advice sought on using a waterford Stanley wood cookstove

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by raymilosh, Jan 26, 2005.

  1. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    635
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    Location:
    NC
    hi all
    I live in NC and heat a 900 ft house with wood. i just replaced my wood stove with a Waterford Stanley wood cookstove. I figured if I'm heating with wood anyway, might as well be able to cook on it, as well, right? First of all, it is beautiful and well constructed, but I wouldn't call it airtight..if i close the damper, smoke leaks out of the seams and the eyes, so i'm thinking it won't be able to provide the type of controlled burn i had with my other stove. Anyone have any thoughts on that?
    Also, the firebox is a bit smaller than I was hoping, so I'm thinking those long overnight burns may not be quite as long as I was hoping. Does anyone have experience with the use and wood consumption rates and burn times of one of these stoves? Does anyone know of a woodstove that is both small (mine needs to sit into a brick alcove that is only 50" wide) and efficient that has a larger truly airtight firebox? I'd be willing to sell this stove and buy another if it better suits my needs...even if it isn't so classy looking.
    I wanted to get a Pioneer Maid made by Mark Stoll the Amish fellow, but it won't fit in my alcove and i was afraid that a Baker's choice (made by the same fellow)wouldn't be very efficient on wood. Does anyone use a Baker's Choice? is it good on wood? what do you think of it over all?
    OK, that's about enough questions for now, don't you think?
     
  2. Terry - NW Ohio

    Terry - NW Ohio Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    322
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2002
    Hi,

    Go to page 4 of the posts and look through the comments on "wood cookstoves" from another post. Maybe some of that info might be of help to you.
     

  3. ak homesteader

    ak homesteader Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Location:
    Alaska
    We have an old Waterford Stanley --- made back in the late 1920's. I use it exclusively for cooking, and it does most of our heating. I've cooked on many others, and this is absolutely the best! But, as you know, it isn't perfect. We bought ours from a man who buys old cookstoves, takes them apart, fixes/replaces broken parts, then puts them back together again. He really does great work. He took the grate out of the firebox to make it bigger. His intention was to use it to cook and heat his little hunting cabin. The bigger firebox area does help it burn much longer without compromising on the cooking. In NC, it might just be all you need to do. It works for us until the temperatures get into single digets or below zero. Up to that point, we just get the house warm before bed, then put unsplit large pieces of wood in the box, then shut it down tight before going to bed. We still have a few coals to get a fire started next morning. Below zero we have to load up the heating stove. We're in Alaska, so we get lots of really cold nights. I think getting rid of the grate to expand your firebox would be all you need. I'd probably try that first.

    Anyway, we met the fellow when the stove was apart, so he sold it to us for about half price. He gave us instructions and what we needed to put it back togethere. We had to buy one apart since we had to charter a plane, then haul it a mile with pack goats to our property. It does smoke when you close it down, but that can be remedied by cleaning it well. The only thing I dislike about the Stanley is that it MUST be cleaned thoroughly and frequently. Maybe the newer ones are better, but mine gets so sooty. I have to scrape all the soot out from around the oven and under it through that little door. Before I clean the bottom, I take the top burners off and scrape that down to the sides, then scrape the sides (using that tool that came with it, only we didn't have one so my hubby made one with a stick and piece of heavy tin). Then there's the little door on top of the stove that goes up the pipe and down to the trap for all the soot to fall out of the pipe. Take that off and clean with a metal coat hanger. Just flatten it, then make a hook or loop on the end.

    Since we heat and cook so much on ours, we have to do that about every 2 weeks. About every other month, we take the little cover off the back of the stove where everything from the stove pipe falls down and clean that out too. Can't get to it very good, so I just use the coat hanger. My husband also cleans the stove pipe from on top of the roof then, too.

    I know those of you who have cookstoves think we probably could just burn it hot every morning to keep it clean. We do that. Even have a thermometer made for that to keep a check on things. Everyone we've asked about it says that the older Stanleys are just bad about that. Otherwise, they're great stoves, and much more efficient than most.

    Regarding other possible stoves for your consideration: I know a family in GA with an old Grandaddy Fisher. It's really a heating stove, but can be used for cooking on the top. No oven, and it may be more than you really need for heat, as well. We also have friends in the Interior of Alaska with one. Heats great all night, even when it's 50 below zero.

    The Pioneer Maid is a nice stove, heats well (but really does not burn all night like it's supposed to do). We have close friends with one. We've stayed at their house several times during the winters to take care of their children while they had to be away. The Stanley is a much better stove for cooking, although the Pioneer Maid heats much better and doesn't require the frequent cleaning. It also is not made as well, and would expect it to be replaced eventually. If you had the space for it, it is still a good stove, and worth considering. We're considering one, but I don't think I want to part with the Stanley. There are some beautiful ones in Lehman's, and several friends have purchased different ones. None are near as efficient as the Stanley. When you're cooking in NC, I'm sure you'd have all your windows and doors open, even on the coldest days. Our friends in AK with the other stoves get cooked out of the house when they try cooking on their fancy stoves. I'd just try converting the Stanley first.

    That's probably more than you ever wanted to know. Maybe the experiences of others is different from mine.

    Mrs. AK Homesteader
    Alaska HOMESTEADING Journal
    www.AlaskaHomesteading.com
     
  4. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    635
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    Location:
    NC
    thanks so much for the information. I feel quite a bit better already. I'll get to cleaning it out on a warm day. My biggest worry was that a pioneer maid was gonna be the cadillac stove. I'm glad to hear from someone who has actually used both of them.
    I'll try to get used to what I have...it's just different than what I'm used to. a friend told me today that he completely shut his 1920's model stove down at night and there would still be coals in the morning...that's something i hadn't considered...if you shut down an airtight stove, it puts the fire out in short order. Will removing the baffles would shorten the life of the stove?
     
  5. ak homesteader

    ak homesteader Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Location:
    Alaska
    Glad to help. Hope the good cleaning helps with the smoking. When you mention the "baffles", are you talking about the ash grate? I think that's what it's called. The thing in the firebox that the wood sits on? Ashes can fall through. Anyway, I forgot to tell you that when the guy took out the ash grate, he also lined the bottom, back and left side (all outside surfaces ---- on the inside) with soapstone tiles. I don't think the oven side is lined. (we're not home right now, so I can't really remember. I'm just so used to it that I don't notice)They're about 3/4" or 1" thick. That's to prevent the stove from burning out since it wasn't really designed to be a heating stove. With the grate gone, you'll be able to add more and larger wood, or small pieces to get a hotter fire. You can get it hotter or you can shut it down to make it burn cooler and longer. There may be something you can use besides soapstone, but that's what we have. If you use anything too thick, it will take up too much room and will defeat the purpose of removing the grate.
    Oh, this part is important for whatever you use to line your enlarged firebox. On the bottom, make sure there's a little space (about 2") between the soapstone and the draft. If the soapstone covers the entire bottom, at least on our model, it will obstruct part of the draft and it won't draw very good.

    I know all this sounds like a terrible amount of work, but it really doesn't take all that much time. The initial cleaning may be a bugger, though. I didn't describe things all that well, but once you get started, you'll get to know your stove and all it's little nooks and crannies where stuff builds up.

    Best wishes, and hope you enjoy your Stanley :)

    Mrs. AK Homesteader
    www.alaskahomesteading.com
     
  6. debitaber

    debitaber Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,061
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    the same amish man, makes a stove that is called kitchen queen. and he sells to the amish for 1800$. they are a good air tight stove. It is pretty good size. I know of an amish lady that uses one and loves it. I was going to buy his mennonite stove, it has a glas door, to the fire, and the fire box is large, and you can get this with blowers that blow air out into the house. this stove is around 2800, if you go pick it up, I have a home comfort, and I live it, but the fire box, is small, I want one of these new ones from this guy, just as soon, as I get the money..