Yes, I know that I'm supposed to be working on the roof for the Nebraska Sod House, but I encountered a major and irresistible distraction that I just could not ignore. The soddy needs a wood-burning cookstove, although it won't be burning wood. What it will be burning is information that I'm withholding until it's time to start cooking that first meal. I looked and looked at cookstoves online, and I finally found one that I really like, even though it's obviously made of wood and not cast iron. I wanted a stove with an overhead warming oven, just because I like the extra height that it offers. I also like that it has a small three-burner cooktop, so it isn't as deep as those with four or six burners and will fit nicely in the small sod house. I ordered the stove, thinking that I'd work on changing it a little when I'm ready to furnish the soddy. The stove arrived quickly, and I opened the package and immediately dropped whatever I had been working on and started rummaging through my bins and drawers and boxes and bags to find parts that might work to turn the shiny wooden stove into a well-worn cast iron cookstove that will serve to feed and warm my young homesteaders in their prairie venture.
This is the original wood stove that I ordered because I like its height, although I thought that it looked more like a cabinet than a cast-iron wood-burning cookstove. I took a chance, hoping that I could make it over.
I started the makeover with a few brass photo-corner embellishments.
There are more embellishments to come. I removed this broken warming shelf (on the left) from an old cast iron stove with missing parts. I used a bolt cutter to snap off the protrusions from one edge so that I could glue the shelf flat against the side of the stove.
The embellishments are complete - and the warming shelf has been glued on successfully. I cut a circle from wine packaging for the center of the oven door.
The first coat of flat black paint has been applied over all.
I found more add-ons! I took the stove pipe from the broken cast-iron stove and cut it down to fit the height of the soddy's walls. It's larger in diameter than the pipe on the original stove, and I think it looks more proportionate. I cut the leftover straight piece in half lengthwise to make a half-round pipe to fit between the stove's cook top and the warming drawer. I also found a brass curtain rod in my stash to attach to the stove front for a drying rod. (At least I think that's what those rods were used for.) The toothpicks in the background are holding painted connectors meant for bead chains. The connectors will be used for door handles on the oven, firebox, etc. I discovered a second cast-iron warming shelf in my stash, so I glued it to the opposite upper side of the stove. (That piece is not quite technically accurate, but it adds some necessary detail.)
The stove after a second coat of paint. For a final finish, I added some age and wear by lightly brushing on a rust-color wash in spots.
All the pieces are glued on. The oven door handle has a larger metal piece (a button) for a backplate. You can see the half-round stovepipe against the backsplash.
A close-up view of the half-round stovepipe. I found a small metal piece in my stash to use for the spin vent draft control. (I think that's what it's called.) It isn't quite the right piece but was as close as I could come. I painted it black, hoping that it would sort of disappear into the stovepipe. I bent a flat piece of metal and twisted wire around the end to make a lid lifter, then replaced the original small lids with larger ones from the broken stove. I never thought that broken old stove would be so useful!
Additional views of the completed cast-iron cook stove.
So that's what I've been doing with my soddy time for many hours. I'm happy with the stove, and I think the homesteaders will be pleased. But now I hear that soddy crying out for a roof - quick before the next rainfall! I'd better get busy.