Time to replace the old buck stove. Advise?

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Tjm

New Member
Feb 25, 2021
23
Western NY
So my inlaws bought a buck stove model 21 in 1994 that has served them and for the last 7 years, us very well. It now however needs enough work that I think it’s time to retire it. I’ve been bouncing between stoves but my wants are something that will burn well thru the night with easy restarts, is more efficient and hopefully loads north/south. The buck 21 has a pretty small 1.6 cu ft firebox and is only 11” deep. Our fireplace is pretty limiting but I think I can fit stoves like the PE super le / Kuma alpine or cascade , bk princess or of course a newer buck stove. I don’t think I can get the bk ashford to fit not because of the size but because the flue is far back on the stove and my liner would have to make an “s” curve to get to it. We’ve got about 1100 square foot downstairs we normally heat and whatever finds it’s way upstairs when burning all day is welcome in our 1830s farmhouse. I keep finding myself gravitating back to Kuma stoves. I think I could fit either insert but the wife isn’t too keen on how far out the cascade would protrude from the fireplace. Same issue arises with the bk princess. I think I could convince her to go with the pe super le but it doesn’t qualify for the tax credit And even tho the box is bigger, the way I see it the Kuma alpine’s higher efficiency basically equalizes them.
Am I going to be happy with the max output of a Kuma alpine after the buck 21? Will I have enough coals left after 10 hours to have an easy restart? Should I try to win over the wife on the cascade or is it going to burn me out of the kitchen anyway?
I like the idea of a cat or hybrid stove that I can throttle down and not loose efficiency because I think I’ll use it on warmer days. I’m reluctant to burn unless it’s lower than 40 right now because I’ll be way too hot in the kitchen. Btw chimney is approx 20 ft with a 6” stainless non-insulated liner. 17 years old.
with the buck 21 we can get the kitchen to about 85 and the rest of the downstairs around low70s with a box fan blowing air down the hallway back at the stove.

Another side note is we have an unused flue in our living room that In the future I may use for another heat source. Maybe a pellet/corn stove for when we’ll be away long periods and/or looking for something that’s more convenient? Main heat is oil boiler with water baseboard only downstairs and in one upstairs bathroom.
I’m getting a bit long winded but I would appreciate any and all advice.

4F8AF63A-92CA-499A-B9CF-9DB9A4E8CE50.jpeg
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,665
South Puget Sound, WA
The Alpine is only a tad larger than the Buck 21. I would not expect a world of difference in performance, though it may hold a long, slow burn better, so longer burn time in mild weather. If the longest burn is the primary objective and the BK Princess will fit, that may be the best choice.
 

Tjm

New Member
Feb 25, 2021
23
Western NY
Thanks begreen!
I’d probably be ok with only slightly larger as long as I get north south loading and longer burn time without loosing efficiency when it’s throttled down and that running it throttled down the majority of the time doesn’t lead to more creosote risk. I feel like I’m having to restart the buck stove 1-2 times per day if I’m not willing to wake up in the middle of the night to add wood
. I’m concerned the princess won’t have as high of a max btu burn compared to the alpine or cascade but it’s hard to compare btus because I think I’m mixing up epa vs actual numbers.
With a cat stove that doesn’t mind being throttled back so I have to worry about getting too big of a stove or can I always run it lower? Seems like the low btu on alpine/cascade/princess are all actually similar at 10-12k btu. High end is 40 for the princess 60 for the alpine and 80 for the cascade?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,665
South Puget Sound, WA
I think the Princess will outperform the Buck 21 without a problem. The difference from the Kumas is that the Princess is thermostatically regulated. This caps the top end, but also reduces the chance of overfire. Both are good choices if the goal is a cat stove. What are the fireplace dimensions?
 

Tjm

New Member
Feb 25, 2021
23
Western NY
Wish there was another brand that used the bimetal thermostat on the air control. Ran into the kiwi vcv that seems similar in being automatic ( references draft) but can’t find a stove that uses it yet. The lower risk of over firing is a definite plus but the wife is pretty much against anything that’s not more or less flush. Hoping if I leave a mock up on the fireplace for a few days maybe it will grow on her lol.
Could t find my graphing paper but sketch and pic attached. It’s a ( heatilator?) style hearth with a metal shell behind with the air gap plumbed to the room behind. The liner is an oval shape 6” and comes down more than half way forward of the depth due to the position of the original damper opening.
(Kuma cascade mock-up)
3E0311AA-74CB-4A94-A5C2-3F98961332A3.jpeg CD3519D9-5770-47FD-8554-0DA5592E66EA.jpeg image.jpg
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,665
South Puget Sound, WA
It's good to do a mockup and the Cascade is getting good reviews. The BK Sirocco 25 is flush, but more of an E/W loader and it looks like you prefer to have the stove with no surround so maybe true flush is less critical?

How frequent are extended power outages in your area?
 

Tjm

New Member
Feb 25, 2021
23
Western NY
Extended outages happen but knock on wood not to us for 5-10 years. Normally back online the same day if the power goes out. That brings up a point that I was never able to make a big fire in the buck stove without using the fan. For me it was critical to have the fan if I wanted to get good heat. I could use it with the power out/ no fan but would have to be very careful not to get a big fire going. Seems like reviews I read from others make the fan seem optional even on an insert but I haven’t had that experience.
Totally flush isn’t critical and I’m not sure if we’ll use the surround or not but more than maybe 3-4” out for the face is probably gonna be a hard sell lol. I would definitely consider an ashford or sirocco but I just don’t think I can get the flue to work. It’s way on the back of the stove AND it’s angled 30 degrees to the rear too. The liner would have to make an an “s” curve to get back there.Once I add a 30’or 45 degree elbow that would interfere with the back of the hearth.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,665
South Puget Sound, WA
Sounds like you have narrowed it down to a Kuma.
 

Tjm

New Member
Feb 25, 2021
23
Western NY
Sounds like you have narrowed it down to a Kuma.
I’m thinking so. Just was hoping to be 2-2.5 cu foot on the firebox. Are you at all familiar with modifying the metal hearth? I heard you could cut them out and saw a pic of someone at least cutting the damper lintel back so the liner comes strait down but the installer I talked to seemed hesitant saying removing the whole shell only gets you an inch or so and that In some cases it’s structural to the chimney. If i could get the just 2-3” I bet I could better fit the cascade or even the sirocco or ashwood

Are cat stoves easier to control regarding overburn in general or is it specifically the passive control that makes the bk’s easier to run?
 

Tjm

New Member
Feb 25, 2021
23
Western NY
Of course If we consider doing an outdoor burner or or pellet stove in our unused fireplace next year then the output of this doesn’t matter nearly as much.
 

Tjm

New Member
Feb 25, 2021
23
Western NY
Doing some searching and I guess it’s called a heat form? Now trying to find out if it can be removed or how to determine which can and which cannot.
 

Tjm

New Member
Feb 25, 2021
23
Western NY
Called local blaze king dealer and he seems comfortable with cutting out the heatform lintel. They are also suggesting a new insulated liner. The current is 17 years old and I think it might be flex pipe for the whole length which no longer meets code?

if I can cut out part of the heatform I can likely fit either the bk sirocco or the Kuma cascade.
Tell me if I’m wrong but either should give me much longer burn time and allow me to really throttle down the stove compared to a buck 21 right?

would you say running it for high output the sirocco is likely a little lower than the buck 21. the alpine maybe the same and the cascade much higher?
Buck 21 is a simple non cat 1.6 cubic foot firebox. Original papers say 800-1800 sqft but seems those numbers vary.
 

PAbeech

New Member
May 16, 2021
47
Wallenpaupak, PA
How long of burn times did you get in cold winter? Im most likely getting the zero clearance buck 21 for 1650 sqft house. We have cold winters but my hardwood is dry and plentifull
 

Tjm

New Member
Feb 25, 2021
23
Western NY
Hmm... we normally were throwing a log on at intervals. Maybe once every 30-45 minutes during the day to keep it running hot. But for overnights I’d guesstimate 6 hours of heat 8 hours for an easy restart and 10 hours you might have a few hot coals left to work with but have to add kindling and coax it back? Ours is an insert in a heatform and not a zero clearance. Seems to me it’s the same as a freestanding unit with the blower and facia added.

we burned mostly beech historically but lately a lot more ash sinceit’s all dieing around here along with oak/walnut/cherry mixed in. No softwood.
 
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PAbeech

New Member
May 16, 2021
47
Wallenpaupak, PA
Hmm... we normally were throwing a log on at intervals. Maybe once every 30-45 minutes during the day to keep it running hot. But for overnights I’d guesstimate 6 hours of heat 8 hours for an easy restart and 10 hours you might have a few hot coals left to work with but have to add kindling and coax it back? Ours is an insert in a heatform and not a zero clearance. Seems to me it’s the same as a freestanding unit with the blower and facia added.

we burned mostly beech historically but lately a lot more ash sinceit’s all dieing around here along with oak/walnut/cherry mixed in. No softwood.
Appreciate the response. Im trying to gather all the info i can on this little buck 21.
 

buc74

Burning Hunk
Oct 16, 2012
142
Fort Atkinson, WI
We have a Kuma Alpine in our kitchen and it heats our 1400 sq. ft. house ok with use of a fan on the floor. Burn times are 9-11 hours using dry hardwood. We burn N/S mostly using 14" splits and 16" if we burn E/W. Our home is not well insulated and are windows are 60+ years old. If the Cascade would have fit better I would have installed that one. Just thought you might be interested in some input from a Kuma stove owner.
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
24,177
central pa
We have a Kuma Alpine in our kitchen and it heats our 1400 sq. ft. house ok with use of a fan on the floor. Burn times are 9-11 hours using dry hardwood. We burn N/S mostly using 14" splits and 16" if we burn E/W. Our home is not well insulated and are windows are 60+ years old. If the Cascade would have fit better I would have installed that one. Just thought you might be interested in some input from a Kuma stove owner.
View attachment 279322
They don't offer in in zc form though so not much help to PAbeech
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,665
South Puget Sound, WA
Time for a new thread on the installation of the new ZC!
 
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