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stwater 07-15-2009 11:05 AM

Starting fire with Natural Gas Assistance
I am planning construction of a 42" oven the summer and I am considering piping in natural gas into the back of the oven, up through the oven floor. I would install a permanent, orifice pipe in the back of the oven to help light/strart fires. I was considering installing the gas shut-off into the front of the stand for ease of turning on/off the gas flow.

Does anyone know if this is a bad idea, or just plain overkill? I know it is done routinely for indoor fireplaces, however, I think this oven will get much hotter than a fireplace.


Jed 07-15-2009 01:06 PM

Re: Starting fire with Natural Gas Assistance
Hey Dwight,

Piping gas into an enclosed space can bring a fair share of risk. With the enclosed space of a pizza oven, any 'extra' gas (slow leak, or you waited a bit to long with the gas running before adding a match) can 'blow up' and make a mess of things. In a fire place, 'extra gas' is less of a concern.

Unless you are prepared to install appropriate safety systems on the gas line, it can add more problems than it solves.

As a general rule, you will want to use dry wood for your fires (all around better results than wet wood). And if you are using dry wood, it doesn't take much time to get past the 'start a fire' stage to the 'keep a fire going strong' phase.

We have seen some fella's use a propane powered 'weed burner' to kick start the fire with good reports. Not as clean an installation as a permanently installed fire starter, but it speeds up the oven firing work.

There obviously are some ovens that run exclusively on gas, but I think they include a fair amount of engineering to support that fuel source.

So, I guess my report is that it can be done, but generally if you have an interest in doing it safely and not creating a situation that will go 'bang' in the back yard, it is best to stay away from the gas in the oven.

Good luck with your build.


Neil2 07-15-2009 04:56 PM

Re: Starting fire with Natural Gas Assistance
I agree with Jed.

Besides, starting a fire is not that difficult.

stwater 07-16-2009 05:37 AM

Re: Starting fire with Natural Gas Assistance

I had a feeling someone would give this advice; it makes sense. I will stick with matches.

texassourdough 07-16-2009 12:55 PM

Re: Starting fire with Natural Gas Assistance
One of the better practices that may help you (if you haven't seen it elsewhere on this site) is to load most of the wood for the next fire in the oven while it is still warm. The residual heat can do a lot to dry out the wood and make it especially easy to start the next fire. Also, if you don't have much fire starting experience, a bit of reading on kindling techniques can help a lot.

As I use a lot of juniper, I actually start most of my fires by simply igniting juniper branches with dry leaves. The stuff burns like greasewood so I have it easy compared to most of you when it comes to starting fires!

Good Luck!

Ken524 07-18-2009 05:58 AM

Re: Starting fire with Natural Gas Assistance
I get a roaring fire in about 3 minutes with a dry stack of wood and one "Fatwood" stick (Fatwood Natural Fire Starter) available at Lowes/Home Depot/Walmart. No newspaper, no fuss.

Save the gas for your grill :).

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