Old 03-20-2005, 01:46 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 239
Default Curing Pompeii oven

Our dome is completed! Now please your suggestions about curing the
oven. When should we start, for how long, etc??
Dianne & Stanley
PS I've heard that on average it should take about two weeks to cure
a 36" oven. Is it true?
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Old 03-20-2005, 01:49 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 239

You can start curing it now. If you have a small quartz heater or one
of those other small space heaters put it inside the oven set for max
temp and let it run for a few days. That should get it warmed up.
Sprinkle the outside of the dome mortar with water everyday for the
first week to keep it damp. You don't want fast drying to get maximum
strength. After the first week, you can start with small fires. If you
make it to the 2 week mark you're more patient than I <grin>.

The worst thing that will happen if you cook it too fast too soon is a
few cracks. Those are easily dealt with using a tube of furnace cement
from the hardware store. (The result is actually stronger - furnace
cement is rated to 2000F+ - than the plain mortar so it's no great

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Old 03-20-2005, 02:05 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 239

I think that 1 week should do it. Start with a
newspaper fire, then get a little larger each
time -- a little kindling, then a small piece of
wood, etc. Seven straight fires should have you
doing some cooking by the 7th day. The oven will
perform better and better from the 7th though
10-odd fires.

The very long two week period you have heard of
is to cure the very heavy concrete cladding that
you did not pour around the oven. That is why you
should be OK with the shorter period.

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