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Drying fires in cold weather

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  • Drying fires in cold weather

    I'm finally nearing completion of my brick oven, and am thinking about drying it out. I'm in Kansas, and today has a high of about 14F. Has anyone done their drying fires in the middle of winter?

    Just wondering if i should instead wait for a week of temperate weather. KC is known for crazy temperature swings, and we can see weeks with highs in the 10s or 50s

  • #2
    The evaporation of water is dependent not only on temperature, but also humidity and air movement. You will have to be a judge of the combination of those factors. We live in the tropics with high temperatures often accompanied with high humidity in the summer, but lower temperatures accompanied with lower humidity in the winter. Consequently in opposition to what one would imagine, drying is often way faster in the winter. I know this because clay wares often dry slower during the high temperatures and humidity of summer.Those who also monitor their washing in open air (which is not my expertise) also understand this principle. Perhaps you could set a wet towel somewhere near the oven to test out the conditions. It is far easier and safer to dry most of the oven out with sun and wind before using fire. The fire will push water towards the outer parts of the oven as it retreats from the fire. Most builders are so excited to start using the oven that this slower approach gets fast tracked.
    Last edited by david s; 01-06-2022, 04:17 PM.
    Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.


    • #3
      When you do start to heat dry your oven, think about the "charcoal "or "heat bead" method. You can use those key words for search of the forum. That is starting charcoal chimney starter(s) full of lump or briquettes out side of your oven and then placing them inside for the first low temperature fires that is advised by Forno Bravo for the 7 day curing schedule. This allows you to get some drying time in the first couple of days (of the 7 day firing schedule) without a direct flame impingement on the dome.

      Warning: Do Not use charcoal starter fluid to start the charcoal.
      Joe Watson " A year from now, you will wish that you had started today" My Build Album / My Build