Need woodstove info, especially about soapstone stoves : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

We've ordered a soapstone woodstove for heat, and had intended to cook on it too. Today I received an online newsletter with an ad in it for another kind of stove, and it said modern woodstoves don't get hot enough for cooking. Does anyone know if this is true? Or was that a fib to get me to buy the advertised cookstove? I'd like to hear from anyone who has used a soapstone woodstove.

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (, January 26, 1999


We are having a hearthstone soapstone stove installed next week. Though we don't know from personal experience (yet), people who know tell us you can do VERY SLOW Dutch Oven style cooking with them, but basically the cookstove people are correct. So, we also have a cookstove in the barn for installation later this year. Like many things, it depends on what you're willing to put up with.

The super-duper (and very expensive cook stoves) can, of course, heat a whole house too, but there is a major, though learnable, art to both the cooking and the heating with them and they are especially tricky during the summer (we have friends using them as their sole source right now).

I'm sure the real experts will chime in .....

-- BigDog (, January 26, 1999.

I'm not a "real expert" but we have three woodstoves: A soapstone, a Findley Oval Cookstove, and a Fisher. The Hearthstone Soapstone is a jewel. The stone absorbs the heat and the next morning is still warm. It has a very good drafting system, and a way to burn the gasses (smoke). It has two means of filling it, I can bank down a lusty fire at night and go away without having to worry about backwash. However, the top is soapstone, too. And it really does not get hot enough to cook on....except for something long and slow. Plus, the soapstone is vulnerable to scratches, nicks, oil staining.

The Findley Oval is a cookstove, with burner plates and an oven and warming oven. These are made from the original old castings (ca 1920?) but have airtight doors. It has a huge firebox, many air intake controls, and (to me) an ingenius means of heating the oven. It also has a water tank. With some trial and error, one can learn to cook just fine on it. And it doubles as a space heater.

The Fisher has two flat surfaces. I can cook on either one...stews, boiling stuff, tortillas, etc. I don't know if these are made still.

We've used these three stoves for 20 years now, with no problems.

Hope this helps.

Mary P.

-- Mary Phillips (, January 26, 1999.

Here's our experience.

We got a large (700 pound) 'wood-fired convection heater'. As the name implies, it is intended for heating more than cooking. It has an EPA efficiency rating of 75%, a maximum output of 55,000 BTU's, and we know from experience it heats a 2500 sq. ft. house to 80 degrees when the outside temperature is in the single digits. It isn't a soapstone stove, sorry.

This stove has a cooking surface, which we measured at 600 degrees under normal use. We used this for all of our cooking for a month. It's easily enough to boil water, fry anything we tried, and bake bread in a dutch oven. The stovetop coffee percolator took a bit longer than I'd like (about 20 minutes). We didn't do any deep frying, and I doubt you could make decent candy on it. But as a stove, it's far from useless. In the summer, you just open the flue and the heat from the stove is not oppressive.

We live about 60 miles from Lodge Cast Iron in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee. So we went to the factory outlet store there, where factory seconds are about 1/2 to 1/3 the price of the firsts, and the defects can be very minor (but shop carefully!). The quality of what we bought is considerably better than the made-in-china stuff we found at the camping stores. If you live within a day's drive of South Pittsburgh Tennessee and you want a complete cast iron cookware set, it's worth the trip. Caution -- you'll be walking out of there with more than you can lift all at once!

-- Flint (, January 26, 1999.

Thanks for the help. Since I only plan on boiling water and doing simple cooking I'm pretty sure my soapstone stove will be adequate.

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (, January 27, 1999.

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