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Ed_ 04-21-2008 10:29 AM

Ash slot?
Hi all,

In perusing the many fantastic photos on this site, I've noticed that nobody seems to include an ash slot in the design. On the other hand, I've seen ash slots in a lot of barrel vault ovens (perhaps owing to the popularity of Alan Scott's plans).

Because I plan to do a fair bit of bread baking, I'll be raking out hot coals--so the ash slot (with a metal bucket underneath) seems like a good idea. I know it presents a slight obstacle in the landing area, but other than that, are there strong arguments against it?

Thanks for your opinons!


dmun 04-21-2008 11:14 AM

Re: Ash slot?
The anti-ash slot slant to the FB site is that James installed one on his original barrel vault oven and found he didn't use it. I'm also not sure I'd want to give up a chunk of my wood storage for it. I'm pretty happy shoveling ashes out, but it's in the backyard. If I had an oven in the house I'd think about an ash dump off to the side.

They make a nice cast iron flip top door for just this purpose:

gjbingham 04-21-2008 07:39 PM

Re: Ash slot?
An ash slot is a nice idea. Coals and ashes falling 38 inches into a can or pail or so might make for a pretty big mess under the oven in addition to stealing wood storage area. On the other hand, I find it a bit of a pain raking ashes into a shovel and then dumping them off to the side as well.

Perhaps a shelf, perch, or stool immediately underneath an ash slot, on which you can, would minimize the ash explosion as the embers and ashes fall would work? The stool idea would minimize the space lost for wood storage, as you'd just put the stool and can in there just prior to raking out the oven.

RTflorida 04-21-2008 09:50 PM

Re: Ash slot?
I like the concept of an ash slot with a catch can or basin directly underneath.
The problems are as previously stated - I am not willing to block my wood storage (this is my primary and basically only area to store wood out of the elements and have it easily accessible). I am also not willing to give up the floor of my entry, I make much more than pizza; I need to be able to slide my large roasting pans in without obstruction or without lifting over a large hole in the floor - as I found with a 16 lb turkey - I need every fraction of every inch of clearance to get it into the oven.
I guess I could have designed my oven to accomodate an ash slot, but after reading this forum, decided the benefits were just not there for the oven I was planning. Maybe with a bigger oven, bigger entry, another place to store wood....hey, perfect excuse for version 2.0 (if I had the energy and time).

Ed, if you can make it work (and not be in the way), what the heck, go for it.
The brush and shovel method into a bucket can be messy (wind sucks) and can be a pain in the butt. Since your still in the planning stages, maybe you can design a better mouse trap....Good luck


Ed_ 04-22-2008 05:50 AM

Re: Ash slot?
I hadn't thought of putting the flip door in. We've got one in our fireplace, but ironically, we don't use that ash drop. If I can get one appropriately sized, I can probably make it sit flush to the landing brick. I'll check it out--thanks for the idea, dmun.

We were considering the shelf/hook idea for the ash bucket and will probably do something like that. Wood storage is an issue, of course. I think we're going to do a "full arch" foundation wall (i.e. open in the back too) so we'll have extra space.

At some point we need to come up with another solution to the wood storage problem anyway, as we'd like to maintain a decent supply for the indoor fireplace.

Thanks for the ideas!


Ed_ 04-22-2008 05:54 AM

Re: Ash slot?
Incidentally, RT, what size is the entry of your oven? If you can fit a 16lb turkey (in a roasting pan) through it, then it's big enough! That's about the most I anticipate needing.

cplain 05-30-2008 08:12 AM

Re: Ash slot?
This why I'm loving this forum...I too was wondering about an ash dump. Was thinking it would be easier to sweep coals/ashes into a chute, but had worries about loss of wood space and constructing an cleanout door and if the chute area would need fire brick. From this and other threads, looks like I'll forego the chute and just shovel coals/ashes out.

james 05-30-2008 09:12 AM

Re: Ash slot?
I've had two ovens with an ash slot and I never (ever) used them. If you are doing a lot of pizza and moving pots and pans in and out of the oven, they actually get in the way (stuff falls in).

Add in the fact that they are a hassle to build (framing the hearth and insulation around the opening and cutting bricks) -- it is definitely not a good thing.


SpringJim 05-30-2008 12:10 PM

Re: Ash slot?
Interesting....CJ's oven uses an ash slot at the front of the oven and the modification I'd make to his would be to have a duct to his ash bucket to reduce the dust/wind effect.

I was actually thinking about having a removable brick that was flush with the oven floor, maybe two or three half thickness firebricks. but I would also make a ductwork to the ash bucket!

james 05-30-2008 01:23 PM

Re: Ash slot?
The Bread Builders oven describes an ash slot in the plans, so I am guessing that many of the barrel vault ovens have one. For a bakery, where the oven is used primarily with retained heat, and the fire and ash are removed and bread is loaded into the oven and removed with a peel, it makes sense.

For a backyard oven, or a pizzeria oven, where there is primarily "fire in the oven" cooking and a lot food, pots and pans going it and out, and pans sitting at the opening to stay warm, the hole gets in the way.


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