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AndrewL 06-02-2010 10:32 AM

Oval oven design?

I have a landscape client who wants an oval WFO as part of the project. The oval would be wider than deep, e.g. 48" wide x 36" deep. The rationale is that food could be stored or cooked more slowly in the side areas.

Does this make sense? Has anyone tried? Will an oval dome loose too much structural integrity that a circular dome has?

The client also wants the chimney at the back, to one side. I realise, doing some research on this forum, this does not make sense, and a "squirrel tale" chimney might be the best solution for venting to the back. Comments welcome!

BTW; I built my own 36" Pompeii 2 years ago, igloo finish. It has become a huge hit for the family and nieghbourhood.

egalecki 06-02-2010 01:42 PM

Re: Oval oven design?
I'm don't think the structural integrity will be a problem with an oval, but I doubt that the convection will work as well if the oven's not round. I would think that the heat might get "stuck" in the sides somehow... but then, I'm not an expert in thermodynamics or anything. If you want to cook more slowly, move it further from the heat and make a smaller fire. Or wait longer for it to cool off. I suspect the landing could be designed larger and deeper (the part inside the landing arch, not the opening into the oven itself, that ratio should not be changed) to accomodate cooking vessels- I could see one that tapers in, with room on the sides of the landing. Don't make it so deep that you can't reach in to manage the fire, though.

Definitely do NOT change the location of the chimney. It won't work properly at all if you do. Why do they want it in the corner? Aesthetics? Or are they worried about smoke? I don't get much smoke at all, especially once the fire's going well.

BackyardPermaculture 06-02-2010 03:51 PM

Re: Oval oven design?
Don't do it! An oval running length-wise would draw well, but a wide oval will not work. It has been tried before, and shown to not draw properly - really bad idea, will not get up to temperature properly.

dmun 06-02-2010 06:12 PM

Re: Oval oven design?
You can direct the flue to the back, once you vent from the front, over the entry. Building code allows two 30 degree bends in the flue, and given enough height, you can redirect the flue anywhere you want. Do not plan on venting from the rear of the dome. This folly has been tried and retried, and it's always a fiasco. Don't even think about horizontal or near horizontal runs of flue, like the so-called squirrel tail, unless you like choking smoke pouring out the door on startup.

I'm an agnostic on dome shapes. The ovals that have been tried have been front-to-back, and seem to work well. You shouldn't assume that this shape will provide different oven temperatures: for all practical purposes, with a fire in the oven, it's hot everywhere except right at the mouth of the oven.

BackyardPermaculture 06-02-2010 07:40 PM

Re: Oval oven design?
Another forum member made an oven which was a wide oval; the convection didn't work properly and he had to seal up that opening and create a new opening at the end (it was a clay oven) - here's his post about it:

AndrewL 06-03-2010 05:07 PM

Re: Oval oven design?

Thanks for the great feedback. Very helpful.

We have decided to proceed with a 42" circular dome, vented at the front. Now the final spec. can be developed, with the hope of pizza by mid August,... I'll keep you posted!

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