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old wood cook stove save it or not?  RSS feed

 
Elizabeth Bowers
Posts: 12
Location: Southwestern Pennsylvania
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My husband and i were given an old wood cook stove, but it has been in an old burnt down foundation for years. It was in the basement when the previous house had burned down. It looks a little rough, and the warming rack needs repaired, and i can't get any of the doors to open on it. Would it be worth fixing up and using or should i just save up and purchase another one?
It is still currently covered in debris, but it shouldn't be hard to dig it out, sorry for the bad photo.
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Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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Ooooh, I'd love a wood cook stove.

As I understand it, there are some problems with wood stoves that are easily repaired and some are deal breakers. Cracks and structural things are hard to fix.

I'd clean it up, if I were you, then do some browsing on the internet about stove restoration, see if I could find info about the make and model etc. Alternatively you could advertise locally for a stove restoration and get an estimate from an expert if you can find one. They're out there.
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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New wood cook stoves range from about $3,000-$8,000.
Since this is being given to you, I would certainly look it over closely.

A few repairs, and lots of elbow grease could save you a big chunk of change.

 
Elizabeth Bowers
Posts: 12
Location: Southwestern Pennsylvania
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I'll give it my best shot, the thing is it weighs a ton as far as i know so far, it looks to be in fair condition compared to some of the ones i'v looked at. It's been in the foundation behind our house for probably close to the last 25-30+ years, because my husbands grand parents had it in the foundation of their house when it was standing. So i'm hoping it will still be salvageable, i'v been browsing the net for wood cook stoves and about repairing one.
Thank you guys! This is great help.
 
Rufus Laggren
Posts: 481
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
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I believe most wood stoves have lots of cast iron and some steel. Cracks are a typical problem and cast iron (CI) is problematic to weld, although it has been done successfully about 50% of the time as I understand from researching this issue a few years ago. Brazing will work to put the metal together and is less problematic BUT it probably should not be used in the firebox or anyplace potentially subject to hot fires. IIRC most bronze (what used in brazing) melts around 1500F (check that) and a run away wood fire might get pretty close to that.

Take away, I believe, is that after inspecting it very closely, if you find cracks you need a very skilled welder experienced with CI. Welding CI is an art and needs a good bit of luck. CI likes to crack (again) after you weld it due to differential heating and cooling of the piece. Also some contaminants (don't remember if carbon from ashes is one of them) can make CI almost impossible to weld. Old metal acts differently depending on what it's been exposed to in it's life. If a leg has cracked, you can likely braze it - but again a high level of skill would be good insurance.

W/out a really good welder, if you find cracks in the box, then maybe you'd want think of how to pass it along to the "right person" or use it for a planter. Remember, you _want_ to find that crack now because you DON'T want to find it later when the fire dumps all over your floor or, worse, when CO escapes into your closed space - so look really carefully.

Rufus
 
Thomas Marlow
Posts: 5
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I've owned three wood cook stoves in my life. Everyone of them I've taken apart, scrapped with a wire brush and put back together with "stove sealer".

It looks like a big stove, so taking it apart will not only help you move it, but will allow you to rebuild it and seal up the joints properly. WD40 is helpful for loosing stubborn door hinges, enough to unbolt or cut off the bolts to be replaced with new bolts.

Oil all parts of the castiron with a mixture of coconut oil to re-season the castiron. If you have a metal container large enough to submerge the pieces in oil and bring the oil to a boil, that would be a good way to although the pores in the castiron to expand and "drink" up the oil. Remove from heated oil and the "bake" the thoroughly wiped and dried parts in a 500 degree oven for several hours. I use coconut oil because its the most pleasant smelling when burning in the first few firings.

I agree with the previous response of finding an experienced wielder to fix any cracked castiron parts. If the top where the eyes fit on is cracked, see if you can find a replacement part. This part will be receiving the most heat and would be best as an unwielded piece.

Once you've cleaned it up and start using it, clean out the soot every three weeks for maximum efficiency. Oil it with the coconut oil at this time too. If burning coal, you'll need to clean out the soot every week. This guideline only applies if the cookstove is your primary source of cooking.

"If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen." - Last bit of advice; make yourself an outdoor "Summer" kitchen, say on your porch. Invite your neighbors over for a "stove moving party" every Spring and Autumn to help you move it outside and inside. Figure that an average human can lift 150lbs with a bit effort. take things inch by inch and don't rush. You don't want to crack the castiron. Provide beer/wine and I might even come for it.

I'll be taking my Martins King 8-20 stove apart and resealing/oiling as one of my Winter projects. It's never been taken apart since it was manufactured in the 1910s/20s.

Cheers!
 
R Scott
Posts: 3357
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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The lowest end new cookstoves are still pushing $2,000 (made by the Amish right down the road from you).

If you have the time and talent, it is definitely worth a little work to see if it is salvageable. If you find a big problem, maybe you can ebay the rest of the parts to pay for a new one. Or patch it together well enough to be in an outdoor kitchen to use for summer cooking and canning.

 
M Foti
Posts: 171
Location: western n.c.
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I repair these pretty regularly, some things for me are deal breakers as said. I haven't figured out the trick to welding cast yet, sometimes it works, usually doesn't. Some of the parts don't need welded, you can drill and bolt plates to the panels that need fixed.

Definitely worth a look see, but they are HEAVY haha. Keep your eyes on craigslist if this one doesn't work out for you. A very nice antique cookstove will sell for a small fortune, but you may luck across one that is still in good condition in the 400-500 range.

We have collected so many of them now, we're going to start classes either this year or next year teaching folks how to properly use them Keep your eyes out, even if this one is trashed, some of the parts may end up being usable on one you find later on.

They're GREAT for canning, I don't like using pressure canners on them, but hot water bath canning is perfect. Great for an outdoor kitchen too! btw, if you don't already have one, build a screened in outdoor kitchen! They're amazing for folks who live like us.
 
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