I think at one time, every Swedish house had a vedspis – wood stove. Often they had one in the kitchen and one in an upstairs apartment. Many houses still have them, but many have been removed. Our house had one originally, but it had been replaced by the freestanding fireplace which we removed when we dismantled the old kitchen. They are quite different than wood cookstoves in America. I decided right away that I wanted one, and when I mentioned to one of my Swedish relatives, Sven-Eric, that I was going to look for a renovated one, he told me he had two in his barn, and I was welcome to take one! I learned this on my way to the airport, so I didn’t get a chance to look at them. Luckily, Torsten took charge and uncovered them. One was cracked, but one was in good shape. Well, relatively speaking!
Before we returned to Sweden, Torsten and his mason friend, Mikael, got the vedspis put in place for us. First they had to shovel a path to the barn where it was stored.
These wood stoves aren’t freestanding, so a brick base had to be built.
They could see where the original vedspis had been.
This part is for wood storage.
It is cast iron like the stove and has two doors.
Once the base was built, the vedspis was set on top. Nice and level! The top left door is the firebox, the one below is the clean-out and the big one is the oven door, with a built-in thermometer!
More bricks to surround it.
The right side is complete.
Mikael is leaving a space for a water cistern next to the firebox.
Then the bricks get covered with a special cement.
It’s beautiful! If you compare this photo to the first one, you can see that Torsten did a lot of work removing old rust and, undoubtedly, years of grime!
Here’s the wood storage with the doors on.
The stove was in relatively good shape, leading Mikael and Torsten to speculate that it was in an upstairs apartment and not used too much.
You can see the layers of paint on the old chimney–and evidence of a chimney fire!
We had to grind all of the old paint off so it can be re-cemented. Ugh. It was a nasty job.
We found an old copper cistern on an online auction site.
The heat from the firebox heated the water, so you always had hot water to wash your dishes!
Did you know there is really something called Stove Black—and it does just what the name says?
You can see what a difference it made!
The cement will be painted white, as will the hood which will be built over this and the electric stove.
And it makes the kitchen so cozy when you have a fire!
Thank you, Sven-Eric, Torsten and Mikael!