First, I need to say right up front that all of the food that has been cooked on the Margin Gem has been good, and I haven't ruined anything yet. However, I'm still getting used to cooking on Marjorie, and I am a ways from being able to write a blog post which would give an expert set of instructions on how to manage her. Significant differences exist between how I operated our Qualified range and how Marjorie responds to those same tactics, and I am still learning. What I would like to address in this blog post is how some small aspects of the Margin Gem's design make it a much nicer stove than I have ever dealt with before.
One of the first things that I noticed about the Margin Gem was how clean the floor around her stays. The floor just beneath the left side of the Qualified range always had a little pile of ashes on it. Sweeping and vacuuming would only clean this mess up temporarily. Each opening of the white enamel door that covers the front feed and the ash drawer always sucked a few ashes out onto the floor, and each time the grates would be shaken, a few ashes would dribble out onto the floor, and when you pulled the drawer out in order to empty it, quite a few ashes would be dragged out onto the floor. The bottom of the ash drawer slid along the floor of the stove, which was part of the problem. As you can see in the picture below, the other part of the problem was that the bottom of the opening for the ash drawer was level with the floor of the stove
|The ash drawer on the Riverside Bakewell pulled out a little way.|
|A closeup of the open ash door in an attempt to show how helpful the lip |
and shelf are in keeping the floor around the stove clean.
The Margin Gem's reservoir has what its competitor calls a "hyper-heat" reservoir. By turning a lever at the bottom of the reservoir to the right as shown in the picture below, a baffle in the stove diverts some of the smoke and heat from the fire so that it travels along the bottom of the reservoir before traveling under the oven and out the chimney. This enables the water to get quite a bit hotter than the conventional water reservoir design and also improves recovery time. The spigot, as shown in the second picture, allows the water to be drawn off the reservoir without having to go through the time-consuming and messy process of dipping it back out by hand.
Some of you may wonder why we chose the additional expense and bulk of having a reservoir when we also have the water jacket to heat our hot running water. The answer is simple: at some point, I would like to have our rainwater cistern back in operation, so I wanted to have a way to heat rainwater with the cookstove, and the reservoir was the only logical option. Until we are able to use rainwater, we will keep filling the reservoir with well water, thus increasing the hot water heating capacity of the stove.
|The lever on the reservoir turned to divert heat from the fire to the|
bottom of the reservoir.
|The spigot on the side of the reservoir.|
|The Margin Gem's warming oven.|
|A poor picture to demonstrate how large the Margin Gem's firebox is.|
In the Riverside, I always put the baked goods on the stovetop for a few minutes to cook the bottoms thoroughly. You can see this in a picture below. Obviously, the Margin Gem has solved all of these problems for me.
|Four loaves of bread in the Margin Gem oven. They were not turned|
at all during baking, but cooked very evenly.
|You can see that the bottoms of the loaves were perfectly browned,|
and I had nothing to do with it!
|The first four loaves from the Riverside cookstove oven browning|
their bottoms on the cooktop while the next two loaves begin baking.