Want to install a woodstove- overwhelmed!

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suzanne427

New Member
Nov 17, 2022
8
Arcata, California
I miss having wood heat and am searching for a woodstove- grew up in Vermont and now live in Northern (cold, damp) California.

Seems like there are mixed reviews on new stoves so I"m hesitant to just go with the stove saleswoman's advice.

I have a small, drafty, 800 sq. ft bungalow with single pane windows. We are on the coast- there is cold wind and lots of fog and frequently it's below freezing in the winter.

I was looking at the Heathstone Craftbury- I like the look and like that it wouldn't take up too much of my tiny livingroom. Seems like most people on this forum steer toward a bigger stove though- which has me considering a bigger one. I want a stove with a glass front, and that has loading options ideally- side and front.

Is the Shelburne a good stove in your opinion?

Thanks for the advice.
Suzanne
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
98,024
South Puget Sound, WA
The original Craftsbury was kind of cheaply made and had issues with hinges and latches. It earned a bad rap amongst some. I don't know how much it has been improved. The Shelburne is a better stove. If the look of the stove is as important then the VC Intrepid is an alternative. You might also look at the PE Alderlea T4 and the Blaze King Ashford 20 or 30.
 

Dataman

Minister of Fire
Sep 10, 2018
1,172
Newport, Wa
Small Place 800sq ft. I found Woodstove hard to control heat personally. Plus Royal PIB. I went Pellet stove. Both have + - about them.
 

suzanne427

New Member
Nov 17, 2022
8
Arcata, California
The original Craftsbury was kind of cheaply made and had issues with hinges and latches. It earned a bad rap amongst some. I don't know how much it has been improved. The Shelburne is a better stove. If the look of the stove is as important then the VC Intrepid is an alternative. You might also look at the PE Alderlea T4 and the Blaze King Ashford 20 or 30.
Thank you- I heard that VC had sold out to a bigger company and that their products were terrible now? Is this not so?
I like the look of them a lot.
 

Shank

Member
May 21, 2022
176
Ohio
Small Place 800sq ft. I found Woodstove hard to control heat personally. Plus Royal PIB. I went Pellet stove. Both have + - about them.
Pellet offers excellent heat and exceptional convenience but if the look of a wood fire is important, it certainly does not compare in this aspect. Wood fires are so nice to watch.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
98,024
South Puget Sound, WA
Thank you- I heard that VC had sold out to a bigger company and that their products were terrible now? Is this not so?
I like the look of them a lot.
Actually, VC has gone thru several owners and yes there were some low points. That has settled down now that they are an HHT product and they improved the quality of the refractory assembly. I have friends that just got the new Intrepid and it is doing quite well for them.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,483
Long Island NY
If you like the look.of a fire and the wood heat is supplemental, go for a smaller stove. Bigger (cat) stoves that need to run at low output will not have much flame to see.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
31,125
central pa
Thank you- I heard that VC had sold out to a bigger company and that their products were terrible now? Is this not so?
I like the look of them a lot.
Their products were terrible before the buyout they are definitely better now but more complex and relatively expensive to maintain compared to other stoves on the market
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,483
Long Island NY
Another thought: if you are set on getting a wood stove, try to get firewood stacked up now. Most wood one can buy is too wet to burn as is. It needs at least a year stacked off the ground. Possibly two years (depending on climate and wood species). Modern EPA stoves really need dry wood.

So, get wood now so you can burn it (hopefully) next year.
I also suggest to spend $30 or so on a moisture meter.

If you are able to get a stove for this winter, please consider buying sawdust bricks (without any additions, just sawdust). They are dry, and good fuel. Store them inside.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
98,024
South Puget Sound, WA
The PE T4 is a simple, cast iron jacketed stove that will provide soft heat, like soapstone.
Another option is the Drolet Deco Nano. It's a different look, but a nice small stove design.
 
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ispinwool

Feeling the Heat
Feb 5, 2010
349
Butler County, Pa.
Welcome Suzanne!!
I'm not much help in the choosing part of your question...but I can tell you that being able to SEE
the flames through the window is lovely! We have a Hearthstone Heritage soapstone and love it.
I echo the others' suggestions of getting your wood this year to be ready for next year. It can't be
too dry.
And do your homework...after we paid for ours and asked about setting up a time for their installers
to come and put it in, they said "oh, we don't install!" We were not amused. The woodburner sat on
our porch for 9 months until we found someone to come and do it.
Ask around for chimney sweeps (or have the tools on hand to do it yourself) and where to buy cords of wood (if you don't have access to your own wood supply).

I do offer one warning: it will be hard to tear yourself away from a comfy chair in front of the dancing
flames. Perhaps you should keep a good selection of books...or take up knitting or spinning ;) :)
 

suzanne427

New Member
Nov 17, 2022
8
Arcata, California
The PE T4 is a simple, cast iron jacketed stove that will provide soft heat, like soapstone.
Another option is the Drolet Deco Nano. It's a different look, but a nice small stove design.
I'm not set on soap stone- I just liked the look of the Craftsbury and the fact it was small but seemed like it still would take a full sized log.
Wondering how the PE T4 would compare to the Craftsbury? Seems like the PE doesn't have a cat? Does it use a baffle system instead? Is that better? (Ive heard that the small Cat stoves don't burn hot enough and have problems?)
Thanks be green
 

suzanne427

New Member
Nov 17, 2022
8
Arcata, California
Welcome Suzanne!!
I'm not much help in the choosing part of your question...but I can tell you that being able to SEE
the flames through the window is lovely! We have a Hearthstone Heritage soapstone and love it.
I echo the others' suggestions of getting your wood this year to be ready for next year. It can't be
too dry.
And do your homework...after we paid for ours and asked about setting up a time for their installers
to come and put it in, they said "oh, we don't install!" We were not amused. The woodburner sat on
our porch for 9 months until we found someone to come and do it.
Ask around for chimney sweeps (or have the tools on hand to do it yourself) and where to buy cords of wood (if you don't have access to your own wood supply).

I do offer one warning: it will be hard to tear yourself away from a comfy chair in front of the dancing
flames. Perhaps you should keep a good selection of books...or take up knitting or spinning ;) :)
Thanks! I am excited to get one- I do have an installer and there is lots of wood in our area- I'm sure I can find some dry and cured. And I look forward to not doing anything but sitting by the fire!
 
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suzanne427

New Member
Nov 17, 2022
8
Arcata, California
Another thought: if you are set on getting a wood stove, try to get firewood stacked up now. Most wood one can buy is too wet to burn as is. It needs at least a year stacked off the ground. Possibly two years (depending on climate and wood species). Modern EPA stoves really need dry wood.

So, get wood now so you can burn it (hopefully) next year.
I also suggest to spend $30 or so on a moisture meter.

If you are able to get a stove for this winter, please consider buying sawdust bricks (without any additions, just sawdust). They are dry, and good fuel. Store them inside.
Good idea- thank you!
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,763
Woolwich nj
Also can someone explain the ash pan to me?
I understand it makes cleaning easier but it seems like the embers just fall through- preventing a good fire?

You will get as build up in the fire box.. you want a bed of ash. When the ash bed gets to big, its time for a clean out. You will rake the ash and it will fall into the ash pan, making for an easy clean up.
 

rijim

Feeling the Heat
Jan 19, 2009
284
RI
What are the clearances that you have to work with in your preferred install site? If limited, be careful with your selection. A CAT stove such as the BK Ashford will allow you to extend the usage deeper into the shoulder seasons; the cladding provides lower clearances than many and a softer heat. Many don’t like the lack of a flame running low, since your house is drafty, it is likely you will push the stove a little harder taking that concern out for most of the season. If you plan to make improvements to the windows, doors, etc. a CAT will allow you to run it lower and not be as prone to overheating as a tube or secondary burn stove. PE & BK makes great products, the T4 and Ashford being cladded have reasonable clearances when installed with double wall piping, this will help in smaller spaces. A larger fire box will allow for longer run times between reloads. Before deciding, know the clearances and total chimney heights you have to work with, compare those with MFG specifications, and work with your local stove shop.
 

ispinwool

Feeling the Heat
Feb 5, 2010
349
Butler County, Pa.
Also can someone explain the ash pan to me?
I understand it makes cleaning easier but it seems like the embers just fall through- preventing a good fire?
Like Woodsplitter67 said, you do want some ash build up for a nice fire. I generally leave 1" or so when
I build a new one. But I don't bother with the ash pan anymore...to each their own...I found it annoying to
stand on my head to extricate it from its spot. I sure wish we'd have known to install it on a taller hearth! It's just easier for me to scoop out a few shovels of ash from the side door before lighting/rekindling the new fire.
{that being said, I expect ash pans differ throughout the different brands...mine only allows smaller ash/chunks to fall through into the pan....which doesn't effect the burn at all.}
 

kborndale

Minister of Fire
Oct 9, 2008
515
LI
Thanks! I am excited to get one- I do have an installer and there is lots of wood in our area- I'm sure I can find some dry and cured. And I look forward to not doing anything but sitting by the fire!

Don't bet on being able to buy wood that is ready to burn. It is quite rare. Every dealer will tell you that their wood is seasoned, but when you try to burn it you find out it isn't.
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,763
Woolwich nj
I agree.. get your wood prior to the stove.. If your not sitting on seasoned wood right now the chances are slim your actually going to get seasoned wood. Get some compressed bricks.. like Redstone while they are still available. As winter approaches and in the dead of winter you'll have more difficulty securing something to burn..
 
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ericm979

Feeling the Heat
Nov 2, 2018
251
California
Don't bet on being able to buy wood that is ready to burn. It is quite rare. Every dealer will tell you that their wood is seasoned, but when you try to burn it you find out it isn't.

"seasoned" usually means they split it and piled it in the open a couple months ago. Wood does not dry that fast, and it does not dry very well in a big pile that gets rained on.

Arcata gets a lot of rain and if you're on the bottoms there's also a lot of summer fog. So it will take longer for wood to dry. Where I am now gets 2/3 the rain and has a longer warmer summer. I stack my wood and cover it in the winter. Some of my wood species like Madrone can dry enough in one year but others like live oak and eucalyptus take two. And even the Madrone burns better after two years.

If you can, get wood now and get it off the ground, stacked and covered so it can start drying.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
4,064
SE North Carolina
Also can someone explain the ash pan to me?
I understand it makes cleaning easier but it seems like the embers just fall through- preventing a good fire?
Some like it some do not. Only tiny embers gas through and that’s if you stir them to help. It’s another door that can leak air and in a really bad spot (under the fire, think black smith forge really bad in a metal stove). I like my ash pan. I can let the ash built up for a week (it compresses and you don’t have to clean out as often) then stir some of it down every other day. I can get by dumping every two weeks or so. I think it’s faster and cleaner and will accept the air leak risk. Others have found their stoves burn so much better if they let the pan fill up and just scoop it out. I do think ash pan = less dirt/ash In The air.
 

nlvllm

New Member
Go with the craftsbury! We got one a couple months ago and love it. The downstairs of our 2-story house is about 650 sq ft and it does a great job heating it. I don't have experience with other stoves, so from a complete novice, this one is great! It looks beautiful too.
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