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    • CommentAuthorwyeman
    • CommentTimeMar 13th 2008 edited
    Hi everybody,
    I want to buy a good quality wood burner about 7.5-10kw but with all the choices and apparent snobbery attached to these things and every supplier pushing their own brand I can't seem to find any sort of independant reviews of wood burners. I have been told that steel plate ones like villagers are no good and you have to go for cast and that they cost as much to install as to buy. I can't afford to get this wrong I need value for money as I don't have alot to spend. I am currently having to take a second mortgage out to pay for the fuel for my oil burning boiler !!

    Cheers in advance for your help,

    We had an excellent cast iron efel for twenty years and will replace with a clearview. we inherited a yeoman and I would not recommend that to anyone. Secret with all woodburners is how effectively you can control the airflow to obtain the highest temperature.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeMar 13th 2008 edited
    We also have a Clearview - Solution 400. Very pleased with it. Seems to cope with poor quality logs ok. It has some kind of fancy air duct system that blows a line of fine air jets across the top of the fire from back to front. I'm not sure if this is just to make pretty flames dance about or to keep the glass clean - whichever it gets my vote. Not much ash left either.

    My builder manhandled it into place but I hooked it up to our chimney myself with advice from a chimney sweep. Initially I had a lot of trouble finding an adaptor/register plate to connect the 150mm stove pipe to 225mm pumice liner. An online shop I tried sent me the wrong size parts twice before returning my money. Then I discovered this place.. http://www.specflue.com ... If you need an adaptor try them as they were very helpful. The adaptor they supplied me was much thicker stainless steel and was better designed.

    Cutting the vitreous enamel iron stove pipe to length wasn't easy. The enamel is very hard and a hacksaw blade just skids over the surface. (The recommended tool is an angle grinder apparently). I ended up filing off a line of the enamel using a file designed for ceramic tiles and then cutting the metal with the hacksaw. Took about 30 mins each cut. Next time I would try a hacksaw blade designed for cutting glass/tiles then switching to a normal blade.

    If anyone has problems cleaning the glass door of their stove don't mess about with vinegar and ashes. Try HG Stove glass cleaner. Works a treat...


    PS Installation IS expensive if you want a back boiler hooked into your heating system. It's technically quite difficult. We didn't go for that.
    • CommentAuthorsune
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2008
    Hi Wyeman

    We are just launching a stove review website http://www.whatstove.co.uk - unfortunately for you there are of course no user reviews on there yet - but as and when you get a stove please do review it after you have used it for a while of course. The idea is to have lots of independent stove reviews from people who actually own and use the stoves and are 'free' to say whatever they want (within reason).

    Steel stoves used to be no good - the steel used to warp and bend. Now steel is better made so there is really not much in it in terms of metal type between steel and cast. Having said that some cast iron stoves are better made, have better detailing, better door mechanisms, - this is really down to design rather than metal type.

    I personally rate Morso and Clearview very highly - people who own these stoves generally have very few negative comments to make about them. The Saey Scope is also another stove I could recommend. A bit more expensive these ones though,.
    I have a Hunter myself which might not be as good quality as these ones above but it is a workhorse and has a big backboiler which is what I need.
    In terms of value for money I'd probably look at Hunter, Aarrow, Villager, Stovax Stockton, Franco Belge....do bear in mind that as with most things you do largely get what you pay for...
    After these I would look to Morso, Town and Country, Clearview, Saey scope, Dovre...

    There are of course lots of makes of stove out there - post something here and I can let you know what I think if you want....

    CWatters - yep it's a nightmare cutting enamelled with a hacksaw - use a thin metal disc on an angle grinder. Use masking tape to mark the line to cut. Using extra masking tape also covers the enamel and stops hot bits of metal from the grinding fusing into the glass - otherwise it can look a bit speckled afterwards. Wear goggles.
    as you appear to be an expert on all types of stoves, what do you think of the Town and Country Little Thurlow stove? I am considering installing that or a Clearview Vision (with attachment to make it suitable for a smoke-free zone) and can't decide. The other option was the Clearview Vision Insert as it will sit in a fireplace.
    Any advice would be welcome.
    • CommentAuthorecoal
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2008
    Hi Wyeman,

    We have run a 650 clearview for 20 years and it is superb at burning efficiently. Initially, it had a medium boiler, but we now run it as a room heater only as we installed an Esse Ironheart wood burning cooker with boiler which was plumbed into the original primary and secondary circuits. The Clearview will easily burn any wood to hand but any woodburner really needs dry wood (minimum of 2 years air drying). This needs forward planning and storage space. It is more of a hobby than a heating solution so is not suitable for everyone. However, it suits our lifestyle, and is very satisfying to prepare and store the wood for the year.
    Some of our friends have cast iron stoves, but none are as efficient or as interactive as our Clearview. There is very little smoke or ash. We generally empty the ash pan every 6 to 8 weeks!
    • CommentAuthorsune
    • CommentTimeMar 17th 2008
    Hi Mr wonderful - The Town and Country and the Clearview are both good stoves.
    Weighing it up I'd probably go for the Clearview.
    I'd go for the freestanding stove as you should get more heat out of it.
    : )
    Posted By: ps_mrwonderfulSune,
    as you appear to be an expert on all types of stoves, what do you think of the Town and Country Little Thurlow stove? I am considering installing that or a Clearview Vision (with attachment to make it suitable for a smoke-free zone) and can't decide. The other option was the Clearview Vision Insert as it will sit in a fireplace.
    Any advice would be welcome.

    I can give a glowing report of the Little Thurlow, had one for 2 years now, the only downside, it is difficult to keep in overnight.
    The glass will be kept clear on any woodburner as long as the wood is dry, I have found that well seasoned ash and beech burn the best 24 hrs next to the fire first helps immensely.
    I also burn a lot of waste softwood, scaffolding offcuts etc but burn it hot so there isnt tar gathering in the chimney.
    • CommentAuthordazdread
    • CommentTimeMar 19th 2008
    I am hearing mixed story's that you now need a chimney liner (circa £800) to install a wood burner and building regs.

    Can we cast any more light on this?
    • CommentAuthorTheDoctor
    • CommentTimeMar 19th 2008
    you should line the chimney for a wood burner.
    We got ours lined for £350 (only single storey house, though)

    I've nothing against a welded plate stove. Prefer them to cast, personally.

    You do need to have a decent thickness of plate and high quality of weld.

    Some of the mass produced models skimp in these areas.

    I have a Villager at the moment (welded plate body with cast doors)
    It does the job, is controllable, keeps the glass clear, runs all night on f*ck all - nothing wrong with it

    I do prefer the Dowling stove that i am putting in soon, though. No cast bits at all.
    • CommentAuthorllwynbedw
    • CommentTimeMar 19th 2008 edited
    Posted By: wyemanHi everybody,
    I want to buy a good quality wood burner about 7.5-10kw but with all the choices and apparent snobbery attached to these things and every supplier pushing their own brand I can't seem to find any sort of independant reviews of wood burners.

    We have a black cast-iron Jotul F400. This is rated at 8KW. It is fairly large (70cm wide) and has a flat top that is useful for warming plates and dishes. Alternatively you can put the kettle on it to either "pre-heat" the water or - when the fire is burning hot - boil the kettle. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I like the look of the stove, which is elegant rather than boxy.

    The stove starts effortlessly with newspaper and bits of kindling. My mother has a lot of experience with stoves and open fires and she says it's the easiest she's ever used. When it gets going the F400 puts out enough heat to warm a very large open-plan room (about 8m by 5m) and also the two rooms that lead off this room if you leave the doors open. If we didn't think before stoking it the stove got too hot and we had to leave the doors open simply to cool off. Over the course of the last winter the stove really warmed the fabric of the house and we found that we didn't use the radiators on the ground floor. The F400 produces surprisingly little ash, about a bucketful every 2-3 weeks. Average wood consumption was about two large baskets in 24 hours although that was with the fire in ALL day and we were not trying to economise so you could probably do better. The logs were a mixture of various kinds of wood and had been well-dried under cover in an outbuilding.

    If I remember correctly the F400 in theory has a "glass cleaning" airflow or what have you but if you are burning wood slowly then it will not be able to cope with all the smoke and the glass will become dirty. It's better to fire the stove hard then damp it down. If the glass does become sooty a good burn will clean it up. We have had no problems with the draw and control is simple as there is only one damper at the bottom of the stove. The single door is large and opens easily now but we had to have the installer come along to make an adjustment a few weeks after purchase as it was initially quite stiff. You do not need a special tool to open the door as the handle is a plastic knob on the end of a metal lever. The firebox can take logs of about 16" long and 10" thick although you would need smaller pieces than that to fill the firebox completely.

    At night I used to fill it with logs and turn it right down last thing (typically 10pm) every night, which would leave glowing embers in the morning. A bit of kindling had the fire right back up in minutes, but I suspect that if you didn't fill the stove right up the night before it would be out. Although experimentation and better management might pay dividends here my feeling is that you will struggle to get more than embers in the morning unless you go to bed late (which for us would be 11pm) and get up by 6am.

    Incidentally I would advise buyers to think very carefully about the size of stove they need. Judging from the output of the 8KW F400, unless you are running a back-burner a 14KW or even a 10KW stove might be overkill and lead to uncomfortable levels of heat. Our house has very thick walls on the ground floor and that no doubt helped but it is otherwise not particularly well insulated and it is certainly not draught-proofed. On the other hand the house is in North Pembrokeshire, which has a mild climate, and its location only two miles from the sea takes the edge off the cold in winter. (I have noticed when driving on cold mornings that just 5 miles inland you often see widespread frost despite there being none around our area.) What I'm trying to say is that if you live far from the sea in a thin-walled and poorly insulated house on an exposed site halfway up a mountain in Scotland then maybe you will need 14KW - ask around your area to see what other people are using.

    We bought the stove from our local supplier, who also installed it. I wouldn't say they were cheap at £1,155 including VAT but we try to support local business and the owners are knowledgeable and conscientious people who by reputation provide good support. Labour was a few hundred quid on top of that. The final bill came to much more in our case because we needed new flue components that required some carpentry work (don't ask) in addition to which we splashed out on a large slate hearth and so on.

    In conclusion we are very pleased with the stove. I note that numerous people at www.hearth.com have said very positive things about it. This is an American site but which has reviews of the apparently identical Jotul Castine. I would consider buying another Jotul although in the UK I would also look at the Clearview stoves, which seem to get rave reviews. I would also like to try a Tigchel stove or some other kind of masonry heater but these seem to be very thin on the ground.

    • CommentAuthorsune
    • CommentTimeMar 20th 2008
    If you get a Jotul (which are great stoves) my only advise would be don't go for the ivory enamel finish as it can be problematic...
    • CommentAuthorPDobson
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2008
    We are looking for a stove for our new-build. I was originally looking at the Jøtul F 373 but am being pushed toward the Contura 580 by a local stockist. Has anyone any experience of Contura stoves - how do they compare with Jotul or perhaps even the Morso 6148?
    • CommentAuthorAds
    • CommentTimeMar 25th 2008
    Bearing in mind the various concerns described elsewhere on this forum regarding wood burners - eg carcinogenic smoke, annoyed neighbours, not enough biomass, etc - why not consider the lower impact (except on your wallet!) masonry or ceramic stoves? Better quality heat, significantly lower consumption of wood and lower emissions are some of the benefits. They can also either be custom built into your new build or bought just as a stove can be, eg Tigchel Heaters http://www.tigchelkachels.nl/?pag_id=1587&site_id=31 or Tonwerk Lausen (Topolino et al) http://www.twlag.ch.
    • CommentAuthorsune
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2008
    PDobson - Contura are good quality stoves - very well made, nice door and mechanism - I'd put them on a par with that Jotul.
    The Morso 8100 series is also very good.
    Think about firebox size - depends what you want it for but you might want to get more wood in if you are using the stove for primary heat....these 2 stoves do not have the biggest fireboxes so I'd say they are suited for secondary heating and looking great....

    Existing chimney:
    There is no actual regs requirement to line and insulate an existing chimney. It is just a very good idea.

    New chimney:
    If you are building a new masonry chimney for a stove then the liners have to be backfilled with insulating concrete - that is leca, vermicualite, or perlite....I'd recommend pumice liners over clay or concrete any day.
    You may not build a brick or block chimney and then use a flex liner inside - flex liner is for existing chimneys only.
    Or if you use twin wall you would shift over to twin wall flue at least 150mm below the first ceiling. I would recommend a maximum of 1500mm single skin flue, 1000mm being better - I do not believe there is a actually a specific max length mentioned in doc J.
    • CommentAuthorsune
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2008
    Wyeman I thought I should mention: if you have limited cash then don't discount ebay, freeads, loot, etc as a source of stoves. There are often good quality second hand stoves that turn up there. Check the baffle plate, firebricks and grate for corrosion. Check the body for warping or cracking.
    My friend got a second hand Hunter in great nick for £150 the other day....
    Hi new here. in Scotland there is a £2500.00 grant available to install a stove, think it will apply every where though. worth a try Craig
    • CommentAuthorjoe.e
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2008
    I can strongly recommend Morso stoves. We've got an Owl and a Dove, and both are head and shoulders above any other stoves I've used- less wood for more heat, will keep in all night if you want them to, etc. We've also got an Aarrow hooked up to a back boiler, which does the job and produces loads of hot water, but if I were to buy another one I'd go for a Morso. The Dove has a big back-boiler if you want that - 45000BTU as I remember it.
    I think the welded / cast issue is a bit of a red herring. It's down to the design and the quality of the manufacture. But the Morso Dove replaced a big old Villager; the Villager went through about 50% more wood.
    • CommentAuthorTheDoctor
    • CommentTimeJul 14th 2008
    Must be getting old

    can you point me towards information on the stove grant?

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