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The old chicken farm - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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The old chicken farm

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  • The old chicken farm

    In San Angelo, Texas, where I live, we have a nice little out-of-the-way hangout for artists and artisans. I was privileged to have done quite a bit of work there while I earned a living as a carpenter. I went out for a visit on Friday to pick up some more fire clay, and little did I know that the "owner" of the grounds had built a wood oven over the summer.

    I was really surprised(shouldn't have been), but it was pretty neat.
    It was the barrel type, and had loads of mass.

    A few interesting points.

    1st, He built the barrel vault with no mortar. He simply built a big wood form to rest the arch bricks on, and during his initial firing, the form burned out and the arches held themselves up. (as expected) The floor is two layers of firebricks.

    2nd, he fires up the oven with propane. He uses a tank, a regulator, and a venturi burner that has a piece of pipe attached. He drilled a series of holes in the pipe to create a burner. The oven reaches 700F after 3-4 hours, and is still at 350F the following afternoon. After reaching 700F or so, he tosses in wood, which spontaneously ignites. (He said that he hates the mess of wood.) Hence the propane setup. The burner enters the side of the oven towards the back of the oven. He left an entry point there, and the chimney is located in the front oven.

    3rd, he only insulated with Kaowool, followed by a high temp cement(as he called it) that I assume is water proof. I think it could stand more insulation from what I have read on this site.

    4th, the doors are awesome. He placed one set at the back and one at the front. Both sides of the double doors are hinged on the sides. The hinges attach to angle iron. The top angle iron is the header above the doors, and the bottom angle iron is the hearth. He used angle iron and flat steel for the hearth. The doors latch in the center of each pair, and are secured to the header angle iron. The doors were built out of sheet copper and filled with Kaowool. The person that built them also "burned" a nice flower design on them. i.e. the heated design turned other colors.. blue etc.

    5th, it was built on top of cinder blocks. The stand is only three sided, and the front is completely open.

    It was really nice to see another WFO version in person.
    And it's neat to know that so many variations are possible and customizable to individual tastes.

    I will try to get over there to take some pictures soon.

    The name of the place is the Chicken Farm Art Center. Here is a link to their website. Make sure to check out Roger Allen's work. He is a superb potter. If you look at some of his pictures you will see a huge pot that he created with a combination of coils and throwing on a powerful wheel. He even built a custom kiln out of insulating bricks to fire it in.

    Chicken Farm Art Center

    Hope everyone enjoys looking.

    Last edited by asudavew; 10-23-2007, 02:47 PM.
    My thread:
    My costs:
    My pics:

  • #2
    Re: The old chicken farm

    Yep...very cool. And real, you know? Not overly trendy like the artisians in old Sac., for example, where the rent is high and the whole "artsy-fartsy" thing seems fake to me.
    Those dinner plates of Rogers are by far the nicest I have ever seen. My wife and I raised three boys. Very early on, we gave up trying to have a "set" of dishes because so many got broken. We started just buying one of these or those whenever we saw one we liked. Soon, no two dishes matched and it remains that way today. It seems to work too because now everone has their favorite and they tend to take better care of it.
    I am almost afraid to ask him for a price on one, but I think I will since christmas is coming and my wife is into sh#* like that.
    I am 100% down with the barrel oven because he designed and built exactly what would work for him. Pretty much like what we are all doing.


    • #3
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      • #4
        Re: The old chicken farm

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        • #5
          Re: The old chicken farm

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