12-13-2015, 07:17 AM
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First a bit of background... My wife and I cook at least 90% of our food. So anything in our kitchen has to work. Items that don’t work are frustrating to use and find their way out of the kitchen pretty quick. But that can’t happen with a $1500 oven. If a mistake is made there I live with it until it’s "used up". Basically, because we use our kitchen I’ve found over the years that quality rules and everything else is just junk. This is a tale of junk and ultimately quality. Before I go any further, I don't work for Blue Star or am connected to them in any way other than as a paying customer. They pay me nothing. But when I see something that works and things that don't work that prompts a review from me. Others need the information so that they can decide for themselves and maybe avoid the trap that my wife and I fell into.

I have no idea how many reading this cook most of their own food, but this is probably for you folks who do. If you only use your kitchen for cooking infrequently, probably a fancy oven designed to look nice and be used rarely will work for you. Look for built in clocks, timers, and colored lights and I bet you'll be happy. But if that clock and display ever poops itself you'll find how expensive that clock is to make work again. If we were in that latter category of folks the 7 year oven would have lasted for 20+ years for us. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Our search for a new replacement oven began 7 years ago, and little did we know that the oven we would buy would be a frustration and just buy us a bit of time before we needed a real oven.
Seven years ago our existing oven, while functional, was getting old and I also wanted to convert from electric to gas operation. We have a solar electric system and wanted to make more use of it. That means reducing the electrical load wherever possible so that when I cut the connection to the utility our system can handle all loads that show up. So we went to a local appliance dealer and we put ourselves in their hands. The result was an oven that proved from the beginning to be a POS. It wasn’t long after installation that the hinges seized the first time. They were replaced but continued to be a problem. I’d have to give a mighty tug on the door to open it. Once it started to open it would open, but clearly the oven had issues. Over time I could see the hinge parts taking a permanent bend. Then the computer pooped itself. No surprise there as the computer is in the hottest part of the oven and what don’t computers like? Heat. Then 2 years later food was ready to come out; we had guests and the door wouldn’t open up more than 6". I did manage to open it enough to get the food out but in the process the oven was toast. Bye Bye Frigidaire oven. Bye, bye frustration and aggravation. Life is too short for that.

Then began the search for another oven. There are plenty of ovens but we needed something specific. We needed a built in, 24" wide, gas. Only a handful are made. We went to the dealer and compared floor model ranges (with ovens) to the pictures of their built-ins. The display ranges all had good construction, but the pictures of the built in s all showed the same shoddy construction that the defunct oven also had. The hinge parts were on the outside and screwed with sheet metal screws to the light gauge sheet metal body. Also, all of them had computers up high in the heat. It was as if they were all made by the same factory and maybe they are. Clearly they could be sim[ply another expensive mistake and another few years of aggravation before we had to buy another. We stopped going to dealers and I got to researching on the ‘net. I quickly found that there was nothing of quality available made in the USA. So I looked into foreign made ovens. I found 2 that were imported from Italy. One of them had the lowest ratings of any oven I found and neither was what I wanted. So not only does the US make junk, so do other countries. Then I found Blue Star.

Blue Star is a restaurant oven for the home kitchen.  It is meant to be used. That’s the short story. No computer, no clock, timer, or pretty lights;  just manual controls, so nothing (or little) to go wrong there. The door on ours swings to the side as a door should*. I never did understand the desire to have a hot oven door poking one in the belly or shins when putting food in and removing it. This oven got that right. Then I found out that Blue Star is made in the same factory that made Garland many years ago. In fact the burners that they use in their ranges are identical to the old Garland burners. Those many years ago when I first saw Garland I told myself that some day I’d have a Garland. OK, Garland is no longer made, and we really don’t have the room for a cookstove (our rangetop is also built in) but there is Blue Star. So we traveled to a dealer with them on the showroom floor, to fondle and poke and prod the product. They had a range in stock and while we weren’t looking for a range it had a smaller side oven similar to what we wanted. The dealer assured us that what we saw there in person was how ours would be built. The build was right with real nuts and bolts and heavy steel parts; and sheet metal used just as housings and not structural. But even the sheet metal that was there was heavy gauge. The door wasn’t about to seize as it rides on brass bushings that can’t seize. Everything else about it was built right and the entire unit was like a brick outhouse. Weight is over 2 times our previous Frigidaire. Not light, but we don’t plan to carry it around. I would expect an oven that was made right to weigh something. Our Frigidaire was held in place with screws to keep it from sliding out. Not so this oven. It slides into place and it’s weight keeps it there.

So we went back to our local dealer to have him order one for us. So we in the US do actually have a US made product that’s quality and meant to be used. FWIW, while we were at the showroom we also found that the junk our dealer had been trying to sell us, every brand, has a quality line. They just don’t make what will fit into our cabinet. Only Blue Star did that. We did ask our installer and service person if our dealer would start to carry Blue Star. The answer was, "no". That they would order them, but the population just wasn’t there that would support it.

We put it on order and waited over a month from the oven going bad, to the new one arriving. But it’s installed now and it’s a nice oven. Since the control is manual we’re back to a mechanical type of temperature control. Where the POS Frigidaire had a computer control that was extremely accurate (a point for computer control), the Blue Star is off 50°F so the dial doesn’t read actual temp’. But it’s no big deal to add 50° to the desired temperature. I have an electronic oven thermometer on order to double check what I think I found and fine tune it. BTW, table sugar melts at 320°F so you can check your home oven and you don’t need a thermometer to do it. Start low, every 5 minutes or so raise the temp a bit and see where it melts. At that point your oven is set to 320°F. Easy.
If the thermometer poops itself, rather than a $200 computer board and service call it’s just order another thermometer for $30.

Right now I’m happier than a clam in a mud flat at high tide. Nice oven. Yes, it was expensive, but so is a $1500 oven every 7 years. Possibly the worst part was the frustration every time I used it and the wondering if it was going to be "this time" that the door wouldn’t work. Life’s too short for that kind of aggravation. I wish I had discovered this oven 7 years ago.

Is it perfect? No. I already discussed the dial not reflecting the actual temperature... welcome to ovens of 50 years ago. The mechanical controls were notoriously inaccurate, but they last forever. They weren’t randomly inaccurate. The inaccuracy was repeatable so quite useable once one figured out how to compensate. That’s what we’ll do; it’s no big deal and maybe I can adjust the dial to reflect the actual temperature. There is also a cosmetic defect. There is a chip of porcelain missing from the convection fan housing in the inside back of the unit. The factory will be sending another; we’ve already discussed it. From what I’m seeing this oven will be the last that we’ll ever need to buy.

I made one loaf of bread on Saturday (no knead crusty loaf) to test the oven and I’ll make another one tomorrow. Saturdays loaf was fine, I see no reason Sundayss loaf won’t be as well.
What can go wrong with it? Ignitors and bulbs, and run out of propane. But the gent who does service calls stated that they’re the same ignitors that they have in stock. Bulbs are no big deal except that the manual hasn’t been upgraded to reflect what we have in our oven so at this point I don’t know how to change them when they blow years from now, but I’ve already discussed the solution with Blue Star. All I need is an updated manual or a page of instructions. Propane? We’ll only run out if we have a zombie apocalypse and I can’t buy more.

I looked into reviews before buying and what I found isn’t even worth discussing. One gent complained that it gets hot. Yes it does. Tell the kids not to touch it. If they do they won’t touch it twice.
A friend in Alabama has one of their ranges and loves it. I found that out after buying ours.

So if you don’t use your kitchen much pretty much any brand will work to fill the hole in the cabinets. We had special requirements that few companies even address and the everyday ones that did address it made junk. If you’re a heavy user of your kitchen, as we are, there are still quality ranges and ovens made that will take hard use. But why don’t more companies make side opening doors? I still don’t understand what’s desirable about a door that swings down to open.

* In actual use the door swings to the side and there is one rack on ball bearings that is "right there" and totally exposed, ready to receive something heavy, like a turkey for instance. I know mom would put heavy things on the door for a second before loading them into the oven, but that was demanded by the down swinging door in the first place. If the rack slides easily all of that is made a non-issue. The food is placed on the rack, then slides in easily. No problem and nothing in the way. No burns either since nothing hot is in the way as long as one has one’s wits about them.

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 12-13-2015, 08:47 AM
#2
  • MaxP
  • Senior Member
  • Madison, WI
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Thanks for sharing this.  Its a challenge to find anything that isn't made to be thrown away.  Vaccuum cleaners are a prime example, but major appliances aren't much different.  I've been researching clothes washers.  Oh my.  Its difficult to feel comfortable about any of them!

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 12-13-2015, 10:25 AM
#3
  • BobH
  • Senior Member
  • Thunder Bay Canada
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Glad I am not in need of a built in gas stove. Our old stand alone electric Moffat stove is going strong after 26 years of use. We eat most of our meals at home so I guess that is medium duty use.

Bob

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 12-13-2015, 12:00 PM
#4
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[Image: 11198-1263950539-69873955db6d4717415ce667f3b0d2b8.gif]

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 12-13-2015, 01:42 PM
#5
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Bob, you probably use yours as much as we use ours. The Moffat must be a good quality stove.

Pix? How about the link?

http://www.bluestarcooking.com/products/...-wall-oven

Ours is identical to that pictured at the link. Whoops... minor difference, the emblem on the oven has changed. It's just a stainless emblem, no color.

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 12-13-2015, 02:34 PM
#6
  • BobH
  • Senior Member
  • Thunder Bay Canada
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Never thought I would say this about an oven but it does look good.

Bob

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 12-13-2015, 02:44 PM
#7
  • MaxP
  • Senior Member
  • Madison, WI
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It looks great. Congrats...and thanks for sharing your experience.

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 12-13-2015, 03:44 PM
#8
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So many consumer appliances today are engineered to use the absolute least costly parts leaving little margin for wear and tear.  Unfortunately this extends to premium appliances too.

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 12-13-2015, 11:54 PM
#9
  • Snuff
  • Senior Member
  • Belgium
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Interesting read, there is no Blue Star where I live but I'm looking for a new oven myself and will take your general advice in consideration, thanks!

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 12-14-2015, 04:18 AM
#10
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me too are have eyes open for a new oven, that is, a freestanding range without gas. my current mech el range from 1999 is of norwegian make; nothing wrong with it, but wish for a pyrolytic oven Smile

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 12-14-2015, 06:13 AM
#11
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Sorry gents. It's made in Pennsylvania and I doubt that it's exported.

Is there the possibility of a European made restaurant quality range? There must be manufacturers filling the need.

Marius, what is a pyrolytic range? 

I wonder if it's similar to the "infra-red" broiler that the Blue Star has which is basically a flat screen; I suspect coated with platinum or palladium, that glows blue and the heat is intense. It puts our more  heat than I've ever felt coming from a broiler. With the door open it can be felt many feet away. But of course that's the IR radiation. (not to be confused with ionizing radiation, alpha, beta, and gamma)

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 12-14-2015, 07:02 AM
#12
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Brian - thanks for sharing that information.  We will keep Blue Star in mind when we have to replace our oven.  My wife is an avid cook and baker and wants to upgrade the kitchen in the next couple years and wants pro level type oven and stove.

Sadly everything made today - with a few exceptions - is designed for a couple years use and then is to be tossed out.  Unfortunately people have become programmed to accept this but don't always do the research to buy quality items so they settle for whatever is cheapest.  I have a Skill circular saw that was my grandfather's and was made in 1962.  I use it all the time and it works fine - I did replace the cord several years ago - but that is it.  Would a new saw from the box stores last 53 years?

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 12-14-2015, 07:31 AM
#13
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Cicinnatus, when you get up into the high end many manufacturers offer good quality. I was surprised when we went to the showroom that had Blue Star. There were MANY manufacturers whose names you would recognize if I could only remember them and yes, my detested Frigidaire has a high end line as well. Our major problem was the existing cabinet size combined with gas operation that caused the lack of choice and that allowed the dealer to steer us into junk 7 years ago. If we had stayed with an electric oven we would have had no problem with more choices. I don't know if quality would have been there though as it wasn't worth looking into them. I wanted to get away from computers and such because of our experience with them. After having swapped to gas I didn't want to go back to electric. We could have done so very easily.  

Especially if you have room and want a completely self contained range there are quite a few choices at the high end. But Blue Star is still up there IMO, and they'll build almost anything you want, plus one can rearrange the burners once it arrives is my shallow understanding of them.

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 12-14-2015, 12:00 PM
#14
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dear brian - pyrolytic oven is so called self-cleaning: you can turn it to 932 f and then the door will lock itself for 1 hour. when ready, all fats and dirts have gone to ashes, and can simply be swept out from the bottom.

that said - your oven writings suddenly led me on a new track on my web surfing, and i stumbled upon a range from electrolux' professional 700xp series; very basic functions here, and no pyrolysis, but seems built like a tank - and i actually made an appointment to see different models in lillehammer (yes - lilyhammer!) after xmas. the first cost $2000, then $2500, last $3000. only difference between #1 & #2 is circular vs square elements on top, while #3 is deeper overall and has much more powerful tops - actually way overkill for household use i think. interesting to see in person how they are:

[Image: JSE5jCs.jpg]
[Image: pPyM8rb.jpg]
[Image: OshtLw2.jpg]

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 12-14-2015, 12:26 PM
#15
  • Shanman
  • Reserve Collection Squirrel Hair
  • NE Florida
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Try getting a decent refrigerator....its even worse fare. Thanks for sharing!

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 12-14-2015, 04:10 PM
#16
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(12-14-2015, 12:00 PM)tonsorius Wrote: dear brian - pyrolytic oven is so called self-cleaning: you can turn it to 932 f and then the door will lock itself for 1 hour. when ready, all fats and dirts have gone to ashes, and can simply be swept out from the bottom.

that said - your oven writings suddenly led me on a new track on my web surfing, and i stumbled upon a range from electrolux' professional 700xp series; very basic functions here, and no pyrolysis, but seems built like a tank - and i actually made an appointment to see different models in lillehammer (yes - lilyhammer!) after xmas. the first cost $2000, then $2500, last $3000. only difference between #1 & #2 is circular vs square elements on top, while #3 is deeper overall and has much more powerful tops - actually way overkill for household use i think. interesting to see in person how they are:

[Image: JSE5jCs.jpg]
[Image: pPyM8rb.jpg]
[Image: OshtLw2.jpg]

Yes, Electrolux was one of the brands I thought I remembered seeing in the showroom but I couldn't be sure. We already know what they make for mixers and I've never regretted that purchase! Please let us know how you make out.

Pyrolytic... I understand now. We just call them self cleaning as you stated. Same basic operation.

Marius, I have never regretted going for overkill with any design. As some in this thread have suggested the problem comes in when minimum standards ("Oh, that'll be good enough!") are employed is when problems begin. The problem with the oven that began this thread was the "Oh, it'll be good enough" mindset and design. I have no doubt of that. Quality costs, but it lasts a very long time. That will attract some folks and chase some folks away. I like to buy quality and have it work forever without problems, or at least as long as I live. :-) That "forever" is long enough for me.

As with the Ankarsrum (Electrolux) Assistent (mixer), which operates flawlessly BTW (thanks for the help with it), I just don't regret buying quality. It's far less expensive in the long run. You have no idea how much use I've already gotten from the mixer and I expect it to work for years after I pass. I haven't used the Cuisinart food processor since getting the Assistant and don't miss it. There's nothing the Assistent won't do. (Assistent is not a spelling error- it's the name of a model) I could go on about it, but I won't except to say that others who have seen mine have ordered theirs. Mostly family as happened in yours.

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 12-14-2015, 04:57 PM
#17
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(12-14-2015, 12:26 PM)Shanman Wrote: Try getting a decent refrigerator....its even worse fare. Thanks for sharing!

The inner door on our 45-year-old Westinghouse is crumbling, and I'm not liking what I'm finding in stores.  I don't need a coffee machine and a TV screen in the door...

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 12-14-2015, 05:16 PM
#18
  • MaxP
  • Senior Member
  • Madison, WI
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Refrigerators. Ugh. Two years ago we bought a high end cabinet depth JennAir. It was a lot of $$.

And its really just a re-badged Whirlpool.

We moved this summer. It developed a leak somewhere. Water builds up in bottom of the freezer and eventually runs out onto the floor. I'm unwilling to call a repairman because I don't want to hear him say its not worth fixing.

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 12-14-2015, 05:52 PM
#19
  • Shanman
  • Reserve Collection Squirrel Hair
  • NE Florida
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Max, I don't give Sears my business anymore because of the exact problem you describe. The first set of delivery guys I watched from my window as they unwrapped a brand new fridge on the back of the delivery truck lift gate. I watch them assemble the drawers, remove plastic sheeting,etc. One guy I watch literally beat as hard as he can on the inner fridge door trying to get one of the fixed pockets in place, and he cracks it. I see them glance at my house, then at each other, and then they both shrug their shoulders. They then proceed to set it in a puddle of rainwater 6" deep out in the middle of the street. I let them struggle all the way to the front door wearing these chest harness appliance lifting straps, and told them with a few choice words that they could take the dripping wet, brand new $1500 fridge and put it right back on the truck.

The return crew brings a brand new fridge the second time via dolly into the home where they unwrap it right defore me. Everything goes as hoped. 6 months later I see a dreaded puddle of water coming out from under the fridge. I pull the fridge out and to my horror see a buckled, blackened tongue and groove wood floor that is ruined beneath the fridge. They had cracked the evaporation tray with the tongue of the dolly upon delivery. It was cracked in a place that allowed water to fill up to a certain level, drip out, then evaporate down via compressor heat. This must have happened over and over for 6 months before I finally noticed it. And it was 4 days too late and "out of warranty". Believe me, I went round and round with them, the "contracted" delivery company they use, and so on. No one wanted to make it right. 

That's the second half of the issue, finding a decently made appliance is the first! Good luck Brian!

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 12-14-2015, 10:28 PM
#20
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What a beautiful oven, Brian! Congratulations and enjoy the baking! Thumbsup

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