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Freezing temps before curing fires...worried! - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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Freezing temps before curing fires...worried!

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  • Freezing temps before curing fires...worried!

    I'm within days of finishing our oven dome. We live in a four-season climate and had freezing temps a few nights last week. I put an insulated blanket over the still-wet dome with a tarp over the top of that and a small, oil heater inside to keep the mortar from freezing. The oven temp was about 70 over those days. There was effluorecsing on the mortar, but it was easily wiped off. It has warmed again, but sustained freezing temps are just a few weeks away. Curing is going to put the first firings well into the 'freezing days' range. I worry about thermal shock if it's fired while still moisture-laden in freezing temps., but I don't want the moisture remaining to freeze either. Should/can I repeat the 'blankets/tarp/heat' for the winter and recommence in the spring?

    I travel a lot and won't have the time needed in the next few weeks to mind fires. This project was begun in the spring of '09, so I don't mind waiting if it means success over failure.

    Any ideas out there?

  • #2
    Re: Freezing temps before curing fires...worried!

    I would go ahead with the firings. It is best to drive out the excess moisture and get your refractory mortar hardened off before leaving it for the winter.


    • #3
      Re: Freezing temps before curing fires...worried!

      Neil2, thanks for your reply. I have a week to wait for the mortar to cure with what looks to be reasonable temps (mid 40's at night, 60's during the day). If I run short of time on the curing fires before leaving out of town for work, do you think I can depend on the first 2-4 firings to drive moisture out, cover and start from the first firing again come spring?


      • #4
        Re: Freezing temps before curing fires...worried!

        Use a 100watt bulb with door close for 8 hours and watch how hot it gets you will be suprised.... then use 300 watt bulb,,,,,, then 500watt bulb ...... all for 8 hours each and after that use a small fire and start and you will be GOLDEN


        • #5
          Re: Freezing temps before curing fires...worried!

          I would put the light bulb in it and not worried one bit about the mortar curing for another week less then 200 degree will not hurt the oven one bit. then go on vacation or wherever you are going and then do your wood firing when you get back....



          • #6
            Re: Freezing temps before curing fires...worried!

            Chris, thanks for your input. I'm going let the mortar cure as long as I can with a high-watt light bulb, probably for the next 2-3 days then move to the heater before leaving out of town for work for 2 weeks. The newest mortar is only a few days old, so hopefully I can keep it warm and curing while I'm gone, as the forecast is for periodic freezing temps over that time period. Then I will start a week of firing around Thanksgiving and but the project to bed until it warms up again. Here's hoping...!


            • #7
              Re: Freezing temps before curing fires...worried!

              Use the bulb and DONT WORRY ONE BIT Look at my Curing and Look how i cures it ...... The way I did it was Constant Temp with out zero change for 8 hours heat 16 hours cool for 7 days I never used wood