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Ash drop - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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  • Ash drop

    Reviewing the forum, I notice that several threads mention an ash drop which I think is a rectangular cut in the base so that ash can be swept in and it will drop into a container under the oven opening. I have not found any examples of constructing such an ash drop. Is it worth the effort? Am I wrong in my understanding of what and how the ash drop works? Hope this is not to elementary. Thanks

  • #2
    Re: Ash drop

    That is the basic idea. My ash drop is actually 1 inch wide and the width of the oven opening and is placed between the hearth bricks and my concrete counter top. This slot transitions to a 4 inch diameter hole through the insulation layer and the structural slab.

    Besides being a convenient method by which ashes are removed, it also serves as a "thermal break" between the oven and the counter top.

    Most builders, however, omit the ash drop since removing the ash out the front opening is a relativley easy task.
    Last edited by Neil2; 11-03-2010, 09:48 AM.

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    • #3
      Re: Ash drop

      I chose not to put in an ash drop. I had little experience with cement. I was having enough trouble pouring the slab without worrying how to form a hole in the middle of it. After finishing my oven, I was concerned that this would be a big mistake. I thought that there would be a ton of ash to manage. The reality is that there really isn't a lot of ash. After the wood/coals burn down, there is very little to remove from the oven. Not having an ash drop has not been an issue. While I know I probably shouldn't do it, a couple of times, I simply left the ash in the oven and started another fire.

      My oven photos:

      Picasa Web Albums - Daniel Woodruff - Wood Fired Oven

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      • #4
        Re: Ash drop

        It depends on the use of your oven. If your oven is primarily for pizza, the trivial amount of ash is shoveled out the next day. It's rarely more than a shovel full. If you are baking bread regularly, and plan to shovel out live fires frequently, an ash drop would be good. It's a difficult build, particularly if you want the wood storage opening in the usual place. Also, a live fire drop should have some provision for snuffing out the fire, lest it smolder like a wood stove.
        My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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        • #5
          Re: Ash drop

          I usually shovel out about 3 metal peels worth of live coals/ash before cooking pizza. I have a metal trash can with a hardware cloth screen that I dump them into, then put the lid on to smother it. That gives me good charcoal for the grill, and the amount of ashes left after cooking the pizza is minimal, usually less than a peel's worth.
          Last edited by Tscarborough; 10-29-2010, 03:37 PM.

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          • #6
            Re: Ash drop

            Here is a picture of my ash can. That is 1 fire's worth of charcoal, 3 fires fill a 5 gallon bucket. I just dump the ashes below into a regular trash can with my trash.
            Attached Files

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            • #7
              Re: Ash drop

              i am wondering if there is a way of incorporating the ash can into the build design???? maybe centering the can below the oven opening and have 2 wood storage openings underneath.....

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              • #8
                Re: Ash drop

                The ash can with expanded metal is a good idea to catch your coals. I have just been throwing my coals away versus using them in my grill. I have a gas grill, but I think I can still use them.
                My WFO project: http://picasaweb.google.com/stevprin/WFOSmallPhotos#

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                • #9
                  Re: Ash drop

                  I also use my metal peel to scoop up ash. As mentioned, there's not much ash and it's a relative easy task to scoop and dump in the metal ash can.

                  In fact, my 8" round metal peel is my favorite oven tool as it's used for scooping ash, raking coals aside, moving logs, and retrieving pizza. It's one versatile tool.
                  Attached Files
                  George

                  My 34" WFO build

                  Weber 22-OTG / Ugly Drum Smoker / 34" WFO

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                  • #10
                    Re: Ash drop

                    I incorporated an ash drop in my build, but my oven is used primarily for bread baking and has live fire/coals dumped down the slot. I just formed a void which goes right through the concrete, vermicrete and all, to a large area under the base which is nearly 6 ft from the ground to the under side of the support slab. That heat in the ash pit just adds to the hearth heat and overall oven heat retention, like a white oven, but not really.

                    Here are a few pics of the oven. I still need to finish the kitchen, but the oven is usable. I plan on enclosing the ash pit as well, probably with a pair of metal-covered-Durock doors.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Ash drop

                      my local coal fired pizza place has a ash drop that doubles as a blower to help the coal get going in the morning, although he says by mid morning he doesn't use the blower for the rest of the day. Before firing the next morning, he removes the blower pipe, places a metal bucket below the hole, then rakes the ash into the drop/blower access. Another coal fired pizza place apparently came all the way down from north carolina to see his, because theirs wouldn't get up to temp. He swears that is because theirs doesn't have a blower. My guess is that a blower is what it takes with coal. I use a blowdryer.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Ash drop

                        Coal does need more air. That's why it's burned in a grate in a fireplace, so it can get air from below. I've asked people who use coal in their WFO's (CFO's?) to share specifics of what they do. Maybe with pictures?
                        My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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                        • #13
                          Re: Ash drop

                          A coal fired oven? Seems like that would impart a oily fossil/fuel flavor to the baked product?? I have used some alanthus wood in my WFO and have been less than happy with the results. As the wood burns it gives off a lot of black oily creosote-like smoke. No, my fire is not choked down, in fact, when I burned the alanthus there was a huge, rolling fire in the firebox - everything wide open and the black smoke just poured out the flue. I don't recommend alanthus at all. But Coal??

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                          • #14
                            Re: Ash drop

                            "A coal fired oven?"

                            Still fairly common. Purists say the best pizza is from coal fired ovens.

                            I've fired mine with coal from time to time. I usually start with a substantial wood fire and add the coal (a couple of shovelfuls) toward the end of the firing.

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