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  #51  
Old 09-30-2013, 05:39 PM
Laborer
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Austin TX
Posts: 55
Default Re: 32 Igloo Build, Lakeway TX

Curing fire day #3, seems to be going well. The oven thermometer I dug out of a box in the attic (right edge of picture) seems to be broken, so I'm just guessing as I make the fire bigger each day.
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  #52  
Old 09-30-2013, 06:07 PM
david s's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Townsville, Nth Queensland,Australia
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Default Re: 32 Igloo Build, Lakeway TX

Buy another another oven thermometer, they're cheap as chips, but you only require them for roasting and baking. Don't use it for pizza, it will probably be off the scale anyway. I pop rivet a larger base onto them because they fall over easily and are difficult to right again. When your oven is curing the bottom will stay cold while the top is hot. I think your thermometer is probably not broken but reading correctly. Just proceed really slowly with the fires and the temperature will eventually equalize.
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  #53  
Old 10-02-2013, 08:48 AM
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Location: Austin TX
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Default Re: 32 Igloo Build, Lakeway TX

I don't know how accurate it is, but the thermometer did get to about 275 yesterday. Even if the thermometer is accurate, the differing temps at different heights in the dome seems like it would make that reading meaningless for curing temp purposes. I got 275 only after the fire burned down and I put the arch-form back in to act as a temporary door -- keep cooler air out for a while. It was a decent fire IMO too (not enough to burn the soot off the interior, but more than just kindling), but the thermometer never got above ~200 until I closed the 'door' later.

Does this indicate that I need to keep the fire size constant for a few burns till things cure enough to continue increasing? Or does it simply indicate an issue with temp measurement that might be 'solved' by getting an IR thermometer gun thingie and measuring off the back wall?

I was hoping to get up to 'clear soot' temps by this weekend, then add insulation and stucco.


So far no cracks that I can see anywhere. Oh sh!t, stupid PfennigCat, don't jinx it, find some wood to knock on (then burn).....
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  #54  
Old 10-02-2013, 12:39 PM
david s's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Townsville, Nth Queensland,Australia
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Default Re: 32 Igloo Build, Lakeway TX

The temps you are getting is what happens to all new ovens. It is because the bottom of the oven still contains water and therefore the temp there is held down. It is important that you take it slow because a big temp difference also means a big difference in expansion.Your oven will also consume more fuel as it requires energy to convert the water to steam. Allowing the oven to cool off will allow the temperature to equalize and you can start the process again.In fact ,leaving it for a week could also be beneficial as some of the moisture may migrate to the drier parts of the oven. Try not to have too much flame which heats the top of the dome rather than the whole oven. Have you read the curing thread?

Last edited by david s; 10-02-2013 at 12:44 PM.
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  #55  
Old 10-02-2013, 01:05 PM
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Location: Austin TX
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Default Re: 32 Igloo Build, Lakeway TX

Yep, had read the curing thread, just a matter of experience and understanding
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  #56  
Old 10-06-2013, 09:36 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Austin TX
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Default Re: 32 Igloo Build, Lakeway TX

Insulated yesterday, and as I had been doing curing fires for about 8 days in a row with no external cracking at all, I decided it was time to try cooking. After all, at this point (insulated) I wont be able to see any new external cracks....

I made the fire with a lincoln-log stack of ~2x2 very dry cedar (burns easily and hot) topped by approximately fore-arm-thick (3x3?) split oak. The oak came from my parents' very very old oak tree (the trunk is about 6' diameter, I kid you not). Last big storm it lost a limb, which was sectioned and has been drying for about 3 months. Which probably isn't very long -- it burns fine, but I suspect something that has been seasoning for 6-12 months would burn hotter.

Whether it was due to only medium-dry oak or just that it's a new oven, I don't think I got super-hot temps yet. The soot only 'cleared' on the dome directly above the fire after I pushed it to the side. An oven thermometer on the floor on the other side of the oven from the fire only read 400 F. With just a foil wrapped board for a door, the next day the temp was down to 275 (crisped up some stale naan for breakfast).

Despite the mediocre temperature, we made 4 pizzas, about 3 mins each. They were delicious!!!
Things I learned:
  • I need to get a metal peel for turning & removing. The wooden peel worked ok, but got a bit browned on one edge while doing extended work in the oven to try to rotate the pizza.
  • I need to get some long fireplace tongs and cooking gloves. Even with mediocre temps, trying to adjust the fire or add a log in just the right spot singed the back of my knuckles through my leather-palmed but cloth-backed home despot gloves
  • Use plenty of flour to ensure the za doesn't stick to the peel (1 out of 4 stuck and made a mess, but still tasted great)


I'm thinking I'll need to get a bunch of good firewood delivered - I have room to store it, both under the oven as well as in the future-firepit area next to it (though it will need to be covered with a tarp there as the roof won't fully protect it from non-vertical rain).

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good wood supplier in the Austin area? First good cold front of the year just came through so I expect to see road-side vendors out today, but I worry about their quality. As a newb I'm not a good judge of wood quality, and oak wilt spores are a problem in this area, and I think I will get enough to make delivery possible, so I would like a reputable vendor.
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  #57  
Old 10-06-2013, 02:18 PM
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Default Re: 32 Igloo Build, Lakeway TX

Pfennigthecat,
Congratulations on the cook! I think you are very close on the "complete" dome clearing. I believe that when you get the seasoned wood supply ahead of the the demand, all will be good.

Quote:
I need to get some long fireplace tongs and cooking gloves. Even with mediocre temps, trying to adjust the fire or add a log in just the right spot singed the back of my knuckles through my leather-palmed but cloth-backed home despot gloves
Having built a 44" dome with a deep entrance, being "vertically challenged", bench legged, with matching arms: I haven't lost any hair on the back of my knuckles . I had planned on building a "cool" metal tool to post a pic of later. But, this old broken boat oar with 4 nails has been my "go to" for loading and arranging wood since day one.





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Last edited by Gulf; 10-06-2013 at 02:22 PM.
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  #58  
Old 10-06-2013, 03:09 PM
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Location: Mississippi
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Default Re: 32 Igloo Build, Lakeway TX

These 15" Silicone oven mitts work great on hot pots and pans.



They are water proof and protect against steam and spilling liquids as well. The are pricey and are sold as singles. But, me and the better half work at the same place. They were given as safety awards, so we have a pair .
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  #59  
Old 10-06-2013, 09:22 PM
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Default Re: 32 Igloo Build, Lakeway TX

I use my turning peel for placing logs, Which I think is pretty common practice. Get (or build, if you are so inclined) a good metal turning peel and it will do most of what you need.
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  #60  
Old 10-09-2013, 10:30 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Austin TX
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Default Re: 32 Igloo Build, Lakeway TX

I've got a 1/2 cord of seasoned split pecan wood (apparently similar to hickory) being delivered on saturday hopefully. $150 delivered and stacked. Same price for oak or mesquite, but I didn't want to risk oak wilt spores with the oak and thought the mesquite might impart too much flavor despite being burned for heat rather than smoke.
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