Sunday, March 24, 2013


Today is Palm Sunday.  Sadly I am missing worship services this morning, because we are in the middle of an ice/snow storm.  So... since I am home bound for the day, I decided I would let the world know about what we did this weekend (besides freeze!).

About 3 years ago, when we first began to demolish the inside of the house and had just discovered the hidden fireplace, we made a decision to purchase a wood-burning cooking stove.

It just made sense. We live in the country and sometimes the utilities go out during ice or wind storms.  Plus, old farm houses used to have them and we wanted to keep our little piece of heaven authentic.

Later that spring, on one of our trips up north, we decided to go to the Bryant Stove & Music, Inc., in Thorndike, ME (27 Stovepipe Alley, Thorndike, ME  04986, 207.568.3665/ and check out the store.   Karl had an old built-in coal burning stove that we were not going to be able to use (HUGE) and we decided to sell it. After contacting the owners of Bryant, we loaded it up and made a road trip (which in reality, was only 3 hours from Wrentham, MA).  I have to tell you:  SO WORTH OUR TIME!!!

Now Bryant Stove & Music, Inc. is not just a regular stove place.  It is more like this interesting, historical place that every child (including adult children) should visit once in their life.  Joe Bryant has a sweet collection of all stoves, including many of the Rolls Royce' of stoves. Even toy stoves and salesman samples!  Beautifully restored and ready to be purchased or simply on display.  I was fascinated.  However... it only got better!

Not only do they "have the largest display of antique wood, coal, gas & wood/gas combinations you will ever see under one roof"... they have a MARVELOUS doll circus!!!  Now... once Joe flips on the wall switch, the circus begins!!!  The room is filled with miniature animated units that Joe designed and built himself.  When that switch is flipped,  the whole room comes to life. Everywhere you look, the room is filled with dolls and animals and toys and a little of everything... dancing and whirling and twirling and promenading for all to enjoy, accompanied by a "Band Organ". There are stuffed animals and toys of all kinds.  It's simply MAGICAL (Needless to say,  it took Karl quite a while to get me out of there.)!!!

Before we left, not only were we the owners of a beautiful wood stove, but we purchased some stove black and a manual for our stove.  Also, we picked up a couple of cookbooks that had recipes and information for cooking on a wood burning stove.

Well... fast forward 3 years to March of 2013.

We had the floors refinished in January (more of that on another post) and we are now trying to finish up the bottom floor of the house, anticipating that we will move in next month.  One of the things that needed to be done was the kitchen island secured to the floor.  However, we couldn't do that until we moved in the wood cooking stove, so as not to place the island too close and risk someone getting burned.  The stove itself was too heavy for us to move ourselves, so our neighbors came down (we do live in a valley) and helped Karl move the stove out of the shed and into our house. Now came the time to clean it.

Because of my limited dexterity, I took on the task of putting on the stove black.  We laid all the loose pieces of the stove on our table, which we had covered with a felt, moving blanket.  I initially wore gloves, but they soon deteriorated.  So... guess what happens to your hands when you are using stove black?

Nice and dirty!  It's a good thing that I purchased some hand cleaner from a local auto-parts store.  Works like a charm, except my nails and cuticles look like I am a "grease monkey"... LOL!!!  Oh well... all a part of country life.

So, after the stove black dried (about 10-15 minutes), we went through and rubbed it until it was all polished.  Karl is very good at things like that. 

It was then time to clean the chrome.  I went online and found several suggestions for using aluminum foil to clean the chrome.  What I found was "Rust is basically oxidized metal or another word for metal that has taken on extra oxygen atoms. As heat is generated by the friction of rubbing the aluminum foil on the chrome, a portion of the aluminum will oxidize to produce aluminum oxide. Aluminum has a higher reduction potential (i.e a tendency to take on electrons and in the process reduce or break itself down) than the chrome, and will therefore leech oxygen atoms away from any rust on the chrome surface which changes the chemical properties of the rust and breaks it down. Aluminum oxide is harder than steel, and the microscopic grains of aluminum oxide produced during the cleaning process creates a fine metal polishing compound which, mixed with the water you added, creates a paste that smooths and polishes the chrome surface."  In a nutshell: You take the foil and make a wad, dip it in water, then scrub the chrome with it.  This does requires a little elbow grease so Karl did this task as well.  And you know what...

 It works like a charm!!!  Seriously!  The chrome came out looking WONDERFUL!  Here are some pics of the stove, after we got it all clean and shiny!

Now all we have to do is purchase the stove pipe and get it installed.  Come next fall, I can just imagine how nice it will be to not only enjoy the warmth and aesthetics of the stove,  but to also be able to partake of perhaps some stew that has been simmering for hours on it.  Yummy!  We have a rather large selection of seasoned cast-iron cookware, and I can hardly wait to learn how to cook on this beauty!

Finally, while blackening the stove, we also decided to use the stove black on the fireplace back that we had incorporated into the side of our fireplace, visible from the dining/library area.

This also came out beautifully, and all of the details of the piece just pop out!

 So... was it worth all of the elbow grease it took to get it all where it is right now?  You betcha!!!

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