Our Woodstove: The Vermont Bun Baker
We bought it mainly use in heating our house. We were looking for an alternative heating source for our house. We choose to get the soapstone, because I knew that it would help in keeping the stove warm and thus keeping the area around the wood stove warm. We got the stove in Oct. The first winter we had the woodstove we had no idea how much wood we would need, how long the stove would stay hot, how many times we would have to bring in wood, or even how to operate the wood stove. It was a learning time. We used both the woodstove and our electric heat pump that first year as we learned how to use the stove. We knew from the online research what the stove was designed to do as far as how much area it would heat (700-900 sq. ft.) and what the burn times were (8 hours).
Now, a little bit of information about our house. Our house is an all-electric; 2400 sq. ft. insulated concrete form home. Our ICF walls are 2.5″ of expanded polystyrene foam, 8″ of concrete and then 2.5″ of expanded polystyrene foam again on the outside, thus giving our walls an R-40 insulation value. Both the lower level and main level of the house is this same type of wall, so it is well insulated. We did not know if the woodstove would be able to heat all 2400 sq ft, as the house is much larger than their 700-900 sq ft they say the stove will heat. Our chimney flue pipe is 36′ long, yes 36′ long. The woodstove is in the basement and the flue is a straight shot out the roof on the main level. It is an open concept house. There are no hallways on either floor. Every room (BR, BA, and Kitchen) is off the main room (LR, FR) on that level, except for the laundry and garage.
We found we got longer burn times than what the internet said the stove is capable of. We have gotten anywhere from ten to twelve hour burn times. I am sure this also varies with the type of wood you are burning. We have been burning oak and hickory. Since we had such wonderful burn times the first year, we decided the second year to try to use just the woodstove for heat. We cut a 14″ X 30″ hole in the floor directly above the woodstove, thus allowing the heat to travel upstairs thru the hole in the floor. We also added a fan at the top of the stairs blowing down the stairs; thus circulating the heat upstairs. This worked wonderfully, as the stove is centrally located in the lower level of the home. We estimate that we burn through three cords on a cold winter. The first woodshed we built holds 2.25 cords of wood. The second shed we just finished holds three cords. We are hoping that this gives us enough wood for two winters. The temperature of the house usually maintains itself at 72-75 degrees.
Second, we wanted a woodstove that we could not only cook on, but also do our baking in, if the power went out. There are many different kinds of woodstoves for baking, but we also did not have a large space that many of them require. The Vermont Bun Baker is not big enough for a 9X13 baking dish, so we have learned to adapt to using something a bit smaller. A twelve-inch pizza stone fits and works well for cookies and pizza. These are the two most popular things for us to bake in the woodstove. There is a bit of learning to know how long it takes to bake things. It all depends on what the temperature of the oven is and how much fire you have in the firebox. If you put things on both racks, the stuff on the top rack can easily burn on top if you are not careful, as it is very close to the bottom of the firebox. We learned this by experience when we baked bread in the oven. The soapstone always keeps the teakettle warm enough for hot tea. We have not yet made the transition to doing all of our cooking on the woodstove. We mainly use it to melt butter and warm things up.
Reason number three for choosing the Vermont Bun Baker is the small footprint it takes, if you round up the measurements, it is a 22″ X 22″ square. Most of the woodstoves out there were too big in one dimension or other to fit in our space.
The Vermont Bun Baker not only had the small footprint, but it had the baking ability and the heating capability we were looking for in a woodstove. We have enjoyed our woodstove so far and look forward to learning to use it more as time goes on. If we had to do it all over again, we would choose the same stove.
– Wrangler Jane.