The centerpiece of my kitchen is our wood-burning cook stove. It’s a big stove, standing over five feet high and almost three and a half feet wide. It has an oven, a warming oven, a solid copper water reservoir with a tap, and a large cook top surface with six lids. We keep a fire burning in this stove non-stop through all the winter months, and it provides enough heat to keep one entire floor of our house warm and cozy despite our extremely cold outdoor temperatures.

We bought this stove several years ago from an area merchant. We loaded it into our small truck to bring it home ourselves, and with the help of a mover’s dolly, we got the stove into our house. Now, looking back, I wonder how we were able to manage the weight. Perhaps it helped that we had not read the instruction manual’s warning that the stove was very heavy and at least four men would be required to move it.

Our stove was manufactured by the Elmira Stove Works company in Canada, and it is a replica of the cook stoves that were manufactured and sold in the 1800’s. Most of the stove is black cast iron, although it also has a lot of shiny nickel trim… that trim got a good polishing just before I took this photograph. Can you see the heart outlines on each of the legs of the stove? I bought the salt-glazed pottery jar and keep it on the stove because it has that very same heart outline in cobalt blue.

I have learned a lot during the years I have kept fires in this stove.

  • I have learned that wood stoves can be messy and that cooking or baking with a wood stove is nowhere near as easy as setting an oven thermostat or turning on a burner. There are ashes to clean out, wood to bring in, and the fire must be maintained and fed on a very regular basis.
  • I have learned that trying to start a fire in a cold stove on a very cold day can be a frustrating and smoky experience… so I have learned to burn some twisted newspaper first for a quick hot heat that will warm up the air in the chimney and create a better draft.
  • I have learned that creosote can be formed any time that wood is being burned, especially if the wood is not dry enough and if for some reason the wood does not burn at a high enough temperature. I have learned that the best way to avoid a creosote build-up is to open up all the dampers at least once a day and let the fire burn really hot… and that the chimney must already be clean, or the hot fire may end up in the chimney instead of in the stove! The informational pamphlet that came with this stove said that the old recommendation of burning a handful of rock salt each day to prevent creosote build-up doesn’t work, but that the old idea of burning dried potato peels does. So when I peel potatoes, I dry the peels on a cookie sheet in the oven first, then burn them. Also according to the pamphlet, another idea that will supposedly help prevent creosote build-up is the regular burning of an aluminum can. I have not tried that one yet (and do not intend to).
  • I have learned that I need moderate or hot heat for top of the stove cooking, and that the best wood for this is hard wood split to around three inches square… except for top of the stove SLOW cooking, like for stews, when unsplit larger diameter hard wood is required.
  • I have learned that for baking, at least a four-inch bed of coals and unsplit three-inch diameter hard wood is needed to maintain a steady, even heat. I have also learned that it takes about an hour and a half to go from a cold stove to an oven that is hot enough to bake, and that once the fire is established with a bed of glowing red coals and the oven damper is shut, it takes about thirty to forty minutes more to get the oven up to the correct temperature. Which means I have learned how very glad I am to also have a modern thermostatically-controlled range and cook top in my kitchen.
  • I have learned that the warming oven is perfect for incubating yogurt, rising bread, and drying mittens, and that a few citrus peels or cloves left in the warming oven will fill the kitchen with the most wonderful aroma. And I have learned that the warming oven is also good for warming plates and keeping food warm!
  • I have learned to place a small washed rock wrapped in a piece of old, clean towel in the water reservoir because we have hard water from a deep artesian well. Mineral deposits from the water collect on the cloth and not on the copper inside the reservoir. I replace the cloth periodically.
  • I have learned to season the cooking surface of the stove the same way I season cast iron cookware to keep it from rusting and to keep the surface clean and shiny. In a pinch, rubbing a piece of wax paper over the hot surface works too. I have never blacked the cast iron surfaces of this stove.
  • I have learned to rely on a standalone oven thermometer inside the oven because oven door thermometers on wood cook stoves are notorious for being unreliable. I have decided not to rely on the old method of placing a piece of paper inside the oven for five minutes and judging the oven temperature by how dark the paper becomes, but for anyone willing to gamble… a paper that turns chocolate brown in five minutes indicates a quick oven that is hot enough for biscuits and muffins… a paper that turns a dark yellow is the right heat for bread… and a paper that turns only a light yellow is just right for baking cakes.
  • I have learned that the water reservoir is not only a source of emergency hot water, it also makes a wonderful humidifier. I have never used it for canning or incubating cheese, although the instruction book says that both are possible.

So this is our kitchen wood-burning cook stove. We love its substantial beauty and the unique tone it sets for our kitchen. And nothing can quite compare with the warmth and the sound of a crackling fire, especially on a cold winter day.

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I *LOVE* that stove! Awesome post and great information. I am jealous, I want a stove just like that, and I want the blue jar too!!!!!


I would love to have one of these in place of my fireplace for winter use. I love and old wood cookstove. Yours is beautiful.


Wow! I had no idea it was so complicated to cook on one, but I figured it was more difficult than my electric oven. That was a fascinating read–as usual!


Loved the write up on the stove. It is an amazing invention. Would love to see a photo of the outside of your home sometime.


I would like to know how often you have to stoke the fire. We are looking at purchasing one of these stoves but my husband feels the fire box is too small. What is your thoughts on this.

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Barb, we put in only a few pieces of wood at a time, so we probably add more wood every two or three hours. At night a medium sized chunk will easily keep the fire going until morning. We have had several stoves, and this fire box doesn’t seem particularly small to us… but if you’re used to a huge fire box, you might see a difference. I think it really depends on individual habits and of course the kind of wood being burned. We really like this stove and everything about it has worked well for us all the years we have had it.


I am new at cooking on wood just got mine this fall. But love it. And love the food cooked on it Just finished Peanut Butter Cookies for Christmas. Every one who sees it falls in love. Thanks so much for all the info. Mine is from the Enpire Fawcet Co in Canada. We talked our local Ace Hardware Store into ordering it. Love it.


oh i think it is wonderful!!i would love to have one too. There is somethin you can not get with any other heat than wood! It’s beautiful!!


Does it make your home terribly warm in the summer months?

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Adrienne, we use the wood stove only during the winter months, and most of the time (year-round) I use my electric range and stovetop for cooking and baking. I’m glad I have a choice, because to have the wood stove running during the summer would make the house very hot. People used to do that, though.


Hi, Quite a busy site you have, and well deserved. I am in North Carolina, and have read that a fire will draw more heat from the house than it gives. I am sure that is the case with our poorly designed fireplace.
The cast Iron is a bit different. What have you found in this regard?

Thanks, -Sean

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Our wood stove is a closed unit so I don’t see how room air could be lost through the chimney. The damper in the chimney can even be totally closed when the stove is not in use. I don’t know about other stoves, but I would think room heat loss would not be a problem. I believe fireplaces lose room heat because of the large front opening. Have you tried installing glass doors? I have read that helps somewhat.

P.S.: Thanks for the kind comment!


Great post and great stove! I’m jealous :) This is my first time visiting your website….looks like I’ve got an afternoon of reading ahead of me!


Hi there,beautiful stove and write-ups!WE are a young couple who live in northern British Columbia,Canada.We love and collect pre power antiques.We own this exact stove our selves,it is in mint condition and did use for a few years,now it is part of our display,we also have a spare set of org fire bricks for it,so if ever one day one of the many corrupt world leaders has a melt down,we can still at least cook up a nice Thanksgiving goose dinner!It is nice to know there are still a few good-ole down home people still around.,that can still function if the power goes out or the batteries in the tv remote die.Any ways thanks for having a site like this and hold on to your stove.Last fall we turned down over $10,000 usd for ours,I think it would take a lot more for us to part with it.People building time-era correct log and timberframe homes want these and you are right,No one is making quality stoves like these any more,and like yours and ours ,these stoves will still be around when the next civilization emerges,—–Anyhow ,Thanks and take care eh!!!!!


I am participating in NaNoWriMo this year and I’m writing a historical fiction story. Your site has been a wonderful quick go-to reference when I find myself on a scene where I don’t know what I’m talking about, lol. And I envy you your woodburning stove, and the tips you wrote here are going to help in my story tremendously. Thanks!


I know all to well how the wood cookstove is the center of the kitchen, I still use my Grndmothers 1900 House Hold. In fact the turkey is in the oven now and all the rest of our meal will be cook there as well.

I too over the years have learned much about cooking on and baking in this wonderful old stove.


Have you ever had anything starchy boil over on the surface? And if so how did you clean it? Our manual said to use an emery cloth. Can you get them at regular boxstores? And what is the difference between an emery cloth and sandpaper?

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Sharon, oh yes… :o) I just use a fine steel wool pad to remove anything that gets cooked onto the surface, and it works great. I haven’t used emery cloth this way, but I think the difference between emery cloth and sandpaper is the backing… emery cloth is often used on metal and has a fabric-like backing. I have seen it in regular box stores in the paint section.

Matt G

I just purchased a Walker and Pratt Village Crawford Royal built approx. 1890-1905, any leads on original owners manuals ?

Also a friend of mine said his grandmother would send him to the shed to get “biscuit wood” , small limbs from alder trees as it produces a quick hot fire


I just got a wood cook stove. Just got today. Bought it from a 65 yr old lady.
It belonged to her grandmother.It is dirty old and need cleaned. I am kind of styimed but eager to get started.
paid $200.00. on the door is written GEM it is black, the doors are cream color, trim in light green.
Talk to you after i have it clean,And have tried to cook on it.


Awesome! I have a stove just like it except that it does not have the water reservoir. I bought it in 1987 brand new and when I got married I had it removed from my old house and placed in our new one. It is the best thing I have ever bought. I cook on it all winter long: everything…. and also do lamb roasts, stuffed turkey for thanksgiving, bread. And the potates, brushed with olive oil and wrapped in foil, and baked in the ash bin are the best. I love it when it is freshly cleaned with the oil surface all shiny, early in the morning. I light the fire and smell the clean surface!! I have learned most of the things that Shirley talks about!!


I have a cook stove in my living room. It’s a stamford built in 1909. Was built right here in Connecticut. We are using it this year to heat the top floor of our house. was in the basement last year and we used it to heat down there, but brought it upstairs as my joints and stairs don’t get along to well. I have NO problem starting fires in the stove, even when its stone cold. I made some “fire starters”. Egg cartons, filled with a bit of sawdust and then poured paraffin wax over the sawdust. Cut them apart and light the corner of the egg carton and one is all you need get a great fire started.


Wood cook stoves are so great! I wish that I still had mine — but, alas, the pressures of city life and working full time. When my children were preschool and I stayed at home with them, we had the pleasure of cooking our food the “real” way. Food takes on a new intimacy when it is nurtured from seed to garden to wagon and finally cooked with wood I split myself. I’m looking forward to my next move: out of my citified digs. (One cannot bake with wood in an apartment!) If you are cooking with wood, count your blessings; you are very fortunate. And I’ll bet you already know it, eh?


my best friend had to sell her stove so my mom bought it for me. yea!! It is black with light blue legs, oven door trim and all the doors and water resivoir are blue. It says GRAIRON WESCO on the oven door and the oven temp guage says WOODS-EVERTZ STOVE CO. made in Springfield, Mo. Its not a reproduction so its got a bolt missing and the water pan is gone but it works wonderfully! I think its more of a trial and error learning expierence and its fun to cook with! wouldnt want to be without it!


I have an Elmira Sweeheart too! It is black, almond and lots of chrome! Complete with reservior and warming oven. I have had mine since Jan. 1990, we use it all winter long as a supplement to our propane furnace. I cook on it 90% of the time all winter and LOVE to do it! The feeling you get coming into that nice warm cozy kitchen in the morning for you coffee is very satisfying.
The firebox on my Sweetheart is airtight and bigger than the older woodstoves. So it can be banked and if you shut the drafts, will last a long time. I use a baking stone in my oven to help with cookies and biscuits. I do have problems with bread and longer time baking foods. Is there a trick to getting the heat to circulate more evenly?
I feel comforted to know that if the power goes out, we will be well equipped to meet the needs of our family without the hassel most would face.
My Sweetheart would be the last wordly household possession I would part with.
I have found that the ‘magic eraser’ cleans and shines the chrome the easiest of anything else I have tried.
Another gimmick I have found is the ‘Ecofan’ that sits right on the stovetop without electricity or batteries. It’s motor runs on the heat from the stove so you never have to turn it on or shut it off, wonderful to help passively circulate the heat to the rest of the house!! The hotter the stove the faster it blows.
I enjoyed your site, sounds like we have a lot in common.


Just found your website while looking for general information on wood cookstoves. Thanks for posting it, very helpful. Looking forward to spending more time exploring the rest of the site.


Hi – Loved your article on the cook stove. I have the almost identical one – Heartland OVAL and my problem is the firebox. It is falling apart. I know I can order the replacement but would you know if I can install the new firebox myself or must I have a repairman do it. Many thanks. Brian.

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Brian, I am guessing you are asking about the fire bricks. The fire bricks in our stove started to crumble after several years of use, and when we went back to where we had bought the stove to order replacement fire bricks, the elderly man who owned the business told us to patch the old ones instead. We still were going to buy the replacements even though at the time I think they were about fifty dollars each, but this man was so adamant that we should patch the bricks we had, we decided to give that a try first. There is a product sold for this purpose called refractory cement, and it’s easily accessible at hardware stores. We used a trowel to apply the cement and it was an easy thing to do, even though our bricks at that time were in pieces. We followed the directions on the bucket and used the cement to “glue” the pieces together and then put a layer of cement over the surface of the bricks. It worked great. The cement has to cure… but once it has hardened it is just like the original bricks.

Ms. Kim R.

Shirley, Thank you very much for “being there!” I have an old Monarch which, after being stored in the back of my pick up truck, is now in my yard to be moved inside. I thought it best to fire her up outside FIRST to see if she worked. Wow! What a thrill! It is extremely easy to start and maintain a fire in the firebox. Here is my concern: Even after an hour, I note that smoke “escapes” through the top of the stove where the round, flat disks fit in. The smoke seems to be coming up through and out of the little spaces between the top of the stove and the round metal plates. Granted, there were “remains” of rust, metal powder, washed off Naval Jelly, and WD-40. This residue burned off quickly, but I still noticed smoke coming out through the TOP of the stove around the plates that fit in the stove to create a “burner.” Please help me out here! Have I blown it somewhere along the line??? How can I rectify this snafoo? I do not give up easily and I have dreamed of having a wood cook stove since I was a girl. Please help. Thank you in advance. Your advice/experience is outstanding; I have learned a great deal already! Warm Regards.

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Is it possible that the smoke you are seeing is just because the stove has not yet been set up to have a proper draft? If I’m understanding you correctly, the stove is still outside so you don’t have the correct length of stove pipe, etc., in relation to the height of the house and nearby trees. If this is true, not having the right draft would definitely make smoke come out around the griddles like you described. It sounds like you have a really nice stove. I hope you will let me know when you have it all installed and working fine. Also… thanks so much for the kind words. I’m glad you enjoy my blog.


Thank you so much for your post! Wow, we have it so easy in this modern age we live in. We take so much for granted. I love how you shared what you’ve learned! Thank you again!


excellent info! we moved into a home that has one. at first, I thought, wow, it’s taking up a lot of space, but now I think I’d like to use it. and the idea of it providing some heat during the winter is appealing- there’s more than enough wood here and heating oil (which is what the furnace runs on) is going to be ridiculously expensive this year.

Lee W.

Just finished reading your article and found it to be informative and well based. Your comments on draft are spot on.

Refractory cement is much like concrete. It should be used for casting with reinforcement wire. I rebuilt the inside of several wood stoves using 1 inch fire bricks and laid them with fire clay. Fire clay is used more like glue than morter (laid thinly). Never had a problem with them and they can be cut to size with a regular circular saw with a masonary blade. Enscribe them with a saw, then tap with a chisel.

I love woodburners and hope you continue to use and enjoy yours. I don’t have one but live on a 5 acre wooded site. I will change that pretty quickly if all goes well.

Keep up the good work.


I actually have question on where to put my newly aquired monarch wood and coal cook stove. The question where physically to put it in my kitchen?
Spacing from combustibles and outside wall or inside wall, etc ? This may seem intuitive to some but not to me!

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Roger, your insurance company will be able to give you definite figures for clearances from combustibles, outside walls, etc., that you must follow for safety purposes. I would also check with the stove manufacturer… your stove may or may not have heat shields or other features that would affect these distances.


Beautiful stove, not the cheapest by a long shot, but simply beautiful. There are more fully functioning stoves for the discriminating baker, and make sure you have heat shields on the floor and wall(s). I keep a wood stove outside in a carport-style building to keep it dry and I cook there in the summer – keeps the house cool. These stoves are built for canning, their cast iron tops have varied heat and make great conversation pieces, but make sure you learn how to use one! A wise investment for the savvy cook or decorator, but be careful!


I am 79 and we had a wood burning cook stove when we were kids. I have a question, since I can not remember: Does the smoke and heat go down around the oven to heat the oven or does part of it go directly to the flue? Is there a vent you open and close to regulate the oven or do you do it with how hot you get the fire?

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Kent, in my stove, the main regulator of oven heat is how hot the fire is, but the fire heat can be directed and controlled. The heat can be directed into a channel that goes around and on top of the oven… also around the water reservoir. Vents can be closed to direct the heat to just the oven or just to the reservoir or to bypass both. There is also a damper to adjust the air flow up the chimney and two controls on the stove itself.

Michele C.

In August we had the Elmira Stove installed and with the colder temperatures in December, we are seeing just how much we love this stove! It’s beautiful, practical and has become the heart of our home. Most of the time people just respond with a gasp when they see it. It’s truly beautiful. We refer to your blog for help with different aspects of cleaning, cooking, etc. Thank you so much for the detailed information in this and your other posts. We are embracing a simpler life and have found so many helpful tips here!
All the best,


We installed my grandma’s cook stove in our home last weekend and I have been cooking with it all week :) I was wondering what you use for oil on the surface? I have been seasoning my cast iron pans with flax oil and so far I am happy with the results, but I’m not sure if I should use it on the top of the stove or just canola oil ???

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Kate, congratulations on your “new” stove!

I don’t use canola oil, but yes, when you need to condition the stove top, I would just use the same oil as you do for your cast iron cookware. I almost never put oil on the top of our stove… I sometimes use a cloth well wrung out in hot, soapy water to go over the surface. I do this when the stove is hot so any water dries immediately and the surface looks new again. You could do the same thing with a cloth and a bit of oil.


How wonderful to see our stove on your site! We have the same stove minus the water reservoir and we love it! We were fortunate to have a family member purchase a house he intended to “flip” and didn’t want the stove. We got a steal and only paid $500 for it! After a little bit of love, she was as good as new! We do find it can get a bit smokey at times, especially the first few fires of the season and have found that we get a significant amount of buildup in the chimney. We have a very tall chimney, so a good draft can be difficult. I love the potato peel idea, I’ll have to give it a try! Thanks for sharing!

Judy T.

I have a stove almost exactly like this, called a Margin Gem from Canada. It heats our water (no copper boiler, just lots of pans) for dishes, bakes a wonderful loaf of bread (this IS my cookstove), heats the house and on occasion dries clothes, mittens, and warms the cats.
This is our third stove and probably our last. I use a commercial stove polish for the top of the stove, to protect it during the summer months from rust. In the winter when the fire is low I will use bacon fat on a paper towel to give it a really nice sheen. Plus the house smells like bacon!

I also leave about an inch or so of wood ashes on top of the bake oven box, to prevent my bread from turning into crispy critters. It’s also advisable to cook slow things or delicate ones on the lowest shelf you can, since the heat comes from the top and the right side.

What a treat to find ‘my’ stove! and yours.


My mom learned to cook on one of these as a little girl. As soon as she could stand on the oven door and reach the back of the stove she was helping Grandma cook. They had 12 children and family lived nearby so there were always extra at the table….Miss them all.


In my experience these old kitchen stove create their own secondary burn of the fire’s gasses. Because the secondary burn takes place at about 1,100 degrees, modern wood-burning stoves often have a ceramic catalytic element using the precious metals platinum, palladium and/or rhodium as the catalyst to burn the gasses. When a catalyst such as these is used, the secondary burn can commence at about 500 degrees. Since the old wood stoves have superior grade of metal, and sometimes firebrick in the fire box they can withstand the heat necessary to burn the gasses right in the stove. Not only is that better for the environment, but they use that extra heat to cook and to heat the inside the house. As another benefit, the wood used for the same amount of heat is about one quarter of that that would be used without secondary combustion. Burned properly– while your chimney should be inspected for cleanliness on a regular schedule–if all is going well, your chimney should never need regular cleaning. Inside the stove should only need to be dusted or vacuumed–no soot or creosote. Good old-fashioned technologies and ways like this are being kept alive by threads like this. If anyone has had different experience or knows the technology better than I, please comment.


This article brought back memories of a winter my husband and I and our first baby spent in a little house in rural Missouri. It was 1953, and I, who had grown up in town, was quite unprepared for pumping water from a well, and learning to cook on a wood cookstove. It was one of the happiest experiences of my life. That stove and I became well acquainted, you might say good friends, as I blundered along day by day. It was my companion and helper in everything from cooking our food to heating water for baths and laundry, to providing cheery warmth in the house. And I will say unreservedly that its oven made the best biscuits and cornbread that I ever tasted. I’m grateful for the electric stove I now have, and for running water in the house, and for my washer and dryer– but the memories of that winter with the wood burning stove are precious.


My husband and I have looked (somewhat longingly) at Elmira wood stoves. So beautiful! We just happen to live in Alabama and it would be awfully hot to have one in our kitchen and use it on any regular basis. I’m glad you are able to have and use one, and successfully at that! :-) I also love your garden photos especially: very beautiful!


and if anyone is concerned about creosote (these new-fangled stoves are all airtights so it is a concern), I have found the ultimate chimney creosote remover: it’s made by Rutland, and the official name is “Creosote Remover” and it really does work. For one reason or another I neglected to clean the tall kitchen chimney for three years after installing the new stove–this summer, after three years of use, I found most of the creosote was already off, having fallen down by itself. The chimney itself was visible under only the thinnest of layers of soot.
We went out and bought two more containers. Lol.

And there is truly nothing like being outside on a chilly October day, to come into the warmth of a kitchen stove like this. And no one, simply no one, ever goes ON about their baseboards. =)


My grandmother used her cookstove in the summer using a summer oven, it was a bucket with a swivel handle that rested in hole in oven top inside bucket was a wire mesh and a removable grill, so the idea is you could start fire and cook inside using your stove for its draft of smoke but remove bucket when done so heat worse is removed from inside.


Loved your story . We also have a Sweetheart at our cottage and have always had a wood cook stove. I find baking and cooking easy but I grew up with grandparents in my life who had a farm and 2 cookstoves I learned to cook on them.
Yes getting to understand the air right models took a bit of time but a stove is a stove.
From fudge to canning and everything in between I love it. We also have a gas/electric range for most summer cooking but will often fire our Sweetheart up during a hot humid spell to dry out the cottage. That works great and I always throw in a batch of biscuits or a pie while it is on.
Bread is scrumptious as well as pulled pork and all slow cooked foods. Pizza is out of this world in a wood stove
Ours was made in 1970’s and is still in perfect condition. We have replaced the firebricks and I kept large ones to wrap and heat the beds when we arrive late on a cold night.


Thanks so much for the info in your article. We inherited a century old Finlay Oval cook stove when we bought our house, and I could not imagine moving one with 2 people. Ours doesn’t have the water resivoir, but otherwise looks very similar to yours. I have a love/hate relationship with it – I love cooking on it knowing that I am heating the house too, and there is nothing like warming up by it after coming in from the cold. The dust, dirt and ashes are what I don’t like about it, but I live with it. Yours being airtight, probably doesn’t have as much of this problem.

Thanks for the potato peel tip, I am going to try it. Just a tip that I learned, after drying the orange peel, use it as fire starter. It burns longer than paper, so that your wood has more time to catch.


Hi there. We just moved into my husband’s family home. Brr. We have a regular woodstove, but a whole half of this big house is not usable in winter simply because it is just too darn cold. There is a lovely great room with a massive fireplace that would be downright silly to put an insert in. (more than silly! It would be sad.) But we are still the owners of this Gurney woodstove that my mother in law used to cook for her young family for. I am wondering about installing it in the great room. You say you have the option of cooking on an electric stove. Smart. Especially getting the kids off to school in the morning. I feel like I might be a little optimistic proposing getting the ol’ Gurney patched up and made to be a room heater and a cookstove. From a mother of now four kids.


Thank you, I have just bought an antique french logburning stove and your tios are so helpful


We also have an old wood cook stove in our kitchen. It’s a Queen Atlantic, but without the water reservoir. This is our main source of heat all winter, and also what we use to cook on and in all through the cold months. We love it. It took a bit of time to learn how to use it, but now we wouldn’t trade it for anything. It is a lot of work to keep the wood box full and to constantly be feeding the stove, but nothing can compare to having such a wonderful asset in this day and age. As an added bonus the ashes are great to use as compost in our garden, as well as on the ice in our driveway. :-)


I was introduced to a wood cook stove while visiting a cabin in 1971. The following year my new husband and I gave ourselves our own cabin and installed a wood/propane combination range. And when we bought our first home, we were able to secure an early 1900’s Belanger cook stove made in Montmagny, Quebec. Most of the year I cook exclusively on a wood stove still. I’m so pleased to find another woman who was born a 100 years too late as my husbands uncle used to say.


How did your patch repair of the firebrick turn out? Did you do it right in the stove?

A couple months ago I found replacement fire bricks for my Findlay Oval, about $250. Went to order it today, Aga has since bought Heartland and cost for same item is now $850-900!!

sarah h

Great ideas for cleaning creosote. I like how you describe cleaning the cook surface like seasoning cast iron pans. I will be trying this out today!


I enjoyed reading of your learnings, a few lessons being new ones for me.

I have almost the same stove, an Elmira 1840. I opted for no water jacket, and less nickel plating than yours, but it is still utterly beautiful.

A few cloves are now in my warming oven. :)

Lois L.

I used an old Enterprise cook stove when I lived in an off-grid cabin. It wasn’t as big as your but it did the job, wish I’d have an in oven thermometer as I too found the door thermometer to be inaccurate and burned several batches of biscuits and bannock. It sure made lovely roast beef though, I’ve never had such yummy beef since then