Monday, March 10, 2014

maybe I should build a stove

***I shall share my little musings at Metamorphosis Monday***

Nobody could bring themselves to pick a favorite stove of the ones I've been considering so far.  I don't blame anyone!  Everything I've looked at is either not nearly lovable enough, or way too expensive. 

Strange, small voices have been whispering in my head...what if you could build a stove?  Then you could have exactly what you wanted!  You have so many ideas!  It would only need to be a LITTLE different from what's being sold now! 

Obviously, I need to ignore those voices (and other voices, should any arise.  Alternatively, this).  I don't have welding or sheet metal fabrication skills, to say nothing of, ah, being able to assemble a full system of reliable gas plumbing.  Even building a stove out of the parts of other stoves would be tricky - I've spent a bunch of time studying stoves already, and I don't fully understand how they work.  That is not a recipe for success.  But the voices persist.  Maybe if you just made some cosmetic changes? 

They're very persuasive.  So, let's say I started with this stove:

I don't like the oven door handle.  I like the handle on the Ilve:

But (as I recently learned trying unsuccessfully to replace the broken door glass on Stove the Third), oven door handles are not actually part of the door.  They're screwed in, and fairly easy to remove.  And you can buy two feet of 1" diameter solid-copper pipe for just $12 at the big orange store:

Ah.  Now to attach it.  Of course I'd have to get my hands on a stove first to figure out exactly how wide the current handle is and how the bolt holes are set, but brass shower flanges could maybe work (they're $12 per pair):

I mean, if I also used some copper pipe elbows:

Those are $5 each (I'd need two), and would only require just a little soldering.  I haven't used a blow torch on my kitchen yet.  (Or I guess maybe I could use industrial adhesive, since they won't actually have water running through them.)  Alternatively, there are these:

They cost more than the brass flanges, at $16 each, but would be simpler to use for this purpose.  They'd also hold slightly smaller pipe (3/4" diameter), but that would save a dollar or two on pipe, so that's OK.  Although that would leave the ends of the copper pipe open, so maybe I would also want a pair of these ($5 each):

I only see them up to 5/8" inner diameter, but I'm sure I could find some 3/4" ones somewhere.  (They're threaded inside, so I'd have to glue it to the unthreaded copper pipe.  Since it would be purely cosmetic, I'm sure that would be fine.)  And if you really wanted to go nuts on your oven door handle, you could go with something like this:

That looks like the simplest solution, right?  But here's where un-scaled hardware pictures deceive you.  (I actually spend a lot of time in the HD plumbing department playing with small pieces of brass, copper, and chrome for this reason - if you're not buying them for the intended purpose, you really need to understand how they work.)  I say "go nuts" because the item above has a 2" interior diameter - it's meant for assembling railings (the sort you see in airports and movie theaters).  So it would be for a VERY LARGE oven door handle.  But sometimes playing with scale yields very cool visual results. 

Oh, and on eBay you can usually find cool vintage stove knobs, like these:

And you can buy replacement knobs at Sears, too, like these:

So let's picture our stove again:

But this time, imagine he has an awesome copper and brass handle instead of that white one, and cool chrome knobs.  Clearly more fun!  Although of course not a total makeover.  And the whispers start again...I could paint it.  They sell high-temperature spray enamel (which can heat take up to 1500*F in some cases).  I could use a nice pastel, like on the mid-century appliances, and paint the whole thing (except the stovetop itself, probably, since that area takes the most abuse)...or I could paint the white parts of the upper and lower door in a nice charcoal gray, like that first Ilve I saw.  And maybe the top panel around the programming pad? 

It also appears that stoves' lower storage drawers are actually made in two pieces: the drawer is coated steel, and it's just bolted to an enameled front.  So I could just remove it and replace it with a different stainless...or maybe they sell them in copper...or I could take one off another stove...or I could build one with a copper panel and some hardware...or a wooden one???...or maybe taking it off would just make it easier to paint. 

Or I could buy sheet copper and use heat-resistant industrial adhesive to attach it to the upper and lower stove doors.  That wouldn't be so easy with the shape of the storage drawer on this one.  But if I got a stove more like this, it would be comparatively easy to add sheet copper to the doors...

I am beginning to see potential here. 

Tell me, would you be concerned if you were shopping for houses and the stove had some, ah, after-market trim?  (Assuming it was done well and in perfect condition.)  It strikes me that the likeliest scenario (assuming I made the changes skillfully) would be that a buyer had no idea I had altered the stove; he'd just think it came looking rather unusual.  I see that as definitely a good thing, but perhaps others would find it off-putting. 

Now that I'm thinking about it, it seems odd that I've never even seen a re-painted stove.  I spray-painted the refrigerator in our old rental after the door started rusting - it was not a quality item - and I used heat-resistant paint to fix a chip in the stove enamel as well.  It's not difficult, and the products are easy to find; obviously I am not the only person who has done this.  Of course I was using the same color that the appliances were previously, and probably others do that too.  But why has no one taken that further step and said, "My current stove works fine, but looks dated.  But I'd really love a cobalt-blue stove!  How much harm could I do with $20 worth of spray paint?" 

Why is this not a thing? 

Go paint your stove. 


  1. Kudos to you for thinking 'outside the box'. ☺ -Brenda-

  2. I have not done it myself, but I have seen appliances that have been painted by auto body shops and they look great.

  3. Sounds like a great idea!!!

    (For you, not me. I'm a white appliance purist.)