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Need for ash slot? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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Need for ash slot?

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  • Need for ash slot?

    Hello all,

    I'm getting ready to pour my hearth slab and I am wondering if there is any real value to having an ash slot within the oven arch? Now is the time to plan but I am wondering if others who have fashioned a slot find it a convenience for post-fire cleaning or is incorporating a slot just a complication in the building of the oven? How to clean the ash otherwise? Broom and shovel plus shop vac? I see ash slots in a lot of books on brick oven building but not on this forum.

    Comments appreciated!!


    Greg in RI

  • #2
    Re: Need for ash slot?

    Hi Greg!

    A strong NO to ash slots unless you are running a commercial oven and even then I think they are at best optional. You have to deal with the ashes at some point. I think it is easier to do it once and not again when cleaning out the pan (and yes, if you do it you should definitely IMO fabricate a pan). And IF you do build a slot be sure it is far enough outside the oven to provide room for your door to seal the oven. And keep in mind that you probably don't want many coals in your ash pan and a lot of what you will be removing from the oven will be burning coals (when you clear the oven for baking or rearrange/clean the oven for pizza). After it is all over and what is left in the oven is ash, cleaning is trivial.

    WRT cleaning out the oven. WHY? What is using a broom and shop vac going to accomplish. You will have already cooked in it before it is cool enough to use either and you are simply going to build another fire in it with more ash. What is some residual ash in the oven going to hurt?

    I think it the ash slot is more trouble than it is worth!


    • #3
      Re: Need for ash slot?

      I agree with Jay, and would add that IMHO to use a shop vac inside a WFO with the exception of having to go inside to make repairs or replace a brick in the floor is asking for problems, and both hopefully a rare undertaking. Fine ash fills the cracks/spaces in the floor between the bricks and makes for a smoother surface with which to work.

      Errant drops of wood can cause chips on the corners and edges of the floor bricks. These chips if left alone stay in place and present no problems. Start using a shop vac and all on a sudden you find you have sucked up the corner of a brick... and so now what are you going to do?



      • #4
        Re: Need for ash slot?

        People think having an ash slot will make things easier to clean out the oven. If you are a weekend user and not a "fire it up" everyday oven user I highly recommend against it. Even for a commercial oven, where you turn out hundreds of pizzas every hour, it's too much trouble for the convenience it gives in clearing the ash.

        Firstly, instead of a straightforward pour for the hearth you have to make a frame for the slot to keep the concrete and insulation out. Second, you sacrifice a lot in terms of heat retention even if you do come up with an insultated trap door it will never be as efficient.

        We all want to build a better mouse trap but I think this type of innovation is unnecessary and is more trouble than the convenience it provides.

        Raffy's WFO Build Thread
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        • #5
          Re: Need for ash slot?

          I have to agree with everyone else on this. It is such a minimal task to clean out the small amount of ash that is left that it isn't worth the time and effort. I am amazed at how little ash is left in the oven the next day.


          • #6
            Re: Need for ash slot?

            OK now for the most basic question. What the heck is IMO and IMHO mean??????


            • #7
              Re: Need for ash slot?

              IMO In My Opinion
              IMHO In My Humble Opinion


              • #8
                Re: Need for ash slot?

                Devils advocate here....

                If you want one - build one - you'll either use it....or not!

                but if you don't build it - you CAN'T use it.

                If you're going to bake bread - you'll probably use it, as you'll want to clean the fire remnants - (red hot coals & ash) out of the oven before you put your loaves in.

                This is where an ash dump is very handy. If you've ever stood on a hot coal you'll understand why.

                Having the ash dump means you wont have to shovel the coals & ash out of the oven, dump it somewhere, and then have to wet them down etc.

                Most people on here see them as being used for cleaning out a cold oven, (see above replies) which is not really what they are for.

                To clean out a cold oven - most people just use a peel and a wheel barrow, or just not bother...

                oh - and you should never vacuum up ash - it will completely **** your vacuum!!!
                Last edited by Mitchamus; 05-24-2010, 04:49 PM.
                My 2nd Build:
                Is here


                • #9
                  Re: Need for ash slot?


                  Thanks everyone for the input. The replies made me look more closely at how I will be using my oven

                  My plan is to forego the slot. Now it's on with the pour!!

                  Greg in RI

                  (pictures will be up before too long)


                  • #10
                    Re: Need for ash slot?

                    Hi Greg!

                    I think you made a smart choice. I personally keep a galvanized trash can near the oven that I shovel hot coals and pieces of burning logs into. The lid kills the fire and I get really nice lump charcoal which I occasionally use to grill with. Ashes go in the can also.

                    Good Luck!