Review of Charnwood Island II stove

Good but flawed.

Brian Lusher 6 years ago

We installed two Islands--one II in our big living room and a I in the dining. We are self-sufficient in timber having organised a large garden as productive woodland and beds. We season our timber for at least 2 years and use a moisture meter to test % (20 or less) before burning. All seasoned timber is stored under cover.

Both stoves perform well. Running together they will provide heat to the whole house (2,500 sq.ft.). The large stove has however proved to have some flaws. First, the door seals last for no more than one season. Second, however carefully set, it will not burn overnight (our former Esse would). Third, the throat plate while no doubt technically clever imposes restraints on the size of block you can use. If too thick, the throat plate is dislodged. If not triangular in shape, split logs will not fit. But worst of all, the plate is made from thin steel plate which will after a couple of years start to curve downwards until it is too narrow to sit on the pegs where it is supposed to fit. I have discussed this in the past, both with retailers and with Charnwood technical dept. The latter says it happens if the fire is too hot for too long and I should fit a flue thermometer to tell me if it is too hot.

I have replaced the throat plate before and was ordering another one today when I thought: why? Surely it would be better to buy a more carefully designed product.

Which is what I will do. I'm not sure I understand 'too hot'as this is a stove that is supposed to get hot. We load it lightly, and it spends most of its time with the air-controller fully closed.

Pity. It's basically good, English and reasonably good looking. But I'm moving on. Be careful when buying Charnwood Islands.

Stove expert replied: The internal components of any stove can warp if the stove is not operated within the manufacturers guidelines, so if Charnwood suggest a thermostat it is because they feel that there may be a problem in this area. It is good practise to have one on any stove to ensure that you are using it correctly. Seals can also fail prematurely if a stove is being over-fired or if the flue draw is excessive and these should be checked so that you get the best from your stove.

Overall rating:

2.5 flames

Build Quality 3 flames (avg 4.3)
Quality of finish 3 flames (avg 4.5)
Value for money 2 flames (avg 3.6)
Ease of use 3 flames (avg 4.6)
Ease of lighting 4 flames (avg 4.7)
Firebox size 2 flames (avg 3.9)
How well does the airwash work 3 flames (avg 4)
Controllability 2 flames (avg 4.4)
Handle operation 4 flames (avg 4.4)
How likely are you to buy it again? 1 flames (avg 3.8)
What is your overall satisfaction? 2 flames (avg 4.1)