Preparing for the overhaul...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Finishing the Chrysnbon Pot Belly Stove

And so continues the story I started here and here.  Now I'm moving on from preliminary techniques to specific kits.  Most of them, I've finished multiple ways; it always amazes me how the same kit can look completely different, depending on how it's finished.  I've been working on two pot belly stoves, one for the not-Lincoln House, and one for an eventual project of mine, Greenleaf's Taft General Store.

The first step is to spray paint all your "cast iron" pieces with Testors flat black.  I generally use one or two light coats; small variations in finish add realism.  You can, of course, paint the pieces flat black, too, but I prefer the slight texture created by the spray.  It, to me, looks more realistic.  I do, however, use the bottled version for small (very small) touch-ups.  If you have a big boo-boo, honestly, I think you're better off removing the paint (you can use Testors paint thinner, or similar--just make sure it's plastic safe) and starting over.

If you're planning on electrifying your stove, remember not to glue the top and bottom sub-assemblies together until after you've installed the wiring.
The stove pipe halves fit together much better in this kit than they do in the parlor stove kit.  Here, I just sanded the seams smooth (don't forget the back side!) and then went over the whole area with a very fine sanding sponge.  Any rough patches left by inadequate sanding will show right up through the paint.

When it comes to prep work, patience pays off.

Completely sanded and ready for paint.

I've now graduated to two spray boxes!
Although the spray versions of these paints dry more quickly than their bottled cousins, they still don't cure for about 24 hours.  Light handling is fine, but rough handling (or, for example, pressing things together to glue them) will leave fingerprints.  Patience is a virtue!  Also, too, in this close-up, you can get a pretty good sense of what I mean by texture.  It's too slight to feel by touch, but you can definitely see it.

Better than plastic, right?
I got a bunch "Pic n' Stick" packages from Micro Mark.  They're pretty cheap, and boy are they awesome!  Originally intended for use by dentists (and still used by dentists) to hold the tiny parts of fillings, etc, just prior to insertion, they also work great for hobbyists.  A word of caution: the wax won't stick to any surface that's the least bit wet or greasy.

Painting the hinge.

This is what the package looks like; the individual sticks pull out from a kind of match book.

All the various pieces, waiting to be assembled; I've already started antiquing some of them.
A final thought on spray paint: be careful that, after you've finished painting (and everything's really had a change to dry), any pieces that still have to fit together actually do so.  Sometimes, even with very thin, carefully applied coats of paint, gunk can build up where you don't want it to.  You can remove it very carefully with a razor blade, craft knife, or pin.  I, personally, don't like to sand it off as that can damage the surrounding area, as well as potentially deform the piece itself.

Now, onward and upward.

The stove for the not-Lincoln Home is brand new, while the stove for the Taft General Store is rusty with age.  For rust, I used--surprise, surprise--Testors flat rust.  This is a wonderful color, and very realistic.  The secret to achieving realistic-looking rust, I think, is in how you apply it but, more, in where you apply it.  Rust isn't like signs of wear; you can't just dry-brush it on.  Rather, thinking about how rust develops will help you know where to put it.  Rust is an organic process; it always attacks the weakest spots first.  In most cases, that would be the seams.  It accretes in crevices, channels, and other places that don't get handled too much.  It follows water lines; it loves moist areas.  Also, too, really badly rusted areas have a very noticeable raised surface and texture.

Rust isn't symmetrical; it doesn't accumulate everywhere equally.  Like any truly organic process, it'll always have that appearance of randomness--not decoration.  Here, I'm about halfway through doing this stove pipe; the rust is coming downward from the collar, where it joins the wall, by feeding along the central seam.

As far as actually applying the paint, I use a combination of detail work and dry brushing.  I tend to use a detail brush to run lines of rust along seams, under decorations, etc, and then I use a very small flat brush to dry brush it out into a more organic pattern.  Sometimes, if I want only a very thin sheen of rust, I dilute the line with paint thinner and "wet brush" it out.  I, personally, find that successive thinly applied layers give the most realistic effect.  Sometimes, too, I dry brush flat black back over the piece, to add depth and texture.  There are really no set rules; whatever works the best for you, individually, is what you should go with.

The stove pipe.

The door, shovel, and crank.

The collar.

The finished stove pipe and shovel.

I'm working on a coordinating stool (pictures to follow, eventually).  I'm painting it with the same paint because, here, it resembles milk paint.

Gluing on the stove pipe.
If you get visible glue spots, it's very easy to touch them up with a brush.  I generally stipple the paint slightly, to match the surrounding texture.  Also, too, when you're gluing your stove pipe on, if at all possible, place your stove where it'll ultimately be going.  Here, I can't, so I'm lining it up against the side of a box.  You want to make sure that, when the stove pipe dries, it dries in the right position--i.e. so that the pipe is actually flush to the wall.  I prefer to do it this way, then glue the collar on (much) later. 

Make sure the pad is at right angles to the wall, too.  There's a little give to these kits; you don't want to end up with everything twisted into a weird position.

I let it dry like this overnight.
Another issue I had was picking up this nice plate aluminum pad...and accidentally, about two minutes later, leaving aluminum-colored fingerprints on my stove.  Before you buff it up, this stuff sheds.  Watch out!

The completed stove.

My apologies for the backdrop!

The rusty stove.

Another view.

I'm covering the coal scuttle in a separate tutorial.

Rusty cast iron has a whole different texture, as well as color.

Stay tuned!

I'm hoping to post the coal scuttle tutorial within the next few days.

The pad.
If you want your pad to look nice and new, refer to my previous posts.  If you want it to look really disgusting, read on.  What I did here was, first, create a nice, new-looking pad.  Then, before I sprayed the final coat of aluminum plate on (after buffing, etc), I misted it with a few drops of water.  Testors enamels will not adhere to a wet surface.  Instead, what happens is that the surface buckles up and "scales," in model train parlance.  It looks pretty gross--but this is good!  Then, I took a paper towel, wiped off the gunk (some came off, some stayed behind), and went over the whole thing with a fine sanding sponge.  Pretty cool, huh?

Brand spanking new.

I think it'll like its new home.

So there you have it: pot belly stoves.  Like I said, stay tuned for the coal scuttles--and for the other stoves!  I'm finishing the cook stove in a couple of different ways, so that should be interesting.  Once I started looking for inspiration, there was a lot of it out there.

Comments?  Questions?  Thoughts?


Giac said...

Hello CJ,
I am so impressed at how you can transform a plastic kit. you did a really fantastic job.

otterine said...

It looks great! I made one of these for my old ghost town ranch and really dirtied it up, too. :D These kits can be wonderful as you've shown here. Bravo!

Steinworks said...

I love it and I can't wait for the tutorial :)