I purchased a very unique looking pot belly cast iron wood stove at an auction. The condition was rather iffy with lots of rust and some gaps between the sections. I took the stove home and began my restoration. The process was very time consuming but well worth the effort.
Begin the restoration process by placing the cast iron stove in a well ventilated area. Remove all stove pipe, trim and bright metal. Wire brush the entire stove. Wipe or blow off the stove periodically to remove all dust. Continue to wire brush the rusted areas until no progress is seen in the removal process. (It is always a good idea to wear safety glasses and a face mask when refinishing metal.)
Check your stove over for stove cement. The stove cement is in-between the parts of the stove. Use a chisel or knife to remove the stove cement. Place the end of the tool at a 45 degree angle to the seam. Tap on the tool to dig into the cement. Clean the seams periodically to remove the debris.
The next step is to steel wool the entire stove. Pay special attention to any groves or indentations. Wipe or blow off the dust as you go.
Sand the rusted area with 220- to 400-grit sandpaper. Continue to sand all rusted areas until they are smooth to the touch. Wipe or blow off the stove periodically to remove sanding dust. It may be necessary to use a power tool such as a Dremel with a sanding disk to remove the rust in the grooves and/or crevices.
Clean the entire surface, openings and gaps thoroughly with a damp cloth. Let dry for 15 minutes before starting the stove cement process.
Dip a putty knife into the stove cement then apply to each gap. Press the stove cement firmly into place. Use a damp cloth to remove excess stove cement from the surface of the wood stove. Let the stove cement dry and cure for 24 hours.
Polish the entire surface with stove polish. Use a lint-free cloth during this process. Work in a circular motion over the surface and in all grooves and indentations. Continue to rub the surface until the polish shines. Let the polish dry for 24 hours then repeat the polishing process. After the second coat has dried for 24 hours, buff the surface with a lint-free cloth. This will bring out the luster to the polish. If you would rather not use stove polish, it is also possible to paint the refinished surface with a stove paint.
Now it is time to re-attach the stove pipe, trim and bright metal pieces.