Wood Cookstove help needed - Stuck lid!!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by little finch, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. little finch

    little finch Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2005
    Hi, everyone! I just found your site while trying to find help for my problem. I'm so happy to have found you! I'm sure I'll be here regularly from now on, but meanwhile....

    Help!

    We have a Heartland Oval, about 6 years old now. It has the 6 lids on top, water reservoir, warming oven.. it's great. My DH usually takes care of cleaning & oiling it, but he's in Afghanistan this winter, so I've been doing it.
    I hated having to tell him what I'd done to it....

    See, the day before Thanksgiving I wanted to get her cleaned up real good to get her ready for the hard work of cooking the holiday feast. She had a just a teeny bit of rust starting so I got the bright idea of using Naval Jelly to clean off the rust. (Remember, this is not normally my job, I'm just a temp in the woodstove maintenance field!!). I applied it and then rubbed it off with a paper towel... looked great! I then oiled the cooktop afterward, and since more is always better, I really slopped the ol' vegetable oil on there. Then I rubbed it in good. Naturally some got down in by the lids, but I didn't worry about it because I figured it would just add more rust-prohibiting to the edges of the lids & lid holes. Normally when I oil her, I light a fire afterward to heat up the surface. This time I didn't get the fire lit till the next morning. It was a couple of days after Thanksgiving that I discovered my problem (not the mental one, the woodstove one): One of my lids is stuck.

    It's the big one that sits right in front of the oven damper. I can get a screw driver into the crack and pry it up just a teeny bit, but it won't come up. I wrote to Heartland for advise and the nice lady there suggested tapping at it to loosen it. No luck. When I wrote to DH and told him about the problem (with much chagrin and many apologies!) he forgave me right away and suggested that I go online to search for help. My sweetie!

    The Heartland lady had also suggested that creosote build-up might be part of the problem. I was thinking about rubbing some spray creosote remover into the crack around the edge of the lid, but I wanted to get a second (or several!) opinion before I do.

    When I try to pry the lid up with the screw driver, it only just budges a bit. I'm afraid to apply too much pressure for fear of snapping the screw driver off. Oh, did I mention that I broke the lid lifter? Yeah, I had it in position in the lid and was pushing down on it with a wrench. It snapped. The lid lifter, not the wrench. I nearly snapped myself, because I skinned my knuckles in the process (the cat will tell you, I said some very rude things).

    I also had an idea of getting the cooktop warm (not hot!), filling up my cast iron dutch oven with ice water and placing it on the stuck lid. Y'know, try to cause a contration due to cold?

    Has anyone else done something stupid like this? Was it even my fault? I mean, was it the Naval Jelly or the oil? Or is a creosote issue (okay, that would be my fault too because I'm supposed to not let that build up). What can I do? If it wasn't the lid in front of the oven damper I wouldn't worry about it so much, but I need to get at that thing to keep it clean & slidey.

    Sorry to have written a book, but I'm stuck. I've called the local stove dealer and they said "Gee, I dunno... we don't sell many cookstoves". Even the dealer who sold us the stove was no help at all, except that they would be happy to install a new cook surface for us... for about $1000 including labor.

    Sigh. I guess I've exposed myself as a twit right from the very first post on this site. Oh well. It's out of the way, so I won't have to try to keep it a secret! :)
     
  2. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

    Messages:
    15,609
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Between Crosslake and Emily Minnesota
    I don't suppose you can tap the lid with a hammer from underneath? If not, tap with a hammer all around the edge of the lid from the top and see if that doesn't loosen it.

    If that fails, I'd be tempted to spray WD-40 or carburator cleaner into the seam between the lid and the stove top (I'm assuming the stove is cold). Let it work for a while. I believe the problem might be the oil you applied turned into a varnish-like substance that is making the lid stick. This "varnish" is similar to the coating you get when you season a cast iron pan. These sprays should dissolve it. If you don;t want to use the sprays, I'd try superheating the area around the lid seam with a soldering torch....this will burn the varnish off.
     

  3. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    529
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2005
    Location:
    New Brunswick
    "I also had an idea of getting the cooktop warm (not hot!), filling up my cast iron dutch oven with ice water and placing it on the stuck lid. Y'know, try to cause a contration due to cold?"

    I was going to suggest that. I would try running it really hot and tapping it with a hammer fairly repeatedly every hour or so.

    p.s. Write the company a letter and tell them how much you love the stove, especially during the holiday season, you know butter them up, then hit them up for a free replacement handle. :D
     
  4. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

    Messages:
    7,102
    Joined:
    May 12, 2002
    Location:
    In beautiful downtown Sticks, near Belleview, Fl.
    Got a bottle type hydraulic jack? If yes just place a board in the bottom of the stove and use the jack to pop it off. Of course the stove needs to be cool and empty. Any jack that will fit should work.
     
  5. boxwoods

    boxwoods Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    530
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Central New York
    try some liquid wrench around the lid. let it set for a hour and then try. When it does come off, clear all that liquid wrench away from stove. Don't lite it up until you get it cleaned up.
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,464
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    Middle of NC
    Try your screwdriver again, but instead of seeing how much pressure you can apply, just apply a goodly amount of pressure and hold it for 3 to 5 minutes. I think the prolonged pressure will do more good than a lot at once.

    You can also LIGHTLY tap on it with a stick of firewood at 20 to 30 second intervals while holding the pressure on it constantly.
     
  7. edcopp

    edcopp Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,422
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2004
    Location:
    Ohio
    Have you ever thought about raised bed gardening, or composting? This might be safer for you.

    So you gooed up the stove and the goo turned to glue, and you broke the lid lifter. O.K. Be happy that you did not break the lid (yet). I have a lid that sticks on my stove sometimes and I can usually tap it from the underneath with a block of wood to get it loose. The bottle jack may also be workable. If you can get the lid to move a little with a screwdriver you might want to soak the part that is stuck with some oven cleaner to dissolve the grease/glue.

    When you get the lid out, clean it real good so that it does not stick again. I sanded mine off with sandpaper. that seemed to help.

    Keep an eye open for a good lid lifter. I found mine at a flea market. :cool:
     
  8. Charleen

    Charleen www.HarperHillFarm.com Supporter

    Messages:
    3,087
    Joined:
    May 12, 2002
    Location:
    Western NY
  9. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,615
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    With stove cold, pry up and start spraying with carburetor cleaner. It will dissolve the sticky. Or you can try prying up, stick small block wood in gap, readjust with bigger fulcrum and open hole bigger and stick bigger block wood in gap. Keep going until lid pops off. Then wire brush off the goo preferably with wire brush in drill or angle grinder, but elbow grease and a manual wire brush will work if you have no power tools. Shouldnt restick.
     
  10. little finch

    little finch Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2005
    Wow!! Thank you, thank you, thank you ALL for your replies and suggestions!!! And for being so friendly and for not making me feel any worse than I already do! Thanks for the welcome, too. I feel like I found a new home on the web :)

    Tapping on the lid from underneath is difficult because there's only about 4 inches of space between the underside of the cooktop and the top of the oven compartment. The oven is made of sheet metal, so I'm not sure putting a jack on it would be a good idea. I had considered using a crowbar or big cat's paw (with a piece of 2x4 under it) and trying to lever it out, but I'm worried about damaging the oven. Maybe I'm babying it too much?

    moonpups, what is a bottle jack? I'm only familiar with scissor jacks or the big car jacks, or the little cute jack that came with my old beetle 25 years ago.

    Cabin Fever & boxwoods, what's the difference between WD-40 and Liquid Wrench?

    Iddee, good idea about the steady pressure, I'll try that.

    Oh, edcopp, I am glad that I haven't broken the lid yet. Worry about that has stopped me from blundering on without seeking more advice from folks who seem to truly know what they're talking about. I had the strong impression that my minor version of brute strength just wasn't going to help matters (flexing muscles for dramatic emphasis!)

    JAK, that's a great idea about the letter, but I already used that ploy to get a free copy of the owner's manual last winter after DH burned it by mistake. (they were going to charge $20).

    Charleen, thank you so much for the welcome, and thanks for the link! I'm north of Watertown, NY. Cold one this morning!
     
  11. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

    Messages:
    15,609
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Between Crosslake and Emily Minnesota
    I use the two products interchangeably and don't notice any difference between the two except the aroma. WIHH prefers the aroma of WD-40 and she makes me use it as a cologne.
     
  12. little finch

    little finch Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2005
    Hermit John, I was typing while you were posting - thanks for your advice! I wonder if we have any carburator cleaner out in the shed... does that stuff survive freezing? It must - I remember an friend from way back who used gasoline to soak his carb when he was cleaning it. Definitely a thing to use only on a cold stove!! ;)

    The amount of space I get when lifting is barely enough to wedge a fork into, but I'm sure that would be a start. I love the idea of using the wire brush thing on the drill... I bought one of those last summer when I was repainting some metal lawn furniture. It didn't occur to me to use the drill, I have a regular wire brush at the ready.

    Power tools. Purr, purr, purr!
     
  13. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

    Messages:
    15,609
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Between Crosslake and Emily Minnesota
    I believe that carb cleaner would work better than WD-40 or Liquid Wrench. Yes, if you have some out in the garage it will still work fine. I justed used some last week and it was about 10ºF outside.
     
  14. ChuckinVA

    ChuckinVA Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    167
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    Virginia
    You might aslso try some "cold" oven cleaner to loosen up the lid. Spray it on and let it sit for a while. Then gently pry up with a screw driver. Then clean the area good with a wire brush and "lightly" oil.
     
  15. little finch

    little finch Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2005
    Cabin Fever, thanks for the answer!

    What does WIHH mean? "Wife I Happily Hug"? "Wife I Heartily Harrass"? "Woman I Handily Handle"? "Wolverines In Harmonious Habitation"?


    Curiosity will get me yet!
     
  16. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

    Messages:
    15,609
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Between Crosslake and Emily Minnesota
    Wind In Her Hair...she's posts under that name at this and other forums.
     
  17. little finch

    little finch Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2005
    Thanks once more for your answers. Your lady has a beautiful nom-de-posting!

    ChuckinVA, thank you for the oven-cleaner idea. That might do the trick if I can't find the carb cleaner!

    Ps. I got a lid lifter in a BIN on eBay... me happy!
     
  18. Charleen

    Charleen www.HarperHillFarm.com Supporter

    Messages:
    3,087
    Joined:
    May 12, 2002
    Location:
    Western NY
    Perhaps WIHH needs a Tylenol sinus pill? :D
     
  19. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

    Messages:
    31,405
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Texas and S. Missouri
    WD 40 is supposed to be good for arthritis, too!
     
  20. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    635
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    Location:
    NC
    I don't put any oil or solvents on my cookstove surface because it would burn off and smoke up the house. I just leave mine be.
    I wonder if there are other opinions on this matter?
    Anyhow, now that there is a "seasoning" that has the lid stuck, I'd suggest waiting for a day when you don't mind having smoke fill the house and when you're willing to open the windows and doors. On that day, light a good hot fire and let the remaining petroleum jelly and oil and solvents and whatnot all just burn off all at once. Maybe consider taking the batteries out of the smoke detectors ( 'cause they're going to be pretty upset about the whole situation) and have the fire extinguisher close at hand. I doubt there will be a fire, but it can't hurt to be prepared. Expect it to smoke A LOT and smell AWFUL. Get the stove really hot so it ALL burns off. Just get it over with...If you actually use your stove to cook, it will get hot enough to burn oil eventually and when it does...it's gonna smoke and smoke until the oil is all burned off. That way you will be completely done with smoke and odors for the remainder of the season. I imagine all the "seasoning" will have burned off and the lid will come off easily after that. you could then scrape off the remaining carbon deposits.

    In the future, I would suggest using dry steel wool to really clean the stove, then to wipe on one of those stove polish compounds to improve the appeareance and prevent the surface from rusting during the summer. Remember, however, that after applying it, the next fire will burn the stuff and produce smoke, so again...build a fire when you don't mind having a smoky house with open doors.

    If anyone really disagrees with this recommendation, I'd appreciate hearing what you have to say...i'm only on my second winter with a cookstove and ther may be something painfully obvious that i just don't know...
    thanks
    ray