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Feb
05
2013

No Stove Door Left Unopened

A while back I shared an experience of ours, whereby our Lovenholm multi fuel stove door handle had gotten really stiff, so stiff in fact that I couldn’t open the door to add more wood and what have you. Luckily I did manage to open it using the supplied spanner and a bit of brute force. But this experience did get me thinking as to what would have happened if that hadn’t worked…. what if something had gotten jammed against the latch and prevented conventional opening even with a bit of elbow grease ?

In case of emergency, break glass ??

I hadn’t thought about it before, but what if during an unsuccessful lighting process a block of wood or something fell against the inside of the door, and got stuck under the lever latch. Had the fire taken hold as normal, it wouldn’t be a problem, since whatever we had put inside the stove was there to be burnt, so as it burned away it should then naturally clear itself and we’d be able to open the door again. But if it didn’t take light, how on earth should we be able to get the door open to fix the problem.

And it’s not just if there’s some material causing the obstruction, what if the handle was so stiff you just couldn’t turn it, no matter how much leverage was to be applied. Surely the design of these stoves must take that sort of incident into account. Surely we’re not meant to just go ahead and replace the entire stove because the door handle can’t be turned, nor live with an expensive cast iron ornament that serves no further practical purpose other than a place to rest a vase. Well it looks nice, but is useless.

Put the hammer on the ground and walk away from the stove

Sure we could resort to heavy handed tactics as an absolute last resort, if all else failed we could just take a hammer to the glass front (wearing adequate safety equipment of course ;) ) and smashing our way into the stove would allow us to remove the offending material or access the defective mechanism to apply a good spray of WD40 to free the movement. Again another costly and messy solution to the problem at hand.

Wait a minute. Did we forget the obvious, engineered in solution to the this sticky problem. Look to the opposite side of the door, away from the latch side, to where the hinges are, and we notice that the hinges are actually the loose pin variety, meaning we can simply lever out those pins whilst keeping the door in position with a block of wood under the latch side of the door and our knee or the hands of a willing volunteer, naturally ensuring the stove is cold before we start work of course. First remove the bottom pin, then the top one. The door should not drop because it is held against the stove body by our knee and will not slide down due to the door hinge portion resting on the stove body hinge pegs, and the latch side resting on the wooden block.

Easy to handle

Siding our tools we then have hands free to be able to safely remove the door away from the stove body and rest on the waiting cushion and dust sheet arrangement allowing us to address the source of the issue. If it was just some jammed wood or a piece of wedged smokeless fuel that caused the problem then that is easily removed by hand or with fire tools. If it is the door latch and handle mechanism we can apply some WD40 and allow to soak a little before applying some elbow grease to get the handle and latch turning again. If the latch and handle assembly are still stubborn after the WD40 treatment, then the handle has worked it’s way too tight, and that is easily addressed by slackening the lock nut first, then adjusting the handle and re-tightening the lock nut once the assembly has been adjusted.

Once resolved, we can simply rehang the door on the stove hinge lugs and insert the loose pins fully, before properly shutting the door again. Normal service resumed :) Obviously the stove needs to be cold when we do any of this, as trying to handle or place safely, a hot metal and glass door could either damage a person or furnishings.

Summary: Thinking outside of the firebox :)

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