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Cracking-- How bad is it?

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  • Cracking-- How bad is it?

    I've been working on conditioning my oven and it looks as though there are a couple of places where the mortar has fallen out and/or there is some cracking. There are a couple places at the top of the dome where it looks like the mortar has come out. It's still hot in there so I haven't climbed in to poke it with a screwdriver to see how crumbly it might be. I'm in a panic. Is it a sign of catastrophic failure? If so I'd like to know before I entomb the oven in stone.

    The oven is typical firebrick with Heatstop 50 mortar and 5-6" of fiber blanket insulation. No p-crete or v-crete over the dome, so water content will be from the bricks only. The brickwork of the dome air dried for several weeks prior to the first fire.

    You will clearly see some poor bricklaying (running joints) in the attached photos, which is where the problem is occurring.

    What I've done so far in terms of firing:
    1) a tiny first fire, barely got to 150 deg;
    2) electric heater for four days, ramped from 165 to 275 as the heater ran, about 36 hours at 275
    3) Charcoal briquettes for about 3 hours at 350
    4) Charcoal briquettes for about 3 hours at 400
    5) Wood fire for 4+ hours. Most of the dome was at 425-450, the area where the fire was went to about 625 when the fire was high. Floor got to about 325.

    Recriminations about poor bricklaying and fire management aside, what do I do now? Anything? Am I being too aggressive in my firing?
    My build thread:

  • #2
    Only politicians and used car salesmen say they have no cracks in their ovens. I do not see anything that is structurally wrong other than a staggered bond would have been better (all you new builders pay attention) but it is what it is. Move on, dome is starting to clear now but take you time with temp increase. You at the phase you can start cooking something
    Google Photo Album []