After another weekend of scooping, packing, stomping, dumping, shoveling, squishing, reaching, lugging, bending, blending, pressing, aching, groaning, and getting yelled at by my daughter for tracking dirt into the house, I’m happy to say my earth oven can now sleep a little better at night. Or maybe it’s I who can sleep better, knowing that the oven is wrapped in a snug blanket, aka its insulation layer.
The theory behind this layer of sawdust (or other insulating material) mixed with just enough mud to hold it together is simple: it keeps the heat where you want it (i.e., in the inner, dense thermal layer of the oven, where it can radiate to the baking bread) and away from where you don’t want it (i.e., yourself and other surrounding burn-able objects).
My “sawdust” was actually a downed eucalyptus tree that had been chipped (not by me) and left to sit long enough that the chips had (mostly) broken apart into finer pieces.
Here’s a closeup of the insulation mud:
The first photo in the post shows how I built the insulating up over the thermal layer, and here’s the final product:
The last construction step will be to apply a finish plaster, which will protect the oven as well as make it look a little nicer. I want to let the insulation layer dry out pretty well before I do that, and I hope that will be before we start getting some serious rain. I plan to make more drying fires periodically, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for an October filled with warm, dry, sunny days. And if you all wouldn’t mind doing the same, I’d really appreciate it!
That’s some great lookin’ thermal mass!
Ari (Baking and Books) says
You are just way too cool.
Was just envious, now I’m super envious. Can’t wait to have Mr Chiots help me build one of these soon!
You’ve got it Susan!
It’s looking so wonderful! I’m so glad you are keeping us up on things.
No problem I’ll cross my fingers–do the same for me or I may never move!
it looks great!
Baking Soda says
I”ll cross my fingers too, anything to see this beauty finished and working. Looks wonderful Susan!
Oh Susan! You must be so proud. It is just beautiful.
Wow, that is an amazing job! It’s coming along splendidly!
maybelles mom says
That is a lot of work.
I must say there is something so visually pleasing about its rounded shape. It almost seems personified–like it needs a given name. Oscar? Milo? I can’t wait to hear about his adventures.
Your oven is coming along nicely. I hope that things stay dry for you – you could always do what I’m doing up here in rainy toronto and make a shelter out of scrap material and cover it with a waterproof tarp.
Madam Chow says
I want one! And you are so funny – your daughter yelled at YOU for tracking dirt in!
Can’t wait to see some loaves coming out of that thing!
Dana McCauley says
I’ve been thinking about installing an outdoor oven but I’m not sure I have your energy!
I will watch your progress avidly!
Any chance I could fit something like this in an apartment kitchen?
It looks great!! Here’s wishing lots of sun for your drying.
I’m so jealous! I love reading about your progress… keep it up please! Off-topic, I keep meaning to mention that I took a few bread classes at SFBI this past summer. I only read what you posted about it after I signed up for the classes, but one of my classmates signed up because of your blog! It was a fantastic experience.
Cordia Malling says
loving your post