Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Seedy Underbelly

This afternoon I spent some time cleaning, sanding and painting the underside of my stove top and the oven exhaust back panel. The sections around the burners were rusted and paint was chipped off the end of the oven exhaust panel.

Here's a little of the thought process I used on the top.

First, the facts: I know there are companies out there that will reporcelain stove parts. The underside of the stove top was originally black speckled porcelain. The companies that are experienced with working on vintage stoves are out-of-state. The cost of shipping combined with the actual reporcelain work will be a pricey project. There is a corner on the top side of the stove top where the white porcelain is chipped. This doesn't really bother me, but it might be nice to fix this at some point. Eventually, I may decide to send the top away to have both top (white) and bottom sides (speckled black) reporcelained. I'm in no hurry.

Next, the decision: My approach in working on my house is to "do no harm." This means not making any significant changes that can't be later undone. Same goes for the stove. That said, I decided to paint the rust on the underside of the stove top...for now. This will: a) stop the rust; b) allow me to use the stove now; c) permit the stove top to be reporcelained in the future.

The paint you see on the bottom of the stove top is only the first coat. I'll pretty up the lines with the next coat.




Greg said...

That seems like a reasonable fix. Better a short term fix than a long term problem that will lead to it being tossed.

StuccoHouse said...

I'm lucky that the white exterior percelain is in pretty good condition. The underside of the top of the stove (and the burner grates) are really the only two items that were originally porcelain that are in need of some attention.

The stove paint should work fine for the underside of the top - maybe permanently or until I decide if I want the whole top reporcelained.

VickeryKnits said...

Please keep up your posts--I love following the stove chronicles and I'm marking each one as "save" for when I tackle mine this winter. We just loaded it on to our truck yesterday and it took four guys.

I have no idea how we're going to get it out of the truck...

StuccoHouse said...

vickeryknits - Thanks for posting. I never get too many comments when I post about working on the stove, so I'm never quite sure if I'm boring everyone to tears or not. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure you will be seeing posts about my work on the Tappan past the point where anyone still considers it the least bit interesting :-)

What kind of stove did you buy? I had to chuckle about the getting it out of the truck comment. Ain't that the truth. I ended up hiring movers. I'm not even quite sure how I'm going to get mine fromt he living room to the kitchen when I'm done.

Jenni @ nest to keep said...

Hi, I just found your blog last night because of doing a search on vintage stoves! And imagine my surprise when I returned for a visit today and you are again talking about your them! (The post it sent me to the first time was from back in November, when you were contemplating an old stove.) So glad to hear you did buy a vintage one in the end!

StuccoHouse said...

Jenni - Glad you found the blog! I'm not sure why searches send people to that original post instead of the actual vintage stove posts. I'm sure you have already discovered that you can bring up my whole vintage stove saga by clicking on the "Vintage Stove" or "Tappan" labels at the bottom of the posts. Always looking for other vintage stove owners to exchange info. with, so drop a line if you buy one.

Jenni @ nest to keep said...

Hi, it's me again. I had some questions about restoring vintage stoves, but thought I'd email them to you vs. leaving an enormous comment behind! I didn't see an email listed on your blog page,'s a couple questions.

Are you going to restore the whole stove yourself, wiring included? How expensive is it to have the porcelain refinished on the top of the range, if you don't mind me asking? I live in the Seattle area of WA., so I'm hoping I won't have to have it sent out of state, as well.

That said, we almost bought this absolutely wonderful stove from the 1940's, but by the time we decided it was our best option, it was already snagged! You can see how sweet it was on my blog, Nest to Keep. That is what I'm looking for, and when I find it, I will buy it right away this time! :)

Sorry for such a length comment!
But I'd be grateful for any advice/knowledge you could share! Thanks so much! :)

StuccoHouse said...

Jenni - Not a problem posting questions to the blog. It actually is probably good because there are a bunch of other people w/ old stoves that may also chime in w/ opinions & advice for both of us. My email is owner-at-stuccohouse-dot-net.

Anway, to answer your questions. My plan is to clean & paint the entire stove myself. Because I bought a gas stove, the wiring on my stove is very minimal (for the clock & two outlets) and the wires are still on very good condition, so this is very low on my priority list. But eventually, I probably either do this myself or find someone to rewire it. This will most likely happen if I decide to take the clock apart to restore.

Gas stoves are really pretty simple. Here is the plan right now (subject to change):

There are two burner valves on either side of the stove to turn on the gas burners. Mine move pretty easily, but I may have these sent out to be reconditioned. The gas flows through here and it would be nice to know all is working as it should.

One of the flash valves for one of the gas burners pilot lights also needs to be repaired. I haven't decided where to get this fixed, it could be a local thing. It's an easy metal fix.

I will also have my thermostat sent out and reconditioned & recalibrated. This is the heart of the stove, so it makes sense to have this working exactly as it should. I most likely will also look into adding a safety to my over also (if possible), so I have a standing pilot in the oven.

I haven't priced reporcelaining. I really had not planned on doing that at all (one of the things I looked for when I was shopping for stoves was porcelain intact). Thats said, my stove does have a few very minor chips and we now know the underside was, I suppose I will consider having the top done at some time down the line. I have heard good things about Gigi's Hollydale in CA. I learned my lesson in replating want to find someone that really cares about what they are doing.

I spent 6 months actually looking at stoves & longer just pricing them online. I saw a lot of overpriced stoves....a lot of really dirty stoves....some that needed a ton of new parts....and some that were off brands. The thing is, by the time I saw my Tappan, I knew exactly what I wanted & what I thought was a fair price. Just keep in mind that there are a lot of stoves out there, so if one goes another will come along. On the buying end, I'm probably lucky to be in MN....on the restoring end, you are lucky to be in WA :-)

One of the most helpful things I did was find the old stove manual. that made the task of cleaning the stove less daunting. It also gave me a pretty good understanding (ok, adequate) of how the stove works.

Of course, I'll post about all of this in excruciating detail as I do it, but that's the plan as it stands today.

VickeryKnits said...

We have an old Wedgewood stove from I believe the late 40s or early 50s. It's a double oven stove with four gas burners and a griddle in the middle--It was pulled out of an old restaurant that my parents re-did about 10 years ago. My dad thought it was so cool looking that he couldn't just throw it away, after all it still worked just fine!
We got it out of the truck with more ease than I thought possible--we took every possible part off of it before we tried to move it. Pounds and pounds of solid metal!
Thank you again for the updates--I can't wait to see how it comes along.

StuccoHouse said...

VickeryKnits - Oooh...a double stove...and a Wedgewood! In the entire time I was looking only one of those came up and it was an off brand. Never saw a Wedgewood - maybe this part of the country didn't have many (?). When I was growing up, my mom had a GE late 1950's electric stove with double oven.

Would love to hear more about your stove....and any tricks you discover while working on yours.

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