Counting the packing, unpacking and travel time, it took a couple hours to move my vintage Chambers stove the 15 miles to my house. Moving the stove the final 15 yards from the living room to the kitchen took considerably more time and effort. Before settling it in the kitchen, I wanted to take the opportunity to clean up the stove and install a modern safety system for the oven burner.
Spray cleaner applied liberally and repeatedly with a soft cloth was enough to (eventually) degrease the oven interior as well as the burner parts and supply pipes in the utility cabinet. For a nearly 60-year-old appliance this stove was amazingly clean, but it isn’t perfect– particularly with interior surface rust in the utility cabinet. I could have removed the rust and repainted if I completely disassembled the stove, but with everything working and the rust light and out-of-sight, I didn’t think the cosmetic return was worth the risk to function.
For removable parts like the cast iron oven burner, however, I was able to clean off surface rust by scrubbing with oiled steel wool pads. Here is the burner before cleaning:
And here is the burner after cleaning:
When cleaning burners it helps to have toothpicks or paperclips at hand to poke into the gas outlet holes to keep them clear.
The bigger part of my stove work was to install a safety system for the oven. This system includes a pilot light so the oven no longer needs to be match-lit, and new control valve that uses a thermocouple to shut off gas to the oven if the pilot flame ever goes out. The trade-off for safer ignition and operation is a reduction in efficiency to keep that pilot flame burning.
IMPORTANT: The work described below is for entertainment purposes. Consult an expert before working with natural gas.
I found the major parts for this project online and bought hardware and compression fitting for the installation at my local True Value Hardware. Having the hardware store nearby was particularly helpful because it seemed like I needed to stop for a part of some kind every day for a week while I installed the safety system. In the photo above I have mounted the new gas shutoff valve to the floor of the utility cabinet, and the photo below shows the new pilot light and thermocouple installed in the oven floor.
Not only did the folks at River-Lake True Value help me track down the hardware pieces I needed to install these stove parts, but they even let me use the bench vise at their repair counter to put the 90-degree bend in the bracket I used for the pilot light above.
The most challenging part of the safety system installation was the bending and connecting of the aluminum gas supply tubing. It was tricky figuring how long to make the tubes and exactly where to put the bends.
When all the tubing was cut and bent, I installed it with compression fittings and with permatex thread compound on the threaded connections between the fittings and the valve body.
The stove was now ready to be tested with gas for tight connections and proper function of the new components. I will write about that last stage of my Chambers stove project in my next post.
Disclosure: I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program and my DIY project as well as my posts about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.