Deciding on black paint vs brown enamel on a new Ashford,,,

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New Member
Dec 15, 2022
Southern Missouri
I've read everything I can find on this question and I still like the look of the enamel, but my wife is concerned about how it will look in a few years.
Seems there is no satisfactory way to repair chips, correct?
Besides accidental hits with a poker or a pot or something, and boil overs/spills, are there other ways the enamel gets damaged?
If not damaged, the enamel seems like a nice look even when it gets older...
And the enamel seems easier to clean.
One question I have not seen answered: does the enamel have the burn-in smell when first fired up?
Is it easy to keep the black paint looking new?
Any advice or recommendations are welcome.
The enamel will chip, but usually the manufacturer offers small bottles of touch-up paint. Think “nail polish.” The applicator does an acceptable job, but close inspection will reveal those repaired spots. Black matte paint looks good & can also be touched up, but in most cases, the entire stove needs to be painted in order to look good. Enamel paint is baked on & won’t smell during the first few fires, but other compounds used in the manufacture & assembly might.
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I’m partial to the enameled stoves. I don’t have any fireplace tools by choice. I wouldn’t cook on an enameled stove.
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I’ve got a couple of enamel stoves and when they chip it just looks like crap even after the touch up. Personally I’d go with black paint. It can be completely repainted and look like new again down the road. Enamel not so much.
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I’ve heard this “easier to clean” line before but I don’t know many folks who wash the outside of their stoves and I have done it with great success on black paint. I don’t think this is a real benefit.

If you just love enamel then you should get it but beware of the problems.

It’s super easy to repaint a stove.
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My chestnut brown enamel A30 had noticeable smell for me on the first two burns, for my wife on the first three. You really want to follow the manual on any new stove like this and do the break-in burns with the windows open. Or out in the driveway, I recall one user here a few years ago with a bit of stove pipe doing his break in burns in the driveway since it was already winter for him.

I have broken out my clay bar from the automotive detailing box onto my A30 once or twice since 2014. No chips in mine, but I don't keep a hot water pot on the top and have never cooked on it. If I was going to cook on my Ashford I would lift off the cast/enameled top plate and cook directly on the welded steel firebox.

I mostly go over mine with a soft damp cloth every spring at the end of burn season and don't otherwise sweat about it. I really like the look of the not enameled cast iron black Ashford, but my wife made 'that face' so I do not own one.

I have not been able to chip my stove's enamel by thunking on it with cordwood or any contact from bare skin. Whacking it with metal is ill advised I am sure, and I am no hurry to put a metal container (any container) of water on top of mine.
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To re-iterate, I dunno what part of the stove was making the smell for the first 2-3 burns, but it went away.

Long term I think the flat black would be easier to maintain with a bit of carbon black, but with not very much common sense I have been able to maintain my enamel since 2014.
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