★★★★★ Woodstock Ideal Steel

Discussion in 'Wood Stoves' started by burndatwood, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. burndatwood

    burndatwood

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    It's taking some chutzpah to review this stove, given the amount of information that's out there already on this site, but I'll try to give an overview of this stove from the perspective of someone who might be considering purchasing one, not taking any information about this stove for granted.

    First of all, with Woodstock you get great customer service. They stand by their products, the staff is knowledgeable and cheerful when you contact them. They don't work with dealers, so either you're traveling to Lebanon, NH, to pick one up, or you're having it shipped to you.

    The Ideal Steel is big, and can throw off a lot of heat. I've read on FHC to ignore the numbers that the various stove companies indicate their stoves can produce re: BTUs, and the Ideal Steel is a good example of why this is so. The Woodstock Progress Hybrid is rated at somewhere around 80,000 BTU at the top end, but has a 2.8 cubic foot firebox, while the Ideal Steel at 3.2 feet is rated only for around 60,000 BTU. As someone who owns both stoves, I can tell you the Progress Hybrid does not throw off more heat than the Ideal Steel. It's not their fault, most likely, that these are the numbers they have to publish - maybe an EPA thing?

    This stove is amazingly precise in how you can control the fire. They air damper has notches, so you know exactly where you're setting it, and you can go from a box full of secondaries to a black box very quickly, if you want to get the temperature down.

    One thing I really like about this stove is the ability to load north-south (front to back). Nice to be able to fit a number of splits in that direction, so you don't have to worry about a burning log rolling out of the stove. When I'm loading it full, I place four or five splits NS, and then put a split or two EW on top of that. Fits the firebox really well.

    It's a tight stove, and I haven't had any issues with a smoky smell in the house at all while it's running. Smoke doesn't want to come out the door when I open it either, unless I don't have a great draft (think a wet and somewhat warm day) and I open the door too quickly. I've had more issues with the Progress Hybrid with smoke in the house.

    I've been amazed at how long it will run on little wood. I have some really big chunks, and when it's not too cold, I've gotten a day out of a single piece of wood. It holds onto its coals for a long time, so restarts are a piece of cake.

    I know a lot of people don't like catalytic converters, but it sure cleans up the smoke. You can't see anything coming out of the stack most of the time with the cat engaged. You wouldn't even know the stove is running. The cat stays pretty clean too. The one time I thought I should clean it, after running it for about two months, there was nothing there to clean out. I was impressed.

    I like the design of the lever that engages the cat. It would be really tough to open the door without disengaging the cat, which was a simple but clever design.

    The ash pan is great. All you get is a fine powder, and it only needs to be emptied about every two weeks, even when running it hard. I've got a buddy who has an old smoke dragon that has an ash pan that needs to be emptied every day, so I'm grateful for this stove's design.

    I think the design of the stove looks nicer in person than in most pictures I've seen. Steam punk maybe? Although, with the customization options you have, you can really make it your own. They have an artist they're contracting with to make your designs come to life.

    The cook top is really top notch. I've enjoyed making a lot of different meals on it, from scrambled eggs to soups. The paint has held up pretty well on the burners. The helping hand they give you makes it easy to lift off the burner, and open the door, latches, etc.

    The one minor issue I have with the stove is that it spills out a lot of ash when you open the door. The Progress Hybrid doesn't do this much at all, most likely due to the fact that it's a side loader. Maybe it's just the nature of the beast with a front-loading stove.

    It's probably unnecessary to sum up by stating I think this is a great stove, especially for the price, but I'll say it anyway. Why not?
     
  2. burndatwood

    burndatwood

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    Edit to the above review: the stove was only spilling ashes due to my lack of care in removing enough of them on a regular basis. Use the ash pan, which works great, and it should be fine. Sorry for the bad information previously posted.
     
  3. chance04

    chance04

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    I think a pic of each set up should be required with each review.... Just cause i like to look at everyone's different designs lol
     
  4. burndatwood

    burndatwood

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    Ideal Steel and kids.JPG
    From early last fall right after it had been installed. Ask and ye shall receive!
     
    billb3, Chaz, WVBowhunter and 6 others like this.