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Thread: Is Vermont Castings still a good stove?

  1. #1
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    Is Vermont Castings still a good stove?

    The bride and I are considering a wood stove. I’ve always liked Vermont Castings but I see that they’ve had some turmoil. The management bought the company when the parent company went bankrupt then sold the company to Iowa based HNI. They’ve brought back some manufacturing from overseas. These could all be positive things.

    anybody know more?

  2. #2
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    VC was the Gold Standardback in the late 70’s and forward about 20 yrs. They had a very solid dealer network. The dealers were really informed and protective of the line. Then to increase sales VC went mass market. This really PO’d the entire dealer network As their margins fell, they felt betrayed. They banded together and they were a very tight network and began converting sales on the floor. I was representing Selkirk at the time and Knew these guys well. A huge loss for VC was the native intelligence about VC, its service, problems, solutions etc. which the dealers began turning back to VC. They have, as noted, been in and out of business and I am not sure how they are doing currently. I think your best bet would be to go to a good stove shop and see what they like. My local guys lean Jotul. Hearth.com is an excellent site for this type question as well.

  3. #3
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    I bought a new stove last year and ended up going with Century. They are made in Canada, I think, and seem to be a good quality stove. Certainly ours has been excellent, and the prices are lower than some of the other 'good' companies. I got a FW 2800 for a ~900 sf house in a quite cold climate and it is all we need, even on 0 degree days.

  4. #4
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    VC was bought out by a larger company. About 20 years ago they focused on building BBQs and gas stoves. As wood stove technology changed (for the better) the new company didn't keep up. I don't know if they got their act together but back in 2007 none of the wood stove dealers around here were selling them even though they were still dealers for them. If dealers in Vermont are not selling a brand made in Vermont I figured there was a good reason so I bought a Hearthstone soapstone wood stove. If you want quick heat it's not the best option. But if you want something that will still put out heat for hours after the fire has long burnt out they are much better than a cast iron stove.

  5. #5
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    I bought one in early 2021 during the height of the pandemic. I'd always wanted one and so far I've been happy with it. It was expensive and it took about 12 weeks to be delivered (supply chain issues I was told). But like I said, it works like a charm. We don't heat with it exclusively, it's just for atmosphere and supplemental heat in our living room addition (where there's electric heat).

    To be honest, I really didn't shop around, or read reviews, I wanted it and I bought it. But here a couple of years later I am still happy with the purchase. Mine has glass doors and they get dirty quick. I bought some cleanser from Lehman's that works great!

    DC
    Last edited by David Carroll; 11-22-2023 at 3:21 PM.

  6. #6
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    We've heated wholly or partially with wood for 40+ years. In that time, we've gone through 3 wood stoves: an early 80s plate steel step stove, a cast iron catalytic box stove from Federal (who were big in the 80s and 90s, but ended up being bought out by Vermont Castings and disappearing, I believe), and the last, in 2010, a Vermont Castings non-catalytics Encore.

    If I were in the market today, I would not buy a Vermont Castings, and would very likely not consider a cast iron stove of any kind. I most certainly would not buy a catalytic cast iron stove. Cast iron just doesn't hold up to high heat, due to it's phase change expansion at high temperatures. VC manages that with very elaborate air movement controls, and they work, but they are based on internal components that are a combination of ceramic firebrick and vitrified fire wool (which is quite soft and fragile). I've had to engineer replacement parts from steel and stove cement to keep the Encore working properly. I definitely don't recommend it.

    So, if I were going to spend the amount a VC stove cost (North of $3500 delivered, but not installed), I'd go with something engineered for efficiency and emissions control made from steel. I really like the steel hybrids from Woodstock Soapstone, e.g., other than the fact that they are catalytics.

    Edited to add: But I might find room in my heart for a catalytic, if it had no cast iron in it.
    Last edited by Steve Demuth; 11-22-2023 at 4:00 PM.

  7. #7
    I have heated with a woodstove for over 30 years. I have had a steel stove, a Vermont Casting Defiant Encore II (catalytic), and now have a Woodstock Soapstone (catalytic), The Woodstock is by far the best stove I have had. As Alex mentioned soapstone takes a while to heat up but it gives a nice even heat when going. Woodstock is located in New Hampshire and I visited the factory before buying. I selected my stove on the shop floor before it was completed as we liked the stone plates. They are built like a tank and feel like it will last forever. I have had to call for support and the people you deal with are quite knowledgeable. Their stoves are some of the most efficient on the market too.

  8. #8
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    I Cant speak for the modern version but I have an early eighties V.C. Defiant in the shed. The shed also contains a Waterford , a Comforter, a Fisher Baby Bear, and a Lopi. The kids say it is time to start clearing out my junk. I say the Defiant is awaiting installation in the next shop, and the others are waiting for them. It is an awesome stove but was too big for the small house. It was replaced by a catalytic stove.
    Last edited by Maurice Mcmurry; 11-22-2023 at 9:39 PM.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Izzy Camire View Post
    I have heated with a woodstove for over 30 years. I have had a steel stove, a Vermont Casting Defiant Encore II (catalytic), and now have a Woodstock Soapstone (catalytic), The Woodstock is by far the best stove I have had. As Alex mentioned soapstone takes a while to heat up but it gives a nice even heat when going. Woodstock is located in New Hampshire and I visited the factory before buying. I selected my stove on the shop floor before it was completed as we liked the stone plates. They are built like a tank and feel like it will last forever. I have had to call for support and the people you deal with are quite knowledgeable. Their stoves are some of the most efficient on the market too.
    I went with a hearthstone because they are made less than 15 miles from my house. Like you being able to see the company does make it nice. I ended up with a factory second. My plan was to pick the stone I liked and have it built. But when I made a choice the guy said "We have this one that's almost identical for 30% off". They just said there was a spot on one of the stones that they didn't like the appearance of so they discounted it vs removing/replacing the stone. 18 years later and I haven't found the defect.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Izzy Camire View Post
    I have heated with a woodstove for over 30 years. I have had a steel stove, a Vermont Casting Defiant Encore II (catalytic), and now have a Woodstock Soapstone (catalytic), The Woodstock is by far the best stove I have had. As Alex mentioned soapstone takes a while to heat up but it gives a nice even heat when going. Woodstock is located in New Hampshire and I visited the factory before buying. I selected my stove on the shop floor before it was completed as we liked the stone plates. They are built like a tank and feel like it will last forever. I have had to call for support and the people you deal with are quite knowledgeable. Their stoves are some of the most efficient on the market too.
    I also have one of the Woostock soapstones, very pleased. Its 30 minutes up the road me as well. https://www.woodstove.com/

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