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  • Smoke Escaping

    Planning on starting my build in the spring when things warm up in Nebraska. Something I want to avoid is smoke escaping out the front that would discolor brickwork above the opening. I've noticed some photo posts where that has happened. What's the cause and what can I do to make sure this isn't going to be an issue?

  • #2
    Re: Smoke Escaping

    Flyboy, welcome to the forum & the world of WFOs!

    There are two main causes for smoke spilling out of the oven's front.

    1) The vent size is too small for the oven...or the most common cause...

    2) The chimney/flue is blocked or initially restricted (can actually be air or a physical object - assume the flue is physically open).

    Air in the chimney/flue column must be warmer than ambient temp in order to work (basic thermodynamics, warmer air rises/cold air drops). That's the reason fireplaces inside a house have a damper...so cold air doesn't flow down the chimney and into the house when there's no fire. It's also the reason a roaring fireplace can be counter-productive. (The air being sucked out the chimney will be replaced by colder, outside air pulled in from all those little gaps around our doors & windows. A house can actually be made colder when you light that nice fire on a wintery night.)

    Initially when you light a fire in the oven, the smoke (warmer) seeks a path out & up. Normally the flue air in our outside WFOs is (static) near ambient temps and on initial firing, resists enough to cause at least some smoke to spill out the front (effectively the ambient temp flue air is acting as a partial blockage/restriction to the desired flow pattern). As the air column warms, the static air restriction is removed and the flue volume becomes completely dedicated to upward flow (removing most of the fire's by-products). As the chimney/flue heats up, it will become a literal vacuum cleaner for the WFO smoke & fire by-products taking them efficiently out the stack. The hotter the flue and flue gasses get, the better the chimney works as intended.

    Assume your vent diameter (volume) is adequate (and you don't have a creosote build-up ). In order to reduce/eliminate the initial smoke out the front of the oven, there are three choices (IMHO).

    1) Preheat your chimney's air column (I've taken a pine cone with a pair of tongs, lit it, and then held the flaming cone just up into the stack to preheat and get the air flowing up.)

    2) Power vent the chimney. A lot of commercial WFO have an electric fan built into the system to keep a constant, minimum flow moving up & out the stack.

    or...

    3) Relax & think of the minimal smoke stain as a badge of honor/proof that you USE your oven!

    Increasing the stack height can also increase the "pull" of a chimney, but again it must have the initial warm up before you see any benefits.
    Mike Stansbury - The Traveling Loafer
    Roseburg, Oregon ( www.sablesprings.com )

    Photo albums
    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/memb...gs-albums.html

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    • #3
      Re: Smoke Escaping

      The key to managing the smoke is the design of the chimney and the "Vent". The chimney design is pretty straight forward sizing issue of having the appropriate proper flue size (diameter) and height. The vent however is more of a volume issue. The Vent acts as kind of like a "staging area" that allows the smoke to gather before exits through the chimney flue. Depending on the wind conditions, the chimney will sometimes "breathe", exhausting in the smoke in a cyclic manner (sometimes). The pompeii oven plans show a tapered design; Personally, I dont think this taper is nearly as important as the vent volume.

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      • #4
        Re: Smoke Escaping

        Also, smoke leaking out the front means smoke in your face!!!!

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        • #5
          Re: Smoke Escaping

          I hear ya Flyboy. Before my build I was really concerned about this as well. I found that it is pretty rare that smoke comes out the front. It tends to happen 1) at the fire start up or 2) if I let the flame go out and I put some fresh wood on the coals. To combat this I made two reveals in my entry. One, on the oven side of the flue. This one gets a solid door designed to completely seal off the oven and retain heat. The second, is on the entry side of the flue. This door has an opening in the bottom that allows are flow to feed the fire but seals the top of the entry to prevent smoke from coming out of the entry. If any smoke starts to come out I just simply put this door in place until the fire gets going. You can see this firing door sitting on the patio in the bottom right or this picture. Hope that helps.
          Attached Files

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          • #6
            Re: Smoke Escaping

            Gudday
            At this stage of the build I saw a lot of smoke stained ovens and living in the sub tropics not that many wood fired stoves so lack of choice with steel chimneys. I made my chimney wider than the oven door and 8 ins deep of brick. Smoke goes straight up that puppy, can't get to the front.
            Regards Dave
            Measure twice
            Cut once
            Fit in position with largest hammer

            My Build
            http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f51/...ild-14444.html
            My Door
            http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f28/...ock-17190.html

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            • #7
              Re: Smoke Escaping

              Mine drafts pretty well, except when the flaming sou'wester (seems like every afternoon, from the September to April , though it probably isn't every afternoon) blows into my carport at an angle, swirls around and fires turbulent air into my oven entry, which actually faces north.

              At that point, I have to prep the pizzas inside if I don't want wind blown grit in them, and use my door with the cut out at the bottom, which lets enough air in for combustion, and closes up the top of the outer arch so the smoke can only go up the chimney.

              For the other 4 months of the year when I can count on a few calm afternoons, drafting isn't an issue at all.

              By the way, the smoke staining on my arch is pretty minimal, given the PITA wind I have been dealing with. I've been using it once a week on average, for over a year. An oven with bad staining must draw very badly.
              Note the staining is mostly to the left. The oven faces north, the sou'wester comes in from the right as it swirls into my carport/barby area which runs east west, the turbulence washes a bit of smoke out the front and the wind takes it to the left.
              I imagine if you construct the vent area in a fairly conventional manner in a reasonably sheltered spot, you shouldn't have an issue, though I think a lot hinges on using tinder dry kindling, good quality dry timber, etc.

              Discussion on proper sizing of vent here:

              http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f9/c...est-20230.html
              Attached Files
              Last edited by wotavidone; 12-22-2013, 04:19 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Smoke Escaping

                Gudday Mick
                I know about the winds where you live . With the cold southern ocean on one side and 1/2 of Australia desert on the other you can tend to get winds.
                I live just off Morten Bay. Great in summer time, a nice cool bay breeze in the afternoon. I had a built in gas BBQ which came with the house. Connected to town natural gas. Great. Except it was in the north east corner close to the house. The wind would swirl around the house and blow out the gas flame. One minute would be coming one way and next the other.
                When it came to positioning the WFO , I positioned it again in the north east and facing the evening winds but away from the house. No swirling winds. You can deal with that. After all this time I have plenty of vegetation at the rear and sides of the oven. That slows the wind and stops the gusting which helps.
                Steady winds and direction you can deal with but gusting and sudden changes in direction is a different matter.
                I can certainly see why you added the brickwork at the sides and the " blast" door.
                Regards Dave
                PS the gas BBQ is long gone!
                Measure twice
                Cut once
                Fit in position with largest hammer

                My Build
                http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f51/...ild-14444.html
                My Door
                http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f28/...ock-17190.html

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Smoke Escaping

                  Yeah Dave I thought I was being clever, pretty much putting her back to the wind. It seems I might have been better off facing it.
                  Still, I manage to deal with it.
                  My mate that I am building an oven for has picked his spot himself. His approach is that it needs to go where it needs to go to fit in with his overall outdoor kitchen plan, and if he has to wait for a calm day to use it, so be it.
                  As for vegetation to help I should be right soon.
                  This year I was a bit slack picking the quandongs. The other day the missus called me out to our one quangdong tree to point out the dozens of seedlings that have sprung up from the fruit that fell to the ground. We will have a grove of quangdong trees soon.
                  Last edited by wotavidone; 12-22-2013, 02:52 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Smoke Escaping

                    Gudday Mick
                    It's pretty hard to control the wind so don't be hard on yourself . What I've learnt the hard way is that you can't stop it with a solid structure you have to an open one to slow it down. Vegetation is a great options but it takes a long time to grow.
                    If you can get a bit of lattice or a bit of open brushwood fencing and place it at the sides of the oven. The object being to slow the wind down and stop the turbulence on the lee side of a solid structure. Now I'm no expert but I recon it would be worth a try. Might be an idea to not to fix it to start with so you can experiment with placement.
                    Hope this might help
                    Regards dave
                    Measure twice
                    Cut once
                    Fit in position with largest hammer

                    My Build
                    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f51/...ild-14444.html
                    My Door
                    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f28/...ock-17190.html

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Smoke Escaping

                      Lattice is the go I reckon Dave. Funny thing is, I'm a bit of a gunna, when it comes to this.
                      I had three months long service leave this year, and used the oven a few times, but couldn't seem to get my act together to actually put up some lattice.
                      There was too much fishin', huntin', motorcycling, catching up with old mates, and touring around, to be done.
                      I'm more committed going into the Christmas break.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Smoke Escaping

                        Originally posted by wotavidone View Post
                        I had three months long service leave this year, and used the oven a few times, but couldn't seem to get my act together to actually put up some lattice.
                        There was too much fishin', huntin', motorcycling, catching up with old mates, and touring around, to be done.
                        I'm more committed going into the Christmas break.
                        Dayam! How many days a year do ya'll actually work down there ....
                        I don't care what folks say behind my back........They are either braggin' or.......lyin'


                        My Build
                        My Picasa Web Album

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                        • #13
                          Re: Smoke Escaping

                          Originally posted by Gulf View Post
                          Dayam! How many days a year do ya'll actually work down there ....
                          Hee, hee. It sure must seem a lot.
                          Let me see if I can explain it.

                          In theory, we get 12 public holidays per year. (You have Independence Day, Thanksgiving, etc, we have Australia Day, New Years Day, Christmas Day, etc) So 5 days per week minus 12 public holidays = working 248 days per year.

                          I work for salary, not wages. Working day starts at 07:00, finishes at 16:30, with a half hour for lunch. So that is a 9 hour day.
                          So that's 2232 hours per year.
                          I believe that's pretty comparable with a lot of other countries.

                          However, there are a couple of positives and negatives, that overall means we got it pretty damn good. Make that real damn good.

                          The negatives?
                          We are on call. We front up whenever the job requires it, which is why, even though I am on holiday (vacation) right now, I went in to work on 4 days in my first week of leave to help with loading a ship. On-call work, after hours and weekends, is not paid, a reasonable amount is considered adequately compensated in your salary.
                          During the first decade of this century, the on-call, and work when needed, requirement saw me not use all of my annual leave (vacation) entitlements as they came due.

                          The positives
                          We have extremely generous leave entitlements here in OZ, and mine are even better than most. Under my individual contract, no union agreement, I am entitle to 25 days annual leave, every year, and what I don't get to use accumulates, since it's often the case that the company asks me not to take some of it. (The timing of this leave must be by mutual agreement, it must suit the "business needs").

                          In addition we have a thing called long service leave. Put simply, for every year of employment, with the same company, you get 1.3 weeks of long service leave.
                          After 10 years you can take a 13 week break. You might call it a paid sabbatical. If you leave before you've worked 7 years, you get nothing. It's all about rewarding hard work and loyalty. Brilliant, eh? It varies from state to state.

                          After 40 years, and I've now worked for the same company for 37 years, you essentially have accumulated an entitlement to 1 year off, though this is not in the spirit of the legislation to accumulate it, you should take it every 10 years.

                          So I have a large backlog of leave that the company recognises.
                          The leave gets paid from a different section of the budget to normal working salaries and it is financially beneficial, I won't try to explain how, for all of us with large leave entitlements to take as much as possible. So we are.
                          They are actually running a "No leave = No life" campaign at the moment. "take your leave, we'll even book your flights for you." I kid you not.

                          After over 4 months leave this year, I am expected to book at least 2 months leave next year.

                          Anything to help the company out.

                          It really is give and take when you are salaried staff. We put in some biiggg weeks, and get generous leave entitlements by way of compensation.
                          Works for me.
                          Last edited by wotavidone; 12-22-2013, 07:06 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Smoke Escaping

                            P.S. It averages out, for me, to an entitlement to 6 weeks leave per year.
                            It would be 5 weeks for people not lucky enough to nail that extra week's vacation that the company offered in my contract.

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