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Why wood pops ? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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  • Why wood pops ?

    I have been away from the forum for a few years but actively using my wood fired oven. Loving it and it is working real well. I have a question regarding why sometimes my wood will pop during pizza cooks and it makes for flying embers that can land on our pizza. I only burn three kinds of wood in my oven. A small amount of cedar to start the fire (and only at the start of start up) and then maple and alder for heating my oven. I use only dry wood. My guess is its the knots in the wood that make the popping but I am not sure? Any ideas........thanks Wayne
    Step by Step of Oven #2 Build... I have built this one in partnership with a friend for a customer that took a liking to my first oven https://picasaweb.google.com/waynebe...42PompeiiOven#

  • #2
    To the best of my knowledge it is from sap in the wood that is trapped in little pockets. It gets heated turns to steam and then it pops when the pressure is released.

    Randy

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    • #3
      Thanks for this Randy. What you say kind of makes sense. My question now then is how can I tell ahead of time if the next piece of wood I throw into fire will have sap in it? Is there anyway by just looking at the wood to see if there is any sap that may cause problems. I am not seeing sap on the extremities of the cut wood? Also I wonder if maple is more prone to have a sap content than the alder I use? I could always use the wood that has more of a chance of containing sap earlier in the heat up cycle before the food goes in. Attached a couple of recent photos of the oven and a lamb dish we cooked the other night.
      Step by Step of Oven #2 Build... I have built this one in partnership with a friend for a customer that took a liking to my first oven https://picasaweb.google.com/waynebe...42PompeiiOven#

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      • #4
        I am not a tree expert, but the harder the wood the finer the grain witch would have smaller voids for the sap to have been in. So oak is much less likely to pop than say ceader or pine. And the sap I am thinking of is dried up in the poors of the wood not visible on the surface.

        Randy

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        • #5
          The pop is moisture in the wood turning to steam and popping off. Soft woods seem to be more poppy, I would think the cedar you use would be the culprit, but it sounds like you just use that at startup. The best indicator that I can imagine would be how previous pieces burn. If you don't have a moisture meter for the wood, that would be a starting point. Next would be to make notes of what pops and what doesn't and hopefully you can find a correlation. I burn mostly oak and get very little popping unless it is wet.
          The cost of living continues to skyrocket, and yet it remains a popular choice.

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