Question: I visited my former landlady recently and she mentioned that she'd found a crack in the back of her small wood burning stove. I was wondering if this is a repairable condition and just how dangerous it is. She has little income and I would like to help her find a repair method that does not involve replacement or great expense if such a thing exists. Answer: When there is a crack on a wood stove, the basic rule of thumb is that if it's an exterior plate crack, it must be repaired immediately---do not use the stove. Interior plate cracks are okay as long as it doesn't interfere with the product's operation. If your landlady's stove is cast iron, then typically the individual plate can be replaced depending on age, and manufacturer. Check the rear of the stove to see if there is a metal plate on the back with information, or sometimes the stove or company name is cast into a side plate. If the stove is made of steel, with a cast iron door, and firebrick inside, then a welder should be able to patch it up. Cost of repairing either type will depend on the severity of the repair, parts availability, and labor. If it's a no-go on either account which sometimes can happen, and the stove must be replaced, take some time and review the many terrific wood burning models listed in the Hearthnet Web Site.