Old 09-13-2008, 03:48 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 100
Default Re: Any disaster stories?

I seem to remember it can be a problem if you dry wood at very hot temperatures (I've heard it called 'coking the wood'), but I've been waiting until it's at under 100C before putting it in. Mine stays above ambient for at least a week after firing. Does anyone know what the bad and good temperatures are for drying wood safely?

I just lit my fire tonight using the wood I put in the oven to dry on Monday (ash, split to 3-4" diameter chunks). Amazingly fast start - had an oven full of flames in minutes. Almost no smoke on start up - the neighbours will be grateful...

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Old 10-23-2008, 02:38 PM
Pdiff's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Idaho, USA
Posts: 119
Default Re: Any disaster stories?

While my oven is still being constructed in my head, I too know the internal nagging of being a perfectionist. In my other life, I build wood kayaks. I know every little "flaw" in them and they seem to stand out like huge gashes in the sides, but no one else notices. Even when I have my shoddiest boat on the car rack, all I get are ooohs and aaahhhs from passersby. They just see the pretty wood :-) My guess is no one will notice the little imperfections or that you recycled parts here and there. They'll just be amazed that a person could build such a thing at all (Modern westerners are easy to impress!)

Off topic: Love the forum here. Will be helpful as I plan things out this winter as the snow flies.....

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Old 10-23-2008, 03:03 PM
staestc's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Rockwall,TX
Posts: 235
Default Re: Any disaster stories?

Personally, this is probably the only oven I am going to build (okay, probably not, but at least on this property!), so I will most likely err on the side of over building and perfectionism, but not to the point of no gain. I am more of a "I want it to perform as well as possible guy", and my build hopefully will meet that, but may well not be as clean and perfect from all angles as many I have looked at.

Of course, when I actually start building it, and quit planning it, that will probably go by the wayside, and I will work to do everything as perfectly as I can, and expediency be damned!

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Old 10-24-2008, 07:34 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: summerville SC
Posts: 2
Default Re: Any disaster stories?

wow.... I see everyone dancing around the question here, and patting themselves on the back. Perhaps i am the only one who didnt do my homework ? I started my oven about 6 weeks ago - (well before I found this site) . I was too cheap to buy plans so I winged it - looking at pictures and skimming information. Slab , block, brick exterior then concrete pad on the block with 4 inches of sand above and final 4 inch slab. I dry stacked the firebrick on a thin layer of fireclay and cement, soldier course the oven sides which I secured with framing to prevent the roof from pushing it out. Collapse it did after I removed the framing (and the curved ceiling was a masterpiece). I 'bout cried.. as i pushed the rest of the walls down , my son's words as i stomped off "so..you're just going to quit now"?
The self taught lessons I learned were as follows. Soak the firebrick in water before applying fireclay - if you dont, they will soak up the moisture quickly and compromise your joints. If you are dry stacking your fire brick, secure the exterior walls with concrete or cladding and lilkewise brace the interior of the oven with framing to prevent movement while you pour. Third - laugh as you chisel the fireclay off the brick - life without learning is an empty existance, though Im quite sure there are cheaper ways to learn than this.
Question to the wise as this is my first posting. (lesson learned)
The oven roof is now incased in 6 inches of concrete and steel and I am ready to start the chimney. #1 Do I have to separate the chimney from the oven and if so the gap size. #2 should I use firebrick for this ? and what is recommended for the chimney - Im not enthusiastic about using a steel flu.Is there a ratio for the oven size related to the flu? I intend to steel frame around the oven and pour 6 inches vermiculite over the top and sides and perhaps finish with a tile or slate roof. commments anyone? thanks
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