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Toy Cast Iron Stove Lid Lifter

This seemed appropriate for a day involving toys of all descriptions…

A cast iron stove (most likely a mid-last-century reproduction rather than a Genuine Antique™) emerged from a living room recess:

Toy stove with repaired lid lifter

Toy stove with repaired lid lifter

The line across the lid lifter handle shows where it broke, long ago, likely while being played with. Back then, I’d done a static-display-grade fix with a dab of clear epoxy, but a better repair seemed called for; my repair-fu has grown stronger.

I expected the handle to be pot metal, so drilling a hole in both ends for a music-wire stiffener seemed reasonable:

Toy lid lifter - laser alignment

Toy lid lifter – laser alignment

Much to my surprise, the carbide bit skittered off the surface, leaving fine swarf standing on the end. Turns out the lid lifter is cast iron, just like the rest of the stove!

Given that much of a clue, I aligned the pieces in a pair of machinist’s vises:

Toy lid lifter - alignment

Toy lid lifter – alignment

Slide apart (the vises stand on a smooth glass sheet; the nubbly side is down), dab silver solder flux on the ends, capture a snippet of 40% silver solder in the gap:

Toy lid lifter - silver solder setup

Toy lid lifter – silver solder setup

Hit it ever so gently with a propane torch and slide together:

Toy lid lifter - silver soldered

Toy lid lifter – silver soldered

The solder flows at 1200 °F = 650 °C, roughly corresponding to the blue-gray color near the joint. The nice purple (540 °C) on the left shows where I held the flame to start, with yellows (400 °C) on both sides. Good enough, sez I, it’s going to be a static-display exhibit.

Most of the solder went to the back side, so I filed it smooth and buffed off most of the heat coloration with a stainless-steel wire wheel in the Dremel:

Toy lid lifter - bottom

Toy lid lifter – bottom

A little more wire-brush action left the front side looking good:

Toy lid lifter - top

Toy lid lifter – top

As with most of the repairs around here, it simply makes me feel better …

Now, go play with your toys!

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  1. #1 by Keith Ward on 2018-12-25 - 08:28

    Hmm, not sure why carbide didn’t cut it, but good job on the repair anyway, silver solder should hold up just fine. I was going to ask if it was “Acme” just for the Looney Tunes reference, but it clearly indicates Crescent and might be lost on some folks.

    • #2 by RCPete on 2018-12-25 - 08:55

      With that small of a section, it might have heat-treated itself after casting. “White Iron” is hard and brittle. I’d assume some kind of anneal would have worked, but not likely to happen for a toy.

    • #3 by Ed on 2018-12-25 - 10:19

      I didn’t bother with a teeny center drill or an end mill to flatten the target area, so it’s likely my fault. On the other paw, I expected zero pushback from pot metal, which goes to show what unjustified assumptions will get ya.

  2. #4 by Trudi on 2018-12-25 - 08:46

    What you need now is a grandchild!

    • #5 by Ed on 2018-12-25 - 10:12

      We are informed by a reliable source such things are not in plan … [grin]

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