Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Blog Reader's Cookstove - II

Mark, a blog reader in Missouri, contacted me this week with a very nice comment on a recent post.  He wrote that he has recently begun learning to cook on a vintage Glenwood #8 cabinet style cookstove installed in the kitchen of the newly built home that he shares with his wife.  He gave the address of his blog, where he has posted a few pictures of this grand old lady in her new home.

Reader Mark at his Glenwood #8 cabinet style

You can visit Mark's blog to see more pictures of his stove and to read what he says about it by clicking on his posts at this link, this link, and this link.  Glenwood stoves were manufactured in Taunton, Massachusetts, and this stove was refurbished and sold by The Love Barn in Orland, Maine.  You can visit their website here.

I wanted to include pictures of Mark's cookstove here on my blog because I want people to see how Mark and his wife and their builder incorporated a working antique cookstove into a modern kitchen design.

As you look at the pictures of Mark's stove, several things are noteworthy:

a) To bring the stovetop up to a height that is even with the countertops, a steel base was custom-made for the stove to sit on.

b) Mark's builder made some clever modifications to the walls next to the stove to offer reduced clearances.  He gives more information about that in his blog posts.

c) This particular model Glenwood was chosen because it fit in the space that was available, and as I study the pictures, I notice that this model is doubly convenient for Mark's situation since the pouch feed is on the front of the firebox rather than on the left side.  The proximity of the wall to the left side of Mark's stove would have made a left-facing pouch feed pretty useless, so the front pouch feed is perfect.  Our Qualified Range was equipped with a pouch feed on the left side, and I used that quite frequently for refueling and poking the fire, and I miss that feature on the Margin Gem. 

d) The pouch feed door is equipped with what is called a check draft.  Once the fire has been burning for awhile and has become hot, the check draft can be opened to allow cool air to be drawn across the top of the fire.  In theory, this will slow the combustion of the fuel and lower the heat of the cooktop.  I'm anxious to hear from Mark about whether this works since I've never cooked on a stove that has  this feature.

e) Most of the surviving antique cookstoves in the Midwest have bodies which are made of part cast iron and part steel.  These stoves, such as Home Comfort, Monarch, Kalamazoo, and Majestic brands, were manufactured in Michigan, Wisconsin, or Missouri.  Most of the surviving antique stoves made in the New England states, though, were either completely cast iron or at the very least had a higher percentage of cast iron.  It looks to me like, with the exception of the backsplash and warming oven, this stove is completely cast iron.  I've read that this is supposed to make them better bakers because the oven temperatures will not fluctuate as much.

As always, it was great to hear from a fellow wood cookstove user, and I hope that Mark will feel free to comment on my blog to share a Glenwood cookstove user's point of view.


  1. Just a simple thanks for this blog. Looking forward to finally getting a wood stove.

    1. You're very welcome, Jeff. Glad to be of service.

  2. Jim,
    That Kalamazoo was a bust. Huge crack that sprung the entire stove. I looked at a home comfort today. Pretty nice but there were some small rust through spots that were open into the oven. Plus one of the firebox cast pieces was cracked through. I really liked the stove and it was in good shape other than the rust holes in the top of the oven and a couple of the lids had burn holes in the lifter hole. Could the all holes be filled or welded?

    1. Hans,

      Bummer! Unfortunately, I know next to nothing about the processes that stove restorers use to get cookstoves back up and running. From what you've described, it sounds to me like the rusted out lifter holes in the lids would be the most difficult fix, but I don't know. I'm only basing that on the fact that our Riverside Bakewell (the green and cream cookstove at the top of the page) had three new oven sides when I bought it at auction, and I've seen pictures of some nicely repaired fireboxes.

      Home Comfort stoves had good reputations in their day. Also, Edward Semmelroth of in Tekonsha, Michigan, couldn't say enough good things about the one he had recently restored when we visited his shop back in 2006. Since there are a fair number Home Comfort stoves still around, I wonder if you might be able to have some luck locating replacement lids and firebox linings. It might be worth a shot. I've even seen Home Comfort firebox lining pieces on ebay. It seems to me like the hole in the oven should be a fairly easy fix for a good, careful welder or metal worker.

      Keep me posted about your quest!

  3. looking at the pics, I am feeling jealous of what must be much more relaxed building codes in the U.S. In New Brunswick, we need large clearances on both sides and in front of any wood cookstove despite the stove itself being certified for only 6`` on the side. This makes it a serious challenge to incorporate one into a kitchen that wasn`t designed for on - also eats up a ton of space in any kitchen.