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james 01-17-2008 06:30 PM

Curing strategy
We've been talking with the producer of the Modena ovens, and I want to open a discussion on modifying our recommended curing strategy. Their recommendation is to build a series of low and growing fires, and for keeping them going all day at the slower temperatures. The theory is that you are baking the moisture out slowly and consistently. The idea is to keep the low fires going all day, and close the door before you go to bed, and start again the next day.

The recommendation is this:

Day 1; 300F
Day 2; 350F
Day 3; 500F
Day 4; 600F
Day 5; 700F

It can be tricky and laborious keeping a fire burning, not going out, and not going over the 300F and 350F, but it makes sense. There is a chance this might minimize cracking a little if you do it right. It is still absolutely critical to not get the oven too hot in the early days.

Before we make the standard procedure for everyone, I wanted to throw it open to conversation.

What do you think?
What do you

ballard6449 01-17-2008 09:09 PM

Re: Curing strategy

I had my WFO built by a pro (did not have the time, no tools, and not much talent to do it myself) using the Pompeii design. He came over today and we lit the first fire. Although he did not specify the daily temperature goals, he did recommend that we start with a small fire and keep it burning all day (if possible). The next day build a little bigger fire and keep it burning all day, etc. for the next 7 days. The gist of his comments were keeping the fires buring throughout a longer period of time would give us a better cure/drying....

james 01-17-2008 10:23 PM

Re: Curing strategy
We can take that as a yes. :-)

I am guessing it was Keith. Hope your oven is working great.

Acoma 01-17-2008 11:20 PM

Re: Curing strategy
James, I'll give it a shot once my oven is complete. It does make sense to maintain the temp for longer periods. I would even think that those in curing stages right now can move to longer periods. What if several days go between cures, just go to next temp level once able for the day? Was that brought up?

RCLake 01-18-2008 05:59 AM

Re: Curing strategy
This will be an interesting thread to follow, I'm guessing I'm at the halfway point of the dome. I know I needed to research threads on peoples experience on curing and this approach may be fine. By the way I've got an IR gun for Christmas and was wondering is it the dome temp. or floor temp or even the air temp this is the focus? I've got a 500 degree F oven temp gauge I'll also use.
I also would like input on having insulation on or off.
I don't ask much do I?:D

gjbingham 01-18-2008 07:48 AM

Re: Curing strategy
I agree that the standard early fires of 100 and 200 degrees are probably not that effective at drying out the dome. The thing will barely get warm on the inside after an hour of small fires. Your suggested burn schedule makes sense for that reason.

The all day burns sound problematic to me. I don't have a job, other than normal round-the-house stuff, and I'm not sure that I could do the suggested burn schedule effectively to that degree of accuracy over the course of a whole day (or days and days).

I'm wondering if there's a common household device that got hot enough to maintain the temps over long periods of time (like a hotplate?). Something that didn't cost an arm and a leg.


Acoma 01-18-2008 08:28 AM

Re: Curing strategy
RC, this would likely be air temp. The goal is to have heat dry out moisture from first point of contact, which is internal face. Then the moisture is driven out with increased temps, which is deeper within the brick, and backside of it, as well as the cladding. This goal is to slowly drive out, and dry out the moisture. If you go to high at first, the brick and morter crack due to moisture present. Make sense?

ballard6449 01-18-2008 07:59 PM

Re: Curing strategy

That would be "yes" and "yes". Keith and crew did a great job constructing our outdoor kitchen.

Guerito 01-19-2008 07:36 PM

Re: Curing strategy
For some of the earlier lower temperature burns here is a thought. We could get a steady flame from one of those weed burners that the "pyro" ;) guys were using for fire starters a few months ago. A 5-gallon LPG tank and the burner from a turkey deep fryer should do it for most folks.

My $.02


Frances 02-12-2008 03:09 AM

Re: Curing strategy
After spending so much time building the oven, I found the most difficult bit about curing was just lighting a small fire, letting it go out, and not doing anything else with the oven for the rest of the day...

So from that point of view, messing around with a small fire all day long would have been great! So I'd definitely give it try if was doing it over...

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