Frequently Asked Questions about Vintage Stoves

Where are you located?

My workshop is located in Clifton, NJ. That’s close to Newark, 12 miles outside Manhattan and conveniently located near Interstate 80, the Garden State Parkway and Routes 46, 21 & 3.

Do you only work on Chambers stove?

I work on pretty much any brand of gas stove made before 1960 – Magic Chef, O’Keefe and Merritt, Wedgewood, Welbilt, Caloric, Western Holly, Quality, Glenwood. Detroit Vapor, Roper, and many, many others.

How do I buy a stove from you?

The first thing to do is check my inventory page for stoves waiting to be restored. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, just ask. I always have more stoves than I can take pictures of.

Then, read about your different options. Prices and turnaround times depend on the scope of the work and the model.

Then reach out to me and we can talk about how to get the ball rolling.

Can I look at the stove before I buy from you?

Absolutely. Contact me and we can set up a time for you to come visit the workshop.

Will you restore my stove or a stove I just found?

Sure. Send me a picture so I can confirm it’s a vintage I deal with. (I try to only work on stoves up to the mid-50s, but every now and then I’ll wander into the 60s, but definitely nothing later).

Do you restore electric stoves?

No, but contact me and I’ll give you the contact information for someone who does.

Can you convert my stove from natural gas to propane (or the other way around)?

Yes. That’s no problem.

Can I customize my stove?

Absolutely! My work is to ensure that the stove works perfectly. You can choose how it looks, among many other details available to you.

Take a look at my process page and you’ll see different tiers of restoration and exactly what they include. You can also mix and match options as you see fit. It’s your stove and will be in your home – it should look the way you want it to.

What's your turnaround time like?

As of February 2024, my turnaround time is approximately 10 to 12 months. This changes from time to time as stoves come and go, so this will always be updated.

Do you deliver?

I work with movers I can recommend to deliver a restored stove to you throughout the United States.  I will also work with a mover you hire if you prefer.

Can I move a vintage stove myself?

Sure! The key is to use leverage, not brute force. Check out my Tutorials page for a video on how to move a Chambers – most stoves are even easier to move than the one in the video!

Why isn't your phone number on your site?

As a one-man show, I have very limited availability for phone calls. So it’s a lot faster and easier to provide you with all the simple answers upfront on my site. Then we can set up a time to talk through the details.

Do you have your terms and conditions on your site?

Yes. Right here:

1. The total cost of your stove has been determined by the base price for the work, plus any options you have selected, as stated in your invoice.
2. Unless otherwise agreed upon, your down payment will consist of 50% of the total cost. The remainder will be due upon completion of the agreed upon work.
a. Payment plans are available and must be discussed and confirmed in writing by both parties in advance of the down payment being made.
3. Your down payment is non-refundable.
4. Upon completion, you will be provided with pictures and a video of your stove to demonstrate that it is in full working order commensurate with the requested work.
5. Stoves may only be picked up for delivery after the final payment has been made.
6. An estimated time frame for the completion of your stove has been provided to you. Every effort will be made to meet this delivery date. Please note, however, that this is not a guarantee and regular updates will be provided to you while the restoration is underway.
7. Arrangements for the delivery of a stove from the Chambers Rescue workshop are the sole responsibility of the customer.
8. Chambers Rescue will work with you and/or any third party you contract with to facilitate moving the stove in order to ensure the stove’s safe arrival.
a. Any damage that occurs to the stove during transportation is the sole responsibility of the party transporting the stove.
b. If Chambers Rescue believes the stove will not be transported safely, it may refuse release of the stove until the customer releases Chambers Rescue from any liability prior to loading.
9. Your stove must be connected to your gas line in accordance with the rules and regulations in your location. Chambers Rescue does not connect gas appliances.
10. Installation of your stove in your home may result in slightly different performance than what was documented in the Chambers Rescue workshop video. On-site set-up and calibration may be required, especially if parts were removed for shipping. In this case, videos demonstrating how to set up and calibrate your stove are available on the Chambers Rescue website in order to help you or a third party complete this task. Chambers Rescue will also make itself available for phone and/or video call consultation in order to ensure the stove is working properly in your home.

Are you insured?

Yes. All Chambers Rescue work is covered by liability insurance.

Can you make a stove simply look good for my movie, tv show or museum?

Absolutely. I’ve worked with a number of museums and set designers to get something that looks right for where it needs to be.

Do you sell parts?

No, but contact me and I’ll give you the contact information for someone who does.

What should I look for when buying a vintage stove?

If you’re buying from me, the work has been done and your stove will get everything it needs to be ready for your home.

But if you’re buying a stove online or locally, then definitely check out my “how to inspect a stove” video. It’s easy  to fall in love with a vintage stove, so you need to know what to look for.

Here are a few details from it:

Check for rust. Every unrestored stove has some and, if it’s just on the surface it’s no big deal. But if the oven floor is rusted through or the metal has been weakened, you have a lot of work ahead of you.

Specifically, check the oven floor, around the oven door and below the burners. If it’s a Chambers, check around the top of the broiler box, too.

Check that it is complete. I can’t emphasize enough how difficult it can be to track down the exact knobs or burner grates a vintage stove came with. For some brands, there are plenty of parts. For others, the hunt can be long. So the more complete the stove is, the better.

There are chips on the porcelain. Can they be repaired?

Yes. Chips can be touched up or a panel can be completely reporcelained. The decision is both an aesthetic one and a matter of budget.

Are vintage stoves safe?

If a vintage stove has had a proper mechanical restoration, then yes, they are safe. If a stove has sat unused for years, though, there could be all kinds of issues – especially if it’s been sitting in a garage or a damp basement. Once a stove has been dismantled and rebuilt, it can continue to cook safely for decades to come. As with any gas appliance, new or old, proper ventilation is important – you should either have a range hood, a window or another proper way to exhaust the stove – just like you have for your boiler, dryer or water heater.

Are vintage stoves efficient?

It depends on the brand, but if you compare a Chambers, for example, to anything else, the Chambers will win the efficiency contest every time.

Chambers stoves retain heat better, use less gas and can even cook when the gas is turned off in the oven and Thermowell (or Thermodome).

Modern stoves with electric starters may seem like they use less gas over time, but they are very wasteful when it comes to actual cooking. Your vintage stove is a much more efficient choice.

Are vintage ovens small?

They are smaller than you modern stoves, but that’s because they diffuse heat more evenly than modern stoves, so they don’t have to hold your food as far away from the burner.

For example, a Chambers stove can cook a 25lb turkey or 40lbs of ribs without any problem. For bakers, you may need a smaller cookie tray, but it’s a small price to pay for better tasting cookies!

Can I move a vintage stove myself?

Sure! The key is to use leverage, not brute force. Check out my Tutorials page for a video on how to move a Chambers – most stoves are even easier to move than the one in the video!

How can I sell my old stove?

I get asked this question a lot, so let me provide my standard answer here for everyone:

Here’s how to find your stove a new home:
Take pictures of every side and the top of the stove. Open each door and drawer and take a picture with the flash on. Make sure nothing is in or on the stove – decorations (or clutter) interfere with an assessment of the actual condition of the stove.

Then measure the stove with the height of the backsplash and the height of the cooktop. Then post all that on Facebook Marketplace, being sure to include the term Vintage Stove in your title.

What makes Marketplace so effective is the fact that there are about a dozen vintage appliance groups there, the biggest of which is Vintage Stoves. Members are pretty active about sharing things they find so it will get shared around pretty quickly.
Here’s a list of the best groups to share your Marketplace listing if you’d like to ensure your stove gets the attention it deserves:
Vintage Stoves
Antique Stove Collectors
Vintage Appliance, Electronics, and Furniture Marketplace
Vintage Appliances from Around the World

And if you have a Chambers, include these groups:

Chambers Range Fans
Chambers Stove lovers
Chambers buy sell trade only

You can also try listing on Ebay and Craigslist, of course, as listing there is free. But I find you have to rely more on luck to find a buyer there.

What is my vintage stove worth?

This depends on many factors: brand, model, condition, location and so on.

But to be clear, while a restored stove is worth thousands, an unrestored stove, no matter what the condition, is only worth a few hundred dollars. There are VERY few exceptions to that rule –  a Chambers Imperial or a Magic Chef 6300, for example.

To put hard data on it, between 2021 and 2023, roughly 1000 unrestored Chambers model Cs were on the market in the US (Craigslist, Facebook, Ebay, etc). The average sales price of an unrestored model C across the US was $250. The higher prices were paid for colored porcelain in perfect condition (no blemishes at all). If your stove has chips in it or any damage to the chrome, the value goes down quickly.

Many people will quote you a higher price, but I see no evidence that they sell for those higher prices. I have been watching some stoves sit on the market for years because they are simply priced away from the market. And some will tell you that “it’s worth what someone is willing to pay.” In a way that’s true, but just as there’s a market price for, say, eggs, there’s a market price for stoves. It’s just more obvious to more people what eggs cost. People who want to buy a stove usually do some careful research to see what similar stoves have sold for. So if your price is out of line with that, then your stove will likely sit.

The difference in price between an unrestored stove and a restored one is so great because a restored stove has had an investment of 80+ hours of specialized work, done by a skilled craftsperson. Risks are eliminated, there’s no guesswork in what you’re buying and everything works the way it did when it was new. The same cannot be said for an unrestored stove.

A collector I know uses the rule of thumb “never more than $500 for an unrestored, medium-sized stove.” His guidance should serve as a benchmark for buyers and sellers everywhere.

But don't they sell for thousands restored?

Yes. The difference is 50 to 80 hours of craftsman’s work that takes apart every single piece of a stove, rebuilds, replaces or recreates it, puts it all back together, then adjusts, calibrates and tests it until it’s ready to head to a new home, backed by liability insurance and expertise.

The value of that labor, parts, materials, know-how and skill is reflected in the price of a restored stove compared with an unrestored one.

Will you buy my old stove?

Sometimes I buy stoves, but it is increasingly infrequent. My storage area is often at capacity, however, so please understand I may not be able to rescue your stove. But you can always ask – just be sure to include a picture and your location.

Where do all these parts go?

Check out the video about setting up your Chambers. It walks you through reassembling your stove after moving it.

Why won't my burners light?

Your flashtubes aren’t sitting right. The flashtube goes from the pilot to the burner to connect gas and flame when you turn the burner on. It has a little nozzle on the tip that sits in a hole on the burner. When transporting or cleaning, it’s easy to knock them out. Just push them back in. The tube itself can sometimes move freely in the cuff that holds it – and sometimes it’s requires muscle to move it. You won’t break it by twisting it to sit straight and at the proper length so it rests properly in

Why does my oven temperature fluctuate?

The most likely reason is an improperly calibrated oven. This can be the result of age, different gas pressure in a new location or a switch between fuels (natural gas vs propane).

Take a look at the video about calibrating your oven and thermostat in order to troubleshoot your issue. Most of the time, these steps solve the problem.

What’s that smell?

Probably Crisco.

The Crisco is from seasoning the oven and broiler burners. Like any cast iron cooking tool, proper seasoning is key to preservation. It mitigates rust, smooths the flame and offers a protective coat so that any future cleaning will only require a damp cloth.

(Pro tip: If your oven floor or Thermowell floor ever develop pitting in the enamel, using a bit of Crisco to season and seal the exposed metal will preserve it and prevent further damage.)

While all stoves I restore are reassembled and then tested for hours, some residual smell can still be present. It bakes off with use and is not harmful to you or your food.

Do I smell gas?

Every standing pilot on your stove needs to be lit when the stove is installed. Did you remember to light the pilots? If you have a newly restored Chambers stove, be sure to watch the video on setting up your Chambers.

To make things easier, I’ve broken down the questions I get most often into groups:

  • Buying a Vintage Stove
  • Selling a Vintage Stove
  • The Services I Offer
  • A Guide for New Owners

If I didn’t answer your question or there’s something you think should be here, drop me a line!

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