Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Flameview Owners, Please Help!

Blog reader CS (subaru_cookstove) is considering purchasing a Flameview cookstove but has some questions.  If those of you who own a Flameview would be so kind as to put your opinions in the comments section, I'm sure that CS would appreciate it.  I'm copying and pasting the questions below.  They were originally posted as a part of the comments in the blog entry entitled "Purchasing a New Woodburning Cookstove."  However, I wanted to give the questions more attention than they would have received there.  Thanks, readers!

"I have come across many favorable reviews about the Flameview's operation. However there is one very comprehensive youtube review that does not give the Flameview a good overall review. This review id dome by a dealer in Montana, Woody Chain. He seems very knowledgeable on stoves. He sells nearly every make available in North America and beyond (or so it seems). So I feel he is being objective in his review, and has lots to compare the Flameview to. In his series of videos, he takes apart a Flameview to see it from the inside. He points out some flaws in this relatively brand new unit.

Such as:

Gaps in the internal flue that directs the hot gasses around the oven. Where it seems that smoke could leak out into your home until the gaps become sealed with creasode.

Again, gaps around the oven hinges that would appear to allow smoke and gasses to leak out.

Painted steel interior of the oven that was already starting to rust before it ever had steaming food cooking in it. (As opposed to porcelain enamel or stainless steel as other brands have.)

Blower fan that is oppressively loud. And in the opinion of this dealer, is a design flaw that disrupts the thermo-dynamics of the stove by cooling a section of the flue, there by causing smoke to leak from the stove.

Glass that doesn't stay clean. Apparently the airwash causes you to burn through fuel too quickly, and doesn't work that great anyways.

Can anyone with a Flameview or other Margin stove give me some input on the points I raised earlier? My two biggest reservations are the potential smoke leakage problems and rust forming in the oven. I don't expect the stove to be perfect. For instance dirty glass is not that big of deal. A loud fan (as long as the whole this works) is not a big deal either.

I understand that all stoves leak a little smoke when they are new. I am not super picky. It is just alot of money to spend and I want to make the right choice.

Thank-you all for your input."

P.S. For some great answers to these questions, please see the Dec. 2, 2013 comment from Green Mommy posted on the "Purchasing a New Wood Cookstove" entry which is linked above.  She has some great firsthand input that she has shared there. 


  1. Well, as you know I have a flame view, and dislike most everything about it. Except as mentioned before the venting.
    I would advise against one.

    1. Thanks, Teri. I directed CS to look at your earlier comments too because I thought that they were helpful. I appreciate your input.

    2. Tom from mo,I installed my flame view in 2009 i have 2300 sq ft this is all i heat with also heats my water have 80 gallon tank with pump that turns on when fan starts. i have a heat pump but do not turn on except when gone for a few days. will buy another flame view if this one fails. the only problem is it has some cracks in fire brick.witch i will replace this summer 2016. ps i burn about 3 to 4 cord of wood each year.

    3. Tom from mo,I installed my flame view in 2009 i have 2300 sq ft this is all i heat with also heats my water have 80 gallon tank with pump that turns on when fan starts. i have a heat pump but do not turn on except when gone for a few days. will buy another flame view if this one fails. the only problem is it has some cracks in fire brick.witch i will replace this summer 2016. ps i burn about 3 to 4 cord of wood each year.

  2. Jim, thank-you for posting my questions to the attention of all your members.

    Teri, I am sorry to hear that you are not satisfied with your Flameview.

    I have some questions for both of you regarding your respective stoves:

    Do you have the optional mechanical draft control mechanism? If so, how well does it work?

    Do you have the optional blower fan? If so, how well does it work? If not, how well does the stove radiate heat? I want to make sure I am able to distribute the heat through the house on a cold Canadian winter night.

    Regarding domestic hot water, do you use the water jacket boiler or the coil? Can you briefly describe how your system opperates? Does it include a pump to circulate the water through the system?

    Thank-you for taking the time to answer my questions.


    1. Craig, here is our Margin Gem owners' perspective:

      We did not opt for the mechanical draft control mechanism, so I don't know how well it works. If I remember correctly, Daniel at Stoves and More Online told me that it would maintain the temperature of the stove within 75 degrees of where you set it as long as there was wood in the firebox.

      We do not have the optional blower fan, but we are very impressed with how well the stove radiates heat. The Margin Gem throws more heat than our Jotul F3 CB, which I know is a small stove as far as heating stoves go, but it certainly heats much better than our Qualified Range did. Part of this is due to the larger size and greater surface area of the Margin Gem, and part of this is due to the 40 gallon hot water boiler emanating heat too.

      You might consider one of the many top-of-the-stove non-electric fans to circulate the heat of the range. They would operate during a power outage, and the initial investment would be considerably smaller, depending on the model that you choose.

      Because of the top feed options of the Margin Gem, I don't believe that a hot water coil is even an option. Therefore, we have the water jacket system.

      Our hot water system is completely run by gravity except for the electric well pump which pumps water to our cistern on top of the hill behind the farmstead. It was important to me that the system would still operate in the same way during a power outage.

      Our system is explained in detail with pictures in the October 2012 post entitled "In Hot Water, Part II" You can see pictures of a system with a pump by clicking on the link to Backyardchickens.com in the post "In Hot Water, Part III." Just scroll down through their thread to the pictures of the blue Oval cookstove.

      If you have any further questions, please let me know. Hopefully Teri will see your questions, too.

    2. Craig,

      While I don't think that her stove is equipped with the features that you mentioned in your questions, you may want to visit www.homesteadingwife.com. Christina, the blog author has a Flameview and she has ten posts which feature her perspectives on using the stove.

  3. Thanks for your response Jim. I will take that into consideration. And I will also check out the other links you suggested. Sorry for asking questions you have already addressed in other blog posts. Haven't been able to browse all blogs yet! Definitely leaning towards the Gem now. I will keep you posted on my decision and progress with the install.

    I have noticed that the the distance to combustibles at the rear of the stoves is drastically different. 6" with Gem and 14" with the Flameview. Big difference!

    Thanks again!

    1. I agree that eight inches is a huge difference. That is a lot of floor space! I was unaware of the differences in clearances. Good info.!

  4. We have had a Flameview since 2006. We live in Montana where there is very little hardwood available to burn. I believe these stoves were designed to burn hardwood. We use pine, so it doesn't get as hot to use the oven a whole lot. That is the biggest draw back for me, so I don't bake in it much.
    I don't know what the mechanical draft control mechanism is. I will need to further investigate this.
    When we purchased ours we only received the stove. No manual, no instructions, no nothing. That was a bit frustrating.
    I will tell you that it can heat us right out of the house. Depending on your square footage, you may want to consider a Gem instead. I choose the Flameview because it had the largest firebox of any stove made and because I could see the flame. The glass does get dirty, but all glass on wood stoves do. Again I feel that it's the pine we burn that makes it get dirty so quickly. All you do is wait for it to cool completely, spray the glass with water only and wipe it off with newspaper. It comes clean easily. You can use a bit of ash on the dampened newspaper to get the tough spots off.
    We had to put A LOT of stove pipe on ours because of the peak of our roof and in order to get enough draft. We do have some smoke on the walls and things over time, but I feel you do with any woodstove. It's just time to scrub and paint! Past time, actually!
    If I can answer any other questions, I'd be happy to.

  5. Thanks for your reply LaVonne. That is disappointing to hear that your stove did not come with an instruction manual. My woodlot is a mix of soft and hardwoods. Thanks for sharing your experience with burning softwood only.

    The idea of the mechanical draft control is a box with a bi-metal spring is set to a certain temperature. As the amount of wood/coals late in the night decreases, and the temperature of the stove drops, the bi-metal spring pulls a chain that opens a damper to let in more air, thereby maintaining a constant temperature all night long. Novel idea, however people have used wood cookstoves for many years without this auto damper. I have yet to hear feedback from someone has this option, so I don't know how well it works.


    1. Subaru Cookstove, Boy do I wish Subaru made a wood cookstove, if it is anything like the vehicle I bet it would be great.
      First off let me say thanks for your post, you have obviously found my post's http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/does-anyone-have-the-margin-flameview.113187/page-2#post-1516360 or my You Tubes online somewhere along the line. http://youtu.be/7Qzvilik5DU
      My name is Woody Chain better know in many circles as "Woodstove Woody". I sold the Flameview Wood Cookstoves for many years and had lots of folks like the stove, but lots of folks that did not. We stand behind what products we recommend and unlike other dealers we put our money where our mouth is, if we recomend a stove and it is not what we say it is, we will take it back. I can honestly say we took back a few Flameviews. In fact I even gave credit to one fella who bought one from the competition and was not happy. After several attempts at resolving his issues and getting no reply, he contacted my company, Obadiah's Woodstoves. He called me and had some questions about the Flameview sitting in his garage that had just taken delivery of. I traded him a Kitchen Queen for his brand new Flameview and proceeded to take it apart to try and figure out what the heck some folks were so upset about. Mind you I was a Margin Stove Dealer at the time. Some folks claim I am bashing the competition which is simply not the case.
      I am a professional firefighter, a engineer and a natural gear head who loves to take things apart and see what makes them tick. The firefighter part of me is the crazy part that makes me run towards smoke and flames, while everyone else is headed the opposite way. When you have 3 Flameview customers call you and report that the fire dept was at their home that day as their stove caught on fire, a guy like me naturally gets curious. So I traded Greg Nickerson for his Flameview cookstove and he delivered it to me and I delivered a brand new Kitchen Queen 480 to his home. He has been happy every since and history was about to be made, headlines read, "Internet Stove Dealer Gives Honest Stove Review!" This little stunt cost me my Margin Stove dealership as Margin told me to take down my videos, I replied "let me help you fix your stoves and then I'll take them down".
      As these videos are all factual and honest, there is little that Margin Stoves can do about them. I am not slandering anyone. I risk my life as a vol firefighter for folks for free, why would I not risk my reputation and honor to protect folks from what I feel could be a bad decision?
      Before I made the video, everywhere you went everyone said the Flameview was the best thing since slice bread, maybe folks were ashamed and did not want to admit the faults with the stove, certainly the other dealers would not, all except Gerry from Mealtime Stoves in Ont who I know also bought back at least one Flameview.
      Now folks are more willing to talk, with that I say thank you! I pray you all are safe and enjoy whatever cookstove that you choose and you do so with full disclosure about what to expect from your purchase.
      I have enjoyed this Blog, there is some good info here, although some of the installations pictures concerned me, I feel this Blog exhibits a genuine love for wood cookstoves, one of the passions I share, which is why I sponsor this website that is devoted to nothing but wood cookstoves and even has a fourm where folks can go and interact with other cookstove owners and get some honest feedback http://cookstoves.net/articles/ enjoy