Since I have been home for the Easter season I thought I would drop by before I leave to help with some old stove issues. I would like to respond to a few of the most recent questions above.
PILOT PROBLEMS can traced to a clogged or rusted out pilot assembly. It isn’t the only reason the oven is not igniting. If you have a pilot system keep it well cleaned. You can purchase small metal brushes to aid with the task. Sometimes the tubing to the pilot is clogged or the gas valve might need to be adjusted. Check to see if your thermocoupling might need to be changed. If it is corroded, change it. If the oven still doesn’t ignite there is a good possibility the oven safety valve needs replacement or rebuilding. Once all areas are checked you can usually find out what is at fault and correct it.
VENTING – This is from a posting I did a while ago. From my field experience I have seen stoves with bottomless flues, flues with a closed bottom and none at all on other stoves. Some stoves are vented through chimneys and some are not. Most new domestic stoves are not vented. Some people desire to add an overhead fan/vent depending on the design of the kitchen to eliminate cooking odors, grease, or heat. This will help dump the heat.
HEAT ON THE BACK OF THE STOVE – All stoves get hot. Sometimes if they get too hot you might want to replace the insulation on the back of the stove. I recently restored a stove for a customer that had old style insulation in it. I purchased some new stove insulation from J.E.S. Enterprises/The Old Appliance Club and doubled it up. It made a substantial difference. The new stove insulations are the best. If you need it here is where to get it. . If you change the insulation and vent the stove correctly that should help trim the heat down in the kitchen. In the summertime you can also shut off the pilots to the burners on top and light them manually when they need to be used.
OVEN SAFETY VALVES AND THERMOSTATS – Reading the posting from Saavy about the OKM Aristocrat there is a possibility that the stacked oven and broiler side safety valve can trip if it is not used in a long time or if the insulation that is below the metal and under the safety valve is shot. Excessive heat can trip a valve. It can also happen to safety valves that did not go through a magnetizing service when the safety valve was rebuilt. You cannot do this at home. Check with the service company that did the work if it is still in warranty and get it done if they offer the service.
I just finished a large Western Holly stove that had the same problem. The owner sent his safety valves away to be serviced but whoever did it didn’t do a complete job. I sent the safety valves to the company I use and they fixed it perfectly. Here is the link if you need it – . I also took out the new replacement thermostat and had them rebuild and original thermostat. The primary or original equipment is by far better than any replacement and the original dial can be used.
I worked on a large Magic Chef from the 1930s a year ago. There was a safety system in the stove, but it was in very poor condition. We had J.E.S. Enterprises build a new one from scratch and it is truly awesome.
There is practically nothing that cannot be fixed or repaired on older stoves. Just give it some patience, the right parts and don’t be afraid to spend some money on the front end of your project. If you do all the things you need to do the right way you will have an heirloom family stove just about forever. Best to all! Thomas Smith – Retired Gas Serviceman


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