Optimus 96 (1930s)

Discussion in 'Optimus No:96' started by Retro Camper, Aug 2, 2021.

  1. Retro Camper

    Retro Camper Subscriber

    Jul 20, 2009

    I was never really interested in the 96 stoves but then, all of sudden, my attention was caught by a 1930s version going quite cheaply on a well known auction site. Rather than buy a good working example, I prefer to buy a dilapidated stove and have the pleasure of getting it going again. Above is an "after" shot and below "as bought".

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    The tank lid and reserve lid were both stuck very tightly and needed some Plus Gas to shift them. It looks like someone had been having a go at the tank lid with a pair of mole grips and had scratched the tank. The washer had disintegrated and needed a new one from a Fettle Box kit I had. I was surprised that the 96 relies on the lead packing to stop the reserve lid leaking. This stove was caked up with dried out fuel. The lead was replaced and I have fitted several layers of Viton in the reserve lid so that it seals when screwed on. The problem now is it won't screw on the thread that keeps it safe when the stove is in use.

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    The pump leather was soft and disintegrating so I replaced that. With Plus Gas the operation went surprisingly smoothly (before and after photos below). I hit a problem with the NRV though as I couldn't shift and managed to round off the head so that it is probably in there for ever. The good news is the NRV seems to be in good working order.

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    The tank and feet are in reasonably good shape (some dings) and the base is stamped with the letter L.

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    The stove came with a Duo Burn plate, which I managed to swap with Mike The Stove for a Primus plate (so at least it is all now Swedish).

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    The stove came with the usual other parts, but was missing a spanner, windshield and the right size prickers. It came in an Optimus tin that I forgot to photograph so will try and add that later.

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    I cleaned the stove up with some citric acid and polished it a little with Autosol.


    Then came the first firing. I know that these stoves need a good pre-heat and so gave it plenty of meths and fitted the windshield from my 00 as it was a windy day. I closed the air screw and gave it a few pumps but all I got were flames and lots of them. After a few fireballs, some of which were difficult to control as the flames were blowing in all directions, it dawned on me I had overfilled the tank and there wasn't enough airspace for the fuel vapour to form in. The result was pumping liquid fuel up the lipstick and hence the flames. After emptying out some fuel it worked a treat and I enjoyed two cups of tea and a fried egg (in pesto) sandwich. A satisfying fettle.

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  2. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

    Jun 8, 2013
    Stinkpot Bay, Howden, Tasmania, Australia
    Great little stove!

    Thanks for the detailed photos.


  3. ROBBO55

    ROBBO55 Subscriber

    Oct 27, 2014
    Somersby, New South Wales, Australia
    It's cleaned up beautifuly and working nicely, congratulations :thumbup:
    Good photos.