Vermont Castings Defiant (new) vs Woodstock progress Hybrid

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Stoney Meadow Maple

New Member
Feb 2, 2021
9
Southern Vermont
I currently heat my house with a vigilant, have a wood Stanley, which i detest, that i can add supplimental heat if i need to, also a 38,000 BTU Rinnai. The vigilant replaced a massive steel firebrick lined behemoth, i went from 6 cords/year to 4.5 but in the coldest of winter stretches here in VT I struggled to keep the place comfortable with just the vigilant. To be fair last year’s wood was pretty moist, and that was not helping. This year i have installed the Rinnai and that picks the slack up nicely.
On to my looking forward, my house is a 2400 sq foot log cabin, with a central chimney and the stove is in the middle of the house. The house is tight, but 9” average logs only have so much R-value. I have always had and grown up with VC stoves, i like them a lot. I was considering a new Defiant, my parents have had 2 encores and currently have a Defiant Encore which are very similar, and their house is similar in size to mine, but much better insulated. I realize the Defiant is rated around 56-58k BTU but i feel that is somewhat unrealistically low. I have also given serious consideration to a Woodstock Progress Hybrid, i like almost everything about it except that it is a side load and I would be standing in a narrow spot to load, and I consider side loaders to be unpleasantly awkward. To the plus side, the Woodstock is still built nearby and i really like that.

I would love to hear some opinions, positive or negative on my situation .
 
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weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,891
Central Mass
I have the PH and I got used to the side loading, it throws a lot of heat and I get long burns, usually 10-12 hours for my overnight. I'm heating 2800 sf with little help from my furnace (use 1 tank of oil a year and that includes hot water). I did notice the price has jumped up but that's probably with most stoves these days. The PH is a really clean burner as long as you use seasoned wood and hardly get any ash when I do my year end cleaning.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,152
South Puget Sound, WA
If not the PH then it sounds like the Ideal Steel would be a good fit as far as the heating requirements go.
 

Stoney Meadow Maple

New Member
Feb 2, 2021
9
Southern Vermont
If not the PH then it sounds like the Ideal Steel would be a good fit as far as the heating requirements go.
That is definitely unique looking, got a steam punk vibe.
I have the PH and I got used to the side loading, it throws a lot of heat and I get long burns, usually 10-12 hours for my overnight. I'm heating 2800 sf with little help from my furnace (use 1 tank of oil a year and that includes hot water). I did notice the price has jumped up but that's probably with most stoves these days. The PH is a really clean burner as long as you use seasoned wood and hardly get any ash when I do my year end cleaning.
I work with a carpenter who is in love with them. My grandmother’s house has a Fireview 203, i do like the quality of the Woodstock. But it is hard to beat the aesthetics of the VC. 4500 bucks is not something I want to soend and wish i had done differently.
 

Stoney Meadow Maple

New Member
Feb 2, 2021
9
Southern Vermont
My parents had 2 VC Encores, non catalytic. Both of them had issues, and both were enameled. The first got over fired by a non family member, who was using the unfinished addition it was in to do some work in the winter, apparently he ran it with the ash door open to get things warmer. It distorted the coal grate and damaged the interior ceramic pieces and warped the assembly the damper sits in it, it also spidered the enamel on the top and eventually cracked the top.
The second wasn’t so bad inside but had chipped and cracked enamel on the top and had developed a crack like the other near the top lid rear corner. Needed rebuilding desperately, some damaged ceramic liner pieces, new gaskets, the works. Dismantling found it needed a fair amount in parts, and the enamel was not holding up well.
Meanwhile we had come across a very lightly used Defiant Encore catalytic on a job and worked out a fair price of 3 or 4 hundred bucks, after a full tear down, cleaning , reassembling and painting it’s about 1000 dollars as it sits and is really a very nice stove.
This brings me to a couple observations about this line of “modern” VC stoves.
The first is that enameled stoves look pretty as a conversation piece but are not intended for/wont hold up to daily use

The second is that these stoves seem to have casting issues with tops as some i looked at as parts stoves had the same problem.
Third, the non-catalytic seem to be more troublesome than the catalytic?

I have extensive experience with other VC stoves, particularly my Vigilant, which just keeps going and going the fire back has been replaced a few times , I have had the best luck with brazing it , which so far has been holding up quite nicely, as new ones are NLA and this is a sentimental piece that I don’t want to convert to 2 piece.
I have a Defiant D1A1 in the basement and a Resolute I got and refurbished for my in-laws . Most of these have been relatively trouble free, is this a case of they dont make em like they used to, or is it just a couple 1 off issues? Am I correct in thinking that the enamel may be the source of some of the cast iron cracking i am finding?
 

flhpi

Burning Hunk
Oct 13, 2009
138
Southern Ohio
I grew up with a VC Defiant as the main house heater, dad later swapped it out for a VC Encore, my brother in law has had 3 VC Encores and I had a Encore and Resolute Acclaim. I have helped install, swap and rebuild 2 Encores and one Acclaim. VC makes a beautiful stove and the doors come off for open viewing with a screen. The warmer shelves are nice as are the mitten warmers.
I now have a Pacific Energy T6 in the finished basement that I will use when it’s below 15 and a Woodstock Progress Hybrid on the main floor that runs the full heating season. The quality, performance, capability and looks of the Progress has won me over. It has been the best stove I have every owned and I have had 6 stoves in my adult life.
VC has had several buy outs/ new ownership, and quality issues in the past. Some people have had good luck with them. Woodstock has had some quality issues also, any company will. I just like the way my stove functions and the customer service from Woodstock. Regardless of which stove you decide on, burn safe and enjoy. Best of luck.
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,536
Ottawa, ON
No doubt VC stoves are beautiful looking. In my limited opinion, as a supplement heater the VC will do fine once you figure out how to run it correctly as not to overheat it. If you need a stove for 24/7 duties, then I would look elsewhere. Lots of good stoves out there is what I read here. My only other experience is with BK stove and I can tell you this stove is build for full time duty.
 

Stoney Meadow Maple

New Member
Feb 2, 2021
9
Southern Vermont
Another issue i have is that the 33” tall-leg height of the Progress hybrid starts getting tricky with my 37” thimble I believe it can be done, by doing a little trimming and special ordering a super short adapter i was able to put the 30.5” vigilant in . My friend who has access to laser CNC with a cad program made me a close quarters stainless elbow that might help. If the Progress had a round thimble, it would solve a lot of problems.