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Using charcoal to cure? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Using charcoal to cure?

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  • Using charcoal to cure?

    Hi all - I hope this isn't a stupid question, but I'm going to ask anyway. I will be building my dome this weekend, so hopefully I'll be starting the curing process next weekend. I have read many ideas on how to cure the dome. I was thinking...would charcoal be a good option for the first few firings? I was just thinking since the briquettes are all uniform in size and burn for a fairly long time, it would give some control over temperature (1 coal versus 2 or 3, etc) and gradually increase the number of coals over several days.

    My dome is going to be constructed entirely of a clay/sand mixture, so the entire thing will be expanding/contracting. I made a small practice dome just to experiment. When I fired it up with a small fire, a large piece of the top blew off. Of course, even though it was a small fire, it was a big fire for that small dome, and the temp had gotten over 700 degrees F! I only had two small chuncks of wood....I had no idea it would get that hot in there.

    Anyhow, at this point I'm considering going the charcoal route. Feel free to yell at me if this is a dumb idea. I'd rather feel dumb now than feel really dumb after damaging my dome. Thanks for any input.

  • #2
    Re: Using charcoal to cure?

    At first I didnt like the idea, but the more I thought about it, sounds like a good idea to me....The brickettes can be distributed evenly and you also can gauge the size your fire by the number of briquettes you use and you wont have a raging flame conentrating the heat in the center of your dome roof.

    another thing you could do is build a fire elsewhere, then shovel the glowing embers into the oven...similar effect to the charcoal.

    WAIVER: I, Moveebuff, hereby release Jeeppiper of all responsibility in the event that his mindless opinions cause my WFO damage or bodily harm in any way.

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    • #3
      Re: Using charcoal to cure?

      A lot of people have used briquettes for the first stages of curing. Look up "heat beads" because I think Karangi Dude was the first one to do it, so the Aussie name gets used quite a bit.
      My build progress
      My WFO Journal on Facebook
      My dome spreadsheet calculator

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      • #4
        Re: Using charcoal to cure?

        Before I would be thinking about fire, I would be concerned with why my dome blew up???? Did I give it enough drying time, did it have a large pocket of air in it, did my wife increase my life insurance policy and dumped my stash of black powder in the mix??

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        • #5
          Re: Using charcoal to cure?

          Interesting idea. If you put the briquettes in a container you could easily remove them if the temperature climbs to high.

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          • #6
            Re: Using charcoal to cure?

            Originally posted by Laurentius View Post
            Before I would be thinking about fire, I would be concerned with why my dome blew up???? Did I give it enough drying time, did it have a large pocket of air in it, did my wife increase my life insurance policy and dumped my stash of black powder in the mix??
            Hopefully nobody's trying to kill me! Actually, I know why the dome blew up...it was still visibly damp on the inside, and I built almost an 800 degree F fire inside it within 15 minutes. I kept the fire very small, but considering the size of the dome, that was a raging inferno. I would have been better using 1/4 piece of charcoal...and letting the dome dry more before even trying it.

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            • #7
              Re: Using charcoal to cure?

              Originally posted by deejayoh View Post
              A lot of people have used briquettes for the first stages of curing. Look up "heat beads" because I think Karangi Dude was the first one to do it, so the Aussie name gets used quite a bit.
              Thanks for the info! At least I know it's not a bad idea now.

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              • #8
                Re: Using charcoal to cure?

                I think charcoal or brickettes are are great way to provide some gentle heat to the dome because you don't have direct flame impingement like you do with wood. For some reason FB say not to use charcoal and it will void the warranty on their ovens. I think maybe it makes the floor too hot in one spot perhaps. You can always move the stuff around to avoid this. There is another way to do it, but we are banned from discussing it. It is revealed if you read the entire thread on curing. As your experiment demonstrated, the sudden build up of steam at the centre of the clay wall expands so rapidly that the wall splits in half from the middle. The safest way is to allow nature in the form of sun and wind do much of the drying for you. If you keep rain off the thing a few weeks rather than days will be of great benefit.
                Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

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                • #9
                  Re: Using charcoal to cure?

                  Originally posted by Mooveebuff View Post
                  Hopefully nobody's trying to kill me! Actually, I know why the dome blew up...it was still visibly damp on the inside, and I built almost an 800 degree F fire inside it within 15 minutes. I kept the fire very small, but considering the size of the dome, that was a raging inferno. I would have been better using 1/4 piece of charcoal...and letting the dome dry more before even trying it.
                  In 15 minutes, DAMN! What was your fuel? PYROPHOSPHATE?????

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                  • #10
                    Re: Using charcoal to cure?

                    Ha! No...when I say it was a small dome, I mean small! The mouth of the oven was probably about the size of a soda can, and the whole thing was probably about 10 inches deep. Didn't take much to get it hot real quick!

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                    • #11
                      Re: Using charcoal to cure?

                      Will a large chicken fit, and a 12" pizza is out of the question?

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