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Ash dump slot ? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Ash dump slot ?

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  • Ash dump slot ?

    I am getting ready to start building my oven....

    I want to put an ash dump slot in the back of my oven chamber. The plans I am using have a slot in the hearth in front of the oven....seems like you are dragging a lot of dirty ashes across your cooking surface.

    Is there any reason to avoid putting a ash dump slot in the back of the oven chamber?

    Would you lose a lot of heat out this slot eventhough it is in the floor?

  • #2
    Re: Ash dump slot ?

    YES! (there are good reasons for not having an ash slot at all)

    NO! (The heat will go out the front of your oven and you will screw up the air flow in the oven).

    Ash is part of WFO pizza. Can't be avoided. You should buy a brass brush to clean the hearth for cooking. Once you clean it off you have no reason to be "dragging dirty ashes across your cooking surface" unless the hearth temp gets too low and dragging coals acreoss the hearth (and spreading ash) is how you get the temperature back up.

    Forget the ash slot.

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    • #3
      Re: Ash dump slot ?

      I didn't put an ash dump because it added a lot of complexity to the project. I thought that that was going to be a big mistake. In reality, ash is very easy to manage. First, there ends up being very little ash to deal w/after a complete burn. I use a stainless steel peel to move the ash. Three shovel fulls from the peel and all the ash is usually gone.

      If you are concerned that the ash will dirty the hearth that you are planning on cooking on, I would not worry. Right before cooking pizza, you will push the coals to one side of the oven. The coals sweep to one side without leaving ash streaks on the hearth. The only time that I will get ash streaks is if I did not let the wood completely burn to coals before moving the coals to one side.

      In my opinion, one of the best decisions that I made was not to add an ash dump.

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      • #4
        Re: Ash dump slot ?

        Yes, the consensus is that ash dumps aren't worth the trouble. There's one exception to this: an indoor oven used for baking bread, where shoveling live fire out of the oven might be a fire hazard. Otherwise, don't bother.

        And no, the ash dump never goes in back, for the same reason the flue never goes in the back. It will let in combustion air, and disrupt the circular air flow.

        And those plans you are using? Check out FB's free pompeii plans before you commit to a barrel oven.
        My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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        • #5
          Re: Ash dump slot ?

          I agree with everyone else, no ash dump needed for a pizza oven. Those ash dump slots are so small that it doesn't make any sense to put them in. If you are using the oven for bread baking you are going to have to remove all the ash/coals in the oven, and that small slot will not be as fast as using a big Pizza peal.

          Mike D

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          • #6
            Re: Ash dump slot ?

            I guess it is a landslide....the ash dump slot is gone! Thanks for the insight everyone!

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            • #7
              Re: Ash dump slot ?

              And... as dmun implies...IF you have an ash dump it isn't in the oven - it is in front where you can seal the oven without having a HOLE in the oven to lose heat.

              As I was originally building my oven primarily for bread (or so I thought) I seriously considered an ash slot. The more I talked to people the more the mess, the corrosiveness, and the general pain of having an ash slot became apparent. Yes there are people who love them...and there are people who would never do one again.

              After building an oven without a slot I would never consider adding one unless I was a commercial baker with an indoor oven.

              Removing a live fire is awkward but so is having the coals in your storage space below the oven and quality/construction of the pan needs to be heavy duty - including the tracks that allow you to pull it forward and dump it. If not kept clean (it can easily collect water in an outdoor oven and make a caustic slurry.

              I would strongly urge you to begin with a "Why do I need a slot?" attitude and look for strong reasons you need one. The very fact that you are considering putting the slot in the rear is clear evidence you haven't researched the topic.

              And...I will reiterate...ash is a part of WFO cookery. It is unavoidable. Yes you can get hearth reasonably clean - and you should. But if you are totally ash averse you will either not use the oven or you will change your mind.
              Jay

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