The Old is New Again …

30 03 2009

… or will be. We finally came across the perfect score and found a gently-used wood cookstove for $50!

Cooking and baking are my main winter hobbies and I’ve made good use of our wood heating stove to cook some of our meals. It’s a little tricky and somewhat limited, but it’s possible and certainly a good way to simmer stew. However, that stove is in the living room and not so convenient to actual meal preparation. We have another wood stove in the kitchen, but it’s super-insulated and so it’s not possible to cook on it … or heat much with, for that matter. A few clues have led us to believe that there had been a wood cook stove installed in the past, but it had been removed. Naturally, I’ve been lobbying for a proper wood cookstove for quite some time.

If, like me, you peruse Craigslist, eBay, and the specialty websites regularly, you’ll find a wide range of quality, condition and price in cookstoves. There are some beautiful completely restored quality pieces for $1000 – $5000. You’ll also find rusted out hulks for anywhere from $200 – $2000. Every once in a while you’ll see a good deal. If you’re looking for that deal, you better be ready to jump on it when it’s there!

Make sure no pieces are missing

The stove we found is a Monarch, most likely from the 1940′s or 1950′s. It can burn wood or soft coal. It also has a provision for the optional copper water reservoir. Apparently that option hadn’t been chosen originally. The firebox grate, sitting on top, is shown in the wood position. The loose “flap” is a chunk of broken asbestos lining. This will need to be replaced.

Make sure that all rust is on the surface and no parts are burned or rusted through

Make sure that all rust is on the surface and no parts are burned or rusted through

This looks a little scary in the photo, but it’s not too bad. The oven interior is enameled and has some pitting, but it should clean up fairly well. I’m planning on putting a stone in the bottom so I can bake bread on it. That will be after extensive practice, I’m sure. The side vents on the left of the firebox are Monarch’s patented dual draft system. Hey, it’s high tech! ;)

Check the bottom and back as well

Check the bottom and back as well

The control for the patented dual draft system. The stove also included its base (not shown). This is important to have and I’ve seen that many on eBay and Craigslist that don’t seem to include them.

This is in remarkably good shape, believe it or not

This is in remarkably good shape, believe it or not

Since many of the stoves will require some restoration, make sure that you get one within your capabilities. For the most part, this one just requires some cleaning, new paint in places, minor enamel repair, and a little lube. It also needs a new oven door hinge on one side and the firebox lining replaced. Luckily Keith has a welder and he just rebuilt our heating stove so we have stove paint, etc. on hand.

More or less assembled

More or less assembled

So there it is. There’s a big chip on the door, but that is cosmetic. I’m undecided about the backsplash piece, but the style otherwise fits with our mid-century (if you’re going to call it anything) eclectic house. Next time you see this, it’ll be fixed up and installed and we can get to learning how to use it!








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