Friday, November 5, 2010

Keeping The Oven Dry

If you've made an earth oven, then you need to keep it absolutely dry. If you don't, then the oven will revert to its primal state. Mud. Even brick ovens should also be kept dry.
But it's not a simple matter in deciding how to protect your oven. The small oven in the photo has been stuccoed with surface bonding cement. This seems to protect the dome well enough, but the interior surface of the opening gets quite soft when it rains. Probably a brick arch would have helped. Perhaps a better arrangement would be metal roofing, as shown, but since the metal is draped over the dome, I keep wondering if the metal might melt when bombarded by the flames. Trying to always remain vigilant about pushing the fire to the back makes me more than a little anxious. Ideally, the roofing should be quite a bit higher, framed out, above the oven.
An earth oven extremely well protected


Nolan said...

Hello Stu,
Thank you for sharing your bread oven adventures and taking the time to travel and help others build ovens. I have been building a page to share surface bonding cement information including the original mix information from the USDA. . For an oven, I am wondering of you have ever added a little vermiculite to the mix to help with the cracking? Do you have a favorite plaster mix for ovens that I can share with people?

Best regards,
Nolan Scheid

Breadhunter aka Stu Silverstein said...

Hi Nolan,
I have never mixed perlite with sbc because I have not had a problem with cracking. However, I had a large chunk of sbc flake off from the oven just above the oven opening (I'll search for a photo). I believed this occurred because sbc is made with Portland and it simple can't tolerate the high temperatures as the flames roll up over the front of the oven.
I don't really have a favorite plaster mix. Generally, I simply use two or three parts sand to one part clay.

Nolan Scheid said...

Thank you Stu,
I like your metal roof approach that is used on many of your ovens. The waterproofing question is one that is often asked. I think you have solved it. I would like to find a coating I can suggest for ovens that will be left exposed to the elements.

If you ever make it to Eugene Oregon, I hope we can say hello in person.
Best regards,

Breadhunter aka Stu Silverstein said...

If I ever make it to Eugene, I'll definitely say hello.
My brother, who lives in New Mexico, uses a type of sealer, but he is still filling cracks in his stucco, and he doesn't get the rain that you get in Oregon and I get in Maine. I'm not sure if the "coating" you're looking for exists, but if you find it, please let me know.