The southerlies have arrived, bringing icy winds & much needed rain. We’ve used the weather as a valid excuse to stay indoors & potter about in the kitchen, (one of our favourite pastimes after gardening & making ointments!) This reminded me that I’ve been planning to write a few notes about using a Coalrange, & most importantly cleaning one. You’ll need an ‘L’ shaped poker for this job, see the pics below. Our range is an old black Shacklock, with a wetback. I’m pretty sure the enamel ranges are much the same.

Here follows a step by step, illustrated guide ‘how to clean out your coalrange”

1)Take off the removable plate, where the chimney flue sits. Clean soot off of the flue paddle, back of the plate & inside the chimney as far as you can reach. I always give the chimney a few bangs with the poker to free any loose soot, this drives the dogs crazy as they think there’s a bird in the chimney!

2)Lift up the hot plate & ring, clean any soot off the undersides, & scrape soot from on top of the oven, down the sides.

3)Open the little plates on the sides of the oven & using your poker, scrape around on both sides of each cavity.

4)Open the plate below the oven, put a piece of newspaper underneath to catch the soot. Thoroughly scrape out soot from below oven, pay attention to the back, below the chimney & the sides.

5)If needed clean out the ash box, cleaning the sides of the firebox as well, then put all the plates back & sweep up loose soot.

There’s a great, serendipitous story that goes with our coalrange.

Nearly 30 years ago, when Geoff & I had only been together a short while, we were struggling to get by. We lived in a rented cottage, & earnt a little $$ doing odd jobs in the district, supplemented by the dole. We had a neat book, with photos of alternative type houses in it, & we dreamed of one day owning our own place. We planned what it would be like, & that included a Coalrange in the centre of the living area, like a hub.

We saw an ad in the paper for a coalrange, & following our dream we went to have a look. It was just what we wanted,& somehow we scraped together enough money to pay for it. When we asked the owners why they were selling it, they told us that they had bought it to put into an old villa that they were planning to move from Ongaonga to Otane. The local council had refused to let them move it, as the house was too old, (1906.)

It had high timber ceilings & varnished wood doors & frames….would they mind if we went to have a look at it?

Of course we loved it, & the long & the short of it was that Geoff’s parents lent us the money to buy the house, the grand sum of $2,000, plus enough to have it moved , plumbed, wired etc At that time we were leasing the land here, from very dear friends, at a ‘peppercorn’ rental, & they gave us permission to move the house here. So now the coalrange sits in the middle of our living space, in the colder months, warming us, heating our water & cooking our meals. We just love it!!