Project Completion -- December 2, 2001

A few days after finishing the reassembly of the stove, I got a friend to help me carry it up from the basement into the garage.  We sat it on 2x4's that raised the stove high enough off the ground to allow me to install the legs.  I forgot to mention restoring the legs in any of the other episodes, so I'll do that here. 

The legs are porcelain enamel like the rest of the stove but the porcelain on the legs was in much worse shape than the other parts of the stove.  There were numerous chips, gouges, and a lot of rust.  And to make matters worse, they were of a color that I didn't seem to be able to match with Ceramit.  So, I decided to paint them.  First I sanded all the chips and gauges smooth and got rid of all the rust.  Then I spray painted them a color that very closely matched other parts of the stove that were a similar color.  I think they turned out pretty good and if they get scuffed up in the future all that will be needed is a new coat of paint.

With the legs on the stove I was ready to hook up gas to the stove and give it a test run.  I didn't have a natural gas supply running to my garage so I decided to hook the stove up to the  pro-pane bottle from my barbeque grill.  I knew the jets in the stove were sized for natural gas but the main reason for the test drive was to see if there were any leaks and to test the oven thermostat.  And, propane operates at a much higher pressure than natural gas so I figured if it didn't leak with propane, it likely wouldn't leak with natural gas.

I hooked up the propane bottle and turned it on.  Then, before lighting any burners I checked for gas leaks at all the pipe joints and gas valves.  I first tested with soapy water to spot any large leaks.  After I was assured there were no large leaks I further checked for leaks with my propane barbeque lighter.  I know all the literature says not to test for leaks this way but it's the only test I have 100% confidence in.    After assuring myself there were no leaks I began testing the burners.  They each seemed to work perfectly except that the air/gas ratio was not correct, as you can see from the orange flames in the photo.  Correcting that is a simple matter of adjusting the air-flow dampers.  I didn't bother adjusting them because I would just have to reset them again for use with natural gas.

My last test was to fire up the oven and test the rebuilt thermostat.  I had purchased an oven thermometer to test the accuracy of the thermostat.  To operate the oven, you first dial the thermostat to the "Light" setting.  Then you turn the oven knob on the front of the stove and light the oven's pilot light. Turning the oven knob only supplies gas to the pilot light.  The Thermo- stat controls the gas supply to the oven burner.  After the pilot light was lit I turned the thermostat to 350 degrees.   Sure enough the oven burner lit up just like it was supposed to.  I placed the thermometer in the oven, closed the doors and waited while the oven heated.

I keep peaking at the thermometer from time to time and before long it had reached 350 degrees.  However, the gas to the oven burner did not go off as I anticipated.  The oven temp- erature continued to climb to 450 degrees.   At that point I decided the thermostat was not working properly and I shut of the gas supply and opened the oven doors to let the oven cool off.  I was disappointed  but not overly surprised.  It seems there is always one or two setbacks in every restoration project.  I was just happy the stove didn't blow up in my face.

I decided to give Unity Stove of Florida (the people that rebuilt the thermostat) a call and see if they had any ideas.  I talked with a very nice lady who said she would have the technician who rebuilt the thermostat give me a call.  He called me that evening and I told him that the thermostat didn't seem to be working.  The first thing he asked was what kind of gas I used to test the stove.  I told him I use propane.  He said he had rebuilt the thermostat for use with regular gas and it was possible that it wouldn't function properly with the higher pressures of propane.  He suggested I test it using natural gas and then let him know if it still didn't work properly.

With the stove completed, I decided I might as well take it over to my daughter's house for storage in her basement until she was ready to put it in her remodeled kitchen.  She had a natural gas supply in her basement and I could test the stove there.

A week or so later I hauled the stove over to my daughter's house and set it up in the basement.  I tapped into the natural gas supply for her hot water heater and began testing the oven.  Again, the thermostat would not regulate the heat.  A few days later I called the technician at Unity Stove of Florida and he told me to send it back and they would have a look at it.  He said it sometimes happened that debris from old gas plumbing like that in my stove would get into the thermostat mechanism the first time it's hooked up.  I was pretty careful in cleaning out the pipes and didn't think this was the case.  But, he said they would repair it for free so I sent it back to them.

I'd like to tell you that I got the thermostat back and it worked perfectly.  The truth is I don't know if it works or not.  The thermostat was returned a few weeks later but I never got around to reinstalling it or testing it.  The stove and the thermostat sat in my daughter's basement for the next five years.  I guess I figured it either worked or it didn't and we really didn't need to know until she was ready to use it.  And a lot happened in those five years, not the least of which was retirement and moving to a new city.

Copyright 2001-2006 by Johnny M. Patterson
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