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…

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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…