The Windy Smithy range of wood burning stoves start at £200, which made them a very attractive possibility for my converted bus.
Upon reading a few reviews, I came across only
one negative review – one that claimed it was hard to keep going (I absolutely disagree more on that below..) every other comment was about how well built they were.
By the time I’d specced up our stove it was to bearound £700 with the fluepipe. Now this sounds alotabove the initial £200, and it is, but not when you consider what we ended up with. I opted for an “Arthur” stove (largest one in the range) with added backboiler(as I want to heat my hot water tank for showers), we also got a custom window inserted in the stove. I also got 4metresof stove pipeand a couple of 45degree elbows.
Jon Snow, owner of Windy Smithy, was a great help in choosing the right stove, advising on how things worked etc. He even went as far as recommending another make of stove when I mentioned I wanted a window – however I didn’t want anything else! Jon’s designs are spot-on. whilst more than willing to add a window, he was concerned that the airflow design did not incorporate airwash, therefore the glass would become sootedup. after experience with my fathers non-airwash stove I decided to proceed anyway, as it just needs wiping daily. and I’m glad I did – a small round window above the door glows when the fires going, even when fairly sooty you still get a good idea of how he’s burning.
I originally wanted a ranger version (small side oven) but funds prohibited. Maybe one day I will upgrade.
The build quality of the stove is exceptional. Attention to detail is amazing, the stoves door handle is beatifullyforged, the top plate sufficiently thick, right down to the logo subtly embossed in the front of the top plate. the window modification is perfect. (to me). The backboileris perfectly integrated into the rear of the stove, with the correct 1? bsp male connections to allow gravity feed to be used.
The Backboileris interesting, I’ve yet to use it to heat water, but iconnected it to my heating circuit with one radiator (small 2ftsquare) and a pump (the pipeworkis 15mm plastic speedfit (with restricting inserts at joints) and quite a run through manifolds, up and down angles etc), to my surprise with the pump turned off it still gravity feeds and the radiator is lovely and warm. I will be fitting a safety thermostat on the pump so in the event the boiler temp is too high, the pump will always turn on.
Overall I’m very impressed, more than impressed.
When my “Arthur” arrived, I was horrified to find my carrier had lost it, then when I finally collected It in the dark and rain from the depot I failed to notice a bent leg (slightly it doesn’t show to anyone but me). Jon was more than happy to help me get it sorted (despite me accepting resposibility for signing carrier note to say it’s ok). I decided it was easier to live with it than risk further postal damage! now he’s bolted down, he works well, and looks the bees knees!
Cooking on Arthur is wonderful, his heat is gentle but hot enough. Placing my plates under the stove means I get lovely warm plates by the time I’ve cooked. I’ve realised I’ve been cooking all of my food on electric/gas hobs way too fast.
Lighting Arthur is fairly straighforward, if you can light any stove, then you can light a Windy Smithy stove. I’m used to multifuelstoves with a grate- but to burn wood you soon realise how you don’t need it.A couple of firelighters, a few of bits of kindling, light the lighters, kindling ontop, shut door, wait for lots of flames / a roar, then logs in. Works everytime.
The air control is precise and turn it off and the stove goes out quickly – just as I want it.
An overnight burn is really easy, the air control valve rotates (about 1/4turnfrom minimum to maximum) but is very cleverly spring loadedensuring consistent and precise air control. I turned it fairly low with a large log in, and after 6hours it was still burning with plenty to go.
I was also impressed with the low costflue pipe – I needed 4metresof pipe to go up at a 45* angle and then vertical up the stairwell. I literally pushed the pipes together, pushed it into the stove flue collar, absolutely no seal was required (thus cleaning it would be a simple excercise!) I also was amazed how even when stove is roaring away my roof doesntget warm. I decided to make a rigid diy flashing using a piece of upside down chequer plate sealing it with normal silicone sealant. This doesnt get warm, nevermind hot, and bolts to the aluminium roof (i cut an oversized hole in the bus roof). The flue pipe will be capped with a modified baking tin to discuise flue as an aerial/vent bulge on the roof.
This stove is worth every penny.