Frequently Asked Questions about Vintage Stoves

Will you restore my stove?

If it’s a gas stovemade before 1957, yes. If it was made between 1956 and 1970, maybe. If it was made later than 1970, then no. If it’s an electric stove of any vintage, then no.

Check out the restoration page for details on the work that gets done, then drop me a line and we can talk about your project.

Do you restore vintage stoves that aren't Chambers?

Yes. Over the years, I’ve restored multiple brands of vintage stoves – Magic Chef, Roper, Tappan, Odin, Detroit Vapor, Welbilt, O’Keefe & Merritt, Quality just to name a few. Chambers are my favorite and what I own myself, but I work on all vintage gas stoves.

How long does it take for you to restore a stove?

It really depends on the stove. Some take a few weeks, some take months or even years! But as an example, the actual number of man hours of labor a model C requires is around 80. But others (enamelers, platers, etc) are also involved in the project and their work takes its own time.

Do you restore stoves to look as good as new?

If that’s what you want, then yes. Every stove I restore gets a complete mechanical restoration (see the restoration page for details). But you have a variety of cosmetic options, too, that you can choose if you like. So whether you want your stove to have the patina that comes naturally with its age or you want it to look factory new, we can restore your stove to your taste.

Do you repair modern stoves?

No. I rarely work on any stove made after 1959.

Do you sell parts and accessories?

I do not sell parts directly, but I know people who do and I’ll gladly put you in touch with them.

Will you buy my vintage stove?

I do buy stoves from time to time. See the Selling FAQ on this page for more details.

Do you have a wait list?

Yes. As of August 2023, my wait list time is approximately 8 months. I will update this answer whenever that changes. But please contact me to find out what the turnaround time for your stove will be, as every project takes its own time.

How does the wait list work?

Once you’ve chosen a stove and we’ve determined the scope of work, I will send you an invoice so you can make your down payment. As soon as I receive the down payment, your name is put on the list and your stove is put in line. When it’s your turn, your stoves gets restored. I will tell you at the beginning of our conversation, before you commit, roughly how long your wait will be as it always changes based on demand.

Do you have any non-functioning stoves I can use as decoration or set dressing?

Usually. Drop me a line and we can discuss what you need to give your film project or tv show the right vintage feel.

Are you insured?

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

Can I call you?

Because the time I have available to talk on the phone each week is extremely limited, we can set up an appointment to talk through details. Email is the best way to get through the basics, though, and then we can discuss the particulars during an arranged phone call.

Do you have your terms and conditions posted anywhere?

Yes. Right here:

By submitting a down payment for stove work by Chambers Rescue LLC, you are agreeing to the following terms:
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. If you have received an estimated timeframe for the completion of your stove, the time starts when your down payment has cleared.

5. 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.

6. Stoves may only be picked up for delivery after the final payment has been made.

7. 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.

8. Arrangements for the delivery of a stove from the Chambers Rescue workshop are the sole responsibility of the customer.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

What's the deal with your logo?

The Chambers Rescue logo is based on the Chambers logo that was used from 1920 through 1924. One hundred years later, those stoves still function better than most modern stoves. I admire that kind of reliability and hope to live up to it in all my work.

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.

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 look at the stove before I buy from you?

Absolutely. Contact me and we can set up a time.

How do I move a vintage stove?


Seriously, they are heavy, but not insurmountable. 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!

Will you work with my movers?

Of course. Once a stove is paid for, we can make arrangements for your movers to pick up the stove. And if you want to move your stove yourself, I can help with that, too.

If you’re looking for a mover for your restored stove, I can give you several recommendations depending on where you want the stove delivered.

Do you deliver?

I work with several movers I can recommend, but will also work with a mover you hire to make sure your stove gets delivered to you safely. I recommend taking a look at Shiply and Uship for movers (look for LTL or less than load deliveries). They’re like Uber for movers and I’ve had many clients sing the praises of the movers they’ve found there.

Will you buy my old stove?

I do sometimes buy stoves. 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.

What do you need from me to buy my stove?

The more details the better, but here are the basics:

  • Pictures are the most important thing – send a bunch that have a clear view of your stove.
  • Location
  • Make (if known)
  • Model (if known)
  • Details about where it is located (e.g. number of stairs between it and your driveway)

Email that to me at stoves (@) and I’ll get back to you.

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 hundreds. There are VERY few exceptions to that rule –  a Chambers Imperial or a Magic Chef 6300, for example.

To put hard data on it, in 2022, 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.

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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