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How many fires have you had? It can take a number of fires, even after you have done the curing (a series of small, then growing fires that dry the oven out) to really get the oven dry to where it heats up really well and holds heat well.
Give it some time, and it will keep getting better.
Good question. I have started using a small log holder that we are now carrying in the Forno Bravo Store. It's a nice little curved metal log holder that fits well in a residential size oven. It's about 12" long and costs $25.
Unfortunatley I think its probably right on the slab. He also mortared the joints instead of floating the hearth to allow for thermal expansion. I questioned him about this and he told me this was the way he made his ovens. Will this be a minor problem or a major problem down the road.