Oven Door with a View

delivered_frontDoors

My OKM model did not have a windowed oven door,  so naturally I wanted one. 🙂  Initially, it seemed to me that wish would require  getting a whole other stove. Later on, once I got more familiar with the fact there were many variations on an OKM gas stove theme, it seemed plausible I could simply swap doors.

My hunt began for an OKM in pretty bad shape (and low cost) that had a windowed oven door and was within a reasonable driving distance. Likely, it would take a while to find an item that would meet that tough combo of criteria.  But I already had enough to do and learn, so my patience was in abundance. Patience finally paid off!  Craigslist had one for $40! The poor stove had been stored for decades in a seaside home garage. The salty mist took a serious bite out of the stove’s structure. It looked trashed.

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But the stove not only had a windowed over door, it also had a griddle, another feature that I thought I might like to add to my stove. I was totally lucky that the model was a very close match to my stove, so all the parts were interchangeable; doors, control panel, grates, oven racks, cooktop, etc.  Hopefully, there would still be some salvageable parts. Experience had taught me, as bad as these stoves can look on the outside, because their ‘shell’ is so thick, there can be many salvageable parts hiding behind dirt, oil and rust.

One challenge I hadn’t explored in my restoration adventure was how to remove an oven or broiler door. Frankly, had been avoiding until it was necessary. After a cursory examination, it didn’t look easy. I had attempted to remove a few doors on previous parts stoves. Removing the outside halves – easy.  Inside halves – not so much.

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Puzzle time! This type of task had proven to be my most AND least favorite part of restoration. It was one of those tasks, that due to my ignorance, would require time, careful observation, testing, exploring and deduction to understand how the parts were connected so I could disconnect them. Parts stoves are great for learning on. I can practice disassembling on a stove I wasn’t worried about reassembling.

So my first big puzzle to solve – how to remove the inside door half.

Removing the outside half was fast – no frozen screws (learning to be thankful for small mercies). The door insulation was a mess! Too many greasy drippings, I guess. I planned to replace the filthy fiberglass with nice clean rock wool insulation.

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Looking more like a deep sea diving port hole, the window was attached to the inside door. There was an inner chrome frame sandwiched by two 1/4″ plates of glass. And all that was encased in an outer metal case. The entire case was attached to the inner door.

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After studying my parts stoves, it was clear the inner doors were attached by two different mechanisms. At the base of a door, in the far left and right corners are arched door arms that connect to the springs and the ‘hinges’ (I don’t know what else to call them). The two hinges per door have pins that need to be removed and the springs have to be unhooked from the inner door extensions before that can be extracted. I did a little dance in the backyard once I solved this puzzle.

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Oven Window

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Once the inner door was free, I removed the window from the door. The oven window is a collection of various parts:

  • inner and outer metal window frames
  • two 1/4 thick 9″x12″ glass panes
  • 1/4″ diameter oven fiberglass  rope gaskets, about 6′ total
  • inner chrome frame that separates the two glass panes

Before swapping doors, I needed to restore the old windowed door, the oven window casement and the glass panels. The door surfaces were dirty, greasy and rusty.  The chrome window casement was badly rusted, especially in the window gasket channels. The fiberglass rope gaskets were shot and needed to be replaced. The glass sheets were badly scratched, probably from cleaning abrasives.

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Oven Glass

One of the glass panels was so badly scratched it was difficult to see through it, so I had to hunt for a proper replacement. Each of the two panels was 1/4″ thick and had to accommodate high temperatures so ordinary glass wouldn’t work. I thought a place that sold fireplaces and high temp gaskets might sell the right glass. They did not. All the local fireplace shops sold already made systems.  No custom jobs. But one shopkeeper did help, telling me useful information.

I needed was something called BOROFLOAT  33, borosilicate glass with a load capacity of 450 degree C (840 degree F);  a 1/4″ thick 9″ x 12″ piece. Something even Amazon doesn’t have!

Due to living in San Jose, there actually was a full service glass & window biz near me. It was the only one out of more than 5 or so glass businesses that knew what borosilicate glass was and had it in stock in stock!  $45 and 15 minutes later I had one nice custom order piece of special glass.

Fiberglass Rope gasket

The gasket (gasket 1) that was closest to the outside was lightly brown and not in bad shape. The second gasket – closest to the inside (gasket 2) was rock hard, stiff and black. It actually took heat from a torch to get the gasket to release from it’s channel.

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After removing both gaskets I derusted the frames and channels with a LOT of grinding and scraping, phosphoric acid, a little torch heat to speed up the chemical reaction. I replaced the old gaskets with new 1/4″ fiberglass gasket rope from a fireplace shop.

The gasket kit came with 7 feet of gasket material and gasket glue.

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ovenWindowGasket2
Gasket glue in channel
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New gaskets in both channels.

Results of using the gasket adhesive – good and bad news. Bad news is it’s not good to use too much glue, which I did. It dries hard. More glue means less room for the gasket to compress to fit in its channel. If it can’t compress enough, the entire set of glass and frames don’t fit right so the window can’t be installed.

Good news? Now I know. Also, With a little more thinking, since the rope gasket is held in place by the glass panes it seems the glue isn’t really necessary, except in the channel corners . I also decided to  paint both frames with black high-temp Rustoleum spray paint to help suppress further rust formation.

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ovenWindowCasement4Brepaint

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ovenWindowCasement5repaint  ovenWindowCasement6repaint

Final steps

  1. unhook oven door from springs
  2. place plastic covering on floor to catch loose fiberglass fibers
  3. open lower door, so upper outer drop can drop away from upper inner door.
  4. open oven door and remove door screws to remove stove’s outer door half
  5. carefully remove old fiberglass insulation; wear gloves and long sleeves
  6. remove door hinge pins to remove inner door half
  7. place windowed oven door inner half in place
  8. insert hinge pins
  9. hook inner oven door to springs
  10. insert rock wool insulation around window frame
  11. place outer door half and screw in place
Lucy_preRestore1
Before exterior modifications
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Windowed oven door added

 

11 thoughts on “Oven Door with a View”

  1. Dear Des,
    YOUR WEBSITE IS INVALUABLE TO ME!!!!!!
    I have an OK and M double oven stove, a real beauty. (Ovens have windows) I am restoring it. I`ve been able to take various parts of it apart and clean it to be like new. Working my way down now to the broilers. 2 Ovens, 2 broilers. I just finished dissecting the broiler drawers,,, spotless now and new rock wool. I think I have found a solution to the “plastic” runner wheels on the broiler drawers and glides. The plastic wheels have eroded, melted, and chipped or disappeared entirely. I don`t see much good in putting plastic back on them. I`ll have to grind off the rivets to remove the old wheels. This is the only part of the stove so far that was not designed for repair. I have found a brass wheel with a ball bearing (metal balls) that I hope to adapt for this purpose. My concern is the metal wheel running against the lower enameled case of the broiler drawer. I see why the original wheels were a plastic material. I have asked the local-ish antique stove people about the plastic wheels and have not heard from them. So far they have not offered to be the least bit helpful because they want to do the work themselves. I don`t think your stove has this broiler drawer…. but you might certainly be familiar with it anyway.
    I am now ready to begin the oven doors. I have acquired 2 panes of glass, but had not solved the other mysteries until I found your website. I asked the “local-ish stove people” about buying some insulation for the oven glass, and they said they didn`t do that,,, they would only sell me a “boxed set” of glass for $162 dollars. Because of you, I know where to get the insulation, ( 99 cents a foot) and know how to remove the door panels,,,,,, and on and on and on.
    I plan to continue on til I have the wiring replaced as well.
    I am a little concerned about the oven controls. I wonder if I should pay the stove people to come check those out? I have the stove top working wonderfully. I`m feel skittish about trying the ovens once I get them all back together.
    What you have done in your website is so great. Thank you for the time you took to put this together. Thank you for taking all the PICTURES!!!!! You are the best information I have found.
    Glo

    1. Glo, thank you so much for letting me know you’re doing your own restoration. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only non-professional in the world doing this! 🙂 It’s great to connect with another of our rare breed.

      You’ve got quite a coveted model – the double oven version, especially with windowed oven doors! I’m jealous and I don’t even need a double oven model. Take real good care of it! My second OKM was a 6 burner, double oven/broiler. Sadly, it had been left outside for so long, it was almost completely trashed; not worth restoring. The only items salvageable were some of the grates and the backsplash head with the clocks, light and S&P shakers.

      I wish I knew more about the broiler drawers under the ovens so I could help you. Your explanation is very clear. I even have a couple of spare storage drawers. I’d be happy to send them but I don’t think they’d help. The sides of a broiler drawer have horizontal ribs to allow the tray to be set to different heights. The storage drawers don’t. One thing I am curious about. In some photos I have of a former parts stove with a broiler drawer, there’s a pair of steel “C” tracks mounted on the stove’s floor. They have attached metal wheels. The drawer wheels are plastic. I suspect they’re plastic in that case so the drawers are quieter as they roll in and out. If you send me an email, I can send you the photos. But I think the simplest approach might be to buy replacement broiler drawers.

      There is a vintage stove supplier in Richmond, CA called All Gas Appliance. http://www.allgasappliance.com/sales.html You can tell from the photos on the website, that place has LOTS of parts. I visited there a couple of months ago and the owner (Jim Weaver) has collected and stored 2-3 times as much as you can see in the photos. As far as I could tell, nearly everything is unrestored. You might be able to order replacement broiler drawers with intact wheels from him.

      Regarding the ovens, please do what you feel comfortable doing. I was skittish myself at each major gas phase; cooktop burners, pilots, oven pilots, oven thermostat. But once I got a gas leak detector and understood fully how the pilot valve, safety valve, thermocouple and oven thermostat all worked together, it was a lot easier to work on the oven operation. But, of course, much slower since I was learning through trial and error. A vintage gas stove pro will cost much more but will be done much quicker and may even guarantee their work.

      The big ticket items on these stoves are the Robertshaw oven thermostats. If they have to be replaced, the cost can be sobering; (usually $275-$600) depending on the source. I needed and found a suitable new replacement on ebay for $70, but it took months of research to verify it was the correct substitute.

      I sincerely hope you keep me updated on your progress. I’d love to hear all about it. Also there are a couple/few antique/vintage stove groups on Facebook. The members in the “Vintage Stoves” are a really good bunch.

  2. Thanks for all the information and tutorials on these O & M stoves. You mentioned rock wool insulation on the door change out. Could you use rock wool on the whole stove. I’m tearing ours apart and saw the insulation to be in bad shape and could use some fresh insulation. All the restoration shops here in Los Angeles refuse to answer me on this question.

    FYI I’m giving ours a cleaning a good cleaning before it goes into our kitchen remodel. It’s been in our family since it’s initial purchase back in 1952.

    Thanks for your website.
    Alex

    1. Rock wool is what was used in Chambers stoves and they’re the best insulated stoves ever made. Insulation works best when it’s not too compressed. Rock wool for the entire stove would be fine, provided it’s the proper thickness. OKMs insulation space isn’t as large as the Chambers’ stove spaces. So you might have to pull it apart to thin it.

  3. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am at finding your blog!
    I live in S. FL & have wanted an O&M for many years & recently bought one on ebay. Bad news is it was, like almost all of them, on your coast. Good news is I found a place nearby that restores them. As you may know, most resources for restoration are on the west coast. I cringe at the thought of what shipping will cost.

    Did you ever use the griddle you bought? Mine needs re-chroming and I’m wondering if that’s safe for cooking. Also, what paint did you use for the red clock surround?

    Thanks again for all the work you out into your stive & into sharing all your hard-earned knowledge.

    1. Thanks, Cara. I love these stoves, so I want to help people appreciate and keep them. For shipping, check out U-Ship. Regarding the griddle, any shape they’re in is safe. They may not look great. They may won’t be non-stick, but none will be toxic. Chrome plated steel usually has three layers: steel, then copper, the chrome. And as you found out, automotive engine spray paint works great.

      1. Desiree,
        I looked through your list of post topics to try to find info on the 5th burner in the after picture, but didn’t see anything.
        Would you please direct me to the info if I missed it or tell us here about how and why you went about putting that in
        Thanks!

  4. Hi Des, I’m glad I came across your website. I need some help to repair an oven door on our 1956-57 OM Built-in Ovens – we have two side by side. The top door on one is having an issue with the door staying closed. I looked to see if there was a spring panel like you showed on stand alone oven door but there isn’t one. Do you have any idea how I could fix our door? Maybe a place to buy parts? Any guidance would be very much appreciated. I can also send you a picture via email. Please contact me at doclas@aol.com if you can. Thanks!!

    1. Hi Lisa. I think the 1956-57 OKMs had a different design. But I believe your oven doors still use some sort of springs to help keep the doors closed. Chances are they’re just in a different place. The nice thing about springs is their design hasn’t changed that much since the invention of the spring! You can get them just about anywhere. There are various lengths, diameters and tensile strengths, though. If you can find an intact spring in your oven, you can identify the right match.

      I’d also recommend checking with Grapevine Sally. They might have an idea which spring you’ll need for your model and they might even have the part.

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