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spazio 12-25-2009 09:51 AM

Hairline cracks
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I have been in the final stages of readying a new beehive oven, been on several other threads about curing. Took about a month of heater/fan inside the oven as I built the enclosure and insulated everything, and the last week and a half or so of increasingly hot/long fires. It's been real cold here, so I've tried to go slowly. Last fire held about 800 f at the dome for about a half hour, and I've been monitoring the temps with an infrared thermo and ramping everything up slowly.
Yesterday my wife really wanted to do pizza, so she stoked it up pretty strong pretty early in the process. We let it cool back down some before stoking it up to a full 900 or so for a while.
The pizza was perfect, but I've got a bunch of hairline cracks showing in the mortar (not the bricks) in a bunch of places. Most of these are in the middle rows. I think the photo shows them pretty well, especially at the top of the photo.
Should I be worried about this, or is this fairly normal? The dome was pretty decently constructed, I hope.

nissanneill 12-25-2009 02:43 PM

Re: Hairline cracks
I agree, your dome looks to be well constructed and it looks like you used refractory cement.
I wouldn't worry about minor hairline cracks especially around your mortar lines as these could be caused through poorer adhesion of the mortar to the bricks if the bricks were cemented dry into the dome. I always wet my bricks in fact in hot dry summer times, soak my bricks in water before mortaring them in.
All looks fine, don't worry and enjoy.
It looks like you have the same trouble as me with non-circular pizzas, but you will get better with experience and playing with different flours and techniques, but they still taste the same eh!!! wonderful.

All the best mate.


spazio 12-25-2009 04:26 PM

Re: Hairline cracks
Thanks for the reassurance, Neill. I'm used to working with wood and metal, and this brick and mortar stuff is new to me. I've been busting on my wife for heating it up so quickly; I've been REAL conservative with the heat.
She sure makes good pizza though! And bread is next.
BTW, I used Heat Stop 50 refractory mortar, it seems to be the standard of the industry here.

nissanneill 12-25-2009 06:07 PM

Re: Hairline cracks
I thought as much as many forum members who have used this/these premixed 'refractory adhesives' experience cracking. It is not necessarily bad unless it cracks straight through the bricks as well.
I prefer to use the 'poor man's mortar' not just because of cost, but because of the availability and I don't have any cracks in my dome.


jmhepworth 12-25-2009 06:07 PM

Re: Hairline cracks
The cracks in your oven are fine. No worries at all. And the shape of the pizza looks familier to me as well.

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