How to Blacken a Wood Burning Stove

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There are two ways to blacken a wood-burning stove. The first is to apply a traditional stove black, or polish. This is the method our ancestors and pioneers used to care for their cast iron stoves and utensils to keep them gleaming like new. The second way to blacken a wood burning stove is to apply a heat-proof paint. Many stove-owners clean and paint their stoves every few years, and use the stove polish treatment every few months to give it a shine that flat paint won't provide.

Things You'll Need

  • Fireplace brush
  • Broom
  • Rags
  • Steel wool grade 000
  • Stove polish
  • Tarp or paint cloth
  • Butter knife
  • Heat-proof stove paint
  • Goggles
  • Work gloves
  • Disposable face mask

Blackening With Stove Black

Clear the stove of utensils, pots and the fire-pit grate. Brush dust and dirt off with a fireplace brush.

Scrub off any baked-on food, grime or rust with grade 000 steel wool. Work top to bottom, left to right, to keep the residue moving down and away from areas you've already scrubbed. Use a clean broom followed by a barely damp rag to clean the stove of steel wool dust.

Apply stove polish as directed on package. Typically, you'll apply a thin coat of polish overall. Allow the polish to dry completely. Rub the dried polish away to produce a just-waxed shine.

Blackening With Heat-proof Paint

Disconnect the wood burning stove from the chimney flue. Move the stove to a tarp or paint cloth in an open, well-ventilated area, such as the lawn or a garage.

Remove the wood burning stove's grate and burners. Clean out all ashes, dirt and dust. Use a butter knife wrapped in a rag to reach into corners and crevices.

Use steel wool grade 000 to scrape away rust and baked-on dirt or food. Start at the top-left of the stove and work down to the bottom-right. Wipe everything down with a barely damp cloth.

Put on protective mask and goggles before painting. Apply paint as directed on can. Allow all stove parts to dry completely before reinstalling wood-burner in the home.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plan well in advance to paint-blacken your wood-burner. Moving the stove out and back into the house is typically a time-consuming and labor-intensive operation.
  • Stove polish generally lasts a few months before it needs to be repeated. Paint-blackening may last up to five years.
  • Most wood burning stoves will produce a little smoke and some odor as they bake in the stove polish and paint. Open a door or window, and use a fan to move the smoke and odor out of the house.

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