The Shenandoah wood stove has stood the test of time. Originally manufactured in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Shenandoah Wood Stoves were later bought by Sierra Products Inc. moving manufacturing to Carson City, Nevada where Sierra Products manufacturing facility is located to this day.
They are a wood stove that offers a uniquely utilitarian style. Where some manufactures create Gothic arched glass front pieces with reliefs of architectural and folk art, Shenandoah's models offer simplicity.
These upright style wood stoves with their big simple doors with durable hinges and latch were popular because of their simple long lived design and economical price. The bi-metal thermostatically controlled air supply made them easy to keep at a consistent temperature without much attention, allowing the owners to focus on more important things.
So it was easy to put these wood stoves in shops all over the US and burn firewood, wood scraps from the shop or even coal in the Shenandoah wood stove R77 with a grate change or the R65 in its stock dual fuel form.
The Shenandoah region of the United States is known for its mountains and deep woods. Winding roads snake through impossibly beautiful mountain glens and verdant valleys. It has a deep and peaceful beauty that even now just a short drive from the United States Capital, it is a region that dates back to a simpler time.
Life in the Blue Ridge Mountains was hardscrabble and demanding, with the efficiency of effort given precedence over form. Utilizing whatever energy sources were available to get through the cold winters was a way of life.
So it has been with the Shenandoah wood stove, bearing the name of this wooded coal mining region, it grew its roots offering a simple dual fuel design that has proved itself as a quality stove through increasing EPA regulations.
Shenandoah wood stoves are known for their simplicity and durability. The R77 has been marketed as a large shop, garage or home wood fired heater for over 30 years.
This large stove is popular for heating big relatively open spaces or large houses where there is good air movement. It is a simple upright style metal stove lined with refractory bricks for increased thermal mass.
To feed its large appetite it can take up to a 26” long firewood log. That coupled with the bi-metal thermostat control of the air vent has developed a reputation for consistency and long burning amongst their users.
Ash disposal is always a concern with any style of wood stove. Shenandoah makes this chore easy with a “Shaker Style” bottom grate and ash pan for easy disposal in your garden, compost heap or even lye barrel.
The Shenandoah R65 has been a popular midsize wood stove for its simplicity and flexibility. The R65 is a round barrel dual fuel stove, having been designed for both wood and coal, it will take up to an 18” log or 50 lbs of coal.
Its air flow is controlled by the same type of bi-metal thermostat as the R77 to give it a consistent heat output. For ash removal it uses a similar “Shaker Grate” to sift the ashes into the ash pan for disposal.
The shaker grate in the R65 is specifically designed to be able to utilize dual fuel, accepting both seasoned firewood or coal. While coal is an increasingly unpopular method of heat in the US it is in keeping with the tradition of these stoves, and the Shenandoah region to provide a simple, robust, and easily attained heating source.
Simple, affordable, and easily attainable heat is an American dream that many could happily get behind. That is why simple and affordable wood stoves that came out of the wood stove revival of the 1970s are still a hit today.
Not only has Sierra Products Inc. kept up with EPA regulations for wood stoves, they have also continued to support the older stoves making the bi-metal thermostats and other consumable parts readily available.
Simple more upright style stoves are increasingly rare, with smaller fireboxes and horizontal baffles making some wood stoves even smaller inside. The Shenandoah wood stove has defied convention, extracting large amounts of heat vertically and using the same simple chassis to produce wood stoves over generations.
So while Shenandoah wood stoves may not have the same elegance and style of some of the more popular and well known brands, that is not what they are about.
They were made to fill a need, a need that is still common throughout the US. The need for an efficient, inexpensive and easy to use wood stove is only growing as more people come to appreciate the safety and security of wood as a valuable carbon neutral heating source.
Not everyone wants more than they need, and there are applications where these simple efficient wood stoves truly shine, even if they do keep their firelight hidden.