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brian haitz

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since Feb 19, 2017
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Recent posts by brian haitz

Hello Erica,

Thank you loads for your reply, it's great to get the assertion from you guys directly! Highly appreciated and I would love to join one of your workshops if it wasn't for the distance < maybe there will be one in Europe one day.

So we went ahead and built the oven with 1 inch of thermal Mass and unfortunately as it was my first time building something like this I made all the mistakes you can imagine. The most crucial one being that I didn't get the mixture right for the thermal mass, It was too wet and therefore kept slumping and the whole thing just didn't go very well. I decided to mark it down as experience and make another oven and given the second opportunity I decided I will try to build a slightly lower oven to favour Pizzas. This time the mixture felt really good and the build went very well. The ratio of sand to clay was about 4/1 and as it dried out there were no cracks and the thermal mass dome looked Great so I was quite confident. As my daughter's birthday came up I thought I can use the oven the way is and add the rest of the installation later. Sadly now after three firings the thermal lining has developed a lot of fine cracks and even one larger one which is about a 10th of an inch. Is it possible that I fired the oven too hot? I am a bit surprised since all the tests of the mix went well and there were no cracks whatsoever after completely drying the thermal lining. The insulation had not dried out completely before firing so could that have caused the cracking? the inner lining however worked great in terms of efficiency. We got the oven to 350 Celsius in under an hour , baked 4 great pizzas and even with the thin installation we have at the moment we had no problem baking one round of breads afterwards. After that the oven still measured 130° Celsius

Would there be at any point in trying to remove the installation layer and patch the thermal lining from both sides or is this oven going to have to come down?

Obviously very disappointed but thanks again for all your help and advice!
2 years ago
Hi folks,

We have a beautiful Black Mulberry tree and harvest time is coming up soon and we have tried out various ways of harvesting the berries in the last couple of years. I was wondering what kind of setups you people have come up with to harvest the gorgeous but fragile fruits. Our best solution so far have been 2 huge elastic bedsheets elevated by four sticks each in the ground, it reduces the falling height and softens the land and it keeps the berries off the ground. Another bonus is you can let them ripen and Fall in their own time.

I will try and think of making a photo of our setup
2 years ago
what mushroom is this?  just popping up everywhere in the garden , I'm assuming it's non edible but I'm curious
2 years ago
Hi guys,

I have never been much of a reader, but after the arrival of my daughter I have been given presents of 2 parenting books which I both really enjoyed in terms of the insights into the world that children live in and of course it is just worth it for the good advise you pick up here and there.

Anyone have some favourite parenting books they can recommend? we like Montessori for example

2 years ago
Hi guys,

I have built an outside earthen oven, as in the double chamber oven, And Im contemplating various ways of protecting it from the weather. One idea I liked was to simply cover it rather than build a roof which takes up quite some space. However, The main argument against doubts is that's it simply isn't pretty to look at a plastic sheet all year round rather than the beautiful oven you built.

I would be prepared to use proper roof tiles but I don't want to build a structure that can support them. That would mean a lot of foundation work and equally take up a lot of space. I am looking for a solution that is lighter, Like sheet metal . I don't like tar paper.

Can anybody imagine a type of roofing, possibly even involving some natural materials (as in unprocessed). Obviously it needs to be water repelling, Strong enough to withstand strong rain, if possible not too susceptible to Wind and not easily flammable, However the roof Will be quite high and further precautionary steps would be possible to make something heat resistant. The only obvious types of natural roofing I can think of is Thatching, Which obviously is not to suitable over an oven.

Happy for any suggestions.
2 years ago
Hi guys, a couple of questions as we are going to build this oven soon, according tothe plans.

1 Considering the re-burn going into the exhaust pipe, does the pipe need to be stainless steel or will a copper pipe stand the heat?

2 I would like to tune the oven to heat up faster and cool down faster so it suits our small family needs better. To bake about two pizzas and one bread Will take about an hour and a half of baking time or a little less. Do you think an inch of thermal mass should be about right for that or will I risk it's cooling down too fast? I have obtained Chamotte Stones an inch thick for the base to go with it. Also what would you recommend as maximum installation thickness for such a setup?

3 in the book you mention that the exterior may not be treated in a way that the oven cannot breathe. How does simply linseed oiling it fair in that respect? Does that also inhibit breathability? And does polishing the exterior clay make a difference?

Thanks a lot!
2 years ago
Hi Satamax, Thanks a lot!
I had already downloaded your file but not installed the suitable viewer for yet. Just looked at it and looks like a great design, I will certainly incorporate or maybe base my design on that. I suppose you would add a deflector on the inside of the feed tube, like two or three fire breaks. also I am contemplating and oval shape.

Would you just brick the dome? I am not sure my skills would it be good enough to do that. Maybe an inner lining fire cob followed by an inch of cement for Weight bearing structure and then insulated cob around that? That would raise the question of whether cement gases could enter?
2 years ago
So there have been some changes made to the plans, it contains some definite errors.

First of all I am going to use the wet sand method rather than the oil drum for the shape simply because when the oven is heated up the metal expands and I presume Will simply bust the cob around it. Essentially the shape and build will be based on wisners double chamber oven. I am however still interested in keeping the Rocket as designed in the pictures above to draw the flames right across the top of the bake goods in the way the uni does it.

The next question would be whether the cob is structurally capable of supporting its own weight in a much shallower Dome. How much lower do you think I can make the dome than in the original design? Of course with out changing the base dimentions
2 years ago
it's been about three months now that I have been doing some occasional research on different types of pizza ovens. At this point I can safely say I have read just about every Fred I could find in this forum along with many of the great sides that people have linked to and of course watched tons of YouTube videos.

Because there are so many different ways of building is, the most important stage was defining what exactly I want.
Overview of my aspirations for the oven:
-decently higher temperatures from above and below to make excellent pizza 400°C would be ideal
-Heat retaining qualities to last me at least one round of the baking bread, circa one hour of 200°C
-Because I won't be having many parties catering for 50 people, I don't want to spend hours preheating the oven, maybe 45 minutes would be good. This is also a factor in fuel consumption, I'd like to be able to make a few pizzas and two breads without using tons of wood.
-I don't have welding experience although I could find a friend if necessary, But prefer without.
-I would like to reuse A large 200 L oil drum that I have for the shape and I am hoping to build primarily from cob, Stone and tile debris and rubble and get away with only having to buy the firebricks and some small things if necessary. i have a small amount of cement here aswell.

wisners double chamber:
i have studied the wisners double chamber cob oven in detail and for my purpose it might take too long to heat up and is more suited for frequent use. however it is on my list of possible solutions. they mention the possibility of reducing the outer shell for faster heating but thats coming down from an original 2h heat up time.

traditional pizza oven:
i have studied traditional ovens and their dimensions, which again is fantastic but takes long to heat and is not taking advantage of rocket/reduced fuel possibility.

hybrid rocket cob oven:
then there are the hybrid rocket cob ovens that often have the riser come up right at the center of the hearth, where it seems to me that of the hearth gets too hot, its too cool at the top and the hearth often doesnt withstand the brutal direct heat. they also seem like one of the more challenging builds.

fancy new tech portable pizza ovens like uni 3: using part of the rocket principle to draft the flame along the top of the oven and over the pizza and the stone, resulting in high temps above and below in short heat up. downside: unsuited for baking, expensive and my garden doesnt grow pellets.

i'm wishing that you guys, who i can see have vast knowledge and experience with rockets might give me feedback on my plans. my idea is to use a rocket for fuel efficiency as a hybrid or the uni do, but combine it with a not too deep cob insulation to give me the ability to bake. i'm adding a chimney at the front like ernie and the uni to draw smoke out the top and am considering (not sketched) a 2nd bake door like ernies. the deflectors are an idea that came again from uni and from a sketch by satamac.

specific questions:

1 what do you think i can use to line the inside of the drum and even lower the height on the inside with. clearly it needs to be lowered for the design to work. the difficulty there is sctructural, so it doesnt just collapse. could cob work and how could i maybe suspend it?
2 what can i use a binding slur in the base together with rubble, stone, tile and glass debri? cob slurry, cement or a mix?
3 the heat riser will not be insulated with sawdust and ash as in the sketch. i read all about metal in heat risers and its obviously not the way to go for longevity and food safety, so i'm thinking on molding a cob riser or just fire bricking it up.

hugely appreciate your help and criticism, i'm just hoping to finally settle on a design and get started.

cheers brian
2 years ago
Hi guys, I have read many threads, as many as I could find in the forum on rocket stoves, cob ovens etc. I have also read the thread about the metal heat risers and I am glad I did. The question I couldn't quiet get a clear perspective on is how firebreak compares to cob in heat rises. I understand there are many different recipes for cob and qualities, But assuming a very good cob mixture, How do you Think it compares to firebrick regarding longevity and insulative qualities? On top of that I wonder, If used in a Black oven situation, Can you imagine a difference in odor and flavour coming from firebrick vs cob?
2 years ago