Woodstock, BlazeKing, Vermont Castings...who to go with?!

Farenheit 451

New Member
Jan 26, 2019
47
Pittsburgh
Let me first start by saying I’m a total newb to this stuff and have only been creeping here the last few weeks, so trying to learn as I go. My wife and I just bought a cabin in the woods of PA we are in the process of doing major renovations including insulating from all areas.

This will be our full time home year round and is constructed of wormy chestnut wood on the inside and stone on all exterior. It’s 1600 sq ft with an existing masonry chimney fireplace and then a spot on the other side of a VERY open floor plan for a wood stove which is where my query begins.

I got a quote from the local authority on wood stoves and inserts and they wanted $8k for a Vermont castings Defiant and parts and labor to install. That sounded quite high to me and after seeing lots of negative feedback on the Defiant I’ve tried to branch out and see what else is out there. Woodstock seems to come highly recommended and haven’t heard anything bad about them. The price seems right and the company seems to be excellent in making things right.

I was looking at the ideal steel and absolute. My wife like the look of the progress better and so do I but not sure I can justify an extra $1k on looks alone. My aim is to have something I can cook on if the power goes out or just if I feel like it, simple to maintain and no need to babysit compared to other stove operation and maintenance. The bigger the log size it accepts the better since I have 8 wooded acres and will be using all my own wood once it’s dried and aged appropriately.

I welcome thought and comments on Woodstock or any other stove that might fit outback needs as well as ballpark on price for other parts and installation needed to get the stove up and running. Thanks in advance!
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
18,953
Unity/Bangor, Maine
Key question here . . . exactly how much more does your wife like the look of the Progress compared to the other stoves? Performance and sizing the stove to the home is always important, but I would say for many folks having a stove that the spouse likes the look of can sometimes be important as well since they are typically installed in the room where folks spend most of their time . . . and they are there 365 days a year . . . not just in the winter.
 

Joyboy

Burning Hunk
Jan 22, 2017
184
Wyoming
Key question here . . . exactly how much more does your wife like the look of the Progress compared to the other stoves? Performance and sizing the stove to the home is always important, but I would say for many folks having a stove that the spouse likes the look of can sometimes be important as well since they are typically installed in the room where folks spend most of their time . . . and they are there 365 days a year . . . not just in the winter.
I would agree. This is something you will be looking at for a long time. Definitely get what you want and what will work for you.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
2,913
Downeast Maine
I take it your house has little to no insulation. The Woodstock Progress Hybrid is what I would pick based on your list. The soapstone holds the heat and radiates it for a long time. It does take a long time to heat it up as well, so keep that in mind. I think it has a cooking surface as well.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
2,913
Downeast Maine
If you have an open floor plan and you manage to insulate the house, I think the Progress can also be run fairly low due to the cat and you won't necessarily bake yourself out in the future either. The blaze king stoves can run on low heat seemingly forever, but they ugly. Even the Ashford.

What kind of burn times are you looking for anyway?
 

Farenheit 451

New Member
Jan 26, 2019
47
Pittsburgh
I take it your house has little to no insulation. The Woodstock Progress Hybrid is what I would pick based on your list. The soapstone holds the heat and radiates it for a long time. It does take a long time to heat it up as well, so keep that in mind. I think it has a cooking surface as well.
Thanks for the response. I did mention in the OP that while it currently has no insulation by the time we are done renovating it it will be fully insulated floor to ceiling as well as underneath the crawlspace beneath. I’m definitely considering the Progress as it is beautiful for sure. Guess I wondered if compared to the other Woodstock models for anyone who used them how performance for the 1600 sq ft would be. The great room is 18x35 and all upstairs rooms will have sliding barn doors to maximize air flow. Ceilings are very high. I’ll see if I can upload pics here.
 

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Farenheit 451

New Member
Jan 26, 2019
47
Pittsburgh
If you have an open floor plan and you manage to insulate the house, I think the Progress can also be run fairly low due to the cat and you won't necessarily bake yourself out in the future either. The blaze king stoves can run on low heat seemingly forever, but they ugly. Even the Ashford.

What kind of burn times are you looking for anyway?
There are some better pics showing where the stove would end up going, ceiling height and overall openness of the space.

I agree the BK are ugly. Honesty not sure what to look for in burn time. Definitely want to be able to go to bed and not have to get up middle of the night. While I’d love to be able to leave for a full day and not worry about the pipes freezing I haven’t seen many models other than BK boast much more than 14 hours, so I’d suppose 10-14 would be a good range?

The Progress is definitely a big stove and want to be able to control temps so it isn’t roasting, I assume thats achievable by adjusting the thermostat on any stove?
 

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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
2,913
Downeast Maine
Some stoves can operate at lower temperatures than others. Some only have a medium or high in real life. I think that unless you are cramming as much insulation as humanly possible you aren't getting more than 8 hours out of any stove. You will need a ceiling fan for sure. In addition you are going to have to find a way to stop all of your heat from exiting through your roof. This will be a very difficult space to heat and I don't think you will ever cook yourself out. If you both like the Woodstock Progress, that's probably your best bet.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
2,913
Downeast Maine
Awesome place you've found by the way. It will be a masterpiece when you are finished.
 
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Farenheit 451

New Member
Jan 26, 2019
47
Pittsburgh
Some stoves can operate at lower temperatures than others. Some only have a medium or high in real life. I think that unless you are cramming as much insulation as humanly possible you aren't getting more than 8 hours out of any stove. You will need a ceiling fan for sure. In addition you are going to have to find a way to stop all of your heat from exiting through your roof. This will be a very difficult space to heat and I don't think you will ever cook yourself out. If you both like the Woodstock Progress, that's probably your best bet.
Hmm I suppose you are probably right about not worrying about getting it too hot. We will surely be cramming insulation lol. The ceiling will be getting a metal roof with exterior insulation, the roof will be built on top of the existing shingle roof and give us about 2 feet of space to play with for insulation.

For as open as it is and the potential R value we will likely yield I think I may be warming up to the idea of spending the extra cash on the Progress (pun intended)
 

weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,385
Central Mass
I can vouch for the Progress Hybrid, it will heat you place no problem, if it makes your wife happy, all the better. Even when I let my wood burn down the PH still throws heat, the soapstone radiates for a long time. I like your cabin, its gonna be nice when you're done.
 

toddnic

Minister of Fire
Jul 13, 2013
732
North Carolina
Go with the PH! We've had our PH for 4 1/2 years and absolutely love it. Not one regret! When you order it, make sure you get the ashpan. It really is worth the extra $$.
 

MAD MARK

Feeling the Heat
Jan 31, 2016
377
Pittsburgh PA
Cool place you've found there. Where abouts are "woods" of Pittsburgh? Im from Cranberry/Portersville Area.

Who is the "local" dealer. If you are talking the one on Route 8 or on 19 all 3 are a little high.
 

Farenheit 451

New Member
Jan 26, 2019
47
Pittsburgh
Cool place you've found there. Where abouts are "woods" of Pittsburgh? Im from Cranberry/Portersville Area.

Who is the "local" dealer. If you are talking the one on Route 8 or on 19 all 3 are a little high.
It’s actually in Ligonier near Idlewild. The dealer is in Latrobe, “Nickos”. I’d say they had poor customer service all around. The estimate really didn’t explain or itemize why they were charging $4100 in labor. I can’t imagine even with the chimney and whatever other parts go along to get it installed why it would be that high. Woodstock seemed to think that parts would be roughly $1500 to get setup and then labor could vary drastically.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
2,913
Downeast Maine
Go with the PH! We've had our PH for 4 1/2 years and absolutely love it. Not one regret! When you order it, make sure you get the ashpan. It really is worth the extra $$.
Our new stove has an ash pan and I'll never go back, at least for a stove that's used 24/7 in the winter.
 

shoot-straight

Minister of Fire
Jan 5, 2012
685
Kennedyville, MD
I had a hearthstone- switched to a bk ashford. The stone really took a long time tk heat up. I like the ability for quick heat. Woodstock's are supposed to be excellent stoves however.

Bks can be tough on the eyes, my ashford looks great- it's in an alcove so you can only see the front. It's a great stove from a great company.
 
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spudman99

Member
Jan 26, 2018
186
Yardley, PA
Keep in mind that a Chimney liner install needs to be done perhaps every 20 years or so depending on the materials and quality of the job. For a professional they need to charge more in labor since there is less frequency/turnover of jobs. If a liner only lasted 3 - 5 years I bet the labor costs would be 25% of your total since they company would be called out more often. A fee of $4k to $5k for a liner is not out of line in the PA area. Same concept for a chimney pipe on the interior of the home.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,355
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I would avoid vc based on their horrible product and manufacturer reputation. If the bk models don’t look good to you then the Woodstocks are the last company on your list. People seem to love their Woodstocks.

I too had a stone stove and it looks really nice but i did not like the very slow warm up period. It sucked. Woodstock also makes the ideal steel model that is bigger than the ph model, the IS model has a solid reputation and happy operators.

Finally, don’t worry about the short burn times. Your central heating system will pick up after the fire goes out if your chosen stove can’t make quite long enough. The whole “accomplishment” of heating 100% with wood is not really the most important thing. Everybody should have some sort of thermostatic automatic heat in the event of emergencies such as hospitalization, incarceration, etc.
 
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kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
4,441
07462
I like both the BK and Progress, they both offer superior performance and have been proven by most if not all owners, the big question that you need to ask yourself if whether your going to need a blower or not, the bk's have blower kits, the woodstocks do not, but if you have a open floor plan and can be certain that a convective loop can be established then the blower idea isn't really that big of a deal.
Also if your planning on doing a super insulation job consider a dedicated OAK before you complete all your rough ins.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
2,913
Downeast Maine
I like both the BK and Progress, they both offer superior performance and have been proven by most if not all owners, the big question that you need to ask yourself if whether your going to need a blower or not, the bk's have blower kits, the woodstocks do not, but if you have a open floor plan and can be certain that a convective loop can be established then the blower idea isn't really that big of a deal.
Also if your planning on doing a super insulation job consider a dedicated OAK before you complete all your rough ins.

Good point on the OAK. I think the PH will be great in that house with the huge air volume and multiple ceiling fans.
 

SnowmanNH

New Member
Jan 21, 2019
23
New Hampshire
Ah...Latrobe previous home of one of the most drinkable and unique beers because of the water source. Sadly it's no longer the same since big brother "Bud" bought them stopped brewing it there. "33". The younger generation will never know.
RO RO’S!!!!!!
 

tgumby4

Member
Feb 18, 2017
33
West Virginia
I'm a new progress hybrid operator this winter. I installed the stove in November 2018. The transition from a pre epa stove has been a learning curve but I'm very pleased with the stove. Woodstock has been great to deal with from purchase to troubleshooting a couple issues. The stove burns clean and has a long heat life. My burn times range from 14 hours on days during the shoulder season to 8 hours in single digit days. I'm heating 2200 square feet of a fairly well insulated house about 1 mile South of the Mason Dixon Line.
 
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