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How much wood to buy? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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How much wood to buy?

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  • How much wood to buy?

    As I get closer to finishing off my dome, I am starting to think about laying in a wood pile. It looks like it would be smart for me to buy now and dry it over the summer. Selection seems good and prices are maybe slightly better.

    I know the right answer is probably "as much as you can", but I am building a 39" oven and have limited space for wood storage. I think that I can get a half cord along the side of my house but I am worried I will burn through that pretty quickly if I am firing my oven up once a week.

    How much wood do you folks use in your oven in a season? Are you a heavy/moderate/light user?
    My build progress
    My WFO Journal on Facebook
    My dome spreadsheet calculator

  • #2
    Re: How much wood to buy?

    I am a pack rat so I agree with the as much as you can thought. We have barrel design, very similar to Tscarborough's. It takes me about 2 banana boxes full to get mine up to temp. The inside dimensions are about 29X36 inches. I would try to get the hardest wood you can find. In a pinch you could use softer woods, like pine to get the heat up, but they will pop and spit embers into your pies if you use it when cooking. The cavity under our oven would probably get us 6 or so firings.

    It is worth a try to contact cabinet and woodworking shops for their trim and waste material. We burn almost mostly maple leftovers in our oven. The worst they could say is no. A hot pie develops much goodwill.

    Good luck,

    Derk

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    • #3
      Re: How much wood to buy?

      "How much wood do you folks use in your oven in a season?"

      I fire mine once a week during spring, summer and fall. I burn about 1/2 a cord a year in my 40 inch oven. This is 1/2 cord of well seasoned (two summers preferably) Douglass fir. If your wood is less well seasoned you will burn more. I note that you are in Seattle and should have access to Douglass fir and/or Alder - both good woods and good value.

      I suggest you plan for storage for a full cord. That way you can manage your supply so you are burning wood you have seasoned yourself. One tip - to avoid carpenter ants try not to store immediately against your house
      Last edited by Neil2; 05-20-2012, 05:10 PM.

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      • #4
        Re: How much wood to buy?

        Originally posted by Neil2 View Post
        This is 1/2 cord of well seasoned (two summers preferably) Douglass fir.
        Neil,

        Do you cook pizza's with an evergreen wood?
        Check out my pictures here:
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        If at first you don't succeed... Skydiving isn't for you.

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        • #5
          Re: How much wood to buy?

          Thanks for the responses. I think my usage/oven size is probably close to what Neil is doing, so it sounds like my best plan is a cord of storage - 1/2 cord seasoned + 1/2 cord "wet" for the next year if I can manage it. I have to measure some spaces to see if I can make that work. I don't want the wood touching my house for sure. I was thinking about a tarp or covered structure next to the house of some sort, as my only spot for wood storage is on the weather-exposed side. More stuff to build I guess. Never stops. Today was too rainy for oven work, so I was putting in a raised bed to give me a source of basil and tomatoes.

          Neil - I have the same question Les has about Fir. I was thinking hardwoods only - so Alder was the prime choice, and I was also watching ads for fruit woods. Do you have good luck with seasoned fir?

          I do have a buddy with cherry orchard down in the columbia river gorge who said I could have all the trimmings I want - but I am thinking that may be too much trouble, as I would need to rent a truck + gas. It seems like it might be cheaper to have it delivered
          My build progress
          My WFO Journal on Facebook
          My dome spreadsheet calculator

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          • #6
            Re: How much wood to buy?

            Our long term sustainable solution, will be to coppice a few gum trees and get a replenishing hardwood supply of logs that are of a ready size.

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            • #7
              Re: How much wood to buy?

              Originally posted by deejayoh View Post

              I do have a buddy with cherry orchard down in the columbia river gorge who said I could have all the trimmings I want - but I am thinking that may be too much trouble, as I would need to rent a truck + gas.
              DeeJay,

              I have a friend in the Bay Area that manages a walnut orchard. It's a 4.5 - 5 hour drive for me one way. I make the trip about every other year, pound a few beers with an old friend and have the wood for free. Well worth it...
              Check out my pictures here:
              http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/les-build-4207.html

              If at first you don't succeed... Skydiving isn't for you.

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              • #8
                Re: How much wood to buy?

                "Do you cook pizza's with an evergreen wood?"

                In my experience, any well seasoned fire wood will work just fine in these ovens. With the emphasis on "well seasoned". These ovens are not fussy.

                I particularly like the Douglas Fir. It is relatively cheap locally and, as a bonus, is easy to hand split.
                Last edited by Neil2; 05-22-2012, 08:06 AM.

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                • #9
                  Re: How much wood to buy?

                  Brick oven cooking is accomplished with heat retained in the masonry, so wou can load heat with most kinds of fuel. Smoking food is another matter, and generally you don't want to use evergreen wood for smoking. That may be where you heard not to use evergreen wood.

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                  • #10
                    Re: How much wood to buy?

                    My oven's a 39" Pompeii style and I bake on Fridays for probably 10 months of the year. Once your oven is seasoned, the 1/2 cord ready & 1/2 cord drying should be OK. I have been burning anything that I can get free to get my oven heat loaded prior to a bake and have noticed two things. 1) Although fir & pine will provide the dome heat, they don't produce very good coals for the hearth and I find that it takes me more of these woods to get my oven chamber heat soaked. 2) You will find that much more ash is generated by these softer woods than by something like oak or Madrone.

                    As Derk noted in post #2, another issue with the soft/resin woods is the tendency to pop and throw cinders onto food. It bothers some folks and not others so that's your call. Obviously that's not an issue when you're baking (no live fire, ash cleaned out), but it certainly can be for pizza. I recommend you get some significant amount of hardwood that you use during the actual pizza bake (anything will push heat into the oven initially, but when you've got a live fire and a pie in the oven...best use a dry hardwood.

                    Oh yeah and insulate, insulate, insulate!
                    Mike Stansbury - The Traveling Loafer
                    Roseburg, Oregon ( www.sablesprings.com )

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                    (working on restoration after web site upgrade )

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                    • #11
                      Re: How much wood to buy?

                      Douglas Fir is not a true "fir". It burns more like a hardwood and does not pop and throw embers like some cedar, pines and fir do.

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