How To Refurbish a Vintage Stove Knob in 5 Easy Steps

How To Refurbish a Vintage Stove Knob in 5 Easy Steps

Michelle Chin
Oct 19, 2011

What felt like the find of a lifetime, I came across an ad for a vintage apartment-sized O'Keefe and Merritt stove. It was in amazingly great shape for its age and all the knobs were intact and not stripped of their original black text markings. That is...until the stove was moved during renovations and I came home to find the main knob badly broken beyond repair. My heart sank. Where would I get a replacement?

Accidents happen and, as easy as it can be to want to throw your hands up to the sky in resignation (or vocalized frustration, in my case), once good sense takes over we have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and figure out how to fix the situation. I am thankful that my handyman had two very similar knobs in storage. They weren't in as pristine shape, meaning all the original glaze seemed to have been scrubbed off along with all the original paint markings and needed to be scrubbed of years of dirt and grime (just used dish soap and my regular kitchen scrubby).

I started thinking about how I could repaint the markings and attempted to find advice online to no avail. I decided to wing it, and here are the steps I took:

What You Need

Porcelain paint
Surface conditioner
Clear glaze
Citrus oil-based natural solvent

Paint brushes
Latex or nitrile gloves
Cotton swabs
Soft cloth or old T-shirt


1. Purchase porcelain paint, surface conditioner and a clear glaze (all air-dry) from Michaels. I already had a double-ought (00) paint brush in my art supplies. If you don't then you'll need to ad one to the shopping list for the black paint. You can use any small size brush for the surface conditioner and glaze. You should also wear some latex or nitrile gloves.

2. Treat the knob with the surface conditioner, allow to dry for 15 minutes.

3. Begin painting the indented text areas with black paint. Have some cotton swabs handy along with some citrus oil-based natural solvent to wipe away any parts that you've painted out of the "lines."

4. Once all the black paint has been laid in, use a soft cloth (old t-shirt fabric is perfect) with a bit of the citrus solvent and use some elbow grease to get any smudges off. I felt like I could have kept doing this part forever, but don't get too obsessive over it. Let it sit for another 15 - 30 minutes to make sure the black paint is dry.

5. Apply two coats of the clear gloss, allowing 30 minutes to dry between applications. Let dry overnight to make sure the glaze has completely set. Reinstall on your stove and it's like brand new!

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(Images: Michelle Chin. Originally published 2010-08-24)

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