If you scroll to the bottom of this post, there is a link labelled 'brickoven'. Click on this, scroll waaaaaay down, and the first post is something well over two years ago, when we dug the foundation for this oven. We expected it to take maybe six months, but weather, obligations, temperatures and other obstacles came between Alan and building.
However, we are delighted to report that we have commenced seasoning the oven. First Flame! We can season and use the oven before finishing the coating; it's all cosmetic from here on, although we do still need to keep the rain off it so we hope to be applying the stucco very soon.
So here it is, the first fire to be laid in the oven. We took it to 200F this first time, then we have to take it 100F higher every day, to gradually drive moisture out of the brickwork, until we reach 700F, at which point it will be ready for cooking.
Second Flame! The second fire to be lit. This photo was taken with flash which explains the nasty white balance, but you can also see how much soot has accumulated on the inside of the dome even with just these two small fires. It won't be long before the dome is completely black with soot, but that's just how it goes.
We can report that the chimney draws the heat very nicely, you can see the smoke rising from the top. So far the heat does not penetrate the thermal insulation either. The chimney is very slightly warm to the touch, maybe a couple of degrees above body heat. I suspect things will get warmer with hotter (and longer) fires but so far, so good.