Before you Buy an Unrestored Stove...
Before you fork over your hard-earned dollars for a particular stove, take a few minutes to inspect it. Be sure that antique really can be salvaged.
First off, IS THE BODY SOUND? Most any abandoned wood-burner will be g rusty, and that's OK . . . as long as the metal under that rust is still healthy. Potbellied heaters usually were built of m cast iron heavy enough to shrug off decades of oxidation. But base-burners-self-feeding heaters built of cast iron and sheet metal—might have weak points. Tap a few suspicious-looking spots with a screwdriver, if you're not totally confident. Since old kitchen ranges were generally made of lighter material, check their rusty parts with particular care . . . to be sure you have something to restore. Inspect the top, bottom, sides, and insides.
Also, when buying a used range, make certain that the oven control (most often a slide or flipflop damper that directs exhaust heat to the oven) is alive and working. If you don't know what you're looking for, find a stove that is operating properly and see how it works.
Next, LOOK FOR CRACKS. Cast-iron parts are the most likely to be damaged, so scrutinize all cast sections . . . such as the bodies of potbellies and the tops and fireboxes of cookstoves. Hairline fractures may be OK, but anything bigger presents a problem, especially when the "split" is in the firebox itself. "I wouldn't try to redo a stove for actual use if it had even a tiny crack in the fire chamber," says Eckert. (Though iron can be welded, not many welders do it right, and the first blaze might fracture an improperly repaired stove all over again.)
After a prospect has passed the soundness and crack tests, EXAMINE THE TRIM. (On ranges, this decoration may be an integral part . . . like the frame.) Brightwork should be nickel-plated (occasionally copper or brass), but if the critter's been sitting outside for a long while, you might see nothing but corrosion. You can test to see if the trim's salvageable by polishing the worst spot with Brasso—available from your hardware store—and 0-gauge steel wool.
Should the trim on a heater be suffering from terminal oxidation, you can have it replated . . . probably for under $100. The bric-a-brac from a range can also be touched up in this manner, but only if you can get it off. In the event that the ruined trim on that cookstove is welded on—or if the stove obviously won't hold together without it—better look elsewhere.
In addition, damage to the porcelain trim—which you'll find on some woodburners—is often sufficient cause for rejecting the stove. Though the ceramic surface is easy enough to clean, the process for repairing chips is prohibitively expensive. So if you can't live with the condition of the porcelain on a cooker or heater . . . don't buy it!
Some old wood-burners have "windows" (or, by the time you get to them, open holes). These viewing ports are usually covered with isinglass, and—if the frames are still intact—small "panes" can be easily and inexpensively replaced.
Once more then: Before you commit yourself, be sure the necessary repairs aren't more extensive than you want to tackle. "I still turn down 10 stoves for every one I buy," says Bill. You should be at least as critical.
Good Time Stove Restores Antique Stove
Have your stove assessed by the Industry Experts!
Since 1973 Good Time Stove Co. has been providing professional and accurate restoration assessments for antique stoves and ranges manufactured between 1840-1930. We have been in business for 40 years and together we have more than 60 years of combined experience. Restoration quotes costs $25.00 per stove. (Discount available for multiple restoration quotes).
Restoration quotes include the following:
If we determine that your stove is not an antique or its value does not exceed the cost of an assessment, no charge will be applied. If Good Time Stove Co. restores the assessed stove, $25.00 will be credited to your account.
The Good Time Stove has been restoring antique stoves since 1973. We provide TLC and rehabilitation to these time travelers to return to full service, efficient operation and original beauty. Every restoration is performed with attention to preserving antique authenticity, efficient function, ease of operation and aesthetics. Each and every stove is individually assessed; restoration plans are customized according to the needs and conditions of the stove.
A typical restoration process is described below.
Your request for a restoration quote has been received.
After sending photos kindly allow 7-10 business days to receive your restoration quote.
The restoration quote will provide you with the following information.
- Approximate cost to fully restore stove to usable condition.
- Approximate retail value of the stove after restoration.
All restoration quotes will be provided via email unless otherwise requested.
If we determine that your stove is not an antique or its value does not exceed the cost of the $25.00 assessment fee, no charges will be applied. If you restore your stove with the Good Time Stove Co., you will receive a $25.00 credit to your account.
While we at Good Time Stove Company love all stoves, we are not a research company. The breadth and depth of an industry boasting more than 2,000 manufacturing companies cannot be overstated and precludes our ability to provide historical information or documentation on all stoves. Click here for stove research resources.
Stove Restoration - Do It Yourself Information
There's new life—and a living—in that old stove
Antique wood-burning cook stoves and heaters—exquisitely restored to their original elegance—are making a comeback . . . both as tools to cook vittles or heat houses and as investments whose values recently have run well ahead of inflation.
 REMOVE THE NICKEL (OR BRASS OR COPPER) TRIM that can be detached from your stove. (That'll usually be all the brightwork from heaters, but—again—the trim is a working part of some cookstoves. ) Bolts are apt to be rusted, so use lots of Liquid Wrench to help loosen stubborn ones. Rivets and bolts that won't submit to logical persuasion will yield to a hammer and chisel. Replace both hex heads and rivets with brass bolts because they're easier to install than rivets and look nice with nickel.
 REJUVENATE THE DETACHED TRIM. Polish the trim with Brasso and 0-gauge steel wool until all the crud is gone. Then give the metal a second shining with another shot of polishing juice and a soft cloth.
If the trim is beyond reconditioning, you'll have to have it replated. Find a metal plater in the Yellow Pages and ar range for the work to be done. (Most platers prefer that you not remove the rust before bringing in your to-be-refurbished piece.) By the way, if the decorative metal is copper or brass—and you plan to use the stove for more than just eyeballing—consider replating the pieces with nickel. The harder metal is more resistant to oxidation. And don't settle for chrome! It'll start turning blue with your first hot fire.
 REMOVE ISINGLASS WINDOWS AND FRAMES.
 REMOVE RUST FROM: [a] Stoves with trim detached. If all the ornamentation can be removed from your stove, the best way to derust is to have the surface sandblasted. But not with sand . . . it's far too coarse. Instead, you'll want the blasting done with carborundum crystals. Look for this service in the Yellow Pages under "monument works" .. . since carborundum is used to polish gravestones. Or find someone under "sandblasting" who uses the finer abrasive. Have only the exterior of heaters blasted . . . but if it's a cookstove you're rehabilitating, let the "polisher" blast the oven, too. (Poor of Curly needed a scouring, and paid a $30 visit to the monument-maker.)
Of course, if you're dead set against spending money, you can attack rust with a coarse rotary wire brush on your electric drill (be sure to protect your eyes!) but it'll be miserable work.
[b] Stoves with trim attached. The easiest way to remove rust—without damaging shiny alloy trim—is to have the stove dipped in a heated chemical bath by an antique-auto stripper. He'll return it to you spotlessly clean (unless it was rusted worse than you thought . . . in which case you'll get back something as full of holes as a politician's 1040 form). There might be a little new corrosion where the chemical didn't dry immediately, but you can get that off with the wire brush and electric drill. And—while you're at it—you might as well do the oven, too.
[c] Stoves with porcelain trim.. Assuming that the ceramic parts won't come off—and they usually won't—you'll have to go after rusted metal with that coarse rotary wire brush and electric drill. Porcelain won't tolerate dipping or sandblasting, but it will spruce up nicely with a basin-tub-and-tile cleaner and a wet sponge.
 POLISH THE REMAINING BRIGHTWORK with Brasso and a soft cloth. If there's any lingering crud, use another wad of 0-gauge steel wool for the first pass.
 PAINT THE OVEN of your cookstove with stainless steel paint.
 PAINT OR POLISH EXTERIOR STOVE PARTS, but protect the trim! Any cast-iron cooking surfaces should only be polished. On other areas you may interchange paint and polish as you choose.
 REPLACE ANY TRIM THAT WAS REMOVED.
 REPLACE ISINGLASS WINDOWS. Isinglass—which is made from the soft mineral, mica—is easy to work with. Just cut it to size with a pair of scissors.
 GIVE THE WOOD-BURNER A FINAL TOUCHUP with a soft cloth before standing back for a look-see. If the sun's shining . . . watch your eyes!
Testimonials about Antique Stove Restoration
“Thanks so much! The stove is more beautiful than I imagined. I can feel the loving warmth my mother grew up with just looking at it. [This stove belonged to their Grandmother who lived in Maine in an 1800s farm house. She used to warm their clothes and socks with the wood stove before school. From the Good Time Stove Compant, the stove was taken to Maine for Grandmother to see].”
Paul & Lisa Baars
“Whoao! It IS beautiful. Thank Rich very much., ciao. Marianne”
S. Ackworth, NH
“The stove looks fantastic!”
“Now that the stove is restored, it is so much cleaner! Terrific custom repair and new work to create a great stove with an old look.”
“We purchased a stove about 5 or 6 years ago. The first 3 years it sat in our basement waiting for a kitchen remodel. It then took a couple more years for the contractors to do the remodeling. Finally last fall we have been using the kitchen and the stove is beautiful!!!!!”
“We have only one question: Whose stove is that- because it sure doesn't look like ours! Seriously, it looks very nice indeed It looks great”
“I delivered the stove to the customer today. She was very pleased with the stove. Thanks for the great work, and be sure to pass it along to your father!”
“Stove is installed. Looks great.We are starting to use the stove.”
“The stove came in perfect condition and packed extremely well. It was even better than expected, really a great looking stove. Thank you so much!”