Suggestions on cleaning cast iron stove please

nancylouise_gwSeptember 27, 2005

Hi everyone, I have a Franklin parlor stove (#3) that I would like to clean up and make look nicer. We have never used it and it is in very good condition considering its age. It has very little rust, mostly soot, dust and cobwebs. What would you use to clean the cast iron surface. Thanks for any suggestions. NancyLouise

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If you've never fired the stove at all, please have a professional stove person look at it, first, and check on your chimney arrangements. I think this winter there will be an unsual number of stove fires that destroy houses as the price of heating gets people to use any stove they can get their hands on. Please don't be one of the statistics. The cost of having a stove checked out shouldn't be more than $200-300, unless it needs work to make it safe.

However, if you just want to clean up a stove you have used before.....

Take it outside if you can, if not, put drop clothes under and around it.

Vacuuum it first.

Scrape off any crusty-ness you can get off with a wooden paint stick.

Using a wire brush work on rust spots.

When it's all clean, you can coat it with stove blacking, or even high-temp rated black stove paint. Both of these products will make it look very nice, however the first few firings of the stove will be very stinky, and may even set your smoke alarms off as the paint cures. If you've never fired the stove before, you may be hard pressed to know whether or not to ignore those alarms, so it might be better to fire it first and get used to it, then let it cool and then paint or black it.

Oh, yeah, and please, before your first burn get your chimney cleaned and checked, too!


    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 1:38PM
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Thanks for the info Molly. I don't plan on using it for heat. It is just for decoration in the front parlor. It is ornate so I'll probably be cleaning it for some time! I agree with you about more house fires this winter. The cost of oil may make people take chances they ordinaraly wouldn't have to. Very good warning. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 4:58PM
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If I might much did you pay for your cast iron stove? I know a guy who has a Sears one for sale, I haven't seen it, but he assures me it's not a reproduction. He wants $100 for it. Good price?

And to Molly....I wish I could have my chimney checked before lighting a fire. I have the coolest fireplace/mantle, which I believe is actually a coal burning fireplace (it's cast iron), but the last PO had the top of the chimney knocked off when she replaced the roof. The chimney goes up into the attic but that's where it ends. :( Already way overspent getting this grand old lady where she is, so no money to have the chimney rebuilt. It's a dream....


    Bookmark   September 28, 2005 at 7:40PM
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Morning Terry, We didn't pay anything for the stove. The po of our house left it when they moved out. They had originally tried to sell it to us for $250 but we said no thanks. It was still there in front of the fireplace when we moved in. Ours is a Franklin parlor stove #3. It was built by A.C. Barstow Co. of RI. The date on it reads 1893 or 99. Checking the antique stove web sites many of the restored parlor stoves go for well over $1,000.00 . Can't really tell if $100 is a good price for your stove sight unseen. Check around your area barn sales, newspapers, auctions and see what the average price is for stoves. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 7:55AM
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Thanks Nancy...I haven't seen it either! I need to see it before I can do any pricing.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 6:38PM
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Aloha Nancy Louise,

We have a similiar woodstove, too! Someone had it out by the side of the road to be taken away but it was too heavy for the trash folks. We saw it from the garage sale next door and went over to look at it. If we would have asked, they might have given us something for hauling it away. We used a wire brush in a compressed air drill to clean the rust and rough stuff off. That took the rust and spackling off real quick. They had been remodeling so there was spackle and paint drips on the stove. I don't think it had been used much if at all, though. It had been put outside a house in Hawaii Kai on Oahu and it doesn't really get too far into woodstove weather there. We are too close to sea level over here on the Big Island to really need it, but at the "price" we couldn't resist. If we move to a higher elevation it will come in handy.

Stove blacking is easy to use and inexpensive, too. I think it is wax with soot added, but it makes it a proper sort of black. I reblacked the stove a year ago last spring and it has been sitting in the storage area under the house for a year and looks as black as it did the day it was finished.

A hui hou,

    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 4:58AM
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Wow Cathy, great find at a great price! I also thought of using an air compressor but didn't know if it would do damage to the surface so I just used elbow grease and a stiff brush. Hubby did the "easy" part of repainting the formally rusted areas. I don't know what he used. I think it is the same paint he uses on the cast iron chimineia(sp?).
At little off husband just returned from staying 2 weeks in Hawaii. He was helping out in a sub base office at Pearl. He loved the golf courses, scenery, beaches, food. Just awesome he said but he was missing home and family towards the end of the second week and was glad to come home. Take care, NancyLouise

    Bookmark   October 24, 2005 at 7:56AM
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Hi Cathy,
I have not refinished a cast iron stove yet, but was looking for advice like you. I found this web site that had some good info. Hope it helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cast Iron Stove refinishing

    Bookmark   July 18, 2006 at 8:39AM
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Oh my! I just found this forum - had been so involved with the garden that I'm just now getting around to the old house. There are three old wood stoves - one in the barn, one in an old corn crib (?) and one in the old house. Two are in decent condition. One I'm planning to use as an outdoor stove, like a chiminea of sorts. Would love to use the other in the house I will eventually build, where the old one stands (it's falling down). Thanks for all the useful info!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 4:26PM
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We had a house with a Franklin stove back in Ontario. A few years ago, when trying to renew insurance, the company said they wouldn't renew until the stove was removed from the house.
Just something to think about, even if you don't use it as a stove.
I loved that stove though!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 6:08PM
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Did anyone ever use an old Franklin stove outside like a chiminea? I have one and want to use it on a patio, uncovered, but am afraid that it will rust. Any ideas/suggestions would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 1:16PM
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It will probably rust, but that might add to its visual appeal.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 2:07PM
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