I thought I had better start an official oven thread to document my current project to build a Earth or Cob oven.
I've spent the last few days just getting the floor built that I'm going to place my oven on. It's going well but I'm feeling all aches from the digging and paver laying!
Here's a some photos of the progress so far. I'll update as I move through the project.
This is a rough layout of the pavers I'm using for the floor and oven base. I think I have enough for five levels on the circular stones.
This is the site all excavated to 7" and leveled.
All formed and starting to add the 4" of road base.
Post holders for the roof structure in place and ready for more road base.
Road base in and level, checking the fit of the pavers after cutting the corners to fit around the post supports.
Paver base sand in place and laying the pavers.
Pavers in place. The circle shows me where to place the circular stones. The stones will be place on the outside of the circle. I still need to place sand between the seams on the pavers to lock them in place. The floor is almost perfectly level!
Last Edit: Sept 22, 2013 19:17:10 GMT -8 by shasta
Post by Ken (nadoj) on May 9, 2013 15:22:12 GMT -8
It is probably too far off topic for sourdough baking. A cob oven fits in nicely though. I do have a flickr account that I will post pictures to as I proceed. So far, with a very wet spring that dream seems very far away. I cannot even get anyone to do the necessary ground work and with farming at bay, it will be a long time still. my flickr link is www.flickr.com/photos/92142314@N02/sets Thanks for your pictures and hope your body recovers. Ken
Great photos and videos Ken! You're gonna be my go to guy when I get ready to plaster the outer edge of my oven! In the book I'm following, "Build Your Own Earth Oven" by Kiko Denzer, they talk about adding cow dung to the plaster for strength and water resistance. Have you heard of that?
I'm with Maureen, the General Chat section should be a place that could accommodate updates on your house build!
Post by Ken (nadoj) on May 9, 2013 18:51:34 GMT -8
That is a good idea, I had not really thought of that. I will post pictures there when I really start building. Oh, for sure I have heard of that. I will use grass fed cow dung when I do the interior. I am using lime plaster on the outside due to the added strength, ability to handle rain/snow and its unique ability to self heal cracks as they arise. The lime needs to soak for months or years to be use-able so i started with that. I do want to buy that book and at least one more as I build a rocket mass heater for our house. Probably this one: Rocket Mass Heaters: Superefficient Woodstoves YOU Can Build by Ianto Evans, Leslie Jackson Thanks for the thought!
I was wondering why you were making it up and putting it into barrels. I'm planning on giving my oven an outer coating of plaster, about an inch thick. Should I be getting some soaking? I can't imagine it taking more than 5 gallons or so. Would I want to use the cow dung mixture on the exterior? I think they mention that in the book.
I've researched rocket mass heaters, ovens and stoves. They're a great concept! My co-worker who is also making a cob oven was debating on making his a rocket stove fired oven. I think he decided it was too much extra work.
Your house is going to be a great project! If I were closer I would be there to lend a hand! Good luck when you get it going! I'm looking forward to seeing the progress.
Post by Ken (nadoj) on May 10, 2013 4:00:48 GMT -8
Hi Shasta, There is so much information about rocket stoves on the internet but most is at beginner levels of info. To get more realistic data, you must get books. Rocket stoves is a wonderful technology and it uses a fraction of the wood that a wood burner does. It burns without pollution (if it is properly constructed, used -dependent on weather conditions). I can understand your friend not wanting to dig into this technology but since I will have no heating system in my house and we experience very severe winter weather, I need to have a way of keeping my house warm for periods of time. A woodstove gets cold as soon as the fire goes out. A rocket mass heater, due the the thermal mass in contains, can keep releasing heat into a home for hours and even days. I know little but I am not ready to install that. I have a lot to get in place first.
If I was into baking bread, I would not want a rocket oven. I would choose a brick or cob oven or possibly a barrel oven. Here is a video about an interesting pizza rocket stove. It shows there are possibilities.
Ken, I agree, the rocket stove concept is fantastic! I think it will be perfect for your new home! My co-worker was looking at it more from a point of view of more work. He's taking a get it done for as little cost and work as he can approach.
I would like to eventually build a larger area perhaps including my cob oven that will serve as an out door kitchen. I was playing with the idea of building in rocket stoves into the project.
I'm sure you have seen this site before: Stove Team I was impressed with their product and suggested that they might also want to sell them here in the U.S. to help raise funds to further their work around the world. I also suggested that they could work with state and National Parks about installing them in campgrounds.
Well its been a while since I updated this so these pictures are over due. I had hoped to get this oven done before the hot weather hit this summer! Surprise!! we hit 100+ weather a month early. Now I'm hoping to finish it before the cold and rain hits! We'll see. There has been progress though!!
Next comes the fire brick floor and then the first layer!!
Last Edit: Sept 22, 2013 19:15:36 GMT -8 by shasta
Thanks Ken, I'm really getting excited about it! I did test bricks this weekend to see what percentage of clay works best. So far 25% clay to 75% sand has the edge. I'm going to expose them to some heat this week in my smoker's firebox.
That's great news about your build! Along those lines, I found a link you may not have come across before. Thought I would pass it along: link
Post by Ken (nadoj) on Sept 22, 2013 20:41:44 GMT -8
That link is a great blog. Sigi Koko (author of that blog and the facbook page "Building Naturally with Sigi Koko" ) and I are facebook friends. She has given me so many helpful suggestions and info. She is so willing to help with just the right info. 25% clay and 75% sand is just the right mix according to Sigi too. I was just reading her other blog about cob ovens Here. Wishing you the best.
Post by almostsour on Sept 23, 2013 9:07:20 GMT -8
I doubt anything performs or satisfies as well as building your own. It just made me cheer to look at the recent pics - partially for the base not even being mortared, but the Corona bottles were a hoot!
I'm completely inexperienced w/ firing a wood oven, and learned this wkend that I could not only make bricks from dough, but brickettes! The way I went involves compromise inherent in a steel & brick construction, but if/when I move - I take it with me. When the bread's done, I sweep out the coals and roll it into the garage & let the residual heat warm the house.
I love what you're doing, Shasta. Thank You for posting.
Almostsour, You should post some photos of your oven! I'd like to see what you are using. I made a smoker a few years back (all steel) but have never made anything with bricks and clay! I'll be biting my nails until I get the thermal layer done but if I get it without too many issues, the rest of the oven should go smoothly. I'm getting anxious to get it done!
Post by almostsour on Sept 23, 2013 16:04:00 GMT -8
I'm not kidding when I say I'm really ignorant about it - for now. Today's reading was fruitful. An Aussie site addressed specifics for bread heads - which seems promising to correct the 'hot spots' that gave me 'crusts of color'. I'll be looking to overshoot the temp slightly, sweep out the coals, close 'er up and let the temps even out & normalize. I had pronounced hot spots that was way too hot for a nice crust. That site is: www.slowfoodandhandforgedtools.com.au/bread-recipes-beginner.html#reading-oven-ready-bread
Next firing will stick w/ slightly smaller wood pcs until I get the hang of it, and while firing, I'll move the burning wood all around the deck so the heat is less concentrated in one area. I may break down & get an IR thermometer (recommend at least a 10:1 distance to spot ratio) so I can find and fix the hot spots before loading bread.
I don't think my unit will ever have the joy of building and using your own, but I want the functional part more right now.
I think you'll find the masonry part not too tough. 'A bit nervous about the dome top, but there's ways to work & support the top until the mortar sets up. One of the more imaginative ways I saw was using one of those excercise/stretching balls one sits on to support the masonry. When setup/dry - deflate & remove the ball. I thought one of those plastic dog igloos would do the job also.
Wow, you really have a nice setup! Given some time, I'm sure you will master the firing of it! When I first made my smoker, it took me some time to learn cook with it. It just takes time. Thanks for the link, I'll be reading it over as get my oven ready to use.
Last weekend I formed and set the sub floor for the oven. The sub floor is made of the same mixture of sand and clay that the thermal mass dome will be made of.It's also the same thickness, 3 to 3.5 inches.
This weekend we placed the fire brick extending them out of the future opening.