Review of Charnwood Island III stove


Steve Jemmett-Page 8 years ago

I have had an Island 3 installed now for the past 2 years - it replaced a very old Jotul which although ugly was highly effective and is now missed.

The Charnwood is beautifully made and looks great in its place. I am not at all pleased with its operation though.

Firstly. It doesn't give out nearly enough heat. Nothing like the previous Jotul and way less than the claimed 12kw. My timber is well dried ( usually around 15% moisture and 3 years stacking) but there just doesn't seem to be enough airflow there to make a decent fire. Usually I burn ash, birch and alder but occasionally I have to use chestnut which is just hopeless - the fire burns up for a while but then fades, leaving me with a stove full of cold charcoal even if I have set the airflow close to maximum.

Further, my stove will not cope with thick logs no matter what type of timber they are. Charnwood tell me now that it is designed to cope with 50mm diameter max wood - this was not in any of their printed literature as far as I can see and is not what you could reasonably expect from a great big stove.

Also it is filthy in operation. Although the riddling system is first class and the ash cans work very well, I get a face ( and room ) full of dust every time I open the doors no matter how carefully I do it.

And finally the glass - if you keep the vents open 60% or more the windows stay reasonably clean. Shut it in and they look like they've been painted in tar. A hot burn might sort of clear parts of them, but it is not really satisfactory. You can forget shutting in a fullish stove to keep it burning overnight.

There is some fundamental design flaw with this stove. It looks lovely, but it is just unsatisfactory at doing its job. In my opinion too much emphasis on fancy technology, not enough on getting heat out of wood.

Stove expert replied: It does sound as if you may have a poor draw on the flue system as you should not get ash blowing back into the room when you open the door. Have you adequate air in the room for the size of stove? Is the chimney lined? The installation should be checked to insure that it matches the requirements of the manufacturer.

Overall rating:

2.5 flames

Build Quality 4 flames (avg 4)
Quality of finish 4 flames (avg 3.6)
Value for money 0.5 flames (avg 2.6)
Ease of use 1.5 flames (avg 3.3)
Ease of lighting 4 flames (avg 3.3)
Firebox size 5 flames (avg 4.1)
How well does the airwash work 2 flames (avg 2.5)
Controllability 2.5 flames (avg 3.4)
Handle operation 5 flames (avg 3.5)
How likely are you to buy it again? 0.5 flames (avg 2.7)
What is your overall satisfaction? 0.5 flames (avg 2.5)