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waynebergman 12-27-2007 12:59 PM

small fire but big day
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Thought this day would never arrive. Have a system now in place so I can peel back the roof of my tent to let out the smoke and heat. I have a question however. When I peel this roof back I will expose parts of the oven that are not yet ready to be hit with rain so I want to do my 7 days of curing on dry days. That might take like 2 weeeks or more in my neck of the woods. Is it OK to go up in the 1oo degree incretments if I miss a few days or is it important to flash it up each and every day in a row? ...wayne

Even with this tiny fire it was very satisfying to see the smoke go up the stack instead of out onto the outer brick work. I almost wept.

asudavew 12-27-2007 04:00 PM

Re: small fire but big day
Nice job Wayne!

It is an exciting day!

I think as long as start small, move slowly, and keep your oven dry you should be just fine firing it every other day.

The goal is to slowly drive the moisture out.

Just follow the plans, and don't worry too much about missing a day, but don't skip a fire. If you miss firing on day 2, then use day 2 fire on day 3... Know what I mean?

Just my opinion but I think it will be fine.

Once again, great job Wayne.
It's kind of cool to be done, but kind of sad to be done... at least it was for me.


sarah h 12-27-2007 07:59 PM

Re: small fire but big day
Congratulations on your first fire Wayne and on such a terrific-looking oven!
I don't see any problem at all in spreading the seven fires over a two-week period. Maybe you'll get lucky with the weather and get it done even sooner. Either way, you'll be cooking in no time!


dusty 12-27-2007 08:05 PM

Re: small fire but big day
Congrads Wayne!
Didn't it seem like firing it up was forever away? It did to me, and now we are at the same point. And I have a tent over mine too. I haven't figured out a way to have a fire and release the smoke and heat so I have been running a small electric heater in there. I thought I might just do that for a month or so. Like Dave said, to basically dry the thing out. I really want to have a fire in there, but I don't want to take that tent down to do so. Because I don't want my entire project to get wet, I would have to set it right back up again.
BTW. I really like your arch keystone. To me, it resembles a cross. I am not an overly religious person, but I like it. Maybe it is the time of year. Seems very x-mas to me. Is that how you intended it?
Let's keep in touch with every curing move.


gjbingham 12-27-2007 09:22 PM

Re: small fire but big day
I agree. I can't see a problem missing a day. I was firing mine twice a day in the early going because the dome just doesn't get hot from the early fires. Five or six hours later, you can probably go again. Two days later will not hurt either....... at least that's my guess.

DrakeRemoray 12-29-2007 01:17 AM

Re: small fire but big day
Just remember to take it slowly...

carioca 12-29-2007 10:03 PM

Re: small fire but big day
Hello Wayne! I left a msg on your picasaweb album congratulating you on the first fire!

I lit my second fire today, but didn't manage the 200 F required - perhaps I'll try again this arvo when it's cooler...

To all: A very Happy New Year from this solitary old plodder in Oz, best wishes and lots of good fires and good food!

Anyone interested in my 'progress' to date is welcome to visit Picasa Web Albums - carioca - Forno_del_gallo .

There's a spreadsheet on costs also at

Cheers, and all the best!

LMH a.k.a. carioca

Neil2 01-04-2008 05:37 PM

Re: small fire but big day
Looks good Wayne.

About your comment with respect to exposure to rain - here on the BC coast we have to contend with wet winters. You must keep the refractory mortar dry all year. Most of these types of oven are built in dryer climates.

Refectory mortar is not like Portland cement based mortar which actually continues to strengthen with moisture. If exposed to prolonged moisture, refractory mortars will weaken and go “spongy”. You will need an enclosure or a waterproof covering (I used acrylic stucco – and still cover it with a tarp when not in use).

If you don’t use your oven regularly through the winter you should also go through this progressive firing process each spring to “harden” the mortar.

gjbingham 01-05-2008 09:38 AM

Re: small fire but big day
Do you remember the branch of the acrylic stucco you used? I'm having trouble finding anything here south of you.


waynebergman 01-05-2008 01:50 PM

Re: small fire but big day
Thanks Neil. I plan on parging my vermiculite concrete with type N mortar and then covering that with mort type N and small river rock. Then I will use a sealer recomended by Canuck Jim. Feeling good about this approach I will continue to add progress pics to my album link below. Appretiate your concern....thanks wayne

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