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Apr 21, 2011 08:35 PM

I May Get My Woodstove After All! Recommendations?

Hi, All:

A unique opportunity just presented itself... I found a 1907 Craftsman-style farmhouse (now swallowed up by my big city). Heated--legally--by big woodstove in the parlor and original hot-water radiators throughout the house.

But the *really* good news is that the kitchen has its own chimney, and the penetration/fittings for a wood cookstove are all there, and the flue and space allows for a big stove plus an aux gas burner. This is really a dream-come-true for me, since I remember my tutu's 1890s house with its big wood cookstove.

Any recommendations on vintage cookstoves?

And to my friends who decry anything but induction for "putting heat into the air", the smart folks who built this house didn't bother with putting ANY heat into the kitchen. But there's a big south-facing bay window not far from where that too-hot stove will be.

I think this is going to work out just fine,


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  1. Hi Kaleo,

    Hey, good for you!!

    Some vintage gas ranges were made with a wood-fired area on one side, gas on the other. My in-laws had one way, way back in the day. It had a water heater thing in it too. Maybe O'Keefe & Merritt??

    The original dual-fuel... : )

    I wonder if that would work?


    1 Reply
    1. re: I used to know how to cook...

      Thanks, Lucy!

      I have heard of them; I will search a bit.

      I have to measure to make sure that what I want will fit. I like the looks of the traditional home stoves less than the institutional ones (As if I ever use more than 2 burners and one oven!)

      I will email you in a few days.


    2. So you have the house or the city does? Was wondering what you meant by that. I grew up in a house that was heated by a woodstove, no big deal around here...and there is no charm factor in it for me. Endless wood gathering, cutting, splitting, dust and dirt. I think a wood fired cookstove would be joyless to cook on...the constant fire tending, waiting for it to come up to a decent cook temp, and how "ungreen" it must be to use in the summertime if the rest of the house is cooled by ac. There's a reason why lots of homes had separate outbuildings that acted as kitchens. Then again, I'm from from a different era. Have fun, and keep your chainsaw sharp, Kaleo!

      4 Replies
      1. re: BiscuitBoy

        When you grow up in a Pasteurized, sterilized, anti-bacterial, stainless steel, modern world where so much of the modern world hopes you will turn into a good little cubicle drone...well, a little wood fired stove cooking some Trotters can be a real nice thing.

        I am not speaking for Kaleo, I am just sayin'.

        1. re: DougRisk

          Living with a woodstove makes you get over sterilized, antibacterial issues pretty quick. There WILL be dust. And wood chips. And soot.

          But also soup.

          1. re: Nyleve

            There is a big difference between
            - wanting to clean up dust and messes and making things look and feel nice, and
            - "No Raw Milk", "No Rough-housing", "No Dodgeball", "No Raw Meat", "Reduce your fat intake", "Reduce your cholesterol", "Refrigerate that - IMMEDIATELY", etc.

            Like I said, cooking on a wood fired stove, every now and then, for a change of pace, can be a real nice thing.

        2. re: BiscuitBoy

          I'm with you, BB. I've used woodstoves (for heat not cooking) and would never do it again. Everything you said about it. Plus the environmental no-no of burning wood. OP may even find that though everything within the house is legal, that woodburning is not. That's the way it is in our area. Yes, it's a romantic notion but the practical aspects are not. We currently have a woodburning fireplace that only gets used in the case of power failures. Yes, I'm an environmentalist but also just plain loathe messing with wood. To each his own.

        3. I've had a wood cookstove in my kitchen ever since we moved into our old house about 30 years ago. I love it to the point of insanity. Our first cookstove - a vintage Findlay Oval - was a big old thing that we bought out of someone's barn. I spent endless hours sitting in a rocking chair with my feet in the oven when I was pregnant with my two kids. It heated the kitchen and it was unsurpassed for cooking anything that needed long simmering, like soups and stews. Of course it wasn't my only cooking surface nor the only heat source in the kitchen - we have a proper furnace and a natural gas stove - so there was no issue with overheating the house in the summertime. We simply don't use the wood stove when it's hot out.

          A couple of years ago an overzealous insurance inspector came and declared the wood stove to be illegal and demanded that we remove it. The problem was that the vintage stove couldn't be installed in the space we had for it, in compliance with any fire-safety codes. I was distraught. It was unthinkable to me to no longer have my beloved wood stove. But we had no choice but to remove the thing. Fortunately we were able to find - on Kijiji, no less - a contemporary-built stove made to the same design as the original Findlay by a company that had bought the molds. The company - Elmira Stove Works - has now been re-sold and makes both wood and combination appliances under the name Heartland. My new stove is compliant with all codes and was able to be safely and legally installed. It's a slightly smaller model (Elmira Sweetheart as opposed to Elmira Oval) which actually fits the space better anyway but works just as well. I would highly recommend this company - it retains ALL the charm of the original antique stoves but is a modern-built unit for which you can actually get all kinds of replacement parts, if you ever need them. I believe it's a Canadian stove but may be available in the US as well (not sure about that). My stove has a hot-water reservoir on the side, and a warming oven above the cooking surface, as well as a smallish oven. The water reservoir is mainly used as a heat-sink since it retains the warmth long after the fire has gone out, making it a bit more environmentally sensible. Heartland has a website which shows all the specifications for their applicances.

          Good luck with your adventure. If I were to have to pick my favourite thing in my whole house (besides my family) it would be my wood stove. Right now - toward the end of April - the thing is still crackling away in the kitchen since we're having a really cold spring. Later this morning I plan to put a gigantic pot of turkey soup on to simmer all day.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Nyleve

            Just remembered I have a photo of it. Hope it's not sideways...

            1. re: Nyleve

              It was sideways. Here's another shot.

            2. Wow, you are going for vinetage style. Sound like a new house for you. Congratulation.

              1. I have a friend in Vermont who has used similar wood stove for 25 years...

                Here ya go Nyleve:

                7 Replies
                  1. re: Gio

                    The kitchen floor is titled -- must be due to wood burning :P

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Hey - that explains why all my dropped olives end up in the same corner of the kitchen! Nah - house is straight. Crazy thick stone foundation walls keep floors pretty solid.

                      Actually had a friend who REALLY lived in a tilted house. My kids used to go there and let marbles roll down the hall to see how fast they could get them going.

                      1. re: Nyleve

                        That brings up another point. Those suckers are HEAVY! Code may require reinforcing the floor. Also fire-retardant materials behind and beside the stove.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          The fire codes - as I learned from bitter and expensive experience - are quite specific. Each stove that has been certified (the modern ones) have detailed clearance requirements for placement distances from combustible surfaces. The old one I had to get rid of would have had to be - har har har - 8 feet from any combustible surface. So it would have needed to be positioned directly in the middle of my kitchen, nowhere near a wall, and set onto a thick fireproofed base in order to be legally installed. This new one supposedly has enough shielding that it can be placed 12 inches from the wall which is, in any case, brick. The installation manual will give you all those details and then it's still up to your municipal fire code and insurance company to decide whether they'll allow it or not. I understand why this is so, but I still think that sometimes things get taken too far. To my amateur eye, I can't see that this new stove is much better insulated than the other one. But if you think I'm going to open that can of worms...

                          And as for heavy, you have no idea. When my husband and I went to pick it up from the woman we bought it from, she couldn't find anyone to help us load it into our pickup truck. So imagine me (a 5'2" weakling) and my husband (a tad taller and stronger) pushing it up a ramp into the truck. I was sure someone was going to get killed.

                        2. re: Nyleve

                          :) I was just teasing you guys. The photo is tilted, but I thought it is funny to say the kitchen is tilted.

                          It is still better than your "sideway" photo. Man, that must be a difficult kitchen to work with... having the stove on your wall...

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Depends on how much wine you drink while you're making dinner.