We have been enjoying the homely radiating warmth and cooking heat generated by our third-hand 1950s Rayburn No.3 wood stove. It came to us, via a tractor bucket and ute tray, from our shop neighbours Gary and Marie who had cooked on it for more than 20 years. They had sourced it from a shearers' kitchen at Bundarra, more than two hours' drive away.
We had been on the lookout for a second-hand wood stove for many years, having been exposed to friends' houses (the increased comfort and off-the-grid cooking) with wood stoves, and several purchases, and installations. When our neighbours were looking to sell theirs, which was in excellent working order, it was too good an opportunity to pass up (Gumtree can be a good source of second-hand wood stoves). Mind you it did take some time, two years, to organise ourselves to install it. Weighing in at 350kg, ideally you only want to move a Rayburn once.
The Rayburn is about the same age as our house and fits perfectly in a nook built for a wood stove. Luckily our ute tray was slightly higher than the kitchen door and it rolled majestically into the room on scaffold tubes like a White Star liner. Duncan then manoeuvred it into the nook on cut down broomsticks, acting as rollers and rails. The dowel was removed with the help of a fencing bar to drop the stove onto a fibre cement hearth. Hot plate and cover were sealed with new fire rope, and a flue collar, cannibalised from a 60's Rayburn 500 we have, was cemented in. Duncan even found a Rayburn No. 3 instruction manual
When we shared a photo on social media of the Rayburn after its first 12 hours in the house we were amazed by the expression of memories and experiences of wood stoves, from "Gosh this takes me back" to "We would be lost and cold without ours," and "You will wonder how you ever lived without it."
That's about what we're thinking now. Living in a cold winter climate with regular frosts and occasional snow on the nearby mountain range, it has brought a new level of comfort to our house and great excitement for cooking possibilities.
Meanwhile, I'll try to stop being amazed at the delicious smelling cakes, bread, porridge, poached eggs, and stews cooking in our kitchen without electricity or gas.
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