Monday, February 20, 2012

The Good Ol' Days

The Bag Lady and her co-conspirator have been hard at work at their unpaid, volunteer jobs as curator and assistant curator of the little museum in their community.

Along with mountains of paperwork, they have been cleaning and restoring donated items, preparing them for display.

One of the items donated is a wood-burning cookstove. If any of you ever decide you are nostalgic for the "old days", go out and find a wood-burning cookstove and clean it. The Bag Lady guarantees that will cure you of your longing for the good ol' days. (And if it doesn't, fire it up and try cooking with it, especially in the summer. That should definitely work.)

The Bag Lady took a few pictures of the process to share with you. They removed the top pieces of the stove after scrubbing them (with rust remover, wire brushes, steel wool pads and elbow grease). Then they shovelled ashes out of the fire box, and scraped and vacuumed soot, ash and grease from every interior surface.


With the top burners removed, you can see the firebox (foreground), the top of the oven and the opening for the water reservoir. Everything was coated with ash, soot, carbon and grease. The stove had been in a storage shed for many years and the water reservoir was full of leaves, dirt and the jawbone of a small creature!

The interior of the oven after a layer of soot and grease was removed to reveal a speckled enamel surface:

The Bag Lady painted the burners and top surface of the stove with a special paint for heated surfaces.


Here is the re-assembled stove, all shiny and clean. All that remains to be done is a light coat of wax on the cooking surface.


(The stove is a McClary Royal Jubliee, and the Bag Lady is in the process of researching to try to find out when it was manufactured.... which is part of her job as curator.)

16 comments:

Leah J. Utas said...

Much as I love wood-burning cook stoves, I don't think I'd want to have to use one every day.
That's a whack of work you two did. Good for you.

JavaChick said...

I remember my grandmother having a wood burning cook stove in the main kitchen. There was another room attached to the back of the kitchen with an electric stove in it...I'm thinking we actually called that the summer kitchen.

I wouldn't have a clue how to cook on a wood stove, but I do remember the kitchen being nice and toasty in the winter.

messymimi said...

Great work, Bag Lady and Friend!

You won't catch me wanting to cook on one, or clean it daily.

solarity said...

Neither of my grandmothers ever complained about cleaning them (lamps, now, washing lamp chimneys every single day!), only how hot it was in summer. Both of them had electric stoves to use in the summer long before they gave up the kitchen ranges for good.

Mary Anne in Kentucky

the Bag Lady said...

Leah - I'm with you, although they do give bread a fabulous flavour.

JavaChick - Your grandmother was a smart woman! Cooking on a woodstove in the heat of summer would have made the kitchen a sweatshop!

Messymimi - thanks! I think if it were cleaned on a regular basis, it wouldn't be such a daunting task. This one had been in storage for 30 years, and hadn't been cleaned before it was stored.

Solarity - thinking of all the work women did in those days makes me really, really appreciate electricity!

MizFit said...

Id love love to live live in the good ole days!!!!

for about a week :)

the Bag Lady said...

Miz - I know! Kinda like camping.

Hilary said...

What a job you undertook but it looks great. And I'll bet food tastes wonderful with those old beauties.

Ugh.. word verification just got a whole lot more troublesome. What's with Blogger, now?

the Bag Lady said...

Thanks, Hilary!
I have no idea what's going on with the new word verification from Blogger, but haven't heard from anyone who actually LIKES it! I fail to understand why they have to make it so damned difficult! (especially for some of us who are older and perhaps aren't as eagle-eyed as we once were!)

Geosomin said...

wow... that looks just like the wood stove my friends had at their cottage until a few years ago. It seemed so cool to me to see her and her mum bake and cook with it but they were overjoyes when they finally got electrical up there so they could have a real stove...
I still remember the bread from it...mmm...

the Bag Lady said...

Geo - I hope they kept the old stove!! Power outages happen....

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Gram on the farm (my dh's grandmother) probably used one of these but I only recall the old electric stove. Of course, by then it was 1987...
My MIL attended a one-room schoolhouse early on and can also recall using an outhouse before Grandpa installed a bathroom in the old farmhouse.

the Bag Lady said...

Karen - this area was settled a little later than your area, methinks. My MIL cooked on a wood-burning cookstove, and the Rancher and his brother actually built the last outhouse their family used (they were teenagers)!

Redbush said...

I was little, but, can remember my mom cooking on it. That really dates me doesn't it! I grew up with a wood stove that heated the house, too. When I attended school, my clothes smelled of smoke. No, I don't have any hankering to have to go back then, or, to cook on one.

CherylK said...

Good for you...hat was a devil of a job! Turned out gorgeous, though, and it's sure to be a hit at your museum. When I ever get the chance to visit your neck of the woods, I want to go to that museum.

CherylK said...

Hmmm...should have been "that" was a devil of a job. :-(