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sammy 07-11-2007 07:35 PM

I just started my first curing fires in my oven. The first few days were just newspaper, yesterday I included some small kindling wood and today I include a small log in with it. The top of the oven dome is getting around 170-200 deg F. I am getting a lot of smoke from the fire (I can smell it in my hair all night and once and a while during the day). Once the fire gets going, most of the smoke rolls through the chimney, but early in the fire and even some of the smoke later on comes out the entry way and not the chimney. Is this normal, or do I have "vent/chimney" issues?

Any thoughts?

RTflorida 07-11-2007 08:30 PM

Re: Smoke
sounds pretty normal. The start up is always the smokiest, unless you are using unseasoned wood - which could smoke throughout the burning process.

After your curing is over and you have had a bit of practice building "real" fires, you will get a feel for the right mix of kindling - start with very small twigs and work your way up in size, allowing each to catch and begin to burn really well before adding more/larger logs. Always, Always use dry (seasoned) wood, whether it be the smallest twigs for kindling or 4" diameter logs for that really big fire.
It took me about a dozen fires to get the hang of it...repeated smoke in the face makes you try different approaches.


RTflorida 07-11-2007 08:36 PM

Re: Smoke
One more comment,

One reason all of the smoke does not go up the chimney during start up is the fact that all chimneys create their "draw" from the hot gasses created by the fire...until your flue/chimney heats up a bit it will not draw to its full potential.....from what I know, this is true for all chimneys

swripley 07-11-2007 09:20 PM

Re: Smoke
In our fire place in the house on really cold days, we often put some newspaper in the chimney and light it to help with draw. Any thoughts about trying this in the oven?


RTflorida 07-11-2007 09:40 PM

Re: Smoke
I believe I read that James posted that he starts his fires just inside the entry almost below the chimney, then pushes it back as he continues to build it. I've tried the same it and it does help considerably...just not with wet wood.....I made that mistake one time, thought those 1" oak sticks I threw in would never much smoke I couldn't see well enough to pull them out or add anything wife just stood back and laughed - and asked "are you sure you know what your doing"?

El Puaco 07-11-2007 10:09 PM

Re: Smoke
I'm doing my curing fires now too. I noticed that when the fire is going good the smoke all goes out the chimney and as the fire gets hotter the smoke pretty much goes away (more complete combustion I guess). As the fire cools down the smoke comes back. Like yours, mine puts a little smoke out the door at first. I don't have my chimney installed yet so I'm not getting the benifit of a longer chimney. If you haven't installed your chimney yet and are exhausting out the vent you'll probably be happy when you have more draw. Like RT says you need to make sure you have wood that is dry. My other rule about fires is that in order to make a big fire, you have to first build a small fire.

Smelling like smoke is a good thing. Unless you're on fire too.

nissanneill 07-12-2007 04:58 AM

Re: Smoke
Talking about using dry seasoned wood is a bit of a myth!
Quite some years ago, (around 40 in fact), a relative of mine rolled out a truck tyre, a hand full of pine kindling wood and a half of a newspaper. I grabbed his chainsaw and we went out into his orchard to cut and burn 20 to 30 wild walnut trees that were self sewn. I didn't believe that it would work.
He laid the tire down and started a fire in the casing. Yep, plenty of smoke. Started up the saw and cut down some of the trees. I was busy feeding the fire with the sticky white sap dripping walnut and throwing it on the fire. Within 10 minutes, we had one hell of a fire. You could not get within 20 feet of it due to the fierce heat from the raging fire. We burnt all of the trees in a half hour and next morning all that remained was the steel beeding from the tyre and a wheelbarrow or two of ash.
I tried the same technique 10 years later when the neighbour removed 10 large eucalypt (gum trees) for his pool. We started a fire (but not with a tyre) on the vacant block next door and after 10 minutes we were starting to panick as we were setting the trees alight in their canopy. Again, no smoke once the fire is well alite.
Green eucalypt burns well but needs a good supply of heat to get it going.
Just don't burn wet or saturated wood, guaranteed to produce much smoke with little heat.
I prefer to use well seasoned dense gum (eucalypt) for my fires, plenty of heat and very little smoke, none after the fire is going for 10 minutes or so. Here in Australia, we also use malley roots which are the stumps from a short eucalypt that is cleared in marginal agricultural areas. They burn beautifully and produce huge amounts of heat.


sammy 07-12-2007 06:59 AM

Re: Smoke
Today I got the smaller fire going really good before adding the bigger logs. This actually helped a lot. After the fire was turning towards the glowing white embers (and less fire), I added another medium sized log and there was a TON of smoke from the smoldering of that one log. As soon as I took it off, the smoke died down again. From this experiment, in this case, it definitely helped to have the smaller fire going strong and then gradually building the larger fire. Of the smoke that was present, I did notice - just as everyone was mentioning - that as the chimney got hotter, it seemed like more smoke moved out the chimney and less out the entry way. Great insight guys. I appreciate the feedback and coaching on this!

nissanneill 07-18-2007 05:06 AM

Re: Smoke
Hi Sammy,
I had a cook-up last week end and checked out the smoke when lighting the fire.
Check out my report on:
Permalink #19. Even took a picture of the chimney less than 5 minutes after ligting the fire.
I also used dry split red gum which I bought specifically for the exercise.


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