Review of Coalbrookdale Little Wenlock Mk3 stove
Coalbrookdale wonderful Little Wenlock peat burner.
Excellent stove which will burn any flammable solid material. I bought the original model 25 years ago and it is still going strong, minus its grate and firebricks, burning logs. I burned coal and smokeless fuel for the first five years but the firebricks cracked and the grate became distorted and would not riddle with the rotating assembly (it just fell to bits eventually). This was caused by the frequent build up of ash in the pan which is only about an inch (about 3cm) deep. When coal ash comes into contact with the cast iron grate the latter oxidizes rapidly and is soon damaged.The only downside if this stove is this shallow ashpan space which,together with the fire bricks and grate, is essential if coal is being burned. However the simple and very effective air control has enabled me to burn any fuel, including wood, for over 24 hours at a lower temperature. Wood is by far the preferred fuel as, after removal of the firebricks and grate, a large space enables wood to be burned on a bed of ash that needs emptying twice a week, as opposed to twice a day at least with coal or smokeless fuel, and is therefore much cleaner and easier. I've heard criticism of the coarse black finish of the stove - matt black (maintained by use of Zebrite graphite ) is the best colour for encouragement of thermal radiation from the stove. If it were white or shiny it would get hot but would be less efficient and a nightmare to keep clean. I would have another of these stoves without a second thought (I hope the later models are of at least as good quality). I have used a Much Wenlock stove which has a larger capacity and two doors. That stove was not as good as the doors and consequent air flow were less simple and easy to manage.
Stove expert replied: Coal is not a recommended fuel for most closed appliances, use smokeless fuels that are not petroleum based. Empty the ashpan regularly and do not let the ash build up in it. Be careful what you use on the outside of a stove as there may be a chemical reaction with the paint if a genuine product is not used.
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