The Aga, the crowbar and the car jack….

My Aga joined the household a couple of years ago. It arrived in pieces, and took a couple of engineers the whole morning to assemble.

They seemed a bit bemused by the fact that they were putting a brand new Aga into what was, effectively,image a building site – the kitchen was still bare concrete floor, unfinished plasterboard walls and random pipework sticking up out of the floor…..

Still, they set it all up, warned me that it might smoke a bit, and left.

Smoke a bit??? It’s emissions for the next 6 hours were worse than a VW diesel engine. In a panic, I phoned the ’emergency’ number the engineer had left. And got through to a lovely chap who calmly explained that when a brand new Aga is heated up for the first time, it burns off all the oil used in putting it together, so the smoke that I could see pouring out of the roasting oven was perfectly normal.

I really wasn’t convinced. So much so that I phoned the ’emergency’ number again about an hour later. “Are you sure this is normal and it’s not going to spontaneously combust and burn the house down?” His very patient tones suggested I am not the first neurotic new Aga owner to ask this kind of idiot question.

And even when all the smoke started to clear and the dreadful smell of burning oil started to disappear, I remained a bit of an emotional wreck – madly excited by the fact I now owned a trendy purple Aga, and absolutely terrified by the thought of actually having to cook on it.

With all that excitement to distract me, is it any wonder that I didn’t notice the minor flaw in the way it had been installed? In fact it took me about 6 months to notice that my Aga was not sitting square on its plinth. To be fair, it may not have been the engineers. It may have been the builders who came in a few days after the engineers had left, to finish putting in the housing for the vent through the stone walls. Either way, I didn’t notice.


I probably should have phoned the Aga shop to point out the error – but to be honest it would have been a bit embarrassing trying to explain that the reason I hadn’t noticed it was because I was too busy dancing round my kitchen like a lunatic.

So I ignored it; if I don’t look at it, it will go away. And anyway, it was only half an inch out, so who would ever notice?

So the Aga sat slightly skewed on its base for the next couple of years. Until now – when I am finally getting round to putting the final flooring down in the house. And I have realised that the wonky plinth is going to cause a problem, not just in trying to lay the floor, but also when I finally get round to building the kitchen cabinets around the Aga.

I phoned the Aga service people to use if they could help and they agreed to send an engineer out. Since I couldn’t be at home on the date suggested I asked my neighbour if he’d be around to let the engineer in. He came up with a better idea:

“Can’t we move it ourselves? I’ve moved a Rayburn before and the Aga isn’t much bigger. I’m sure it can’t be that hard”

Here we go again – where have I heard words like that before?? Nonetheless, we arranged that we would give it a go at the weekend.

So how do you move half a ton of Aga. Apparently all you need are a few lengths of decking, some random offcuts of wood, a 4ft crowbar and a carjack. Oh, and a couple of very obliging neighbours!

They turned up on Sunday afternoon, and there followed a lengthy discussion about how to move half a ton of Aga without damaging it. It was decided that if the plinth could be wedged in place on one corner, and a few bits of wood strategically placed to protect the cooker’s enamel, the crowbar could be applied to ease the Aga  back into line on its plinth.

But the only safe way to wedge the plinth was against the concrete steps at the other end of the kitchen – 7 metres away. I ‘deconstructed’ the decking I had been building to provide a few lengths of wood. Operation Move the Aga duly began.

So far so good. Aga aligned to plinth. Now we just needed to straighten the whole set up back against the wall. It was decided that if we put a few more bits of wood down to wedge the other corner a then got a car-jack and turned it on its side…..

There was a lengthy man-debate about the merits of a scissor jack versus a hydraulic jack. I just stood back and let them get on with it – after all, I’m just a girl, I have enough hassle trying to convince people I’m capable of impersonating a builder, I’m not going to pretend to be a mechanic as well! 

The scissor jack won. Part 2 of Operation Move the Aga was carried out.

Hats off to the chaps – the Aga is now straight on its plinth and is square to the walls. (Well, as square as anything can be in this house!)


Only problem is, I’ve now got no excuses left for not getting on with putting the kitchen floor down….

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