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jon bell 06-15-2009 01:17 PM

Possible second thoughts on mass / cost of fuel
Hi to all. Need some help to come to peace of mind before I insulate and finish this oven.

We finished our dome a couple months ago. Because I thought I might like to also do bread in our oven I chose to add some mass to our oven, thinking that a little more wood wouldn't be a big deal. I added to the 4 1/2" brick of the dome about 1 1/4" to 1 1/2" of the homemade mortar mix as instructed in the downloadable instructions.

Can anyone tell me in quantifiable terms how much more wood and how much more time per firing are we talking with this extra mass? If it is way more do you think it would be safe to take a grinder and cut the mass down without damaging the build? The build seemed rock solid without the mass.

I have built five curing fires. No major cracks, but no major heat on outside of dome.(170 to 190 at top on outside)

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you ahead of time.

DrakeRemoray 06-15-2009 01:25 PM

Re: Possibly having second thoughts on mass.
Jon, this is very similar to my build. I added about 1 inch of extra mortar on the outside. I have no trouble getting it up to pizza temp, I usually light it 1 hour before I am ready to cook.

The dome will go white within that hour, but it will not be ready to bake bread right away, so I would never fire it for just a loaf or two.

The biggest problem I have with the extra mass is getting it to cool down fast enough for baking. If I fire for 3 hours during a pizza party, it will stay at 650 for several hours afterwords...I usually leave the door off and let it cool for an hour before it is ready for the first bread at 550 or so. I think you will be fine, and I would be worried that the grinder would destabilize the dome...

Hope that helps.


jon bell 06-16-2009 10:36 AM

Re: Possibly having second thoughts on mass.
Hi Drake,

Thanks so much for responding. I am a total newbie to the whole process of WFO and also cooking with wood. I have been using gas BBQ for most of my years so I have zero reference on wood usage and what it might take to fire this oven up.

I am hoping that cost to fire this thing up will be reasonable. Does anybody have any idea what fuel cost might be to fire your oven up for family and a few friends kind of party? Oak in our area is around $350 per cord.

Thanks again Drake. Info much appreciated.

jon bell

cynon767 06-16-2009 10:48 AM

Re: Possibly having second thoughts on mass.
Where in central California are you? You might consider trying to find a local orchard and work out a deal for fruit or nut wood.

dmun 06-16-2009 10:51 AM

Re: Possibly having second thoughts on mass.
If the cost of firewood is a problem, you can burn almost any kind of untreated wood. Construction scraps, cabinetmaker cut offs, unfinished flooring scraps: anyone who works with wood would be happy to have you cart off their scrap which otherwise they would have to pay to have removed. I keep enough seasoned hardwood for use during cooking, as it doesn't spit and throw cinders as much as pine does.

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