Svea 123 or 123R Spindle Key Uses

The Swedish-made Svea 123R is a great stove. The “R” means it has a built-in cleaning needle. The spindle key that comes with the vintage stoves has several cut-outs in the key. The purpose of the cut-outs is to lighten the spindle key, to allow the key to dissipate heat and to serve as useful tools for the stove in the field. Here is a quick explanation of the functions of the tool cutouts in the spindle key.

Swedish-made Svea 123R with spindle key

Spindle key detail

Svea 123R – Loosen fuel cap

Svea 123R – Adjust spindle nut and tighten graphite packing

Svea 123R – loosen/tighten jet

The predecessor of the Svea 123R is the Svea 123 (it has no “R” in the stove name.) The spindle key that was bundled with Svea 123R stoves also had cutouts for this earlier version, the Svea 123. The keys were used interchangeably during the years that both types of stoves were co-produced.

Svea 123R stove on right. Svea 123 (no R) on the left.

The spindle nut is smaller on the Svea 123, and the opening in the photo below is used to tighten or loosen the spindle nut. Usually used to tighten the nut as the graphite packing in the spindle wears with use.

This part of the tool is for the spindle nut on the Svea 123 (no R)

This part of the tool is for the smaller jet on the Svea 123 (no R)

The cheaply made and low quality Optimus Svea 123R stoves now coming out of Taiwan still feature a spindle key that includes the opening for the Svea 123 spindle nut even though the Taiwanese never made that stove and that stove stopped being produced in Sweden pre-1970.

Some people, new to these sorts of stoves, or with little background on these stoves, will claim that the Taiwan stoves are of equal quality. But, sadly, those people have never had a genuine Swedish-made Svea in their hands. It is fairly well documented on social discussion forums about stoves that the Taiwanese Svea 123R stoves are of lesser fit and finish than the original Swedish made stoves. There have been quite a few reports about failures to positively shut-off straight out of the box. In my own work repairing stoves I have had a half dozen brand new Taiwanese Svea 123Rs sent to me in just the last year for failures to positively shut-off. The spindle seats are often poorly formed and the brand new stoves will leak right out of the box. If you are considering the purchase of a Svea 123R, PLEASE buy a used vintage one. There are lots of them around and they are much better made than the poor quality Taiwan stoves.