I love old stoves, call it a hobby or call it crazy, but I just love old stoves. We needed a different stove for our heating needs this year, and after last years mid-winter emergency change out decided we would be better prepared this year. So we searched for sale ads online and found a pot bellied stove near us...$100.
I love pot bellied stoves because in our super-insulated house they work well. They burn wood or coal and because they burn such small wood, it means I utilize waste wood and not bigger chunks of firewood. Think saplings and branches here. In fact I seldom get pieces over 5" in diameter, nor over 5 inches long, chunks almost. All this means I burn a lot less wood.
So Katie and I get to the place, see that the stove needs repair but overall is not in bad shape, give the guy his money and start talking with him. He is a retired house mover and I have a bunch of buildings to move, so his advice is immeasurable. He also gives me the $100 bucks back after chatting with him for awhile, and say "it's free." He also gives me loads of other stuff like an old trunk, and some other antiques.
Well nearby to us is an antique stove shop so we go in with two broken legs to the stove, and in 3 minutes time Katie picked two replacements out of 1000's that are in this box trailer that they have. This is amazing because our stove turns out to be a rare gem; a 1893 New Era #4 stove from Woods and Bishop who were the famed originators of the Franklin Stove. So we pay the $30 for the two legs, then Katie spots a 1913 gas kitchen range that would look perfect in our 1930's era looking timber frame home. We talk to the woman who knows my family well, and they take 50% off the cost of the gas range, so it comes home with us too. This still left the mitten rail brackets to fix on the wood stove, but what a lot of people may not know is that with a little preheat, standard welding rod, and some post heat; cast iron is easily welded. I make the repairs in about an hours time and within 24 hours of getting the stove it is rebuilt to original condition and ready for winter.
In the end, with stove pipe, paint, parts and everything, the total cost to rebuild this antique stove and install it was $110. For those interested on return on investment, in about 2 weeks it will have paid for itself compared to burning propane to heat my home, not to mention looking beautiful in our 1930's style home. To mark the occasion Katie even took the time to get dressed up in some of her 1930's clothes and modeled in front of the stoves just for fun.
As a full-time farmer, I do my best work with a hoe, but what does that say about my wife Katie?