Choosing a wood burning cook stove is a major decision for anyone seriously considering buying one. This is because it demands a level of commitment and effort that people are generally just not used to. Yet the wood heat and cooking are incomparable; find out more…
The typical thermostatically controlled gas or electric cook stove is so reliable and easy to use that there must be a good reason to want to cook with wood. Perhaps it is because of a desire to be off the grid, or self-sufficient, or maybe just a desire to return to the memories of bygone eras. Still, a wood burning cook stove can be a highly efficient and wonderful appliance to own.
We use ours to boil sap for maple syrup, bake simple dishes, and to heat the kitchen in spring and fall. Because most wood cook stove fireboxes are rather small they are ideal for a quick, hot fire in the morning or evening to take the chill off. Many stoves are rather old and leaky, making them inefficient for truly heating the house though.
The old-time stove repairman with 20,000 spare parts scattered around his workshop are a dying breed. If you know of one and want to upgrade your stove, do it sooner, rather than later. He may not be in business all that much longer!
What to look for in a wood burning cook stove
There are several things to look for in choosing any wood burning stove. First, consider the size. How much do you intend to actually cook with your stove? How many people will be eating all those yummy meals and loaves of bread?
Consider also your heating demands. A good wood burning cook stove can also double as a heat source for at least one level of most homes, and this means you need an additional source of heat. You also should consider a back up source during the summer months, as you most certainly won’t want to be heating your house in the heat of July!
One thing to think about when choosing a cook stove is the level of quality you need. If you only want to cook meals on the stove top, almost any good stove will do. However, if you are looking to bake or use the oven for meals, you should definitely look into a full-blown cookstove.
Choosing a wood burning cook stove
Quality wood burning cook stoves stoves are expensive. A Waterford Stanley Wood Cookstove can cost you over $5,000 new. If you are lucky enough to find a good used one you could save some money. These stoves are made in Waterford, Ireland, where they have been in use for over 100 years.
An Elmira Stove Works Fireview Cookstove is a high efficiency, air-tight stove that has a great reputation. They come with a water jacket and can quite easily heat a good portion of your house. These cost around $4,200 and up, depending on the size and features.
The Baker’s Oven is a clever adaptation of a cookstove and a heating wood stove. You get the best of both worlds at a reasonable price. These Australian stoves can heat your home, cook your bread and heat up your soup on the top, all at once! The start around $2,500.
All in all, cooking with wood is wonderful and the food is incredible. You can heat your house, warm your food, incubate yogurt, bake bread and humidify your house. However, it all comes with the effort you put into it.
Don’t forget the wood cutting, splitting, stacking hauling, ashes, cold mornings, slow heat up times and so on. The romantics can quickly fade for the faint of heart, or those who do not have the time.
Some creative people enjoy fabricating their own wood stoves, here is a resource: http://www.apostol-engineering.co.uk
Remember the wood stove accessories
Other expenses can include the gas chainsaw, chainsaw chains, sharpener, labor, fire wood, pick-up truck, gas, and accessories such as a firewood shed and poker.