A couple years ago, I had a Magic Chef
with lower level range burners on my boat, which, being a multihull
, allowed such an arrangement. It was a wonderful setup and fit my galley
perfectly, as well as performed quite well. The only problem was that, being an RV product made of porcelain-coated steel
, it would need to be periodically replaced with a new stove due to rusting from the saltwater that splashed out of a pasta pot on the stove. I grew tired of throwing money
away like this and looked for a marine
stove in this configuration. None existed, although in a conversation with someone at Force 10, I was told that they had considered it and decided there was too little demand to warrant the investment. So I thought I'd try to build one. Having a bit of money
, at the time, I bought a new Force 10 four-burner because I really liked the oven
door arrangement where it disappeared beneath the oven, and the other parts
seemed well built. I am in a unique situation, being a guy who has spent much of his life messing with boats, and having access to a spectacular range of tools, materials and exceptionally talented specialists in a variety of trades.
So, I took apart a perfectly good stove, chopped it up with some fancy cutting tools, had a friend who makes custom metal work assist with welding and sheetmetal fabrication, and another friend who does HVAC
magic regularly assist with technical issues. The result is a hot-rod Force 10 stove. Now, for the legal
mumbo-jumbo: Don't try this at home. Don't tell anyone you are doing this. Technical stuff is potentially dangerous and life threatening and should never be attempted by mere mortals. You have been warned. Only the insane and arrogant would proceed down this path.
Going into the final assembly stages of the stove revealed some entertaining details. As many of the parts
sat in my shop for some time, they began to show deterioration due to humidity, ozone, cosmic rays and invasive mind probes by the NSA. Rust appeared on shiny little balls used to seal unused gas ports
. The clip rings (little horseshoe shaped retaining rings with a pair of holes to open them), holding the valve stems in place, began to rust. I was surprised that such shoddy materials would exist on a quality marine
stove. The electrical
switches that controlled the piezoelectric igniters (the click-click-click thingies on the stove), began to break down, even though never used. And worst of all, my brilliant idea seemed doomed because the thermostat bulb that is located in the top, back of the oven, now wasn't long enough to reach the oven control switch in the new, lower position. And to top it all off, the cheesy, yellow fiberglass
that surrounds the oven had become compressed and useless over the long period of waiting to be reassembled. What was to become of this nifty experiment
Okay, so much for the melodrama. It turns out that gas stoves aren’t that amazing or complex. They’ve been around for a long time. And marine doesn’t always mean it is impervious to the elements. I have been learning
some new tricks that are now being implemented into my tricked out galley
stove. First, like in cars and rocket ships, parts is parts. The valves connect to a supply manifold, small pipes transfer the gas to individual burners, little parts ensure that gas flows when there is heat and shut off when there isn’t. And heat can be made more efficient with smart insulation
This last part is really interesting. All stoves are insulated, mostly with the cheesy fiberglass
stuff similar to what’s in your attic. Over time, with the heating
, and with the infusion of hot grease in the air, the strands of insulation begin to mat down and deteriorate, losing the heat-keeping qualities they once possessed. This happens in all ovens, but being contained within the walls of the stove, we never see it happen. In the meantime, the galley (or kitchen, for the landlubbers) gets overheated, the gas companies get richer, and stuff takes longer to cook (and at a higher temperature setting) than it used to when the stove was fresh and shiny. But, what can be done with such mysterious mechanisms sealed from public view? Enter specialty insulations. It doesn’t have to be as complex as the tiles of the space shuttle, but it’s the same material, more or less, made of ceramic fibers. It’s called FiberFrax, and comes in rolls and sheets
, as little as Ż” thick (Ceramic Fiber Blanket Insulation, Fiberfrax Durablanket« - Industrial Insulation
). Getting to it may be a bit of a challenge, so for the faint of heart, go out and buy a new stove or live with the heat losses. Mine will be simple to install since I installed a new sheetmetal exterior to my stove, and is attached with stainless poprivets.
The gas valves for the individual burners will be recycled, replacing the rusting parts (and monitoring them in the future for deterioration). The tiny o-rings that help seal the gas lines to the burner assemblies will be replaced by commercial
ones. The oven valve assembly will be replaced entirely with another brand (and a longer thermostat bulb lead). And so, the show will go on. I will be sending updates as parts come in, and photos as I take them. Here are some of the original stove prior to being worked on by the good Dr. Frankenstein.