Soapstone vs Brick vs Anything Else

MR_ANDERSON

New Member
Sep 13, 2017
3
PA
Hello,

Just placed a bear (Papa) in my basement yesterday that I had found.

While moving it, we emptied the bricks to make it lighter and found quite a few broken ones, so I decided to research different options.

I wanted to know the best material with which to replace the bricks?

Fire brick, soapstone, combination, something else?


The stove will be used to assist in heating our house should it get very cold, or if the electricity fails.

Additionally, it will be used for cooking and making coffee specifically in an event of the electricity failing.


I appreciate the assistance,
Michael
 

coaly

Fisher Moderator
Staff member
Dec 22, 2007
3,642
NE PA
Firebrick.
The object is to increase firebox temperature for a cleaner burn reflecting heat back into it. The higher flame temperature reduces smoke particles, and increases the temperature of the exposed steel, which object is to conduct and radiate the heat away. Burn cycles are totally different with soapstone, so if there is a very small firebox you can get longer duration heat cycles burning small fires letting it go out while it continues to radiate. That is not the design of your stove.

You need to burn the stove and learn the operation before it is needed in a power failure or emergency.
The chimney and flue is the most important and determines efficiency and how you will operate it.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
4,940
Northern NH
Your post opens up a can of worms. There are codes and standards you need to follow to do a safe proper and legal installation. Even though you found the stove it can be quite costly to hook it up, especially if you need to buy stove pipe. Highly likely that unless you have legal thimble on separate flue sized to support the stove it will be thousands not hundreds of dollars to do it safe. If the stove lacks a certification label on the back your insurance company may not allow it to be used. The type of stove is not very efficient, there is a home brew modification discussed elsewhere on this site to improve the efficiency but its not going to be great. You also need a source of dry wood preferably cut and split that has dried for two entire years. If you need to buy wood assume its wet as few firewood dealers truly sell fully dried wood. The real world is if you just want it for casual use many folks would elect not to spend the money. Whatever you do, if you want to install it, do it right, most house fires from woodstoves are usually improper disposal of ashes closely followed by improper installations although chimney fires due to poor wood quality and operating practices usually ad up

As for bricks, you want firebricks that are typically sold at places that sell masonry supplies. Soapstone is far higher cost and not really designed for this purpose.
 

Don H

Feeling the Heat
Aug 19, 2015
266
Maryland

MR_ANDERSON

New Member
Sep 13, 2017
3
PA
Wow, thanks for the warm welcome. (sarcasm intended). I guess your hearth doesn't have a fire right now.

Firebrick is what I suspected. This won't be the first wood stove I used, just never had to replace brick before.

The house I bought has a flue specifically for a stove and was built about the same year as my stove, and is the correct size.

The house I bought is in a rural area where the municipality doesn't really get in your business, and 36" by 18" meets all code.

Bought the place, because electricity is the only utility, and once a wood stove is placed back in the property we have the ability to be self-sufficient, "off-the-grid" technically.

Have a place to buy the brick, but I was just asking if there was another material that was better.

Thank you Don H for the very straight answer to my question.

Have a nice day.
 

coaly

Fisher Moderator
Staff member
Dec 22, 2007
3,642
NE PA
Chances are you have a 8 inch square flue which is not correct for the Papa Bear. That's why I suggested to use it until you find out how much creosote you produce with an oversize flue. Many people bought Fisher Stoves back in the day for emergency use and never tried them until they really needed it , then found out the learning curve. They were disappointed with the stove and you can find them today in like new condition. Didn't want to see that happen if you had no experience with stoves.

I set a Papa Bear up for my neighbor who heats 1500 down, uninsulated block and 1500 up with a 8 inch square chimney. He has to clean every other month and would be much better with a 6 inch liner using less wood with less loss up the stack. He has to run his damper almost wide open to get enough heat to heat his larger flue. His LP furnace hasn't ran in years. That is personally the stove of my choice and good for backup having a large cooktop and capacity to heat an entire home.
Ace Hardware sells them by the case, used to average 3.00 each and Tractor Supply has them seasonally. Masonry supply stores around here (Poconos) sell them for 1.50 ea.
Care in loading saves the brick and keep 1 inch of ash on the bottom of this stove.
 
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MR_ANDERSON

New Member
Sep 13, 2017
3
PA
Also there's thread here on how to increase the efficiency of your stove by installing a homemade baffle plate. Easy and cheap to do.
https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/simple-baffle-solution-for-your-old-fisher-more-heat-less-smoke-under-25.74710/
Thank you, that was a good read the other night. I will certainly be doing something like that. One of the most helpful threads I have read here.

Chances are you have a 8 inch square flue which is not correct for the Papa Bear. That's why I suggested to use it until you find out how much creosote you produce with an oversize flue. Many people bought Fisher Stoves back in the day for emergency use and never tried them until they really needed it , then found out the learning curve. They were disappointed with the stove and you can find them today in like new condition. Didn't want to see that happen if you had no experience with stoves.

I set a Papa Bear up for my neighbor who heats 1500 down, uninsulated block and 1500 up with a 8 inch square chimney. He has to clean every other month and would be much better with a 6 inch liner using less wood with less loss up the stack. He has to run his damper almost wide open to get enough heat to heat his larger flue. His LP furnace hasn't ran in years. That is personally the stove of my choice and good for backup having a large cooktop and capacity to heat an entire home.
Ace Hardware sells them by the case, used to average 3.00 each and Tractor Supply has them seasonally. Masonry supply stores around here (Poconos) sell them for 1.50 ea.
Care in loading saves the brick and keep 1 inch of ash on the bottom of this stove.
I have a 8" square for the fire place and a 6" pipe for the stove, and I had the seller of the house resurface the 8" flue and line the 6" flue, along with other work before we closed. I had expected to have to pay for the chimney work, but I got lucky and the seller agreed to pay for everything.

I will have some work to do. I need to extend the stove pipe about 12".