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  • Writer's pictureLouisa at Starre Corner

Turning Two Vintage Rayburn Royals into One

In photos many people confuse my cinema room for my kitchen. It's a fair assumption because I have installed a vintage Rayburn Royal within an exceptionally large inglenook. Currently I have a very uncomfortable lean-to kitchen with water dripping through the ceiling when it rains and mould growing on the wall (soon to be rectified with the arrival of of a brand-spanking new kitchen extension, starting this year).

I wanted a Rayburn for three reasons:

1. to stay warm and toasty throughout the colder months

2. to cook in a more pleasant environment until my kitchen extension is complete

3. to provide my children with greater independence when their friends visit. This is their social space and they can make drinks and cook snacks in here to keep their friends fed and watered (both my girls love cooking and socialising)

An ongoing theme in my blog posts is a lack of budget for the interior elements which I have my heart set on. A major DIY renovation project such as Starre Corner is an expensive undertaking and interior styling elements are at the bottom of my budget spending list. A brand new Rayburn 212SFW costs £5225 so I investigated an alternative solution - reconditioning an old 1950's Rayburn Royal.

Initially I found an old vintage Rayburn Royal (solid fuel) on eBay for £50 in need of refurbishment. It was relatively local so hubby hired a van and took a friend with him to collect (because they are so heavy many sellers stipulate that they must be collected in person). On closer inspection hubby identified that the Rayburn needed various elements replacing. After pricing up replacement parts it was evident that it was cheaper to buy a matching Rayburn than purchase sperate components, so that's exactly what we did; another £50 eBay purchase but this time the seller put it on a pallet for delivery.

As soon as both Rayburns had arrived, hubby started working on them. I must admit I was initially horrified when I went to check on progress and was greeted with two flat packed Rayburns - I've since heard my hubby refer to its as cast iron Meccano set. Thankfully they are very simply made and very easy to reassemble. In addition to the two Rayburns we also decided to replace old firebricks with new, fire rope too and a thermostat. Amazingly it was less than a day's work and the result is spectacular. At some point in the future there is also a back boiler to install for steaming hot water.

Below is a breakdown of the approximate costs:

2 x Vintage Rayburn Royal £100

Fire bricks £90

Thermostat £30

Fire rope £6

Additional components and sundries £90

Heat proof enamel paint £26

Vitcasts High Temperature Sealant £14

Rockwool - free skip diving find

Van hire £100

Pallet delivery £80

No specialist tools required.

Total £536

- £90 eBay sales of spare components

Grand Total £426

Although there isn't much which can go wrong with a Rayburn we asked the following questions before committing to a purchase:

  1. Are there cracks in the cast iron, especially the front panel and the top?

  2. Has the Rayburn been in recent use?

  3. Are there any know issues?

  4. Is it complete - is anything missing?

  5. Condition of firebricks?

  6. Does the thermostat work?

Asking the above questions definitely saved us money.

As with all projects, there are two very useful virtual assistants - Google and You Tube. There is so much useful info to be gained online.

Useful websites:

The greatest challenge buying these two second hand Rayburns was logistic; how to get the Rayburn from point of purchase to Starre Corner. They are heavy lumps to manoeuvre.

The easiest option is for the seller to put it onto a pallet and arrange for a pallet courier to collect and deliver. As long as you can move the pallet after curb side delivery the logistic are easy. Many sellers however are not willing to do this and in many cases they have sold it for £50 to solve a problem by letting someone else have the issue of taking it away.

If collecting in person there is far more to think about:

  1. Is collection vehicle up to the job? There's a lot of weight to carry.

  2. Is there someone who can help? It's a big heavy lump to move with just one person.

  3. Have you got a pallet truck or rollers?

  4. Things to consider about the collection address:

    1. Has the Rayburn been disconnected from the flu? Personally I would insist that this has been done before collection.

    2. Can collection vehicle gain access to the property. Thankfully we always asked before making a purchase - one house had a narrow bridge which could not be used by a van.

    3. Is the collection address on a hill? Again, this could be a problem so avoid if possible.

    4. Is the drive gravel or hard standing. Ideally a dolly or pallet truck will be used to move the Rayburn - gravel makes this very tricky.

    5. Are there steps in and out the property or inside?

    6. How wide are the exit doors? Will the Rayburn fit through the doors?

We managed to avoid some awkward situations by asking these simple questions.

Please note - AGA are on record saying that they have never used asbestos based insulation but it's worth bearing in mind that asbestos based insulation may have been used if an AGA Rayburn has been refurbished in the past. Caution and PPE is advised.

Although my husband and I are not vintage Rayburn experts we have gone through the process of buying, building and installing one. If you are thinking about doing this too we'd be happy to answer any questions. Please leave a comment and we will do out best to answer your queries.


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