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
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
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.
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
She had a natural gas supply in her basement and I could test the
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.