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Finally getting to building WFO in Calgary, Canada

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  • shanxk8
    replied
    More firing last night, got up to 600 to 650F at the top and constantly in 300 to 400F at the bottom course . The floor was even up to 400 to 500F. It doesn't seem like the heat was saturating the bricks yet after 1.5 hour fire at those temperatures. (Having not closed in oven I could read temp in low 100s on exterior surface of floor bricks)

    It seems like it will need to be a big fire to get the dome to 700+. How big will that fire really need to be?
    There was already pretty consistent flames licking along much of the dome to get the 600+ fire...
    Last edited by shanxk8; 07-05-2018, 06:26 AM.

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  • shanxk8
    replied
    Had another pretty good fire going last night. Cooking fire the night before was 300 to 350F at the top of dome and 200-250F at the bottom course. Had it there for a good 4 hours. Realized part way through i needed to remove the plastic sheet covering it to let out moisture

    The fire last night got really hot (closer to 600F at top of dome, hotter than i intended). I tried to keep the fire going in a ring around the oven to get more heat into the bottom. For most of the firing dome temp ranged from 450-550F, bottom course varied in the the 200+ to 300F and the middle of the floor even got over 300F. It seems like i'm starting to get somewhere.

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  • shanxk8
    replied
    Here's the unit and outcome of the first meal cooked in the oven. It turned out delicious!
    (I'll probably also post this in the what did you cook thread)

    The third photo also shows a little of the progress that I've made in finishing details, arch underneath and brick around chimney.

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  • shanxk8
    replied
    I think the smoke mainly comes out the front when the fire is barely burning or gone out/shouldering. When the fire is burning well the smoke all goes out the chimney like it should. We marveled at the layer between the smoke and clear air at the bottom of the oven when burning properly.

    Also, I tried a top down fire (from firing your oven thread), it was shockingly effective. Why didn't boy scouts teach me that?

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  • Gulf
    replied
    I don't have a nice charcoal chimney like that (only bought the bag for this purpose, never use charcoal otherwise
    A charcoal chimney can be used for starting other fuels than charcoal briquettes. I rarely cook with them either. I reccomended them for the first heating of a new oven because they burn at a slightly lower temperature than "lump charcoal". Lump charcoal is something that I use a lot. It is any wood that has burned down to almost pure carbon and has been snuffed out by lack of oxygen. It is made commercially, usually from hardwood. Our ovens produce it in varying amounts when we have a lot of ash and/or close the insulated door too soon. It is waisted energy if we don't harvest it. It can be used to preheat the fllue and also for getting a quick coal bed started in the oven. I use it also on my other grills (no gassers).
    Joe, I'll have to rethink how to do a reveal because I'd planned to make the outer decorative arch smaller for a couple or reasons. One to help capture smoke a little better. Two to match decorative arch size to the outer dimension of wooden door I plan for the oven (i.e. smaller than vent arch).
    A well formed smoke chamber would have helped a bunch there. Preheating the flue before firing will also eliminate a lot of the short comings of chimney/flue problems imo. What ever you do, think about how to keep water out of your oven. Think also, about how to increase the days of the year that your oven can be used. That not only makes your investment more valuable, it makes it a great "go too" in case you some how find yourself off of "the grid" .



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  • UtahBeehiver
    replied
    IMHO, Leave well enough alone on the excess mortar.

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  • shanxk8
    replied
    I think everything in there is pretty black still, the grey may be due to smoke in the oven while i was taking pictures. I'm pretty sure nothing in the oven has reached 600F yet, so still a ways to go for me.

    Next firing, i'll take another picture before i start without smoke for the expert eyes to analyze.
    In that picture, what stands out to me is the spots i reapplied mortar to fill in gaps, and then forgot to sponge off the excess Is there any way to remove that after its dried, other than grinder? I'd seem some mention vinegar wash? (suspect i'm past point where that would work)
    Thanks,
    David

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  • SableSprings
    replied
    Actually the picture looks good for the middle of the curing process. You are essentially seeing the moisture being driven up (and out) of the structure and its insulation. Can't emphasize it enough, you want to go slow and steady...that low fire around the outside perimeter of the cooking floor is working for you...don't rush it. Minimal temperature differential is your goal. The cleared section indicates you've gotten those lower brick surfaces to +600F (+315C) and the lighter gray is getting close. Don't forget to move that charcoal around on the cooking floor as well, you don't want to have a cold (wet insulation) spot in the middle of pizza land.

    That method of slow, low fire in the middle to get to coals and then moving those coals to the perimeter works well to pulse the moisture out (IMHO). You want to see a nice area of gray "fade in" above the cleared section. When the oven has been cured, you will see the clearing first in the dome top during the firing and then it will clear more slowly down the sides. I often have a darker ring around the lower perimeter after the main portion of the dome has cleared and I move coals out to the perimeter to finish the clearing.

    Looking good...time to start thinking about how your weekly diet will change

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  • shanxk8
    replied
    Tried the ring of charcoal last night. It was mostly around 200F but varied around the ring (likely varying amount of coals). Will probably try that one more time & make more to try to really bake it.

    Joe, I'll have to rethink how to do a reveal because I'd planned to make the outer decorative arch smaller for a couple or reasons. One to help capture smoke a little better. Two to match decorative arch size to the outer dimension of wooden door I plan for the oven (i.e. smaller than vent arch).

    I tried looking for cracks last night but couldn't see any. But, I'm not sure if/how I could through the black soot on the bricks (see picture). Is that something I need to wait until the dome starts clearing (when hotter)?

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  • Gulf
    replied
    Originally posted by shanxk8 View Post
    I have probably 3 more arches to do. Two more smaller storage areas and a cosmetic one to cover my ugly firebrick one at the front of the chimney/vent area. Its good i'm getting practice. Now i now i need to take time to ensure i have a good form for each of those. I'll leave the one on the chimney/vent, cuz why not save the best for last.
    Don't cover it all up. Leave a little reveal. That will make it easier to fit a storm door. A storm door will help with driving rain, snow, and a stray cat looking for a warm place to shelter .
    Last edited by Gulf; 06-27-2018, 05:12 PM.

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  • SableSprings
    replied
    David, there is a thread on oven tools that has a lot of good ideas. Here's a link to a pdf of my favorite tools for bread and pizza in that thread...

    https://community.fornobravo.com/for...498#post383498

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  • shanxk8
    replied
    I have probably 3 more arches to do. Two more smaller storage areas and a cosmetic one to cover my ugly firebrick one at the front of the chimney/vent area. Its good i'm getting practice. Now i now i need to take time to ensure i have a good form for each of those. I'll leave the one on the chimney/vent, cuz why not save the best for last.

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  • UtahBeehiver
    replied
    Nice arch, it seems once you get a new skill dialed in the work is over.

    I made my bangle peel from some scrap 316 SS sheet metal. If you know someone with a plasma cutter it is slick but you can form and shape with an angle grinder and jig saw. I have seen some made of sheet aluminum which would be easier to work with.

    Like Mike said, we can't stress enough that builders really need to be patient during the curing phase. One extra log on the curing fire can cause a temp spike or flame impingement and boom, stress crack in all your hard work. Not to say cracks won't happen but why cause unnecessary ones.
    Last edited by UtahBeehiver; 06-27-2018, 07:00 AM.

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  • shanxk8
    replied
    Didn't get to a fire last night, but did some cosmetic work; the arch for the wood storage area. I'm pretty pleased with it, my form worked better and my brick spacing turned out much nicer than my firebrick arches for my chimney/vent.

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  • SableSprings
    replied
    As noted before by others, your build is looking great. As David S pointed out in post #106, the fairly large temperature differential is not good...and it along with the difficulty keeping a fire going is a strong indication that you've still got significant moisture in the lower section. Again, as noted before, this is the time that creates the most stress on your brick work. The larger the temperature difference, the more likely two sections may crack at the "line" between them. This is a really good time to use the charcoal briquette method in your curing. I know you said you don't use them normally, but they are pretty inexpensive and have some really significant advantages for curing. Light up some briquettes and spread them around the perimeter inside. The lower (literally) and pretty consistent heat will "work" on moving that moisture out of that area much more effectively without producing as big a differential between the dome top and lower areas.

    After you've had a briquette perimeter fire going for a couple hours, take a temp reading in the middle of the cooking floor. The "heat beads" are really good for working on the floor's wet spots. Think about keeping the entire interior of the oven as evenly heated as possible...it's going to be well worth the patience & the wait.

    Relax and enjoy doing the curing low and slow

    (and yes, normally loading peels are made of wood and the banjo peel is used for turning & working the pizza in the oven...and it does get HOT ...so yes the banjo peel is made of metal and is smaller).
    Last edited by SableSprings; 06-26-2018, 05:25 PM.

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