
That’s pretty cold. As long as you can get through fall and spring with doing small loads of wood ins stove ( so you don’t get cooked out of the house), you could probably have a large non-cat stove be fine. Jotul makes classic looking stoves and is a good name. But there is also other good names that may have the look you’re going for. The trick to making your stove last may in large part be how hard you run it. Try not to overfire the stove too much and you’ll probably be ok. I say that bc some people make the mistake of thinking stoves are indestructible.
 
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Hermit

New Member
Sep 10, 2021
35
Canada
If you’re getting ready to burn soon then you probably have the same 9 month long heating season that I do. That’s a lot of loading and burning.

If you don’t want to replace the catalyst every 2-3 years (10-12000 burn hours) then a cat stove or hybrid is out of consideration. You can purchase them in advance but if you want 30 years of independence that’s a lot of cats.
I guess I could stock up on cats for a long period of time. Long enough to figure out another method of heating, like a rocket mass stove or something of the like.
Even the few remaining noncats on the market require replacement gaskets every few years, and bricks break so be aware you need to have parts for any stove.
I'm aware bricks break. I will definitely be stocking up on some bricks.
Getting a basic welded steel noncat stove is probably the most dependable option but it is hard to heat a small space while also getting overnight burns because modern noncats can’t run really low outputs. They use high heat to reduce emissions.
Hmm. So cat stoves are the ones that do overnight burns and non cats can't do it aswell.
How long do you really think you could live without civilization providing parts? Be real here, no fuel for your chainsaw, generator, or electric for refrigeration. A year or two?
Got saws to replaces chainsaws, fire to cook and heat, canning and fermenting to store food instead of refrigeration + cold cellar for storage.

It really doesn't matter to me how long I can survive. In my eyes the civilization we got going on here is unsustainable. Exponential growth and advancement will absolutely come crashing down. A single solar flare could wipe out all the technology on the planet and with our weakening magnetic fields that is more likely than ever. A huge solar comes about every 100 years, last one being the Carrington event in the early 1900's. If that happened today it would be game over.

1-2 years is better than 2 months. If I believe it to be an inevitability, and I do, then even an extra day is worth it. I'm 26. Might not happen in the next decade but in the next 50 years? For sure. I have a lot of time to ween myself off parts and systems that depend on civilization.

Anyways, this post is about a stove haha. Sorry to get off topic.
 

Hermit

New Member
Sep 10, 2021
35
Canada
That’s pretty cold. As long as you can get through fall and spring with doing small loads of wood ins stove ( so you don’t get cooked out of the house), you could probably have a large non-cat stove be fine. Jotul makes classic looking stoves and is a good name. But there is also other good names that may have the look you’re going for. The trick to making your stove last may in large part be how hard you run it. Try not to overfired the stove too much and you’ll probably be ok.
Care to list some of the other good names?
And how do you over fire a stove?
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,462
SE North Carolina
Nothing is lifetime without proper usage and maintenance. Baffles, firebricks, burn tubes, burn plates and insulation blankets are all consumable. My Jotul has cast burn plates, stainless secondary burn baffle in other words really durable. This will be its 4th winter and I need to think about replacing some gaskets.

your time line is getting tight. Check with whoever you will purchasing from and see what they can deliver in your timeframe. SBI brands and Pacific Energy (PE) make good stoves. Look at the PE T5. it fits your aesthetic
As a very happy Jotul owner I’m not super excited about their current lineup. A Drolet insert from SBI will be here Thursday.

you didn’t say the size of current flue and if you were replacing it or going to use it as is. No issues if its 6”. If its 8” I have only suggested 6” stoves

Make sure you have good DRY wood.

Evan
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,506
South Puget Sound, WA
Get on the phone and call all the dealers in your region to find out what is available in 2-2.5 cu ft stoves. Supply may be weak this season and order times may be long.
 

Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,578
Southeast CT
Care to list some of the other good names?
And how do you over fire a stove?
Probably too many to make a good list. Probably the best thing is to find one you think would work for you and the ask the folks here for some real life reviews.
Glad you asked about overfiring. It basically means that the stove gets exceedingly hot when in use. For instance, with most steel stoves, you probably don’t wanna spend too much time above let’s say 750° or so. An indication that the stove is over firing would be if you’re noticing any sort of steel glowing on the outside of stove, whether on top sides or front. Typical causes for over firing are forgetting that you left the door slightly ajar when you were getting the fire going, loading up the stove and forgetting that you left the stove air supply on high. Over firing can also happen let’s say if there was a defect in the stove, such as if you had a bad door gasket which was causing excessive air to enter the stove. A good way to avoid over firing is to get yourself a stove top and or stove pipe thermometer to monitor your temps to be on a good range. They’re usually about 20 dollars
 

rijim

Feeling the Heat
Jan 19, 2009
250
RI
Availability & tight clearances will be tough without keeping CAT stove options; the corner install means front load or you are pulling it out a decent distance into the room. I am upgrading to a BK Ashford 30.2 that I bought the first week of June; concerned with availability I took the floor model but ordered the blower kit (still not in). You may have to load up on replacement parts and consider a CAT if that is all you can find.
 

Hermit

New Member
Sep 10, 2021
35
Canada
Nothing is lifetime without proper usage and maintenance. Baffles, firebricks, burn tubes, burn plates and insulation blankets are all consumable. My Jotul has cast burn plates, stainless secondary burn baffle in other words really durable. This will be its 4th winter and I need to think about replacing some gaskets.
Yeah I know, I plan to do a bit of research once the stove is in and get some replacements for all the above mentioned/learn how to do the work myself.
your time line is getting tight. Check with whoever you will purchasing from and see what they can deliver in your timeframe. SBI brands and Pacific Energy (PE) make good stoves. Look at the PE T5. it fits your aesthetic
Will do! Thanks!
As a very happy Jotul owner I’m not super excited about their current lineup. A Drolet insert from SBI will be here Thursday.

you didn’t say the size of current flue and if you were replacing it or going to use it as is. No issues if its 6”. If its 8” I have only suggested 6” stoves

Make sure you have good DRY wood.

Evan
I believe right now it's a 6" flue but it looks like it transitions to a 7" right before it hits the ceiling? Are there 7" flues? The whole thing is a hackjob from the previous owner and nothing was installed correctly. I'm surprised the place is still standing tbh.
 

Hermit

New Member
Sep 10, 2021
35
Canada
Availability & tight clearances will be tough without keeping CAT stove options; the corner install means front load or you are pulling it out a decent distance into the room. I am upgrading to a BK Ashford 30.2 that I bought the first week of June; concerned with availability I took the floor model but ordered the blower kit (still not in). You may have to load up on replacement parts and consider a CAT if that is all you can find.
Huh, I didn't know tight clearences were a cat/non cat thing. Good to know. Also yeah it will definitely have to be a front load. Side load wouldn't work.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,506
South Puget Sound, WA
There are thousands of 'what to buy' postings here. Narrow in on what is actually available in your area. I would add Regency to the suggestion of SBI (Drolet, Osburn, Enerzone) and Pacific Energy to the search. Napoleon stoves may also be sold in your region.
This is an overview of stove tech. It's not comprehensive, but it will provide you with some background.

A ranch style house can be hard to heat. The warm air will not go down the hallway to the bedrooms and bath very well without assistance.

Regardless of stove choice, fully seasoned firewood will be essential for satisfactory stove operation.
 

Hermit

New Member
Sep 10, 2021
35
Canada
There are thousands of 'what to buy' postings here. Narrow in on what is actually available in your area. I would add Regency to the suggestion of SBI (Drolet, Osburn, Enerzone) and Pacific Energy to the search. Napoleon stoves may also be sold in your region.
This is an overview of stove tech. It's not comprehensive, but it will provide you with some background.

A ranch style house can be hard to heat. The warm air will not go down the hallway to the bedrooms and bath very well without assistance.

Regardless of stove choice, fully seasoned firewood will be essential for satisfactory stove operation.
Will take a look at all of those stoves.

Can someone fill me in on what SBI means? Is it a manufacturer that makes all those brands stoves?

Will take a look at that article rn.

Thank you for the reply.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,506
South Puget Sound, WA
Can someone fill me in on what SBI means? Is it a manufacturer that makes all those brands stoves?
SBI = Stove Builders International located in Quebec. They make several brands of stoves including Century, Drolet, Osburn, Enerzone, Valcourt). Century is their value line, Osburn is their high-end stove.
Similarly, Pacific Energy has it's main line and the True North value line. Napoleon also has the Timberwolf value line and Regency makes a fancier Hampton line in addition to their regular stoves.
 

Hermit

New Member
Sep 10, 2021
35
Canada
SBI = Stove Builders International located in Quebec. They make several brands of stoves including Century, Drolet, Osburn, Enerzone, Valcourt). Century is their value line, Osburn is their high-end stove.
Similarly, Pacific Energy has it's main line and the True North value line. Napoleon also has the Timberwolf value line and Regency makes a fancier Hampton line in addition to their regular stoves.
Cheers
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,914
Long Island NY
Hmm. So cat stoves are the ones that do overnight burns and non cats can't do it aswell.

I don't think that is correct. There are non-cat stoves that can go 10 hrs between reloads.

The point is that cat stoves in general can run lower while still burning clean (efficient), this extending the time before the wood has been burned up (and also not cooking you out in fall and spring when heat load is not so large.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,082
central pa
7” chimneys are common in Canada but not in the US.
I put in quite a few 7" ones. Obviously 6 is more common. But I absolutely do more 7 than 8
 

Hermit

New Member
Sep 10, 2021
35
Canada
I don't think that is correct. There are non-cat stoves that can go 10 hrs between reloads.

The point is that cat stoves in general can run lower while still burning clean (efficient), this extending the time before the wood has been burned up (and also not cooking you out in fall and spring when heat load is not so large.
Ahhh gotcha. Right now we're really liking hearthstones stoves. We liked the Woodstock soapstone company, but all but one(ugly one) of their stoves are sideloading, which for a corner install doesn't seem like it would work well?

What do people think of hearthstone for the setup I described above?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,506
South Puget Sound, WA
Ahhh gotcha. Right now we're really liking hearthstones stoves. We liked the Woodstock soapstone company, but all but one(ugly one) of their stoves are sideloading, which for a corner install doesn't seem like it would work well?

What do people think of hearthstone for the setup I described above?
Does Woodstock export to Canada?
 

Hermit

New Member
Sep 10, 2021
35
Canada
Not sure if anyone will see this, but we've narrowed it down to a few stoves. Maybe you guys could help us out now that we know what the dealers have in our area. I've also attached some pictures to help you see what are were working with.

So the options right now are the Ashford 20.2-30.2
Ive heard a lot of people opting for the 30.2 instead of the 20.2, even in smaller homes.

And the Hearthstone Shelburne, Castleton, Heritage.

Right now we are leaning towards the Ashford because the reviews are pretty unanimously positive on the BK products but not so for the hearthstone. There are lots of unhappy Hearthstone owners on here that have upgraded to BK from HS.

What are your thoughts? Anything else we should look into? We were also looking at the OSLO from jotul but people were saying there's too much airflow for very long burns times.



Here are some photos to help you get an idea.

20210923_160021.jpg 20210923_160042.jpg 20210923_160057.jpg
 

bikedennis

New Member
Jun 21, 2021
47
Nor Cal
On my search, I eliminated Hearthstone after they failed to answer my email regarding a question about reported failed hinges. I decided on the BK Sirocco 30. Longer burn time over the 20. My 1st choice was a WS Ideal Steel. But with the shipping cost to Ca. , I got the BK delivered for same price. I might miss the soapstone however.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,304
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
The hearthstones of today are new designs with very little earned reputation. They do look great and the specs sound good but can they deliver?

The BK design is proven to deliver on marketing specs and time tested reliable. You must be able to provide an adequate chimney system for the ashford. Especially for the ashford.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,914
Long Island NY
BTW, I would clean out the combustibles behind your stove when you use the stove...
 

Hermit

New Member
Sep 10, 2021
35
Canada
BTW, I would clean out the combustibles behind your stove when you use the stove...
LOOOL yes we will. Although last year that may have been where we kept some of them . Don't worry. After having spent a bit of time on this forum, my stove knowledge has gone up tenfold. This is temporary until we get a new stove.
 
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