How to Guide for Cast Iron Wood Stove Restoration

Written by ma wen jie
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How to Guide for Cast Iron Wood Stove Restoration
With elbow grease and naval jelly, this wood stove can be restored. (wood burning stove image by Paula Gent from

Old cast iron wood stoves are not technologically sophisticated but are hardy. Restoring one, in most cases, involves simply removing the rust and oiling some parts, making the stoves attractive and functional once again. The difficulty of removing the rust depends on how deep it has gone. In bad cases, you will need to use naval jelly to remove deep rust. However, in less severe cases, a simple scraping and sanding may do the trick.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wire brush
  • 80 grit sandpaper
  • Rubber gloves
  • Naval jelly rust remover
  • Heat resistant lubricant
  • Heat resistant paint (optional)

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  1. 1

    Scrape off the larger chunks of rust from your old cast iron wood stove with a wire brush.

  2. 2

    Continue by sanding the rusty areas of the stove with 80 grit sandpaper to remove large chunks of surface rust. Depending on how thick the rust on your stove is, this may be sufficient. However, you may still have deeper sections of rust or patches with some rust after sanding.

  3. 3

    Put on rubber gloves and apply naval jelly to the areas that still have rust. Naval jelly contains phosphoric acid that will remove the rust from the surface of the metal. Follow application instructions on the packaging carefully.

  4. 4

    Allow the naval jelly to sit on the rust for 5 to 10 minutes.

  5. 5

    Rinse the jelly off with water. If you still have rust in places, reapply jelly to those areas.

  6. 6

    Repeat the same process for the inside of the stove. However, if you find a fibrous material on the inside of your stove, it may be asbestos and may require professional removal.

  7. 7

    Allow the stove to dry completely once you have removed all the rust.

  8. 8

    Oil air vents and the hinges on your stove's door with a heat resistant lubricant.

  9. 9

    Paint your stove, if desired, with a heat resistant paint. Automotive engine paints often work well.

Tips and warnings

  • If you have any missing or broken handles or fixtures, such as hinges or air vent plates, you can make them from heat resistant materials like iron and steel or, in some cases, find replacements that are of a similar period to your stove in a wood stove supply shop.
  • Some wood stoves may have been lined with asbestos. If you find a fibrous material inside your stove, it is likely asbestos and should be professionally removed.

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