Monday, October 27, 2008

Stove Maintenance

Our old Gaffers & Sattler stove came with the house. I gave it a pretty thorough cleaning when we moved in and got all of the burners to light from the pilots except for one which had a faulty valve and only puts out half the normal volume of gas at best. The broiler side has never worked and the grill in the center of the stove was missing, although that burner works fine.

Over a fairly short time the remaining three burners slowly stopped lighting off the pilot, forcing us to use a spark from an expended BBQ lighter, or a match to do the job. In addition to this, the oven never operated quite the way we'd hoped. The heating was uneven and we had to set the temperature to about 50 degrees higher than the recipe to get the desired results. We were becoming fed up with the stove and had started to dream about buying a new one.
One late night last week, fueled by who knows what source of energy, I decided to give the stove another shot. By adjusting the flow of air to the burners I was able to get them to light off the pilots again. These little doors control the flow. You just loosen the screw and adjust the door while the gas flows (not to long) until you find the right spot where the burner lights.
The other good news/bad news was that I found the griddle. It turns out it was the aluminum thing above the oven burner which I always assumed was some kind of heat distributor. I have no idea why it was wedged there, instead of it's proper place (we may find out). The bad news is that, as you can see, although it is not technically melted as our friend Phoenix pointed out, it is warped beyond repair. Just as well since we are not so keen on cooking on aluminum anyway. I guess we'll end up recycling it unless we can think of another use for the thing.

The best news is that our stove gets a reprieve from the scrap heap. And, at least for now, in theory, that's one stove that won't be built in China or Europe from raw materials and shipped halfway around the world.


  1. The old griddle would make a great pattern for a new one from stainless steel. Many shops have a scrap pile of leftover steel, you could get a piece from there and get busy with a grinder.

  2. have you checked w/ antique stove heaven? they do repairs, too (they've always been fair & prompt when we've needed help w/ our stove)

  3. Thanks, these are great suggestions! I'll let you know what we come up with. It turns out that the old griddle, in addition to it's promise as a pattern makes a fine gong! Looks like we'll be keeping it from the recycle bin at least until the kids get tired of it.

  4. Careful with those ovens. I recommend turning off the pilot lights and using the long match/barbecue sparker to start it. they eat alot of gas. I had a very similar stove when I was in Oakland and my gas bill dropped measurably when I killed the pilots. PG&E used to send out employees gratis to inspect old stoves so you did not kill yourself or blow up the block, no idea if they still do, but it might be worth it to make sure there are no subtle leaks or easy repairs. The guy they sent to us in Oakland was great. He pulled all sorts of crap out of it, replaced a few parts free and showed up how it was supposed to work and was a font of history. YMMV.


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