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

ddddddden

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2009
1,487
Central Va
Being this is my first exp with using wood stove heat exclusively it may be hard for me to foresee how I’d feel about it.

However I’d say I’m doubtful I’m picky about it getting up quick enough for me.

But that is a good consideration for me to think on. Seems like that would be the case with any soapstone situation.
Yes, this is true for any stone stove.
Basically, soapstone soaks up 2x the BTU's that the same mass of iron/steel does. So, when starting from a cold stove, it takes ~ 2x as long for the mass of the stove to saturate with heat and start "throwing" heat to the room.

This is an issue during "shoulder season," when you are not burning 24/7. (Oct and March here.)
Once you get the stove going for heating season, the point is moot, because when you reload, say 2x /day, the stove is going to be warmed up already.

The exact opposite case would be a cabin that you visit on weekends. That stove's job would be to get a cold cabin up to temp ASAP when you show up on Friday evenings. I would want a steel stove for that task.
 
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ddddddden

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2009
1,487
Central Va
Bare feet in subzero temps sounds amazing!
PH sounds like the ticket for you. FV would probably struggle to do this in your space.

...probably ordering today in metallic gray! I’ll post pics once I get it and the renovations are done. Very excited to see how stunning my new home will be with the addition of the PH :)
Congrats! You have chosen well. IMO, the PH is quite the looker.
If the Mrs. likes to watch the fire, the FV does put on a nice show, but the PH has a much bigger window than the FV, and is allegedly designed for a better flame show...
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,119
Philadelphia
I don’t get it. Barely average size house with open floor plan in PA, and all this talk of big stoves for big heat. What am I missing? 2200 sq.ft. ain’t huge, and PA isn’t Minnesota, folks.

SpaceBus thinks the Ashford is ugly, but I’ve always felt that way about the Woodstocks. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they need to make stoves for people with poor taste, too.
 

ddddddden

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2009
1,487
Central Va
Yes, beauty is subjective.

...as is heating need. If my leaky house were located anywhere north of Va, I would want a larger stove than the FV.

The install in question is basically one big room with insulation to be discussed. For starters, those windows on either side of the hearth look like they'll be losing thousands of BTU / hour._g
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
11,067
Southern IN, from WI
Soapstone is a very poor conductor of heat compared to steel or iron.
call it "gentle heat" rather than "mostly-goes-up-the-flue" heat...doesn't change the thermal conductivity of soapstone.
Ask @webby3650 how the Fireview heats compared to your Princess, and how much heat he thinks is going up the flue? Yes, soapstone has lower conductivity, but other factors like stove design come into play in determining how much heat a stove can get out of a load of wood. I'd bet the Princess heats up a bit slower than a regular steel stove without interior baffles. @bholler would be the one to ask about that.
If I open the air on a load of coals, stove temp doesn't take too long to climb back up to 350+. I'm pretty sure that when you try to get higher output out of your stove, the baffles inside the firebox are going to inhibit that to some degree, sending more heat up and out. Look at the EPA efficiency ratings between the two makes, and you will see that the PH is more efficient than any of the BKs except for the King, which ties it.
 
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Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
11,067
Southern IN, from WI

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
11,067
Southern IN, from WI
I don’t get it. Barely average size house with open floor plan in PA, and all this talk of big stoves for big heat. What am I missing? 2200 sq.ft. ain’t huge, and PA isn’t Minnesota
1600 is a bit smaller yet. ;) I think the Fireview could handle it easily most of the time, but it's nice to have some reserve power as well. Why not, when you can run the PH low? In my book, it's hard to over-value the big window and grated ash handling..that's why I went to the smaller Keystone, even though the Fireview had a bit higher output. I just need to tighten this place up a little further to keep the polar vortices at bay. :oops:
 
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ddddddden

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2009
1,487
Central Va
Agreed on many factors determining overall efficiency of heat transfer to room. I do recall a discussion resulting in some consensus that a thin-walled steel box is more efficient at letting heat pass from the firebox to the surrounding room.

One factor is how much goes up the flue. Regardless of how much heat the stone walls of my stove transfer to the room or not, I have a hard time believing much heat is 'lost' up the flue when my draft is running @ trickle...some heat needs to go up the flue to keep the draft going. I think the discussion of sospstone stoves sending lots of heat up the flue was focused on Non-Cat soapstone stoves.
 
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Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
11,067
Southern IN, from WI
Agreed on many factors
OK.
But what is the "Love Mound" in your sig? :) I used to run a pile of coals N-S down the center of the Buck 91, then load N-S..
 

ddddddden

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2009
1,487
Central Va
Yeah, it's basically the standard procedure of raking coals to the front of the firebox, or wherever the combustion air enters on your stove. On 12-hr reloads, I have hot coals, but not a huge bed of them...got in the habit of puttting 2 short splits N-S on bottom like andirons to keep large splits from just snuffing the coals into the ash bed.

Now that my climate is becoming like that of a rain forest (wettest May + June on record this year) I've all but given up on drying wood outside, and I'm even more into wood bricks as fuel...
which makes the FV's smaller firebox less of an issue.
Rake coals to the font.
Stack 9 bricks across the back(3x3.)
2 bricks on either side of the love mound of høt coals in front.
+1 or 2 bricks over the mound.

So typically 30-lb loads (FV is rated for 40 lbs of wood, IIRC) with plenty of room for secondary flames above the wood and a deep ash bed below, which will hold hot coals for 24 hours, no BK required.;)

I guess the relevant point is that with a 1.8-cu-ft firebox in the FV, there's not much room for screwing around with unseasoned wood by adding dry wood/bricks/pallet pieces. Larger firebox leaves more room for monkeying around...

If you want to size a stove perfectly for your house, you had better have a very good idea of how many BTU's you need in your house(temp preference, climate, insulation, etc.), and how many BTU's are in a stove-load(2 cu ft or whatever) of perfect wood, and how perfect your wood supply is and will continue to be.
 
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ddddddden

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2009
1,487
Central Va
1600 is a bit smaller yet. ;) I think the Fireview could handle it easily most of the time, but it's nice to have some reserve power as well. Why not, when you can run the PH low? . . .
Full disclosure: I dunno if the PH ever established itself as a "low & slow" burner.
...You hear people getting long burns with the IS but not so much with the PH if that range of output is valuable to you.
Even if that's the case, I'd still pick the PH over the FV for this space. FV maybe once the place is sealed up, but we don't yet know how well that will go. Even then, this install will have the issue of the heat collecting up in the loft.

LeakyHouse + OneBigRooom + HighCeiling = BigStove

Unless you live in a climate where you don't really need a stove, and it's just a weekend toy. PA is not that climate, IMO...I'd have to be in FL to start thinking like that.:)
 
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webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,530
Indiana
I’ve said here many times how I feel about soapstone stoves. I was always impressed with Woodstock quality and was looking for a used one. I work on Hearthstone stoves all the time and owned a Mansfield for most of 1 season... it had to go, so between the poor heating ability and poor durability, soapstone was never gonna sit on my hearth again unless I could get ahold of a WS. I did find one and have been running it all season. It’s not even in the same ballpark as a Hearthstone! It heats really well, I think it has a lot to do with the design and the fact that it has a cat. In the non-cats you can really crank it up and get a real rager going, but the stone can’t release it at a faster rate, so up the flue it goes!

If I was buying new I would go bigger, but won’t because I can’t justify the expense. I really miss the burn times of my BK, that’s killing us in the sub zero blast right now but I knew it would struggle in this home in the dead of winter going into it. It was an experiment and I think it’s here to stay. I’ll be adding a new chimney in the basement for the BK and run both when it gets real cold.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,483
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Full disclosure: I dunno if the PH ever established itself as a "low & slow" burner.

Even if that's the case, I'd still pick the PH over the FV for this space. FV maybe once the place is sealed up, but we don't yet know how well that will go. Even then, this install will have the issue of the heat collecting up in the loft.

LeakyHouse + OneBigRooom + HighCeiling = BigStove

Unless you live in a climate where you don't really need a stove, and it's just a weekend toy. Pa is not that climate, IMHO.
I never recommended the tiny fireview. The IS or the PH which are the biggest available from Woodstock. Even those are quite small at 3.2 and 2.8 as determined by this often optimistic manufacturer.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,483
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I’ve said here many times how I feel about soapstone stoves. I was always impressed with Woodstock quality and was looking for a used one. I work on Hearthstone stoves all the time and owned a Mansfield for most of 1 season... it had to go, so between the poor heating ability and poor durability soapstone was never gonna sit on my hearth again unless I could get ahold of a WS. I did find one and have been running it all season. It’s not even in the same ballpark as a Hearthstone! It heats really well, I think it has a lot to do with the design and the fact that it has a cat. In the non-cats you can really crank it up and get real rager going, but the stone can’t release it at a faster rate, so up the flue it goes!

If I was buying new I would go bigger, but won’t because I can’t justify the expense. I really miss the burn times of my BK, that’s killing us in the sub zero blast right now but I knew it would struggle in this home in the dead of winter going into it. It was an experiment and I think it’s here to stay. I’ll be adding a new chimney in the basement for the BK and run both when it gets real cold.
Wish we all could just try out stoves until one sticks. I suppose you can do that with the woodstock money back guarantee.
 

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,530
Indiana
Wish we all could just try out stoves until one sticks. I suppose you can do that with the woodstock money back guarantee.
I’ve got a real Woodstove addiction. I’m probably beyond help...
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,483
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I don’t get it. Barely average size house with open floor plan in PA, and all this talk of big stoves for big heat. What am I missing? 2200 sq.ft. ain’t huge, and PA isn’t Minnesota, folks.

SpaceBus thinks the Ashford is ugly, but I’ve always felt that way about the Woodstocks. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they need to make stoves for people with poor taste, too.
Probably because all of woodstock's stoves are small. The biggest are only rated for up to 2200 SF.

https://www.woodstove.com/wood-stoves
 
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ddddddden

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2009
1,487
Central Va
Yeah, I dunno 'bout "tiny," but the FV is not as big on the inside as it looks from the outside. The top ~ 1/3 is full of the cat + bypass assembly. Firebox extends no higher than the glass. I think WS spec = 2.4 cu ft, but consensus among users ~ 1.8 cu ft *useable* space.
Maybe the PH will turn out to be too much heat for OP, but that doesn't mean the the FV will automatically be sufficient, just because it's the next largest one after the PH.


https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/how-big-is-your-stove-really.51736/

So to OP:

1. Ignore mfr specs for sq ft heated,
because it varies with each house.

2. Semi-ignore specs for cu-ft of firebox,
because there is no standard among mfr's for measuring this. At best, this tells you only which stoves from 1 mfr are bigger or smaller, and that's not counting irregularly-shaped fireboxes, such as those that are more narrow toward the back of the box(trapezoid.)
 
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webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,530
Indiana
Yeah, I dunno 'bout "tiny," but the FV is not as big on the inside as it looks from the outside. The top ~ 1/3 is full of the cat + bypass assembly. Firebox extends no higher than the glass. I think WS spec = 2.4 cu ft, but consensus among users ~ 1.8 cu ft *useable* space.

So to OP:

1. Ignore mfr specs for sq ft heated,
because it varies with each house.

2. Semi-ignore specs for cu-ft of firebox,
because there is no standard among mfr's for measuring this. At best, this tells you only which stoves from 1 mfr are bigger or smaller, and that's not counting irregularly-shaped fireboxes, such as those that are more narrow toward the back of the box(trapezoid.)
I only get 3-4 pieces in my FV if they are good splits. The heat has been impressive given the amount of wood. I really like the flexibility of a bigger box, which all of wood was cut for.. I should know better by now, no stove sticks around long enough to cut custom wood! ;lol
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,119
Philadelphia
I’ve said here many times how I feel about soapstone stoves. I was always impressed with Woodstock quality and was looking for a used one. I work on Hearthstone stoves all the time and owned a Mansfield for most of 1 season... it had to go, so between the poor heating ability and poor durability, soapstone was never gonna sit on my hearth again unless I could get ahold of a WS. I did find one and have been running it all season. It’s not even in the same ballpark as a Hearthstone! It heats really well, I think it has a lot to do with the design and the fact that it has a cat. In the non-cats you can really crank it up and get a real rager going, but the stone can’t release it at a faster rate, so up the flue it goes!
This last sentence really caught my eye, webby. I've never owned a Woodstock, but their fanbase makes it pretty clear they make an excellent product. Yes, soapstone has poor conductivity, but it has fantastic heat capacity (related to specific heat and mass), and thermal conductivity is not really an issue in a steady-state condition. In fact, our BK's and other steel stoves are lined with firebrick or baffles, specifically to keep firebox temps up and limit thermal conductivity.

So why has Hearthstone never enjoyed the same level or praise? I hadn't really thought of the dynamic problem, but as non-cats, they're producing a lot of heat during one fairly limited portion of the burn. Their marketing will tell you the heat capacity of the soapstone evens this out, but it has limited capacity (limited mass), and so I believe your observation... it goes up the flue.

I really don't see soapstone as holding any enormous performance advantage. The mass involved is insufficient to even out temperature variation, on the time scale we are typically discussing, when looking at an 8 or 12 hour burn cycle, and I don't mean by a little... it's orders of magnitude too small to carry you through the multi-hour swings in temperature one will experience without a thermostat in their stove. Heck, the 100 lb. of mass a soapstone stove has on others pales in comparison to the >100,000 lb. in the masonry walls of the room in which my stove is located.

Probably because all of woodstock's stoves are small. The biggest are only rated for up to 2200 SF.

https://www.woodstove.com/wood-stoves
The Fireview certainly is tiny, but the PH ain't no slouch. You know those ratings are subjective, and one manufacturer may be more realistic, while others are more optimistic.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,483
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
The Fireview certainly is tiny, but the PH ain't no slouch. You know those ratings are subjective, and one manufacturer may be more realistic, while others are more optimistic.
The PH is even smaller than a princess! And woodstock is known to overstate the firebox size by a lot! It is certainly not too big for the OP's situation.

I wouldn't mind giving an IS a shot in place of the NC30 though. Does the lack of UL listing bother anybody? That's a pretty unique problem with woodstocks.
 
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webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,530
Indiana
So why has Hearthstone never enjoyed the same level or praise?
They also use individual stones that are full of veins and “character”. These veins crack! Almost every single hearthstone I see is cracked, I’m talking a bunch of them! They’ve got a decent following though and sell more stoves than WS and by a good ways I’d bet.
 

ddddddden

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2009
1,487
Central Va
...I really don't see soapstone as holding any enormous performance advantage. The mass involved is insufficient to even out temperature variation, on the time scale we are typically discussing, when looking at an 8 or 12 hour burn cycle, and I don't mean by a little... it's orders of magnitude too small to carry you through the multi-hour swings in temperature one will experience without a thermostat in their stove...
I don't know if we ever reached a conclusion in the heat transfer discussion, or if we're still waiting for more input from the guys with a Ph.D in thermodynamics, but I agree that stone does not have an enormous advantage. I think the main reason to buy soapstone is the looks.

My only stove to compare to is a pre-EPA insert, which could go cold-hot-cold in ~ 5 hours. I wanted the opposite of that, and I think I got pretty close. The FV is warmed up & ready to go @ 12-hour reload time. Not enormous, but I do consider this to be a performance advantage, I don't know if any non-cat 2-cu-ft metal stoves do this, maybe the PE Super / T5.

OTOH, if I needed to burn 2 cu ft of wood in ~ 5 hours, there are many EPA stoves that will perform better than the FV. Barring the weekend cabin scenario, I think this would mean that the stove was too small for the heating task at hand, which is probably fine if it's only during a brief cold snap once or twice a year. More often than that means you created extra hassle for yourself by going too small with the stove.
 
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Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
11,067
Southern IN, from WI
with plenty of room for secondary flames above the wood and a deep ash bed below, which will hold hot coals for 24 hours, no BK required.;)
I guess the relevant point is that with a 1.8-cu-ft firebox in the FV, there's not much room for screwing around with unseasoned wood by adding dry wood/bricks/pallet pieces. Larger firebox leaves more room for monkeying around...
Even if that's the case, I'd still pick the PH over the FV for this space. FV maybe once the place is sealed up, but we don't yet know how well that will go. Even then, this install will have the issue of the heat collecting up in the loft.
That's what I've said, 'no BK required,' but the BK guys aren't buying it. ;)
The Fireview box isn't big (not tiny either) but they live in PA, primo hardwood country. Throw some White Oak in there and that fire will go quite while, pumping out some nice heat. I think their weatherization will end up being better than 'fair.' If they end up sitting toward the stove end of the room where radiation off the stove is stronger, that is worth a few degrees in room temp.
Full disclosure: I dunno if the PH ever established itself as a "low & slow" burner.
That's good to know. My SIL just stopped by and dropped da bomb on me...she's ready to upgrade from the Dutchwest 2460. I guess this vortex pushed her over the edge. She's got 1400 sq.ft..bath, bedroom and main room with a vaulted ceiling. I'd like to have the output of the Fireview in there, but the Dutchwest has spoiled her like it did me..she must have the ash grate. ==c She's got only 14' of stack, so needs an easy-breathing stove. When you add that all up, looks like I'll have to get her a Keystone.
Maybe the PH will turn out to be too much heat for OP, but that doesn't mean the the FV will automatically be sufficient, just because it's the next largest one after the PH.
I still think the Fireview would cover it most of the time. I bet he will have a generator...if so, a little electric heater could supplement in the case of a vortex combined with a power outage. Then again, if the PH is a bit big in spring and fall, you can do partial loads and the stone stove will hold coals for a long time, for easy re-starts. And the ash grate and big window would tilt it pretty hard in that direction, for me.
I’ve had mine about as hot as I think is possible, still a pretty blue!
Maybe that's due to the non-factory paint job? My Keystone, and the Fv I sold to my BIL, both metallic blue, have only the faintest tinge of blue. I think the metallic gray is too light-colored and wouldn't blend with the stone as well..if they put it in front of the fireplace.
 
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webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,530
Indiana
That's what I've said, 'no BK required,' but the BK guys aren't buying it. ;)
I’ve had a King, Princess, and Ashford. They aren’t replaced by any stove I’ve used. There’s a lot of nice stoves that heat well, but unless you’ve personally experienced the burn times, you just won’t get it...not coals after 12, or 14 hours, but chunks of wood. With a properly functioning cat, and quality wood they can’t be beat.