soapstone vs. cast-iron : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I know this has previously been touched on somewhat but I wanted to ask the question more specifically and thought possibly there were new posters to contribute an answer also. Can anyone speak to the virtues of soapstone wood burners vs. cast-iron fireplaces? In terms of the heat they give off and cooking potential. Thanks one and all.

-- susan (, February 12, 1999


Cast iron will radiate more heat (better for cooking) but will not store it for as long as soapstone (better for overnight use). If you are looking to reach temperatures like 325+ for baking, I think the soapstone would be a problem, but may be able to do a fine job boiling water. My steel stove builds up enough red coals after a few hours to support up to 400 degrees in a dutch oven or camping oven, but by that time I have all the windows open because the room is too hot. So I suspect I will be resorting to my camp oven to supply the heat for any baking needs. God luck.

-- Brooks (, February 12, 1999.

Brooks has it in a nutshell. Soapstone will heat a room in nice comfortable increments (but yeah you CAN get it too warm ...) and will carry both th eheat and the coals overnight, while the iron will cook SO much better.


-- Chuck, night driver (, February 12, 1999.

If you go with the HearthStone soapstone stoves ....the new ones have sheet metal bottoms instead of the old cast iron bottoms. This means these new stoves have a harder time holding a fire overnight. B

-- BBrown (, February 12, 1999.

As I am typing this answer, we are experimenting with our first fire in our new soapstone stove. It appears that the top of the stove gets hot enough to heat water or warm canned food, but I don't know about more complicated cooking. I am wondering if I could place a small loaf pan on the stove (on a trivet) and invert a deep pot over it to make a sort of oven. The stove is beautiful, and the "overnight" feature attracted me, but a cast iron stove might have been better for cooking.

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (, February 12, 1999.

Besides the above, with which I concur, the other thing about soapstone is that it will absorb oils, scratches, etc. We've had ours for about 20 years. I can cook better on the cast iron stove with a flat top. However, I was digging through some papers can came up with something that was made by the soapstone people at that time, but maybe not now. It is a rack...of welded iron, with two shelves. The firelog goes on the bottom shelf, and the top shelf is a gril, sort of, but would hold a pot for boiling. The whole contraption fits INSIDE the bay of a soapstone or other stove with a big mouth. Essentially it was likea small heath or an indoor barbeque. I would say if you were going to build consider balance points and build it very strongly. Also...if you have the bucks, and the inclination, I cannot say too much about my Findlay Oval cookstove.....It is perfectly designed to produce a full meal, and heat the house at the same time.

Got wood?.

-- Mary P. (, February 12, 1999.

This thread is fabulously timely for me, a wood/coal stove is on my to get list for next week. Thank you very much for the invaluable personal experiece you've shared!

-- Tricia the Canuck (, February 12, 1999.

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