Saturday, June 23, 2018

Vintage Wood Cook Stove for Dummies

As you may know, I bought an old mining cabin 
in the Colorado Rocky Mountains a couple of weeks ago.
(You can read about it HERE.)

We've been busy cleaning it out and doing a few repairs like putting good locks on the doors, removing a toilet tank from the kitchen wall (what were they thinking?) 
and trimming some of the uneven boards on the decks.  
We're making slow progress but it's been fun to see the shape of things to come. 

One of the things that drew me to this cabin was the old wood cook stove. 
The black and silver finishes are so beautiful. I can't wait to use it.
If only I knew how.

It's an oldie but goodie -- an Acorn made by Rathbone, Sard and Co. in Albany, New York. 
The company made wood stoves from 1833 to 1925.

OK. So my first draft of this post was to ask all you smart readers out there how to use this stove.
BUT, my sister and nephew have been visiting me and we spent a couple of days at the cabin.
Turns out, they knew all about these wood-burners and were a huge help.
Here are my sister and I in our "front yard."

After a couple of trial runs, I think I now know how to start the fire.
I even took detailed notes to remind me after they leave.

My main concern was how to regulate the heat. 
It's not like you can just turn a dial to lower the flame.
I have to admit I was a little afraid I might burn the cabin down!

So, I learned all about dampers and vents and the firebox and "ash tray."
Apparently, it's all about oxygen (providing it for more heat
and closing it off when it gets too hot).

We had so much fun lighting this stove, pulling our chairs up close for warmth,
and even heating water in my tea kettle and making chamomile tea.
The stove stayed warm for hours and
I can already imagine using it when the weather turns cold.
(We spent the night and the temp dropped to 34 degrees!)

Even though I'm not a complete wood-stove newbie anymore,
I'd still love to hear from you with any tips you might have.
Thanks so much!


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  1. The stove is lovely to look at but I probably would buy a nice propane BBQ grill and use it outside for cooking. However, in the winter I would use other cooking methods such as an electric skillet, crockpot, etc. Looks as if you have electricity. Let the fun begin.

    1. Hi Ann! Nope, no electricity so that eliminates "other" methods. Also, we have a strict fire ban in Colorado so no grilling or campfires. But I'm absolutely ok with all that and can't wait to get back to the cabin. Hugs, Pat

  2. Love your stove! If you do a Google search you'll find all kinds of info. Here's a link that includes a couple of YouTube videos that might be helpful---I hope it works! If not just goggle it:

  3. That stove is a treasure and I am so delighted that you are sharing your cabin redo with us. Make it your own and love it forever. I am so terribly happy for you! This is one of those exciting adventures in life . . . dreams do come true:)
    Connie :)

    1. Thanks Connie! I love that you said the stove was a treasure. Perfect description. My dream is coming true just in time for my birthday on the 27th! Am going to stay overnight at the cabin. Hugs, Pat

  4. OMG! That is an awesome stove and once you learn how to use it you will love it. And you will be surprised how warm it will make the room. I would love to have one just like it.

    1. Thanks so much! The one time I've used it so far it stayed warm into the evening. So cozy. Hugs, Pat

  5. I have a feeling you are going to be learning alot on this cabin adventure. :) Love that old stove!!

  6. That Acorn stove is a treasure. I wouldn't have a clue how to use it. You are lucky your sister and nephew were able to get you started.

    1. Hi Sharon! Isn't that the truth. They live on a farm and have wood stoves. Lucky me! Hugs, Pat

  7. Replies
    1. Hi Catherine! I love being at the cabin, away from the city. It does feel old-fashioned. Hugs, Pat

  8. I'd be Googling for tips and tricks. But you're right, it's all about getting the right mix of oxygen and wood. Good luck.

    1. Yep, I'll be googling a bunch. You Tube has some good stuff. Hugs, Pat

  9. I remember an aunt and grandmother using one and how they could warm up the whole place. I'm pretty sure you have the right ingredients but it does take some practice for anyone who hasn't used one in a while.This is such a fun adventure for you and i will enjoy seeing how it all happens. Until next time have fun!!!

    1. Having fun Marlene! Going back up tomorrow for some overnights and to spend my birthday with my dream come true. Hugs, Pat

  10. Hi Pat as I had commented before I love the stove had one similar in a small home on the bay of Fundy border of Lubec Maine and Campobello island new Brunswick Canada. I think the thing I loved most was burning natural potpourri's from the warm top such as pine, orange peels cinnamon the house always had a great fragrance running through , you should give it a try you'll love it! Lisa@ Sweet Tea N' Salty Air

  11. I would have looked at it make sure the gaskets are all safe to use. I would set up some solar if I were you as a backup just to have something to rely on for cooking Etc. Small solar systems are really come down in price might be an option for you and those sunny skies.

  12. very interesting! i wonder how you write about such normal stuff, digging up such interesting tidbits about them!

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