Dismantling my mud oven

Back when I built my oven, I’d been using Kiko Denzer’s book (now in new edition). He suggested an oven could be built on saw horses with a wooden plank subfloor, but that it would burn through eventually. I’ve previously reported my notes of that problem happening (here) and (here).

The burning problem reached the point where I was sure the oven was losing lots of heat via air coming in from the floor. I’ve enjoyed the oven and want a more permanent one. It was time to dismantle the first oven.

This post is really to share observations of what can be learned in the demolition.

First, its not hard to demolish. I did it by hand with a garden trowel as pry bar, breaking off the outer shell, which I mostly saved at the raw materials for the next oven. Breaking up the inner shell was also easy, and it was not very fired, as shown below. Finally, the burn spot and depth of burn is worth noting, my 2×6’s were half char in the center area.

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2 Responses to “Dismantling my mud oven”

  1. kiko denzer Says:

    Hey, Nils,

    thanks for sharing this — very useful. how much sand and/or other material were under the floor bricks? Adequate mass and insulation underneath would prevent — or at least significantly slow down the burning. How long did it take to get to this point?

  2. nilspeterson Says:

    Kiko, the sand was about 1/2 inch thick. Really just enough to bed the brick. There was only one layer of brick on the sand. I have recorded in this blog ( category Fire ) only 7 uses of the oven. I suspect there were 10-15 firings total. The problem may ha ve been made worse by not finishing the oven to water proof it. I tried to keep a tarp on it, with varying success. Consequently, the oven was often damp and it took much more firing to get it hot. Often it would steam while firing.

    It was a great learning experience, well worth it. I have plans for a new oven, with better foundations and a real roof.

    I’m also exploring making an oven with elementary school kids, inspired by your “Dig your hands in the dirt” book. The idea is to learn about yeast and bread and baking. I want to put the oven on a heavy duty trailer and go to Farmers Market in Moscow, Idaho and use it with a baker there. If it happens, it will be late spring 2011.

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