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Monday, March 31, 2014

Discussion of comments on our petition

 Our petition in support of cleaner stoves and cleaner air has reached 500 signatures in just five days.  Please click here to sign if you haven’t already signed.

The most frequent comments that we have received by far have been “I want to do my part to help keep the air we breathe clean.“ 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Even MORE Petition Comments!

The comments just keep coming... they are mostly from our owners.  WHAT A GREAT GROUP OF OWNERS!  Comments are running about 80 to one in favor of our petition, and we will answer some of the negative comments/objections (there aren’t many!) on Monday.  In the meantime, thanks to everyone who has signed and/or commented, and if you want to sign our Petition in Support of Cleaner Woodstoves and Cleaner Air, please click here!

Why is the petition to Gina McCarthy in support of the NSPS important to you?

This being the only source of heat for our home I want it to be clean burning and efficient and expect the product I use meet these standards.

Comments on our Petition

Lots of people have commented on why our petition in support of cleaner stoves and air is important to them.  It's only been two days and we're getting a lot of great comments, below is a sampling of just a few. Please join us by signing our petition today!

Why is the petition to Gina McCarthy in support of the NSPS important to you?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sign Our Petition for Clean Stoves & Clean Air!

We have listened to both sides (state air regulators and the woodstove industry) in the debate over the new EPA regulations. We have concluded that the new regulations are (1) the “right thing to do” because the public health benefits outweigh the costs of compliance, and that (2) clean, efficient and affordable stoves can be made under the proposed new standards.  We initiated our petition because we wanted to let the EPA know that we think their targets are achievable, and to give a voice to wood burners who care deeply about wood heat and want to push the industry toward higher efficiency and lower emissions.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

More Improvements: IDEAL STEEL Hybrid

Here are a few other improvements we have made recently to the Ideal Steel Hybrid:

We cut a damper adjustment scale in the ash lip.  Lots of people operate their stoves in a narrow range for long periods of time, and this makes it easier to remember your best operating settings.

The andirons have been tricky.  Before we settled on andirons that folded forward, we prototyped andirons that folded over on their sides, moved laterally to both sides of the load door opening, folded in the middle, and/or were removable.  We still like our current version best, in part because it is simple, and in part because one can move the andirons with a poker, or the toe of a boot.  The andiron plate also acts as an air deflector that helps eliminate smoke spillage in installations with marginal draft.

To lessen ash spillage onto the ash lip, we have added a slot between the front of the andiron and the body of the stove so that fly ash on the andiron plate will slide back into the stove instead of onto the ash lip.  We have also shortened the andirons from 7” to 5” so that it’s easy to load over them most of the time.  We’re also working on a little tool to brush ash off the andiron plate before folding it forward.

New Andirons, like the dragon pictured above, are 5" tall, 
rather than 7". This makes it easy to load over the andirons
if you wish. A slot in the front of the andirons allows fly ash
 to fall back inside the stove.
The damper adjustment scale is cut into the edge of the ash lip.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The NEXT Gearhead Hybrid Stove

Basic version

The next Gearhead Hybrid Stove is under construction right now (prototype only).  We are building a slightly smaller firebox (about 2.6 cubic feet), and version 3.0 of our hybrid combustion design. The Ideal Steel Hybrid (going into production soon) had the lowest high burn emissions on record, and with new regulations coming, there’s an incentive to flatten the emissions curve even more.  One of the most important things for us is the combustion design, but we'll do a lot of testing over the summer before “going public” with the internal workings of this stove.

This stove will definitely be sideloading (left or right), and have a top and rear vent. We plan to make an inexpensive basic version - a utilitarian workhorse that is easy to use but has some nice details (see Basic Version, at right).  Then we think we will make a steel Franklin stove.  Some of our favorite antique soapstone stoves have Franklin stove designs, and we manufacture three gas stoves with Franklin designs, including our unique 17 inch tall Mini Franklin gas stove.

Franklin Stove Design lends itself perfectly to steel fabrication.  We plan to alter the shape of the wings, ash lip, and door as well as the stove ornamentation, to reflect different periods:  Arts and Crafts, Gothic, Transitional, or Modern for example.  The sketches at the right and below are not final by any means, they are just offered to show the general direction we are heading in.
1800's Franklin Soapstone
We plan to beta-test this stove extensively next winter, and have it available in June/July of 2015.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ideal Steel Improvements

We’ve made a number of improvements to the IDEAL STEEL Hybrid over the winter, and many were based on comments/suggestions from our beta testers.  We’ll try to cover some of the changes on this blog over the next few weeks.

Friday, March 7, 2014

IDEAL STEEL Hybrid Catalytic Temperature Probe

We’ve added a port for a catalytic temperature probe just above the center of the loading door.  The probes are simple bimetallic coils attached to a stainless rod.  We have been testing the bimetallic probe against a thermocouple:  it’s certainly “in the ballpark” and gives a good idea of catalyst light-off.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Beta-testing and Pre-Production Prices for the IDEAL STEEL Hybrid

We are offering pre-production prices for the IDEAL STEEL Hybrid for the next several months (see below).  We won’t actually begin shipping IDEAL STEEL Hybrids until June, for one simple reason:  it’s still cold and we haven’t quite finished with Beta testing yet.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Why are non-catalytic stove manufacturers so upset?

As a result of the recently proposed EPA regulations, non-catalytic stove manufacturers (and their surrogates) have stepped up attacks on catalytic stoves in comments to the EPA, and public meetings with EPA.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Our Design Book is Live!

Our Geared 2U Design Book for the Ideal Steel Hybrid is now live on our website. We're still working on getting all of our designs into the book, but we have a good start.

Click here to see our Geared 2U Design Book

Monday, March 3, 2014

BTU Output: How is it Determined?

Several people have recently asked about how BTU output is determined. BTU/hr rating is basically a speed and efficiency rating.  The (1) greater the number of POUNDS OF WOOD CONSUMED PER HOUR, and (2) the higher the OVERALL EFFICIENCY, then the HIGHER THE BTU/hr OUTPUT RATING.