VC Dauntless Vs. Hearthstone Craftsbury for small fireplace/hearth (HELP)

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

Russn77

New Member
Jan 20, 2021
63
North Central Ohio
Greetings!

We had a chimney fire on Christmas day. So this has alerted us to the inefficiency of our current stove, a Federal Airtight 264CLL from 1981. After our repairs are completed on our liner we are wanting to replace the stove. Our fireplace opening is on the small side, along with a shallow hearth slab.

Firebox: 28 7/8" H
27 1/4" W (at the narrowest section due to stonework ) 28 1/2" at the widest

Hearth slab is 17 3/4" D

Chimney liner is a 6" SS insulated non-flex

We are an electric house. Our central heating/cooling system is a Heat Pump and electric furnace. Thankfully we've had a mild winter so far and its been able to keep up and maintain a comfortable temperature. It's a new unit, installed in 2019.

House size: 1555 Sq. Ft. (our current stove heats approximately 1200 sq ft. --being the entire 2nd floor bedrooms due to cathedral ceilings, and the living room, dining room, and kitchen of the first floor). It's a relatively open floor plan. Fireplace is on the west side of the house in the living room (cathedral ceilings to a loft hallway between 2 2nd floor bedrooms). It also heats into the dining/kitchen area due to open floor plan. 1 bedroom and bathroom on the east side of the house are separated by a hallway that usually doesn't get the heat. So we supplement with a space heater when its single digits outside. Otherwise, they maintain 60 degrees while the living room would be 75.

Obviously, our space is limited. We have considered demolishing the hearth and adding a floor-flush hearth that's extended a bit, this will open up our stove options. However, we love the look of this current fireplace and we are frugal people. So for now, we are thinking of retaining our current setup with a new stove.

This brings me to our options, which also happen to be limited. From going to a few dealers and doing in-person measurements, I believe we narrowed it down to 2 stoves: The Vermont Castings Dauntless and the Hearthstone Craftsburry 8392, both being new 2020 compliant models.

Originally we were leaning to the VC Dauntless. Wife and kids love the top load option, and the aesthetics. But I've been doing some reading and it appears that Vermont Castings has had issues in the past, and their current offerings may be improved, but not enough. I have some concerns about it being a "down draft" stove. And really my main concern is the ceramic refractory, or "secondary burn engine" as they call it. It sits in the back of the stove, and to me, it appears fragile. I don't want a stove I'm replacing parts on every 2 years because they keep breaking. Also, we would have to chip away a few firebricks from the fireplace fire box smoke shelf to move the chimney pipe back a few inches so that this stove will not sit completely under the fireplace. It is a much deeper stove. Which also could be an issue with the damper handle operation, as it sits on the back left side of the stove, which might be recessed a little into the fireplace box. It's hard to tell.

Then we saw a Hearthstone Craftsbury this weekend. And I really like this stove. It seems easier to operate, and the soapstone seems appealing to me. (It's lined with soapstone, though having cast iron on the exterior). However, My concern with this stove is the firebox size. its .5 Cu. Ft. smaller than the Dauntless, even though it boasts longer burn times. We like, however, that this stove fits PERFECTLY on our hearth, with no modifications. It will sit almost flush with the face of the fireplace stonework. Also our (my) concern is that this stove will not keep up when the temps hit single digits or colder. Its "rated' for up to 1400 sq ft. heating at 40,000 BTUs. Given that the area we are wanting to heat is 1200 sqft, will it do the job?

I have looked online at the woodstock stoves. However, we really don't like the idea of ordering a stove sight-unseen. And I have concerns about their stoves fitting our fireplace needs.

I apologize for the lengthy post. I've been researching, measuring, calling, and emailing for a few weeks now. I'm to the point my brain is going in circles trying to make this decision. ANY input and help would be appreciated.

Pic of our fireplace attached for reference

(For those that are wondering, we are having the chimney liner repaired. The inspector noticed that some of the connecting rivets have been broken, or as he said it: were not installed correctly. The chimney fire also damaged the connector tee and the first few feet of chimney pipe, according to the inspector. He said it was damaged because of the stainless steel tee being discolored. which I've read mixed things about._)

IMG_1687.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: Earlnemo

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,787
Iowa
Do you cut your own wood?
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,787
Iowa
Sounds perfect! After you split and stack your wood, how long does it sit seasoning before being fed to the stove?
 

Russn77

New Member
Jan 20, 2021
63
North Central Ohio
Sounds perfect! After you split and stack your wood, how long does it sit seasoning before being fed to the stove?

Depends on what I cut. Most of the Ash takes a year to season. I have some apple and pear I cut and it takes a couple years. Some locust takes a bit longer than a year. I do not burn wet wood if that's what you're getting at.
 
  • Like
Reactions: moresnow

nortcan

Feeling the Heat
Sep 9, 2016
275
Quebec
For me VC is not the one ...Got many VC, cat, no cat ...The the down draft doesn't help, the secondary burn chamber is very very fragile and cost a lot to replace it essy for the dealer to say : not covered by the warranty cause it was overfire, or the labor cost is not covered..., the refractory fire bricks are also easy to break, and when they are broken you dont go to Home Depot like for a standard stove bricks...to get replacement bricks, the VC special bricks are much more expensive to get, having a thermostat controlled fire rate may not help with a down draft path, it's the best desing for back puff of gases/fume... in the house, I got many times the top griddle poping up from back fires , and believe me when it happens in the middle of the night you can easily get afraid of what is happening, plus these gases are toxic, so better to have a good detector in the place. VC advertise Flexburn, if cat is better why offer to have the cat in the stove or remove it if you want to? But if you remove the cat your combustion is not very the best.
That said VC have the best ash pan on the market, a very good top loading device, nice look but even with these plus the VC buyers must be very carefull before sending the $$$ on it.

The Hearthstone Homestead doesn' fit your hearth opening or your taste?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Earlnemo

Russn77

New Member
Jan 20, 2021
63
North Central Ohio
For me VC is not the one ...Got many VC, cat, no cat ...The the down draft doesn't help, the secondary burn chamber is very very fragile and cost a lot to replace it essy for the dealer to say : not covered by the warranty cause it was overfire, or the labor cost is not covered..., the refractory fire bricks are also easy to break, and when they are broken you dont go to Home Depot like for a standard stove bricks...to get replacement bricks, the VC special bricks are much more expensive to get, having a thermostat controlled fire rate may not help with a down draft path, it's the best desing for back puff of gases/fume... in the house, I got many times the top griddle poping up from back fires , and believe me when it happens in the middle of the night you can easily get afraid of what is happening, plus these gases are toxic, so better to have a good detector in the place. VC advertise Flexburn, if cat is better why offer to have the cat in the stove or remove it if you want to? But if you remove the cat your combustion is not very the best.
That said VC have the best ash pan on the market, a very good top loading device, nice look but even with these plus the VC buyers must be very carefull before sending the $$$ on it.

The Hearthstone Homestead doesn' fit your hearth opening or your taste?


Thank you for your reply. The Hearthstone Homestead isn't available where we live, or even close that I can tell.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,638
South Puget Sound, WA
It looks like the old CDW stove sat pretty far out on the hearth when connected. The Oslo would too it's about the same depth as the 264. The Craftsbury in the past has not had the best track record for durability, latch problems were common. It would be good to see if they fixed this.
 
Last edited:

Russn77

New Member
Jan 20, 2021
63
North Central Ohio
It looks like the old CDW stove sat pretty far out on the hearth when connected. The Oslo would too.

That is true. However it doesn't bother us. Our biggest concern is getting a stove that fits our fireplace, and we're able to clean the chimney from the stove up and through a tee, without moving the stove.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,638
South Puget Sound, WA
Updated comments above. For a front loader, there will need to be a hearth extension.

Note that it's rumored that Jotul is testing a little larger version, maybe an updated F3CB that also may be attractive. In the past I would also have recommended looking at the Hampton H300 as a capable heater that would fit there. Not sure when that stove will return.

You might want to PM @Corie for what has changed on the Dauntless. He engineered the new design.
 

Russn77

New Member
Jan 20, 2021
63
North Central Ohio
Updated comments above. For a front loader, there will need to be a hearth extension.

Note that it's rumored that Jotul is testing a little larger version, maybe an updated F3CB that also may be attractive. In the past I would also have recommended looking at the Hampton H300 as a capable heater that would fit there. Not sure when that stove will return.

You might want to PM @Corie for what has changed on the Dauntless. He engineered the new design.

Thanks for the info. I did PM Corie earlier today. I'm awaiting his reply.
 

Russn77

New Member
Jan 20, 2021
63
North Central Ohio
So...I've been asking around, and apparently its unwise to use a sooteater system in a 90 degree bend such as a Tee. So...I have no idea what to do, and what stove to get. An insert isn't an option, we want heat without a fan, Especially when the power goes out.

Does anyone have ANY suggestions for what stove would work in my situation? I thought the Craftsbury would work, and I could possibly get a tee with a cap that is twist removable with one hand...that MIGHT work. I'd be able to get my hand around the stove to loosen the cap and get the sooteater up the pipe that way.

Am I just going to have to bite the bullet and have a sweep do the job every year? :( My goal is to save money... Is not moving the stove to clean the chimney a pipe dream?