Refurbishing a Cast Iron Stove for an End Table
Today I am sharing my DIY on Refurbishing a Cast Iron Stove for an End Table.
Recently I ran across an old Cast Iron Stove that I wanted to refurbish. It was old, well used, and rusty, since it had been left out in the weather when I found it. Oh and it was completely full of of water too. So now I am set to start Refurbishing a Cast Iron Stove for an end table for my living room. Here she is in the back of Kota, which is what I loving call my 20 year truck! We actually disassembled her at purchase just to make her a little lighter to lift into the tailgate. We figured since we have to clean her up anyways we might as well save our backs now, because we would be taking her apart anyways. You may have noticed I have assigned her, as a she, and she will have a name before this project is through but I just don’t know it yet.So we have her in a resting place to get dried out in our basement with the dehumidifier. This will help us assess the amount of grease verses rust that will need to be removed in this process. So now we wait until she is all dried up. Okay so after several months had passed, because I got busy with the One Room Challenge we actually came back to this project on Memorial Day weekend. We were actually slated to have a delivery of Shiplap for our Master Bedroom Ceiling DIY and DIY Window Shutters from last week. However, our delivery reached Atlanta but did not get delivered to our home before the Memorial holiday weekend. After a long phone call I found out that Estes would be delivery my shipment to me on Tuesday, after the holiday. So we now have a free weekend for a project. We decided to test a few pieces with a cola method Ron had read about online to see if it was going to work prior to investing in a lot of cola since we do not actually drink sodas anymore. After soaking a few pieces in soda for about 30 minutes Ron used a wire brush to buff across the rusty part of the stove. Sure enough the rust came right off.It clearly would take more buffing than a single pass, but the cola method was indeed the way to go. As you can see from the first pass picture below. After a fair amount of buffing on both sides we were able to achieve this matching stove cap seen below. We decided that we had enough supplies with gloves and cola to do the small pieces like this that evening. Then first thing Saturday morning we would go pick up more supplies for the bigger job.
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Most of the Supplies we picked up at the Dollar Tree, just to save us money on the project. Since we were clearly going to ruin the brushes and items anyways through this cleaning process, might as well go for the least expensive option out there.
The Basic Cleaning Supply List:
- Soda- any kind works, we bought 3-liter bottles at Dollar Tree
- Steel Wool
- Putty Knife
- Plastic Spray Bottle
- Wire Brushes
- Disposable Gloves/ Garden Gloves
For the body of the stove we decided to take it outside where we could use a hose pipe to rinse if needed. I filled a plastic spray bottle with cola and started spraying the body of the stove and let it sit in the sun before we started to scrub. After a single pass we had got a layer of rush off and we needed to do a second pass to get all the grease build up off as well. Like I had mentioned this was a working stove at one point and time so it did have all the grease layers as well. Which is where the brake cleaner came into play. While the soda cleaned off the rust, the break cleaner took off the grease layers and the remaining caked on rust. It was also very handy when we got into the tight areas like the grill inside the stove here. This particular area was better suited to being cleaned with the break cleaner and tooth bush, much the same way you would clean a gun, or an antique gun.
I actually did a little repair on some old antique rifles that belonged to my father and grandfather. After sitting out on display for my entire childhood on a gun rack on the wall, the Georgia humidity pretty much had ruined the barrels and chambers of them making them in-operable. They were very old, and beautiful. I was so inspired after visiting the Sarah Winchester House in San Jose to see her old collections, and how they had been restored. I came home and wanted to make sure that these beautiful old rifles would once again refurbished to their beautiful original states. So I learned how to fix them, and preserve them for the future generations of my family. Now they are properly stored in airtight cases, except when I want to take them for a spin, because I earned that reward. Besides I know how to fix them. The secret weapon is brake cleaner people, and steel wool, without going into to too much detail this combination will restore iron and metals to a base finish. You will have to repaint, dip or refinish the metal to seal it again, but this is how you get it to bare metal without sandblasting.You can see all the grease and rust that is just melting away in this picture below. See how the red rusty squares are still visible but the closest squares are completely clean? We did use a putty knife to lightly scrape along the edges of these squares to get a nice clean line. Once we got all the years of grease and rust build up removed and lightly sanded the piece, it was time to reseal our girl, I am lovingly calling her Black Betty, with some high heat matte black grill paint.The first thing I did was layout all the pieces on some large pieces of cardboard. Just a tip, I tend to keep large pieces like this, just like a pack rat, because I am always spray painting something. I do not want to ruin my grass or have over spray on my patio. So I just slide these skinny sheets back behind my garden supplies until needed. If you look closely you can see the outline of my last project which was my front door wreath, lol. I usually put several thin layers of paint on when I am spraying, so it is vital to have a nice sunny day with lower wind to prevent things getting blown into your paint. This is especially important of furniture pieces.
Once I got all the smaller legs, caps and grates done. I moved on to the body of the stove and the main parts like doors and vents. Above is the the main front vent used to control the amount air flow into the stove, and needs to be a moving part. Therefore this piece needed to have very light thin layers of paint with the vent opened at different degrees to get a good coverage. The side door is where the wood was loaded into the stove to burn, so again this piece has pivoting parts that will need to move and be operational upon assembly. Even though we are not planning on using it as a stove, we want it to be authentic and have the ability to be used should we decided to. Next, I moved on the main body of the stove which would get a single coat all over inside and out. Then two more final coats on the outside. One to seal and final to make it pretty. Once the final coat was on and dry, it was time to take her in and reassemble her in her forever home of our living room. We thought it would just be easier and lighter to build her on site since she is quite a hefty gal. I love that the numbers are all still visible and on the back you can see where it was cast here locally in Rome, Georgia from Standard Stove and Range Company. I have been trying to do some research on her history, but no luck yet. So if anyone out there knows anything about the history of this company please feel free to share it with me in the comments below. So far all I have been able to sort out from some antique sites, is that she is possibly from 1921 and was the 8th cast which could be determined by these numbers. If that is how this company operated. I have seen some old sales catalogues for the company online that have been priced but so far not another Cast Iron Stove with the same engraving on the back from Rome, GA but many similar style and lots of Perfection Stoves, so I am not even sure what that means. As you can see my girl is a Standard and that is fine by me. In fact even if I do not learn anything else about her history I am so happy with how she looks as an end table in my living room now, I could care less about the rest. Besides she weighs so much I am pretty sure we will not be moving her anytime soon, and we may want to reinforce the floor below, LOL when we work on finishing the basement. I think all in all she turned out great even though she does have a few weathered and cooking pits along on the top around the burner grates. However that creates the character, it was her life of usefulness before she was tossed away and unloved and left out in the rain to rust. Now she has be restored, renewed and repurposed; with a new life that will hopefully preserve her a while longer. As a unique end table that might spark a conversation or memory with one of guests or bring a smile to someone’s face while visiting. I know she brings a smile to our face everyday, the perfect height for these chairs. A nice large scale for this great room, and no more “Rosie” the Roomba getting stuck on my nesting tables, LOL.
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