The oven was assembled, sealed and insulated. It was time to start work on the stucco layer that defines and finishes the Igloo shape. We also started the series of small fires which cure the oven. We were anxious to start cooking, and it was safe to start the process of slowly drying the oven.
So now, I was not only covered with stucco, I smelled like smoke.
The process of stuccoing the oven uses the wire mesh that is holding the vermiculite concrete to support the first stucco coat. We would be applying a second, smooth coat of finish stucco, so we were not too concerned with the surface of the stucco finish. The last coat would cover that.
Still, we were concerned with the overall shape of the Igloo, and took a lot of care to make sure we liked the shape that was emerging.
The first stucco coat was between 1/2"-3/4".
We applied the stucco using a flat trowel. Starting at the back of the oven and working forward, we applied a series of stucco bands running from bottom to top, running at roughly 45 degrees. This made it easy to fully enclose in the dome and achieve the shape we wanted, without disturbing the insulating concrete.
We were ready to let the oven dry, and to start thinking about the decorative Oven Arch and Landing.