How to Restore Cast-Iron Wood Stoves
Wood stoves are an excellent alternative heat source that can save a lot of money on energy bills. The heat produced by a wood stove is often enough to allow you to turn down your thermostat significantly in the wintertime. Old cast-iron wood stoves often need to be restored to bring back their original beauty. Rust, grease and other stains often form on cast-iron wood stoves over time. Removing these stains and refinishing the surface of the wood stove will leave it in like-new condition.
Scrub the surface of the stove with a dry wire brush. This will remove a lot of the rust and gunk built up on the surface. Wipe down the stove with a damp rag to further remove dirt and debris.
Mix a solution of trisodium phosphate and water into a bucket. Use 1 part trisodium phosphate to 4 parts water. Scrub the wood stove with a wire brush and the cleaning solution. Allow the surface to dry completely.
Fill a small bowl with white vinegar. Dip a steel-wool pad into the bowl of vinegar and wipe down the entire wood stove. This will kill any remaining rust spores on the stove.
Chip off as much of the old cement as possible. Cement is used on wood stoves to seal the seams in the cast iron. Place a chisel into the seams and gently tap it with a hammer to chip away the cement.
Apply a fresh layer of stove cement to the seams. Slightly moisten the seams with a damp paper towel. Apply the cement with a putty knife, evenly distributing the cement into the seams. Go over the newly-applied cement with a damp paper towel to smooth it out. Wipe off excess cement from the surface of the stove immediately with a wet paper towel.
Apply a coat of polish to the wood stove. Choose a polish specifically designed for cast-iron wood stoves. Such products can be found wherever wood stoves are sold and at most home improvement centers. Dampen a rag and pour a small amount of polish onto the rag. Apply the polish to the stove in a thin, even coat, scrubbing it in with the rag. Allow the polish to dry, then apply a second coat, if the first did not provide the coverage you desire.
Buff the wood stove with a clean, dry rag once the final coat of polish has dried completely.
Paint the wood stove. Keep in mind that if the stove has already been repainted more than once since the factory coat of paint was applied, the new coat of paint may not stick well. Sanding down the paint with sandpaper will be necessary.
Shake the can of wood stove paint for at least two minutes. Failure to mix the paint thoroughly may result in uneven color. Spray a few squirts of the paint onto an old newspaper to be sure the color is coming out properly before applying it to the stove.
Hold the can about 12 inches from the surface of the stove. Press down on the trigger and spray in one continuous stroke from left to right. Release the trigger and spray another row from left to right. Continue this process until the entire stove is painted. Avoid continuously holding the spray nozzle or painting in a circular fashion.
Allow the paint to dry completely.
- Be sure that the can of paint is at room temperature before spraying.
- Place plastic sheeting and masking tape in nearby areas where paint overspray may occur.
- Wear protective face gear and rubber gloves when cleaning with trisodium phosphate.
- Open windows and doors where you are painting to ventilate the area and reduce the effects of the spray paint fumes.
Kimbry Parker has been writing since 1998 and has published content on various websites. Parker has experience writing on a variety of topics such as health, parenting, home improvement and decorating. She is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication.
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