This time of year people start thinking about buying a good woodstove. Here's a list of where stoves are available.
Riteway stoves are made by Riteway Mfg. Inc., Box 6, Harrisonburg, Va. 22801. Riteway also makes wood-burning furnaces that will burn wood, oil, gas or coal.
Ashly stoves area from Martin Industries, Box 730, Sheffield, Ala. 35660. Similar thermostatically controlled airtights are made by Autocraft, Illinois and Benton Streets., New Athens, Ill. 62264; Shenandoah Mfg. Co., Box 839, Harrisonburg, Va. 22801; Brown Stove Works, Cleveland, Tenn. 37331.
Jotul Norwegian airtights are imported by Kristia Assoc., Box 1118, Portland, Me. 04101. The similar Trolla stoves are imported by Portland Stove Foundry Co., Box 1156, Portland, Me. 04100. MOrso Scandivavian stoves are imported by Southport Stoves, Div. of Howell Corp., 248 E. Tolland St., E. Hartford, Conn. 06108. Large Danish stoves are available through scandinavian Stoves Inc., Box 72, Alstead, N.H. 03602.
All of the stoves mentioned do a fine job of providing efficient wood heat. But for those of you who like the sight of dancing flames, they have one shortcoming: They all shut the fire out of sight in an airtight metal box. Is there any way to get efficient heating, plus a view of the fire? The answer is a qualified yes.
You can try of the combi-fires (convertible airtigts). These are designed to burn with their doors open as well as closed. With the doors opening you get your view of the fire but must suffer severely reduced efficiency. Close the doors and you lose your view but gain efficiency. A good convertible will do as good a job with its doors closed as any other airtight stove. Trouble is, there are very few good convertibles, and those that exist are expensive.
The only three makers I could recommend are Jotul and Morso (addresses above) plus Vermont Castings, Prince St., Randolph, Vt. 05060, makers of the sophisticated new Defiant parlor stove. All three make their convertibles of heavy cast iron. The various Jotul models are available in black or dull green enamel. Morso offers green, black or white. The Defiant is available in traditional black iron finish only.
Prices? They run from around $500, for the Defiant or one of the small Scandinavian combi-fires, up to around $750.
If you decide to buy a convertible, use it wisely. Don't leave the doors open when you aren't there to enjoy the view of the fire. Never let the fire die down (and definitely never go to bed) with the doors open you'll end up with warm room air rushing up the chimney, and a little or no heat coming from the stove. Besides, it's dangerous to leave an open fire unattended.