#11  
Old 10-20-2013, 04:49 AM
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Default Re: Colonial Beehive Oven

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Originally Posted by stonecutter View Post
I'm on my phone in rural New England with terrible service, so a good discussion my my end wont happen for a while...can't believe I got these in.

Briefly though...I'm suspect of this restoration. Personally, I have never seen a beehive built on a stand outside the finish masonry of the fp. That doesn't. Mean they never existed, but I think this is Retro fitted to the fp, and the original.was smaller...and was not outside the home.
.......interesting. thanks for your reply and expert opinion
Regards Dave
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  #12  
Old 10-21-2013, 08:07 AM
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Default Re: Colonial Beehive Oven

Stonecutter

You might be thinking of the beehive oven located at the side of cooking fireplaces. Those are mid 1700 century. This is a Quaker house built by pilgrims in the post-medioeval English style and the beehive was located at the back of the fireplace wall often projecting outside the stone wall. We have quite a few of these left in PA, mostly in house museums. An example can be found at Chad House - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anyway, I am attaching some additional picture of the oven opening as it relates to teh fireplace and I am also attaching pictures of the cracks that have developed, albeit I understand there is nothing I can do with that. Again the brickwork inside the baking chamber has no cracks. Just the outside cladding. I do like the look of the oven and I am happy to have one. I just wish had a better performance for pizza and bread. Thanks again guys for sharing your knowledge and helping with this.
Attached Thumbnails
Colonial Beehive Oven-img_0836.jpg   Colonial Beehive Oven-img_0839.jpg   Colonial Beehive Oven-img_0845.jpg   Colonial Beehive Oven-img_0832.jpg   Colonial Beehive Oven-img_0831.jpg  

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  #13  
Old 10-21-2013, 09:37 AM
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Default Re: Colonial Beehive Oven

Thanks for the link. True, all the ovens I have restored were mid-late 17th century...all were inside the firebox, or off to the side of the box, in the wall. None projected beyond the outer walls.

Still in new England, heading to VA, but when I get home I have some ideas for your oven.
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Last edited by stonecutter; 10-21-2013 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 10-21-2013, 09:56 AM
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Default Re: Colonial Beehive Oven

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Originally Posted by Saro View Post
I do like the look of the oven and I am happy to have one. I just wish had a better performance for pizza and bread. Thanks again guys for sharing your knowledge and helping with this.
Saro

Like others have commented previously, the oven may still have a bit of moisture in it, particularly if it has not been fired in a while. I would continue to have some smaller fires over multiple consecutive days and see if that helps.

When you say "I wish it would perform better for pizza and bread" can you elaborate on the actual performance? If you have a infrared thermometer take some readings and post them. Particularly after you've had a few fires to dry it out. Once you've done that, give us a dome and floor temp reading after firing the oven and the dome is clear then do the same after an hour or so after the dome has cleared also.

Lastly, what a cool structure to have as part of your home! There's is no equal to the character that an old home like that brings to the party. I would love to see more pics of the entire home.
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Old 10-21-2013, 10:22 AM
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Default Re: Colonial Beehive Oven

Chris

I did fire it last weekend. I got the dome and the base at around 850 F over a 2.5 firing. By the time I cleared the floor to bake some bread (ciabatta and semolina loaves, pictures attached) the oven temperature had dropped to 500 at the dome and 450 at he floor. The bread baked for 35-40 minutes and by the time I was done oven temperature was at 350-400F at the dome and 300 F at the base. By the time the bread was out of the oven, the outer temperature of the dome started to creep up reaching an average of 140F, that is very warm/hot to the touch. Of course there is no much you can do after one load of bread baking. Not even good to slow roast vegetable with residual heat. That is what I mean for more efficient.So I have concluded that the lack of insulation to the dome must be causing this including the cracks I see to the outer shell. Of course I do not know what is at the base of the oven (that is the large square stone box on which the dome rests). I am not sure if the support base is all filled with stone (huge thermal mass?) or empty.

Thanks for your nice comments on the house. I will post some pictures as I can. It is a special place that deserves historical respect. So moving forward I would like to maintain the oven structure in character and shape to the existing one. I just wish to make it more efficient in terms of use.I am sure you guys can help me with suggestions.
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Colonial Beehive Oven-img_0795.jpg   Colonial Beehive Oven-img_0804.jpg  

Last edited by Saro; 10-21-2013 at 10:27 AM.
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  #16  
Old 10-21-2013, 01:48 PM
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Default Re: Colonial Beehive Oven

Gudday
I agree with Chris a damp oven the heat moves through fast. Even with insulation the outer dome will heat up . Fire it again and again. It take a good 10 firings to really dry things out . Trust me, when it's dry you will notice
Regards Dave
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Old 10-21-2013, 04:14 PM
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Default Re: Colonial Beehive Oven

Saro

As stated previously I would try drying the oven out which may help. I'm no expert and hopefully someone more knowledgable will weight in but looking at the pictures and your description of the oven tell me that you more than likely have two issues that will be a challenge that you've already touched on. 1: it appears your thermal mass is going to be quit large requiring much longer preheat times and 2:The lack of both dome and under floor insulation causing the quicker dissipation of stored heat.

Try the dry out and after that try firing the oven longer 3-4 hrs and see what your results are. Worst case is you'll have a oven that will bake a load of bread and is one dam good looking asset to your home. If your really interested in pizza and your WFO won't get the floor and dome to Neoploitan temps, Ive had great success with NY style pizza at 550* which I think you'll achieve plus the addition of a live fire you'll turn out some great pizza, I promise you.
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Old 10-21-2013, 04:48 PM
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Default Re: Colonial Beehive Oven

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Originally Posted by Saro View Post
Chris

I did fire it last weekend. I got the dome and the base at around 850 F over a 2.5 firing. By the time I cleared the floor to bake some bread (ciabatta and semolina loaves, pictures attached) the oven temperature had dropped to 500 at the dome and 450 at he floor. The bread baked for 35-40 minutes and by the time I was done oven temperature was at 350-400F at the dome and 300 F at the base. By the time the bread was out of the oven, the outer temperature of the dome started to creep up reaching an average of 140F, that is very warm/hot to the touch. Of course there is no much you can do after one load of bread baking. Not even good to slow roast vegetable with residual heat. That is what I mean for more efficient.So I have concluded that the lack of insulation to the dome must be causing this including the cracks I see to the outer shell. Of course I do not know what is at the base of the oven (that is the large square stone box on which the dome rests). I am not sure if the support base is all filled with stone (huge thermal mass?) or empty.
I think your oven is built true to early colonial ovens, and like I said, I don't think your oven is holding much moisture...at least not enough to effect the expected performance of an oven like this. Don't forget, insulation is not only a more modern improvement, but it wasn't necessary back then, because these ovens were used daily, and would rarely be allowed to reach ambient temperature.

If it were holding a lot of moisture though, you would see dampness around the cracks of your cladding. Did you see that? Also, I would think your stand is filled with rubble and portland, again, not ideal but true to form.

You have a true treasure...something people like me value and would love to have in their home. And by the numbers you posted, while not ideal, this oven is certainly usable.
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Old 10-21-2013, 04:52 PM
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Default Re: Colonial Beehive Oven

One thing is bothering me though. It looks like Lime mortar was used on the joint work outside, but the fireplace looks like it was pointed with a portland based mortar.
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Last edited by stonecutter; 10-21-2013 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 10-22-2013, 07:24 AM
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Default Re: Colonial Beehive Oven

Hello Guys. Thank you all for your help and suggestions. very much appreciated.

Stonecutter:

1) You are correct I have not noticed dampness or moisture at the outer cracks.

2) You have a great attention for details. It is true that the stone work on the house is pointed in white. It is very difficult to understand what was on those stone walls originally. In some sections one can still see remains of a whitewashing on the stone walls. The previous owner had the house cleaned of a lime/cement coating circa 30 years ago and repointed with white lime/cement. It is NOT pure lime and sand. It does have some cement binder into it.

3) The fireplace pointing is uncolored fire-resistant cement. A guess a functional choice of the architect who redid the fireplace pointing and beehive oven. Consider that with the exception of the beehive oven the previous owner loved to use all seven fireplaces in the house. And another fireplace is also of the same size of the one I showed with evidence of another beehive oven similar to the one showed.

Anyway I will keep using the oven until needs to be redone, which I am sure it will happen at one point in time. At that time I can consider a better insulation on the unit while maintaining the overall shape and appearance.

By the way I did some additional measurements yesterday and from my estimates the igloo sides are 6" thick and the dome highest point is about 8 inches thick. This considering the difference between inside/outside diameter/height. Obviously they must have put a lot of cladding even in the absence of insulation to reach this thickness. It is bizarre because the oven stay cold to the touch for up to 2.5 hours during the firing and even after has cleared the dome. Then all of a sudden it starts to become warmer and warmer until reaches approximatively 140 to 150 F, on different spots. The dome peak stays the coolest of all.


Thanks again for your nice comments and appreciation of the old house.
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