Coping: An Oven for the Shop?

Making:  Ah.  Another weekend arrives.  And with it, the chance to get out to the shop and get some Make! on.

Don’t ask me why, but this weekend I happened to be looking at Craigslist and I noticed that where were a lot of cheap ovens for sale in our area.  One could get a used electric oven for about $65 bucks with  a little bit of shopping.

I started to kick myself.  About 5 or 6-years ago, I managed to put my knee through the cooktop of or previous kitchen stove.  Getting online, I discovered that I could buy a replacement element top (five elements in it, four cooking, one warming) for just $500 plug some shipping.  I hated the color of the stove, too:  Biscuit – WeTF that color is.  Never seen a matched color to biscuit work out.  So it was an easy choice:  Out with the old, in with the new stainless and black stove…

(Continues below)


Problem is, there was this broken oven to deal with.  It wasn’t pretty; can’t kid you on that.  It was a “drop-in” – not a stand-alone – so even if I’d kept it, because I’ve thought about this “shop stove idea” before, it would have cost a sheet of plywood to build up a box to drop it into.  Then some finishing.

My ‘tude improved immediately:  A stand alone used oven would cost less than keeping the old broken-top one.  Maybe this was OK… Still, taking anything of value down to the transfer station hurts two ways.  Once because it’s like admitting defeat (“I’m to dumb and uncreative to figure out some clever use for this scrap whatzit…“) while the second insult is how much they want to charge to dispose of the evidence.

Maybe a $50 stove would show up?

The brain began to hum.   What was it, exactly, that I was thinking about at the time.   Hmmm….what had me thinking about an oven in the shop.

Then it came back!  Why powder-coasting!

Forget the little details that Elaine would mention.

Things like:  “You’re almost 69 years old and you’ve never needed to powder coat anything in life so far, so why NOW?”   Or, equally harsh “Oh?  Running out of projects?

In truth, what got me to looking at this as a project was the next item up on my Make List.  I want to weld up a small 3-foot high table, about 14-16 inches in size, so Elaine can have a painting table in the guest quarters, which is also the gym, which is now another writing spot (since a computer appeared), plus video game sanctuary (Wii) and now it’s Mrs. Rembrandt’s studio as well.

She has a couple of easels, and a couple of painting to finish…and I figured it would be useful to build her a table for the paints.  You can never have too many tables, right?

It’s the table that got me riled-up on the oven idea.

The first reason is that I love the look of Cabot Gloss Spar Varnish.  The stuff gives a nice yellowish (UV protectant) shade to the wood and it’s fairly tough once it drives for a month (or two).  Until then, it is a bit soft, off-gasses and what-not.

So I figured an oven (on low) that doesn’t get over 200F (so as not to release moisture in the wood as steam) would be ideal.  I would just design parts small enough to fit the oven.

All made sense to me.  A day, or two in the “warming” (checked by that non-contact digital thermometer I mentioned earlier this week) would be ideal.  Something could come out “cured” and ready for duty.

Then there was the bonus:  I could use such an oven for powder coating metal.  The lack of need for a powder coating oven for the first sixty years of life seems like a poor reason not to have an urgent need RIGHT NOW.

All I needed to do was come up with metal design for something that would need powder coating.  The brain went into overdrive.

Maybe I could powder coat the wheels on the pick-up?  Or, some ham radio parts?  Or….or….

The process of powder coating goes like this:

  1.  Get a piece of metal that needs powder coating.
  2. Clean it.
  3. Not good enough.  Clean it again.
  4. Put bolts in holes, and tape the bejezus out of anything you don’t want coated.
  5. Now hook up the powder coating machine.  Try a starter Chicago Electric Power Tools Portable Powder Coating System 10-30 PSI with Powder Coating Gun, Foot Switch, Power Source, Inline Filter and Two Powder Cups if you don’t already have one.
  6. Electrostatic cable goes onto the part.  The other part of the circuit (circus?) is the gun’s material.
  7. Apply powder to the part being careful not to inhale.  Mask, right?
  8. Gently place in an oven and bring it up to 400F.
  9. Hold at 400F after the part shows it has come to temp, about 15-minutes.

Then you open the door, let the part cool, while you have a cold one and admire your handiwork.

That’s about as far as the research got this week.  There were lots of other projects ahead of this one, but I’m starting to collect ideas for the “shop stove.”

Another one that comes to mind is turning the stove top into an enameling kiln.  Some basic enameling gear can be had from Fire Mountain Gems for ab out $65 bucks, but that doesn’t include the copper or the heat source.  Amazon’s got “next level” kits which look good, except for the grown-up kits start to close in on two hundred-dollar bills.

A little more research blew-up the idea of stovetop enameling, since you need to get up to nearly 1,800F, or so we read over here.

Still, the stovetop could be used as the surface to set the kiln on.  Wait!  What kiln ?  I haven’t even started on this one yet.\

Back to woodworking, then:  The stovetop would be an ideal heat source to make a wood-bending steamer.   Google “steamed wood art” as we did here, and you’ll find some interesting ideas.

Do I have plans to run out and buy a used stove with a working oven on CL?  No…at least not this weekend.  But you never know.

Between the “Tools” and “Material” and  “Free” sections of Craigslist, no weekend need ever be an empty one.

Write when you get rich, or your to-do’s are all done…

34 thoughts on “Coping: An Oven for the Shop?”

  1. I can’t off the top of my head give any examples, but there are types of ‘projects’ (or art, or whatever) that use heating in their ‘making’.. . including things that Elaine might enjoy doing that involve warming or heat-treatment.

    It would widen your choice as to what you could try doing – might try a freezer too – isn’t ‘cold treatment’ used in (or at least claimed to be good for) metal working?

    (Not to mention a great place to store ice cream . . .)

  2. A wise man once told me, when you need something done right, don’t try to “grow brains”, hire brains. There must be someone that can powder coat your project for less than what you can tool up for.

  3. Sounds to me George that you really need to build yourself a gas forge, just think of all the stuff you could make and or destroy! Good video on you tube Wayne Coe artist blacksmith!

  4. G-

    Firebrick and cement is cheap. Firebrick won’t take water, so used normal brick for the outside and make a 2-wall kiln on a concrete pad. You can use LP gas and add oxygen to get up to 23-2400 degrees F and melt and cast and powdercoat all you want. If you need a low oxy environment, you just put some charcoal in the kiln/oven with the, er, (whatever it is) and the charcoal uses up the excess oxy. You can even flush with 2psi nitrogen too for inert atmosphere – you just flush in a separate injection point in the oven/kiln.

    All-in, you can make one for under $500 that is big enough to do most anything, and it can be your own design.

    It’s the redneck way…

    • I like this idea. I just don’t like the idea of having to use expensive oxygen unless absolutely necessary. I do cut with oxy-propane when I must, but prefer plasma.

      Most of us on this site have more ideas than hours in our lifetime.

    • If the s*** hits the fan I’m coming to your place for an education in Back to the basics

      • Sometimes I think I could have been a blacksmith with a big old Anvil there and Forge with a blower there that’s blowing that hot air then with a quilting bucket I don’t know Metals pretty good and can be done lots of things to it but I think what unique is if you got electricity electroplating that’s way out there with a big ol anvil there in a Ford with a blower there this blowing Matt hot air then with that quilting bucket I don’t know metals pretty good intimate done lots of things to it but I think what unique is if you got electricity electric plating that’s way out there you can do the same thing with powering with some with electric plating all it does is heated up to a temperature and makes it adhere to the surface
        Let’s say we have a clay order materials with silicon and we had we make a glass and things of that nature then we have things that we make metal out of then we have things there electrolysis which is met electro plating but I guess eventually it’ll all get organic when they learn well I mean we’ve already learned is just a one night exposed to it I how to enable spirit souls to electro plating techniques call the Shocker and how to change the DNA structure to electro plating call shocking making one thing change and become another integrating one or more parts so it’s all been done before in the past but we’re new to it looks of us are specially the cashier than the banker they have no idea let the people that is experimented around with it or that specialize in any particular category know of it it’s almost like alchemy you can change things just like diamonds can be made goal to be made everything can be made how do you think it got here in the first place is because it was made its just that our society are science keeps too many secrets and won’t tell you how it’s done just like after gravity multi dimensional travel and time travel they won’t tell you that because they want that in their pocket not yours but anyway it’s a beautiful future that’s coming up and I hope everybody par takes in it

        • Being Friday and all, I’m inclined to skip the smithing and get right to the getting hammered parts…

      • If your coming to either his place (or ours) and the shit has hit the fan, come in an MRAP or you won’t make it

      • A ct90 has a better chance. Lol. I almost forgot I can’t go nowhere I got too many animals to take care of. Can’t you see me riding down the road on a ct90 with a flock of chickens on the handlebars .lol
        Yeah I don’t drive anymore. I get a ride once a month to town and go shopping.

    • When I was a really small boy. My father took us camping and fishing often. He enjoyed tossing a line in and we liked to swim and play. On one of these outings my father forgot to grab a loaf of bread when he packed the food. (My mom baked bread every Thursday the left over bread was set out cut to dry for croutons and Sunday bread pudding) anyway.. my mother had us kids go and get sticks and leaves and she proceeded to make a clay oven just using what was there. Then once the oven was done she put a fire in it to heat it up and baked a loaf of bread. That was over fifty years ago and even now I can smell and remember how good that bread was. I have thought often about making an oven like that simple stick mud oven.

  5. over in China where they make all those porcelain cups bowls and such you could make between the two of you you and your wife could make cups and then put them in the oven and then label them U. S. made coffee cups and mugs By

  6. Depends on how close the powder coating oven has to control temperature. Kitchen ovens are well know to vary in temperature as well as temperature ocillations.
    You could always find a cheap PID controller with PWM output to a high amperage SSR to get better control.
    Pricewise, less than $500, depending on what is out there on the used equipment sites :-)
    Thanks for all you good “Data driven” reporting George!!

  7. I fail to see the merit in powder coating, unless Ure selling the product. Good old rustoleum sloshed on with a brush looks great on most of the things I’ve made, and many are just used naked. Of course, things don’t rust as much here.

    I’d build side outriggers for the stove and weld plate steel on top for a welding table. Then use the oven for cooking the rods to get them dry enough. Think 7018 and specialty rods, though all of them benefit from being dry.

    Now you have a useful addition to the shop that cost nothing more than some scrap steel and some flash time.

    If you already have a welding table, shove the oven under it, plug it in, and call it good.

    • …And this is why, when it came time for me to add a case of pencils to the personal inventory, I bought General Pencils.

      • I cheat though when we make pencils.. we use a modern drill press and guide for holding the stick or wood.( although I do have an old hand powered drill press). then mix the clay and charcoal so I guess you really wouldn’t say it is a pencil more of a charcoal marker..
        I don’t have the kids bake it but pack them really hard and then let sun dry if you were to do it right you should bake the lead after packing the pencil so it would get harder than the soft lead.
        making paper out of plants is a lot of fun to and we cheat when making that as well by purchasing the lye rather than make it out of wood ash.. so I guess I can’t say that I have the grand kids make a real primitive pencil since we use modern equipment to do it.. but they work pretty good and the kids get a thrill out of making them.. we haven’t ever made them with the saw kerf.. I had thought about that then press the mix in and glue the paper but this way is more personal. we have turned some down on the lathe but not necessary it is actually more fun for the kids to make them and take them to school.
        the trick is in the mixture of the clay and charcoal or graphite.. 40/60 is the best mix to much of one and not enough of the other or to much water or not enough then the lead gets crumbly and breaks easily.. it is a fun beginner summer project and the little ones get a tickle out of making them.. the older kids love turning down their own pens from the pen kits..
        at one point I wanted everyone I knew that went overseas to get a picture of a tree then a branch from it and send it to me so I could make either a pencil or a pen out of it and hang it on the wall in a frame.. but that never worked out..
        fun thing to dinker with though.. and a great project for the grade school kids learn how to do.. to pack the mix I use skewers.. or a brazing rod.. it is to bad that pencil companies are going to eventually quit making them. I know as an old guy I prefer the regular pencil to a modern mechanical one.

    • My friend just sent me an email. After our talking about the article, she decided to go on Amazon and buy some General Pencils too! I’m sure that article with it’s great pictures, was a real boost for the company. I hope they stay in business and thrive.

  8. Your powder coating story reminded me of 25 years ago when I worked for a small oil and grease seal manufacturer. We mainly molded standard grease seals but had a special relationship with the Torrington bearing company to make Viton seals for their 30 inch diameter bearings. Viton requires taking the compound up to about that same temp, holding it there for a few hours then very slowly lowering the temp to properly cure it. Quite a process.

  9. or we can do like I have done ,I took my car, I have a Honda Civic 2008 with 68,000 miles because WHEN IAM USING my ATM I don’t put many miles on there because I can go anywhere mostly dimensional past or present or future and it doesn’t put any miles on my car because I converted it into an Antigravity ,Time machine with Multi dimensional accessories and what Iam using it for is an AMT I can go up down or across I can go in any dimension and I can go to anytime and I go get me some money out of the ATM-antigravity,time machine,multidimensional .CASH,DIGITS,or BITCOIN

    yep that’s going to be the future.

    LOL remember thoughts have wings and if what you’re thinking is impossible oops it’s possible.

    You only know what you’ve been taught unless you’re one of those weird people that go out and just try everything you can try because you’re bored with this place that you’ve been put at or settle for you going to like I’m going to try something else this just isn’t to my liking and you find out there’s so much more out there that you never knew and we’re capable of doing in an instant

    • Great idea just hit reading your comment on the Honda. now I have to mention to my three year old grandson the possibility of the buggy being an interdemensional vehicle. Right now he says it’s a rocket ship going through space whenever we go someplace.

  10. putting an oven in the garage isn’t that bad of an idea. I actually have a turkey fryer that I use to can in the garage so that during the heat of summer I can cook or can and not heat up the house.
    One of my unfinished summer grandkid projects is to build my solar grill.. the solar beer chiller is a kick butt patio conversation piece.
    the solar grill would be having the lens the trapezoid and the grill top.. solar hydrolic mass storage and oven. I just haven’t figured out how to regulate the heat for the oven to maintain constant efficiently without having to babysit it. just like my home made freeze dryer it was easy but you had to babysit it and the frustration of having to babysit made purchasing a freeze dryer so much more practical. unlike a solar oven that only reaches two hundred and fifty plus a solar grill using the trapezoid reflector and the lens could easily get to several hundred degrees.

    • My light up my 4-400C Johnson Thunderbolt tomorrow Hank!!! Look for the atmosphere to burn off…

  11. What about changing the oven thermostat to a manual switch? That’ll get your 1800 degrees after disabling the fusible link or whatever it’s called. But be aware, the insulation in an oven is usually fiberglass that melts at enameling temps and the outside of the unit will be close to the inside temps. Probably will burst into flames but don’t forget to film the trial and say the immortal words “Hey, watch this.” At least you won’t feel so bad about trashing an oven that’s not completely gone.

  12. Check out young dude on primitive technology site. He is amazing. He has made several kilns with mud, and mud bricks. He also made a blacksmithing kiln with a blower. Wow! I am a potter and will build a kiln using his ideas soon for free…..

  13. I’ve powder coated some hot rod parts and some smaller tractor parts (John Deere green). Using a discarded kitchen oven. Worked great. You will probably also need a sand blasting cabinet if the part you are working on has any paint or rust on it. I bought a Harbor Freight powder coat machine. I was also looking at powder coating MDF, but my oven was not big enough. Fun little project, good luck.

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