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Old 01-29-2014, 03:58 PM   #41
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Have you checked or replaced the gasket material that makes the stove airtight? From what you described, it sounds like the gasket may be worn so the stove is letting in more air than needed and that is why it no longer will burn all night. Similarly, given it age it might be that the firebrick needs to be replaced. My point is that a good refurbishment of your existing stove may be a better alternative than a new stove.
No firebricks in this stove. I know that gaskets are shot that's why it's burning a bit too fast but I don't know what gaskets, given the age and use probably 90% if not all of them. I have replaced gaskets that I can get at over the years. I know the damper gasket is in bad shape, I have repaired it twice, but it's hard to replace the entire gasket without removing parts. The damper door may be warped so replacing every gasket in the stove wouldn't fix anything in that case.

There is no way to fix this stove or I would. It's cast iron and lots of parts are warped so you can't get them out like the fireback. To pay to disassemble the stove and replace all the gaskets would be cheaper than a new stove but could that be done ie could the stove go back together given warping? I prefer that but I fear it's good money wasted. This is like a 20 year old car with 304,500 miles and it has a structural rust safety problem, was there in August 2012.

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We have a soapstone woodstove and like it. It does a good job of retaining heat. If I load it up when I go to bed and turn the damper down I usually still have coals in the morning that I can put a piece of wood on, open the damper and it takes off from there. Ours is a Hearthstone Phoenix.
I had a soapstone stove prior to this one. Soapstone is nice and retains heat much longer due to the thermal mass. However, soapstone has to be heated slower than cast iron or stones can crack. Cast iron heats up fast and you can push it but warps from over heating like falling asleep and the air is open ok for now but an hour later too open. Plate steel doesn't look as nice as the other 2 but is welded, no seams, from what I remember they don't warp but they have firebrick in them so maybe that cracks beside they look too contemporary for my tatse but I am considering one vs cast iron.

I would spend the money if I could be sure I'd be physically capable of doing the work required for another 10 years but that puts me at early 70's and maybe that's asking for too much. Maybe winter won't be so much "fun" to me in a few years and AZ would be desirable, this winter is a hard one!

No easy answers and no one but me can sort this out. i hate these types of problems!
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:54 PM   #42
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Like several others, we started off maintaining our normal frugality when I ER'd. For example, staying at the $69 basic motel instead of the $100 nice place when we travel. After 3+ years of not needing to dip into our investments (except to purchase our RV, which was planned), I've loosened up. I'll buy the occasional $18 bottle of wine (although still stick to $11-12 for normal consumption). As a few others mentioned, I now don't stress about buying the good stuff at the grocery store or farmers market (the $5/dozen eggs really do taste better than the $2/dozen from the store). But I still do clip coupons for stuff we buy all the time. Old habits die hard...
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Old 01-31-2014, 01:27 AM   #43
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....I would spend the money if I could be sure I'd be physically capable of doing the work required for another 10 years but that puts me at early 70's and maybe that's asking for too much. Maybe winter won't be so much "fun" to me in a few years and AZ would be desirable, this winter is a hard one! ...
Have you considered a pellet stove? They seem to heat well and (I think) would be easier than cord wood. It might be a good compromise.

We considered a pellet stove when we bought our woodstove but ultimately decided we wanted something that could operate without electricity since we get occasional power outages. We probably could have gone pellet with a battery backup that will operate the pellet stove for 24-48 hours, but we decided we liked cord wood better.

If I was doing it today I might go pellet.
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Old 01-31-2014, 09:19 AM   #44
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I've divided our savings into 2 "accounts". An LTC account, and a retirement account. I don't touch the LTC account, either the kids will get it or we'll spend it on nursing home costs. Our SWR is calculated on the retirement account. We also have 2 non-COLA pensions, with another 4 COLA income streams due to come on line over the next 10 years. (a pension, SS for me and DW and UK SS for me).

Consequently, we feel confident enough of long term financial security survival that we are spending high now on experiences* while we are still fit and enthusiastic. The first 3 years of ER we spent about the same each year on healthcare, last year we spent 3 times as much, due mostly to health issues, and realistically we can expect to have one or more issues each year going forward.

*Experiences for us are mostly about living in different places for a few weeks or months at a time
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Old 01-31-2014, 04:27 PM   #45
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Have you considered a pellet stove? They seem to heat well and (I think) would be easier than cord wood. It might be a good compromise.

We considered a pellet stove when we bought our woodstove but ultimately decided we wanted something that could operate without electricity since we get occasional power outages. We probably could have gone pellet with a battery backup that will operate the pellet stove for 24-48 hours, but we decided we liked cord wood better.

If I was doing it today I might go pellet.
I wouldn't consider a pellet stove. I don't want to rely on electricity for heat, that's how the boiler runs. A wood stove allows you to have heat, cook, warm water all without power and wood smoke smells nice too. I like handling wood and splitting it so to me part of the fun is the wood itself. I'm sure pellet stoves are better today but I knew someone that bought one about 14 years ago and it was nothing but problems.
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:07 PM   #46
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...Now, some four years into my own ER, I have gradually convinced myself to loosen my wallet and buy stuff that I wouldn't have otherwise in my early years. (Such as a $100 sub-woofer for my 1970s Sansui 7070 stereo.)...
I didn't purchase that subwoofer for the sake of just "buying something," but to (I hoped) enhance my listening experience, 'cause I just love, love music!

Just got that speaker two days ago, plugged it in, and man oh man! Works just perfectly well with my 40-year-old Advent speakers (as it carries the heavy, beefy bass load) and my Sansui 7070 receiver. (Did I mention that most of my stereo system is some 40 years old?)

That was money well spent! (Today, rather than tomorrow.)
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:50 AM   #47
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I've spent the past 30-some years saving more than I've spent, to be able to retire early.

Now, some four years into my own ER, I have gradually convinced myself to loosen my wallet and buy stuff that I wouldn't have otherwise in my early years. (Such as a $100 sub-woofer for my 1970s Sansui 7070 stereo.)
Wow! You still have one of those? They are great receivers! I had one of the models below that one and they had great specs. Somethings just don't need replacing as long as they continue to work well.

Cheers!
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Meta-issues regarding pleasure, spending, lbym, etc.
Old 02-02-2014, 10:37 AM   #48
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Meta-issues regarding pleasure, spending, lbym, etc.

Do many small pleasures beat fewer larger ones?

I have never been really into LBYM as many here seem to practice it- shutting off day to day out of pocket expenses. I may misunderstand, but that seems to me a bit joyless. I have been very careful with what I would call consumer capital equipment- fancy stereo, fancy TV, expensive car, big house, elaborate hobby equipment, etc. I got interested in woodworking, but I could see that it might become an obsession requiring a lot of expense and crap sitting in my garage- so I limited myself to whatever I could make with the few tools I bought for house repairs plus a 9" Craftsman table saw and a little book about how to make jigs. It was still expensive, and I never made anything very good, but it all worked and that worked for me.

I have 3 or 4 restaurants that I really like, and are fun for lunch or hors d'oeuvre but if I took special friend there at dinner I could not get out with enough to eat for less than $150-$175 so that happens very seldom, and I do it for her, not me.

Not possible that I would ever feel bad about not spending all my money before I died. My kids do not need it, but I would like to give it, and that's enough for me.

I can get as much or more pleasure from finding a new place to have an unusually good cup of espresso for $2.25-$2.50, as from something costing 100 times or even likely 1000 times as much. For me at least, there is no correlation between the grandness of an experience and its hedonic kick to me. Wherever I go, I talk to people and this adds immensely to my enjoyment of life.

I am not optimistic about the world, I am neutral to pessimistic, but have always been happy, so after many years of living I have concluded that although one must be optimistic about his chances in challenging, circumstances, overall optimism or love for mankind at large has diddle-squat to do with how happy or satisfied s/he feels.

My oldest friend, 60 years and counting, recently told me that he will have to stop traveling and cruising, not because he body is not up to it, but he can no longer afford it. Typical upper-middle class guy, used an FA who always told him all systems go, until suddenly he said, you might run out of money. Maybe two years ago this same friend asked me if I were trying to preserve principle, and I said yes. He explained how that was passť, that the FA told him he could burn his capital and still have plenty for himself and his wife as long as they lived. Well, he is a long way from broke, and he has many satisfactions in his life that do not cost like long trips or cruises, so he will be fine, but likely he has been spending 3-4 times as much as I, and certainly not getting any more satisfaction or pleasure from his spending than I do from mine. At least as best one can observe things like this from outside

Ha
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Old 02-02-2014, 11:06 AM   #49
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For me at least, there is no correlation between the grandness of an experience and its hedonic kick to me.
Interesting point!!! I have independently thought about this recently as well, and came to the same conclusion. I was thinking about expensive purchases, vs expensive experiences, but the principle still applies.

Oddly, I have noticed that buying several little things on Amazon seems to give me more immediate pleasure for the dollar than buying big things. It should be the opposite but it isn't. There is a childlike glee at "getting a present" from UPS, even if the package only cost a few dollars.

When I purchase something big and expensive, sometimes I even feel a little disappointed or let down after receiving it.

On the other hand, some big and expensive things probably provide more pleasure over the long term, so maybe there are two sides of this coin. Still contemplating and I don't have it all figured out yet.
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Old 02-02-2014, 11:16 AM   #50
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Wow, this is a tough one. We have not yet reached the one year anniversary of DH's early retirement and we (hopefully) have a long way to go as we're only 57.

Early retirement was made possible for us as a result of smart shopping habits that allowed us to save and invest more of what DH earned. We still try to buy what we need when it is on sale, but we are also trying to dip our toes into a less "frugal" lifestyle through more splurges, indulging in no one thing enough that it becomes habitual or passe in its pleasure. For example, we seem to be preparing lobster at home more often and recently spent $475 to see the Eagles (tickets, dinner, parking). I guess that's a good start.

We kind of want (not need) a new SUV (not exactly a "little splurge") and have been shopping for one on and off for a few months. That one seems to be a little tougher for us to do since neither of our cars have turned 100K miles (one is in the 80s and one is in the 90s), are reliable, and are pretty cheap to insure and register. We've spent on wants in the past (cruises, quality furnishings, etc.), but when it comes to cars, we've never purchased one before it was necessary.

Learning to spend money we might not have in the past is a "work in progress", but I think we're slowly making headway.
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:08 PM   #51
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Wow! You still have one of those? They are great receivers! I had one of the models below that one and they had great specs. Somethings just don't need replacing as long as they continue to work well.

Cheers!
Yep! It was a lucky buy, when I was in college. Don't remember if a friend or a salesman suggested it, but that Sansui 7070 has served me well for over 40 years. (As well as the Advent speakers I bought about the same time for about $200--although I have had to replace the mid-range speakers in them a few times over the years, due to playing my stereo LOUD! and blowing them out.) Along the way I have considered getting something modern--such as a 5.1 this or that--but I just love the warm sound that Sansui provides. And now it's even warmer and beefier than ever with my new subwoofer!
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Old 02-02-2014, 09:27 PM   #52
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... Along the way I have considered getting something modern--such as a 5.1 this or that--but I just love the warm sound that Sansui provides. ...
It's unlikely that any of the 5.1 channels in an affordable modern system would be as good as any of the two channels you have in that classic.

Quality over quantity. Be happy!

-ERD50
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:18 PM   #53
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It's unlikely that any of the 5.1 channels in an affordable modern system would be as good as any of the two channels you have in that classic.

Quality over quantity. Be happy!

-ERD50
I think the 5.1 is really set up for home theater. Special effects through different speakers and all that stuff.
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Old 02-04-2014, 11:43 AM   #54
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I have a Sony A/V surround receiver that's more than 20 years old. It's 5-ch, not 5.1, hence must be used with passive-crossover subwoofers. It predates even component RGB video signals, and only switches composite video signals. Ever since I moved it to put down the wood floor in the family room, I never rewire it for the surround and only use it as a stereo receiver. I looked it up on eBay, and it is now dirt-cheap for this 100W/ch receiver in stereo mode (the power limitation in surround mode is due to power supply restriction and perhaps heatsink capacity).

The older Sansui receivers still command fairly high prices of a few hundred dollars on eBay. Growing up, I enjoyed the Sansui 4000 that my parents had. At 15-yr old, I already knew a lot about electronics, and could read schematic diagrams which used to be included in all user manuals. I opened it up to look at the construction, and remember that it was well-built.

I still have a Kenwood KR-5150 of the same 70-era, and a Technics SA-500 that was perhaps built in the early 80s. The Technics specs are not bad, but they started to use ICs for the RF and IF sections. However, the power amp section was still all discrete, with TO-3 transistors on big heatsinks. The late 80-era Sony surround receiver mentioned earlier also uses all discrete transistors for the power amp, but of course must use ICs for the Dolby Prologic surround functions.

On the other hand, the Kenwood and the Sansui of the 70-era are 100% discrete. If these fail, their transistors can be replaced, while replacement ICs for the more recent receivers are often difficult to locate.

The above receivers are about as old as I want to go; no tube amplifiers for me.
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Old 02-04-2014, 12:14 PM   #55
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Birdie,

I had a Sansui 7000 receiver for many years. One channel quit working after 30 plus years so I retired it. My son still has the Wharfdale 12" speakers I bought in Hong Kong in 1971.
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Old 02-04-2014, 12:43 PM   #56
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For me at least, there is no correlation between the grandness of an experience and its hedonic kick to me. Wherever I go, I talk to people and this adds immensely to my enjoyment of life.
Ha
Interesting and (for me) very valid take on things.

When out of the house, I often try to look at my surroundings in a new light, or to experience them in a different way. A chance conversation with a stranger, acquaintance or friend can make all the difference between a humdrum day, and one that seems brimming with possibilities and interest.

The way we experience pleasure has more to do with the contrast, I think, than the sheer amount, or quality, of stuff we consume. If you eat a healthy and balanced diet, then it only takes a small amount of chocolate, wine, cheese or (insert your favorite indulgence here) to feel as if you're in seventh heaven. Similarly, as you walk around a familiar neighborhood, if you take the time to see part of it in a new light, it can greatly add to your enjoyment of the day. That's the way it works for me.

A $2 cup of coffee acts as a ticket to sit in pleasant surroundings with good atmosphere and opportunities for good conversation and observations too. When I lived in Los Angeles, I remember one particular retiree who spent many of his waking hours in various public places, nursing a cup of coffee and a book, and occasionally conversing with the regulars who passed by. From my various conversations with him, I think he was of fairly limited means, yet he was participating in the public life of a large metropolitan area - observing and conversing with the many and varied interesting people around him.

Whether you have a lot of money, or a little, living creatively is the key to an enjoyable life, IMHO.
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Old 02-04-2014, 12:57 PM   #57
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I also agree that, for me, there is little correlation between price tag and enjoyment.
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Old 02-04-2014, 01:27 PM   #58
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I'm firmly in the 'price does not buy enjoyment' camp. As an example from last Saturday, I could have bought a ticket to a brewery festival ($50, I think, most going to charity, so I would not have batted an eye). But then I'd have concentrated on finding the best or rare beers, probably would have consumed more, and not felt good the next day. Instead, I volunteered for the festival, had tons of contact with other enthusiasts, found creative ways to make the festival run smoothly, got praise from paying guests and festival organizers, and still was able to sample the food and beverages in moderation. That was a 2x joy experience over just showing up with a ticket, even though I was "working"!
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Old 02-04-2014, 02:30 PM   #59
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The way I look at it, the knowledge that I will be secure in the future is the best thing I can give myself today.
My favorite words to myself are "you'll thank me for this." I'll never been wrong. Delayed gratification leads to success in just about every endeavor of life (including retirement).
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Old 02-04-2014, 03:22 PM   #60
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Well, 10 years ago, I invested $12k in music system. It was one of those "spend money now to enjoy life than wait until it's too late." It was money well spent. I still enjoy the music through the system (which will likely to last until I die). I am with others in that I wouldn't deprive of myself of enjoying life by unreasonable/unnecessary amount of belt tightening.
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