Thursday, October 13, 2011

Waiting Patiently for a Kitchen

As I blog tonight, I feel a little guilty about doing so because the pile of school papers that I should be checking is quite high.  I guess I'd better make this short.

Progress on the house kitchen is slow at best, but at least we do have progress.  Drywall is in, and mudding should be complete early next week.  Our cabinet makers, who are basically in charge of everything from here on, will be here next week to lay everything out on the floor so we can "walk through" the actual dimensions of things.  After that, the chimney needs to have its exterior tiled, the cabinet which will sit behind the stove and hold the water boiler needs to be constructed, and the floor needs to be refinished.  Then, we will be ready to have Marjorie the Margin Gem cookstove make her way from the utility room, where she sits in a depressing state of disassembly, to the kitchen.  We won't be able to fire her until the plumbing is hooked up and water is in the waterfront, though.  Firing a cookstove that has a waterfront which has no water in it is risky business because dry waterfronts can be damaged too easily.

At any rate, I am hoping that I'll get to bake Thanksgiving pies in the Margin Gem.  I know that we won't be in any kind of shape to host Thanksgiving (much to my disappointment), but if I can just cook part of the meal here and haul it to Mom and Dad's, I'll have to be satisfied with that.

Fortunately, God has blessed us with a very warm autumn so far, so we haven't missed the heat of the cookstove very much.  Our little Jotul has had a fire in it only three times, and that has been enough to keep us sufficiently warm.  Since school started, time has been in short supply, so cooking down in the summer kitchen has not been feasible.  We have two old 20" propane stoves in the basement of the house, and most of the cooking has been done down there.  The only problem is that both of the ovens are wonky; one is basically unusable, and the other is stuck at 350 degrees no matter what temperature it is set at.  I've been learning to do some baking in an electric roaster, but I certainly miss the cookstove.

A view of the Qualified Range in the kitchen before
we began remodeling.
Some people have asked what we will be doing with the old Qualified Range.  Right now the Margin Gem cookstove is barricading it in the utility room, and it too is in a sad state of disassembly.  The answer to the question is that we have no idea yet.  I want to hold onto it until I have decided for sure whether I like the Margin Gem.  I can't imagine not liking the new stove, but it doesn't seem prudent to get rid of the Qualified until we're sure.

As money is always tight around here, one of the things that I've thought about is selling the Qualified Range to someone local and offering a couple of free lessons on how to cook on it.  I would love to have another wood cookstove cook close by to exchange ideas with.  We'll see.  As it is, I'd better go find my red pen and get back to my real job.


  1. Jim,
    What is the exact difference in the duplex grates. In other words, does it have something to do with the air flow when burning wood versus the solid grates being more restrictive for burning coal. I never really understood that. Thanks, Gary

    1. I have never seen any definitive information which explained the reason for the difference between the two sides of the duplex grate. However, my guess is that it is not so much due to a change in the air flow as it is to a change in how durable the solid side of the grates would be. Burning coal tends to produce a hotter fire than burning wood, and this increased heat is what demanded that the fireboxes have the thicker cast iron linings which appeared in stoves that were built to be able to burn both wood and coal. Because the grates are more solid on the coal side, they would be able to withstand the intense heat better, reducing the chance for the narrower slats in the wood side to warp or break.

      As I said, though, this is just a guess on my part. Do any of you other readers know a different reason?