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Tips for Minimizing Smoke - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Tips for Minimizing Smoke

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  • Tips for Minimizing Smoke

    I live in an urban setting. I am in the mid to latter part of curing and had been using charcoal as a heat source before yesterday. With the wood fire, there was a lot of smoke. I am pretty sure it would eventually become a problem with my neighbors if that always occured when I started the oven. After a little research I know I did things that made it smoke more than it needed to such as bottom up starting, adding wood to a fire that was not ready for it, disturbing the pile too early and the fact that I was trying to not make a big fire. Inexperience for sure. What I would like to know is what I can do to reduce the smoke (and shorten the learning curve).

    One thing I know I should try out:
    I have to try is the top down fire starting

    All other tips would be appreciated. Thanks, David

  • #2
    Re: Tips for Minimizing Smoke

    I did some more reading on this site. There are some good posts on smoke reduction. I'll try to list some of the tips I am reading about. All tips welcome from your experiences too!

    During curing your oven smokes more than it will with more firings. This makes sense to me since a curing oven will not be as hot (efficient) as a cured one.

    Obvious? Green and/or wet wood significantly increase smoke. Species of wood could also play into this. Resinous woods, for instance, would smoke more.

    Start the fire small and work up to larger logs or try the top down technique which by design burns smaller to larger.
    Last edited by dhs; 08-02-2010, 10:52 AM.

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    • #3
      Re: Tips for Minimizing Smoke

      Also, make sure you offer pizza to your neighbors...this reduces any complaining about the smoke!

      But seriously, the only time I have smoke is about the first 10 minutes when the fire is getting going. Once in a while if my oven or wood is wet, then it takes a few minutes longer to get up to a hot enough temp to eliminate smoke. Often the only way I can tell that the oven is still burning is by looking for the heat waves out of the chimney...

      Drake
      My Oven Thread:
      http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/d...-oven-633.html

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      • #4
        Re: Tips for Minimizing Smoke

        Use only well seasoned split hardwoods...maple, oak, etc...that is the key. No matter what kind of wood you use there will be smoke on start up.

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        • #5
          Re: Tips for Minimizing Smoke

          Smoke=incomplete combustion, so there is no way to prevent some smoke at startup. Dry wood is the most important, as is getting the fire to high temps quickly.

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          • #6
            Re: Tips for Minimizing Smoke

            thanks guys. I spoke with the neighbors and they seem to be ok with the smoke so far having not noticed anything. I am using kiln dried oak, so I should be good there. Will try again for a larger fire this weekend.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Tips for Minimizing Smoke

              dhs,

              A properly-lit top-down fire will produce very little smoke.

              The top-lit or "upside down" fire can be very efficient - but you want the fire to burn evenly across the top. Such a fire can burn off the gases that are emitted - which creates a more efficient burn and produces less emissions. I've found it to work extremely well.

              Cheers,
              Mick
              My Clay Oven build:
              http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f43/...dah-12821.html

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Tips for Minimizing Smoke

                Did a firing today with the top down technique, actually did two. First one was not too good. Had the transition from small pieces to the logs too fast and wound up with a bunch of smoke again when the fire could not sustain itself. Was smarter with the second attempt later in the day. This one was very good indeed. Some smoke at the start, but then it hit a sweet spot and continued on till there were only embers left.

                A couple of more questions came to mind during todays work..

                Does everyone start their fires in the center and the pile over when ready to cook? With the top down, it seems I might do well to build on the side and just let it be.

                Also - bark, is there a consensus on removing it or leaving it on?

                thanks everyone, David

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                • #9
                  Re: Tips for Minimizing Smoke

                  Bark smokes. I am not familiar with the top down method though.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Tips for Minimizing Smoke

                    I agree that bark should be avoided if you want to reduce smoke.

                    I've only ever run the fire in the middle of the oven and let it burn down until it gets good heat into the hearth - if you started it on one side, not sure if the hearth would get hot enough. Then again, lots of ovens seem to have a problem of the hearth being too hot so it may be worth experimenting.

                    Cheers,
                    Mick
                    My Clay Oven build:
                    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f43/...dah-12821.html

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Tips for Minimizing Smoke

                      1. Well seasoned firewood split down to a small size; 3-4 inches across at the end.

                      2. Start your fire near the entrance. Start with a small fire for 30 to 45 min . Then push back to the centre and load up the wood for the main burn. Load the wood "tee-pee" style.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Tips for Minimizing Smoke

                        Our neighbor has a wood fired oven that smokes all day. It fills our house and I would imagine our neighbors too. We have told him how bad it is with no real solution coming from him. He did offer pizza, not really a big consolation when we're so stuffed up from the smoke we're miserable. Any suggestions before we call the fire department next time?

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                        • #13
                          Re: Tips for Minimizing Smoke

                          I have wound up with using a loose log cabin of 1 to 1.5" diameter split pieces of wood and lighting from underneath. I saw how well this worked first hand when I did a short stint working with Pizza Moto (Brooklyn based portable pizza oven business, killer pizza). It is incredible how fast you can get a raging and very efficiently burning fire using this technique with good dry hardwood. Very very little smoke. Less smoke than the top down technique IME. The loose configuration allows for a lot of air to get in there and create a strong fire fast.

                          I can't give you advice on how to approach your neighbor but maybe you can point him to this thread?

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                          • #14
                            Re: Tips for Minimizing Smoke

                            Our neighbor has a wood fired oven that smokes all day.
                            S/he's doing something wrong. There should be a blast of smoke on start-up, but once the oven's up to temperature there shouldn't be any visible smoke at all. I suspect they are using too large/too wet wood. The pizza's probably not very good either, at smoke producing temperatures.
                            My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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                            • #15
                              Re: Tips for Minimizing Smoke

                              "I am pretty sure it would eventually become a problem with my neighbors"

                              Lots of good tips. Talking to your neighbors about what you are doing, the fact that it will only smoke for a short period etc may head off a lot of problems. It only takes one crank to create a headache.

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