Why a Cast Iron Wood Stove is So Good and Accessories
If you have ever heating your house with a cast iron wood stove, you will know why they are so good. But if you have only used a fireplace, or heavy gage steel stove or fireplace insert, you just cannot appreciate the difference. Cast iron has many advantages over boiler plate steel. It does not warp or discolor for starters. This tendency of steel stoves truly degrades the appearance of the stove and makes it appear as if something is wrong or broken. The only way you can really damage a cast iron wood stove is to greatly overheat it. This is actually difficult to do, but I'm sure an out of control fire left to itself could do some damage. You also could break it by dropping something very heavy, but this is highly unlikely. Both steel and cast iron will rust, if exposed to enough moisture. The cast iron will rust more easily, but this is also not much of a concern. A little stove blacking paint will take care of any rust spots or faded areas. Steel stoves heat up more quickly and thus give off a lot of heat right away. This is great for spring and fall, when you might only want to take the chill off. Under normal operating conditions the surface will tend to be hotter as well, which makes it somewhat of a hazard and care must be taken to have enough clearance from combustible materials. Cast iron is slower to heat up, and seldom really becomes extremely hot to the touch. This makes it much less of a fire hazard, though care must always be taken to install it safely. This also makes it a little safer for the family and small children. The stove can certainly get very hot to the touch, however, and precaution must be taken for safety's sake. In many ways a good used cast iron stove is similar to the post and beam houses and barns found in New England. These old, hand-hewn buildings have stood the test of hundreds of seasons and are still fully functional. Many old, high quality stoves are still in use, even after many decades of service. Whether you have a cast iron or steel stove, you need some basic accessories. First, make sure you have adequate floor covering to protect from hot coals and ashes. More than one nice, hardwood floor has been damaged by stray coals that fall out during the loading of firewood. This is true for both fireplace wood stoves and free standing stoves. It is a simple matter of setting the stove up on a fireproof area, and there are many ways to accomplish this. You can buy metal floor coverings, or simply set the stove up on bricks. If you want to really do it right, make a little hearth area out of decorative ceramic tiles, bordered with a frame of some sort. This is a beautiful way to present your nice looking stove. If you cut your own firewood, you will need a good gas chain saw, chains, sharpening tools, hearing protection, splitting maul, and have a firewood shed for storage.