How to Restore Antique Wood-Burning Stoves

Written by barbara dunlap
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An antique wood-burning stove adds warmth and nostalgia to a home--if it's in good enough condition to use. As they're passed through the generations, stoves often get cracked and rusty and require some real elbow grease to restore them. The work isn't rocket science, but it's messy and time consuming. The reward is heating a room with your beautiful, functional antique stove.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Wire brush
  • Putty knife
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Furnace cement
  • Paper towel
  • Stove blacking or polish
  • Rags

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Use a wire brush to remove rust and dirt, especially in cracked areas.

  2. 2

    Use a hammer and chisel to remove old, decayed cement that once sealed the stove's seams.

  3. 3

    Slightly moisten the surface with a wet paper towel. Using a putty knife, apply fresh stove cement to reseal the seams and repair cracks. If you get the cement where you don't want it, wipe it away quickly with a wet paper towel. Smooth over your new seams with a damp rag. Let the cement dry for 24 hours.

  4. 4

    Clean off the entire stove surface with a damp rag. Use a soft, damp cloth to rub on a light coat of stove polish or blacking. Try to get into the recessed, decorative areas of the stove. Apply a second coat as needed.

  5. 5

    Let the polish or blacking dry according to the instructions--it usually takes about 15 minutes. Using a dry rag, buff the surface until it shines like new. Wait 24 hours to use the stove, and when you do, make sure the room is well ventilated.

Tips and warnings

  • If appropriate, use temperature-resistant paint instead of polish or blacking.

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