Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Story Behind the Stove

Today I did quite a bit of finish work on the island. I'll let the pictures below tell most of the story, but the progress today consisted of the beadboard on the back side of the island (Deb was getting rather sick of the OSB that has graced it for the last several weeks), finish panels and trim on both sides of the island, and a single course of tile on the front of the island between the two levels of butcher block. About the only things left are the grout for the tile and some shoe moulding around the bottom.

View of the front of the island. Just for a frame of reference, if this were the old kitchen, I would be standing in the back yard when taking this picture. The old wall stood midway between the island and the countertop in the foreground of the picture.

View from the family room.

A closer look at the front. The blue boxes in the island will soon be filled with electrical outlets.

A couple days ago, I finally got the stovetop installed. There's a rather long story behind the stove. We took a chance and ordered a "refurbished" cooktop from the Sears mail-order outlet in mid-October. It represented a rather significant savings over the list price, and this particular model was one we liked, having seen a similar one in a local store.

It took quite a while to arrive, and we were beginning to wonder if we were going to see it at all. When it did arrive, it was very poorly packaged, having been wrapped in a single layer of cardboard followed by plastic shrink wrap. Most of the stuff I have bought on Ebay has been packaged much better than that.

Removing the shrink wrap and inspecting the contents, we discovered that there were a few pieces missing. Deb got on the phone and after an unbelievable amount of phone-tag with several different people, managed to get someone who was able to order the parts. It was quite another job just to describe the parts that were missing so we would have a chance of receiving the correct ones. Deb wisely took down that person's name and direct phone number.

In ordering the parts, the representative also offered to send us some of the accessories that can go with this model; a griddle, a wok-ring, and a few other items. We thought we were all set when these parts arrived several days later.

Fast forward several weeks. I got the countertops all in and ready to install the cooktop. In gathering all the pieces, I discovered there was an additional part missing, a gas regulator and an elbow that I could not match at the local bog-box home improvement stores. Deb called the direct line, and the person recognized her immediately. This time I managed to find an assembly drawing on the Internet (did I mention that the stove came with no manuals or paperwork?) and gave the person actual part numbers.

That was the good news. The bad news was that the elbow was back-ordered until January 19, several weeks hence.

We received the regulator a few days later, and a bag containing 10 gaskets a week after that. then January 19 came and went. Deb called again. Apparently they got something screwed up and ordered the wrong part for us. So now we had to wait another week for the elbow.

When it came, there was much rejoicing in the Friend home. Particularly from Deb, who has been working with an electric hot plate for several months. A rather anemic hot plate that takes forever to boil water.

I finally installed the cooktop. I was half-expecting it not to work due to some missing internal piece, but was rewarded with an enormous flame from the center burner.

We gave it the boil test. We had a pan of water boiling in short order. Life is now good.

The big center burner is meant for high heat stuff like stir-fry. We had a stir-fry dinner the next day. It was done in no time and was delicious.

Although there is still a lot of finish work to be done, the kitchen is now fully functional.

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