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Trouble firing up my 42 inch Pompeii oven - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Trouble firing up my 42 inch Pompeii oven

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  • Trouble firing up my 42 inch Pompeii oven

    I can't seem to get the oven hot enough. Once I did, but it took six hours. How long does it take y'all to heat it? What do you use besides wood? I read about propane torch. Will get one of those. Any help is greatly appreciated.
    Happy New Year!

  • #2
    Re: Trouble firing up my 42 inch Pompeii oven

    Susan,

    I am usually good to go after 90 minutes or so (though I prefer 2 hours. Could you post some pics (of your oven that is). Also, is your oven wet? I am wondering about your insulation layer underneath and over the dome.

    As for firing my oven, here is a picture from the other day.

    Note: I am a trained professional. If you try this at home, it is on your own risk of severe burns, explosion(s) or mortal death. Don't say I did not warn you!
    Attached Files
    Jen-Aire 5 burner propane grill/Char Broil Smoker

    Follow my build Chris' WFO

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    • #3
      Re: Trouble firing up my 42 inch Pompeii oven

      Originally posted by SusanRHall View Post
      I can't seem to get the oven hot enough. Once I did, but it took six hours. How long does it take y'all to heat it? What do you use besides wood? I read about propane torch. Will get one of those. Any help is greatly appreciated.
      Happy New Year!
      Susan, I am probably not one of the many people on this site who can help you, but if you can maybe include a little more info: how the 42 is constructed, where, insulation, weather/waterproofing, and even better a few pics, Im am sure there are plenty of folks who can get together and figure out why it is taking "6 hours" to bring your oven up to temp.

      PS, I think that C5dad covered it all: Its just that I Can't resist responding to someone who uses y'all in the written form even though in Mississippi it is ya'll
      Last edited by Gulf; 01-03-2012, 07:16 PM. Reason: grammer ya'll
      I don't care what folks say behind my back........They are either braggin' or.......lyin'

      joe watson

      My Build
      My Picasa Web Album

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      • #4
        Re: Trouble firing up my 42 inch Pompeii oven

        Susan

        How many times have you fired the oven?
        What was your curing regimine?

        Most of the time, (and someone asks the same question every six or eight weeks here), the oven is not yet cured, or has gathered some moisture somehow.

        We are between Granbury and Cleburne if we can help.
        Lee B.
        DFW area, Texas, USA

        If you are thinking about building a brick oven, my advice is Here.
        Our One Meter Pompeii Oven album is here.
        An album showing our Thermal Breaks is Here.

        I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Trouble firing up my 42 inch Pompeii oven

          Originally posted by SusanRHall View Post
          I can't seem to get the oven hot enough. Once I did, but it took six hours.
          "Once I did..." This comment implies you have fired your oven more than a few times? I'm more worried about a lack of insulation under the floor than moisture in the dome. As previously mentioned, tell us all the construction details with emphasis on type of insulation used, how much, and where.

          Pictures will help us greatly.
          Ken H. - Kentucky
          42" Pompeii

          Pompeii Oven Construction Video Updated!

          Oven Thread ... Enclosure Thread
          Cost Spreadsheet ... Picasa Web Album

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          • #6
            Re: Trouble firing up my 42 inch Pompeii oven

            Thanks so much for all of your replies. I think the problem has been in the way I was curing it. I'm now trying the curing process I read on the forum, i.e., starting with small, 200, 300 and up to 800. I have a few more fires to go. I started using charcoal and wood. I've read mixed reviews on that, but the charcoal seems help?? I just got an infrared thermometer. So we'll see ...I'll let you know.

            Our oven is in an outdoor kitchen at our weekend place in South Texas. It has 8 inches of insulation over the dome ( 1 inch of fire clay, 7 inches of vermiculite and concrete) then covered with stucco. The oven floor also has 8 inches insulation.

            I have many pictures on my iphone and would love to post some, but I'll have to have my son help me do that as I am challenged in that way.

            What are y'all's favorite oven tools for moving the fire, etc?

            Thanks for your help!
            Last edited by SusanRHall; 01-05-2012, 07:54 AM. Reason: left out the number "8."

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            • #7
              Re: Trouble firing up my 42 inch Pompeii oven

              Originally posted by SusanRHall View Post
              ...snip... starting with small, 200, 300 and up to 800. I have a few more fires to go. I started using charcoal and wood. I've read mixed reviews on that, but the charcoal seems help?? I just got an infrared thermometer. So we'll see ...I'll let you know...snip...
              That sounds like a good plan. Charcoal will work up to a certain temperature, but you'll need wood to get the temp where you need it to steam off the moisture. If I understand the way you built your oven, there will be a lot of moisture to steam off. You may experience some cracks in the outside layer during this process (a path for the steam to exit as you get up to temperature).

              Is the oven covered by a roof or other structure to keep it dry after you are cured?

              Good luck
              Lee B.
              DFW area, Texas, USA

              If you are thinking about building a brick oven, my advice is Here.
              Our One Meter Pompeii Oven album is here.
              An album showing our Thermal Breaks is Here.

              I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Trouble firing up my 42 inch Pompeii oven

                Yes, it's covered by a roof. It's not wet. We haven't had rain in months and it's just been sitting there for a long time. I'll build my next fire tomorrow night.

                Can I only build one fire a day?

                Thanks again.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Trouble firing up my 42 inch Pompeii oven

                  Has anyone tried coal;if so, where did you buy it?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Trouble firing up my 42 inch Pompeii oven

                    One more: Has anyone tried those terracota dishes that are sold by Forno Bravo or any of their other tools?

                    I almost forgot, this is for my Mississippi friend, I'm originally from Texas, but graduated from Ole Miss and I do know how to spell "y'all" correctly

                    Thanks again

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Trouble firing up my 42 inch Pompeii oven

                      "Has anyone tried coal;if so, where did you buy it?"

                      I use coal occasionally. Check with your local blacksmiths, they will have a line on coal supplies. They also use the right type of coal (hard low sulfur anthracite). The local blacksmiths here have a sort of co-op where they chip in to get a truckload from time to time and are happy to have more people contribute. If you have a local artifacts or agricultural society that fool around with steam engines, this may also be a contact.

                      When I use coal, I start the fire with wood and add the coal about halfway thru the burn.

                      As to it taking 6 hours to get up to temperature, assuming it is cured, one cause may be that your fire is too small. I have a 40 inch and mine reaches temperature in about 90 min. I usually put in a small fire for the first 30 min then load it up all at once with about a cubic foot of well seasoned wood = a large armful, almost filling the oven right up. I don't add anymore wood after that.

                      You want a "plasma god" hot fire.


                      "Can I only build one fire a day?"

                      Normally only one fire a day is used. The oven is brought up to the 1000 F level to cook pizza. After the oven cools down, other thing can be cooked, often into the next day.
                      Last edited by Neil2; 01-05-2012, 02:05 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Trouble firing up my 42 inch Pompeii oven

                        Susan, if you are asking about the interval between fires during curing and using Fornobravo.com's recommended protocol, you can light a fire early in the morning and another as soon as the oven cools. James' explanation about this gives an actual temperature that I don't remember, but its close to 100-120 F, if memory serves.

                        This video shows how to light a fire and gives you a visual data point on how big a fire you need to heat the oven after it is cured. Remember, the cooling cycle between fires is going to take longer with each fire. HTH.
                        Last edited by Lburou; 01-05-2012, 03:01 PM.
                        Lee B.
                        DFW area, Texas, USA

                        If you are thinking about building a brick oven, my advice is Here.
                        Our One Meter Pompeii Oven album is here.
                        An album showing our Thermal Breaks is Here.

                        I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Trouble firing up my 42 inch Pompeii oven

                          Wow. Thank you. After watching that I realize I've not been making the fires near big enough.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Trouble firing up my 42 inch Pompeii oven

                            Originally posted by Neil2 View Post
                            You want a "plasma god" hot fire.
                            BINGO! That's a good description.
                            Ken H. - Kentucky
                            42" Pompeii

                            Pompeii Oven Construction Video Updated!

                            Oven Thread ... Enclosure Thread
                            Cost Spreadsheet ... Picasa Web Album

                            Comment

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