Restoration of Preway Model 4 Single Burner Stove

Discussion in 'Prentiss Wabers (Preway)' started by wtspe, May 18, 2019.

  1. wtspe United States

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    In 2017 a fellow CCF member, Daniel Weger (DasTailor), gave me a Prentiss-Wabers Model 4 single burner stove at the True North Gathering. I was thrilled to receive it as I'm a huge fan of P-W stoves (and own a number of them) and the fact that P-W single burners are very few and far between. I finally started restoring it about a month or so ago. As you can see, the lid and the grate support plate are hinged to the stove body. The lid has two steel support legs that are also hinged. There is no valve wheel; the valve stem is turned with a key.
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    The interior of the stove case was dirty, but not too rusty. The celluloid window on the pressure gauge was yellowed and cloudy with age.
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    The stove stands on four removable steel legs that slide into slots on the bottom of the stove case. Two of the legs needed to be bent back to their original shape. The brass medallion plate was tarnished, and needed some polish and paint. You can also see that the lid was somewhat bent and dented.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I disassembled the stove and discovered that the fuel line was connected to the tank and to the cast iron burner body with compression fittings. This came as something of a surprise, as I din't think that compression fittings were being used in 1922 to 1924, when these stoves were manufactured.
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    It took some effort to remove the pressure gauge. Even with the strap wrench, I had to be careful not to dent or crush the sides of the gauge.
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    My original plan was just to clean up this stove and retain the original paint, but when i used some Totally Awesome cleaner on the tank, the cleaner removed about half of the paint from it. So, I decided to strip and repaint the entire stove. The remaining paint on the tank came off very easily with citrus paint stripper to reveal that the tank had originally been tinned. I've seen similar tinning used on a number of P-W lantern founts that I've repainted. As you can see, the end cap and side of the tank are dented, The tank wasn't leaking, so I didn't try to repair the dents.
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    While the old paint had nearly jumped off the tank, the paint on the rest of the stove body was quite a different story and required much more time and effort. After repeated applications of citrus, and later, methyl paint strippers, I decided to soak the stubborn parts in a tub of hot water and lye. Well, that turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. Once all the old paint was gone, I derusted everything with The Works toilet cleaner. The good folks at Premier Paint Technologies in Eastlake, Ohio matched the original paint color for me and batched it into rattle cans. I used VHT Flame Proof primer and Flat Aluminum on the cast iron burner and grate.

    I polished up the brass medallion, and then applied a thin layer of black paint to it. After baking the paint, I lightly wet sanded it with 1200 grit sandpaper to reveal the raised lettering.
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    I wanted to remove and replace the window in the pressure gauge. The celluloid window was sandwiched between the exterior bezel and an interior disk that were riveted together with a small brass rivet. I had to drill out the rivet to remove it.
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    I cut a new window out of a piece of mica using my X-acto knife. I cleaned out the interior and working elements of the gauge with a few short blasts of aerosol electrical contact cleaner. It's mostly compressed air, but there's some kind of fast-drying solvent in it that seems to do a nice job on these old gauges. After I cleaned and polished the bezel plates I reassembled the gauge. I didn't have any rivets small enough to replace the original bezel rivet, so I cut down a small, round-headed brass tack and peened the back side of it until everything was snug. I'm very pleased with the result.
    [​IMG]

    I had removed two of the hinge pins from the stove body to simplify the painting process. Once the stove body was painted, I derusted and polished the hinge pins, then I blued them by several iterations of heating them with a blowtorch and quenching them with oil. I am hoping that the blueing will help to prevent them from rusting.
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    The rest of the reassembly was fairly simple. Four nuts and bolts hold the tank to the side of the stove body, while two nuts and bolts hold the cast iron burner/preheat trough in place on the bottom of the stove body. After addressing a pair of air leaks in the burner connections, it was time for a test burn.
    [​IMG]

    I preheated the cast iron burner with a Bernz-o-matic torch rather than using denatured alcohol in the freshly painted preheat trough, and the stove fired right up. I had to be careful pressurizing the tank because the fuel cap is supposed to take a thread nipple air pump connection. If I were to use a standard lamp pump on this, I would have bent the removable legs. Instead, I used my compressed-air blow gun that has a rubber tip. These stoves do not have generators--the entire cast iron burner heats up and acts as a generator to vaporize the fuel. The valve stem has a needle end that throttles the fuel flow, and for a 95 year old stove, the simmer control is very good. A special shout-out goes to Zach Whitesel, who re-plated the rusty, old valve key with fresh nickel.

    Here are a couple more money shots, showing that beautiful blue-green flame.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I can't wait to put a vintage percolator on this stove.

    I'd like to find a short section of hose and a threaded pump nipple so I could use a lamp pump to pressurize the tank manually. I'm also looking for a vintage metal funnel to complete the kit. Time to head to the local flea market...

    As always, thanks for looking.
     
  2. ROBBO55

    ROBBO55 Subscriber

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    @wtspe
    Your stove has cleaned up nicely. Congratulations on a job well done. :thumbup:
     
  3. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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  4. Murph

    Murph United States Subscriber

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    @wtspe , you actually got L.A. Totally Awesome cleaner to work on something? The wife got that stuff once, told her next time I'd piss in a bottle, couldn't be more worthless!

    For removing paint and the like, a mixture of lye and cornstarch in water makes a great paste for removing paint and grease - it's the same thing in the old Easy-Off oven cleaner, stuff came in glass jars, with a brush wrapped around the jar top and bent over down the side of the jar.

    EO oven cleaner jar.jpg

    Murph
     
  5. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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    @wtspe

    Thank you for an excellent presentation of your handiwork.


    Cheers

    Tony
     
  6. Marc

    Marc Subscriber

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    Beautiful work!
     
  7. kerophile

    kerophile United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

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    What a great restoration and write-up.
    Best Regards,
    Kerophile.
     
  8. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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    Looked again, and enjoyed it again.
     
  9. Haggis

    Haggis Subscriber

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    Very nice...
     
  10. Simes

    Simes Subscriber

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    Agree, many thanks for taking the effort to write such a great project summary.

    A lot of useful info for future reference for any fettler in there. And and great result.
     
  11. marblecreek

    marblecreek Subscriber

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    Wow. An amazing resonating n for sure.