Old Becomes New: Refinishing a Cast Iron Woodstove


I'll just go ahead and say it: I'm an awesome wife. 

Ok, ok. Before you go scoffing at that bold statement, let me be more specific. I rocked John's Christmas gift this year, with the generous help of my brother and father, so he probably thinks I am awesome.

You see, John has wanted a wood stove for his garage/work shop for a few years. He spends quite a bit of time in his garage, even during Iowa's super cold winters. I knew a wood stove would make a great holiday gift, but didn't want to spend more than $150. 

I scoured the papers, Craigslist, and box box store sales to no avail. Everything was really expensive! That is, until my dad mentioned he had an old cast iron wood stove in one of his sheds at his farm. He said it would need a lot of work, but I could have it for free (!!!) and fix it up for John's Christmas gift. 


Sold!


And, he was right. This 1923 American-made beauty did need a lot of work. I didn't balk at the task, because not only was it free and an antique, but this wood stove was the one my dad used in his shop at our farm growing up.


I remember many years of sledding and snowmobiling outside with my brother and sister, then coming into the shop to watch dad tinker on a motor or something. The shop would be toasty warm, and we'd put our gloves and hats on the top of the wood stove to dry out before heading outside for more snowy fun.

This cast iron wood stove holds a nostalgic spot in my heart, and I was pretty grateful that my dad held onto it for so long, and was willing to give it to John. It just needed a little TLC to return it to it's glory days.

My dad and brother started the work by torching the rusted old bolts from each component of the stove.


By breaking this baby down into individual pieces, we could assess the true condition of the stove and make necessary repairs. (Read: My brother and dad could make the necessary repairs. I'm not touching a torch or welder.)



The biggest repair my brother and dad made was reattaching one of the legs on the base of the wood stove. They heated the metal and carefully welded the leg back on. It is now really sturdy and solid, but we have to be careful not to skid the stove across the garage in the future. 


The majority of the time after that my brother, Ryan, and I spent wire-brushing every exterior surface of the stove.


While Ryan was wire brushing, I grabbed some cast iron stove polish and a few old rags and started polishing the components he finished brushing. (If you're thinking of refinishing something cast iron - not a skillet, though - you really need to get some of this polish. It will make the iron shine in one coat. Trust me.)



It was amazing to see this old girl transform right before our eyes with just a wire brush and a $9 bottle of polish.


As we began to polish and finish each component, we figured the only thing needed to make this old girl operational was a few new bolts and heat-resistant cement to attach and seal the whole stove. (Here's the cement we used to seal each component. You'll want to get this brand and type! Don't settle for something else!)


Another $5.99 later in bolts from the hardware store, and the stove was ready for reassembly and a new home.





John also received two gift cards from my family to our hardware store so he can get the stove pipes needed to finish the install. He thinks he's going to run the pipe right out this window, and put the stove on this wall.


Clearly, he has a little organization to do first. 




7 comments:

  1. There's nothing like wood heat. Great gift and project.

    I just wanted to stop by and let you know that your post will be featured at Thursday's The HomeAcre Hop. I will also tweet, facebook, and +1 your post. Please stop by and grab the featured button at:

    http://summersacres.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-homeacre-hop-52.html

    Congrats!
    ~Ann

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  2. Good wife I agree! And thoughtful to do that for him!

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