Remember that free vintage O’Keefe and Merritt stove Philip found for us that has been living in our driveway for over a year? (Slummy is the new cool, didn’t you know?) Now that the horrid summer of 2013 is far behind us, the stressful fall where the house situation finally resolved is done and done, and the distracting holiday season is almost a distant memory (except for the dead Christmas tree in the front yard that keeps reminding us), it’s time to settle into this house like we mean it. I wanted and planned to get back into cooking with new energy and excitement which was quickly dulled by the current stove in my kitchen.
Current stove stats: btu output is paltry and barely enough to boil pots of water in under an hour on three of the four burners, the oven door falls apart at least once a month (I have pictures for proof but it depresses me so I won’t share), the knobs had a habit of falling off (a minor problem which has since been fixed by the awesome Stove Man), and the oven temp is uneven.
It was finally time to see if our free stove is worth fixing and installing into our kitchen.
So I got one of the few people who works on vintage stoves in my area to come out and have a look. The Stove Man! (His actual name is Mark Cownie of Grift’s Appliance in Sebastopol) My brother in law helped Philip bring the stove into the kitchen so Stove Man could hook it up to the gas line and check it out. I never thought I’d geek out about a stove so much but Cownie’s love of these stoves and his knowledge is infectious. He taught me how to remove the pilot housing (so I can clean them and also dry all the water that collected in them) and he put in a gas shut off (yellow knob in the image above) and showed me how to clean off the connection between the stove knobs and the pilots.
Removing these parts is really simple. I used to be scared of blowing things up or killing my family with stealthy gas emissions and consequently avoided anything more sketchy than lighting a pilot which, honestly, I used to make Philip do for me whenever possible. Mark Cownie has taught me not to be scared of my own stove. This is empowerment for the kitchen set!
Please observe that griddle in the above image. Notice anything wrong with it? I’ll pretend to give you fifty buckaroos if you can tell me what’s wrong with it.
The Stove Man fixed one of the oven pilots and both of them are now working beautifully. I only realized last week what it could mean to have a double oven. I mean, I knew instinctively that where one oven is good, two are better, but in practical terms what does that actually mean?
It means having the magical power to bake a batch of cookies at 350° while simultaneously roasting a chicken at 450°!! (Excuse me while I go shriek and holler with unbridled excitement…)
The biggest challenge with getting this stove in use is that it is much bigger than our current piece of crap (both wider, deeper, and taller) so we’ll have to remove some cupboards to install it and I believe we’ll need to get an actual stove hood installed. Our current set-up is the usual microwave doubling as stove hood – which is fine when your stove’s btu output is barely enough to make pasta, but on the vintage stove that has four full-sized burners I think we need a real hood for safety.
Before we can go hacking away at cabinets I need to submit our plan to one of our landlords (a good friend of ours) so in the next week I’ll be cleaning this big magic stove and coming up with a solid plan for installing it.