Ovens, builders, a new (oven) book for German readers

Ian, Iantha, oven
Out of the blue one day I got a phone call from a guy named Ian Miller. He said he had built a few ovens, baked a fair amount of bread, was married to an Austrian and (among other things) interested in translating Build Your Own Earth Oven into German. With that began an adventure that is now resulting in a new (German!) edition of the book, published by Stocker Verlag, out of Austria (they also publish Austrian permaculturist Sepp Holzer, which makes it even more of an honor). Very interesting to let go of the book and let someone else take it all apart and put it all back together again in a language I can’t read or speak. But in the process of doing it, I realize there are some good stories I haven’t yet shared — not about translation and books, but about ovens and their people. So, while it’s late (especially in terms of giving credit where it’s due for previous projects) I hope this will be a start.

Guest Article: An Earthen Oven Odyssey by Joe Kennedy

efficient cob oven plans
Joe Kennedy, long-time natural builder, tells fascinating stories of the ovens he has built and the lessons he has learned from them. Joe addresses many useful design ideas that he has drawn from his experience. He also shares his drawings of a current oven he is buiding that synthesizes his experiences into a very efficient and useful oven.

Dan Wing on Trailers for Mobile Ovens

Much as I try to discourage them (see pp 98-101 of Build Your Own Earth Oven, 3d ed.), lots of people want to put their oven on a trailer and tow it long distances at high speed. Dan Wing, co-author of The Bread Builders and builder of fine gypsy trailers, as well as the maker of a well-travelled oven, kindly wrote up a thoughtful and practical set of notes on the safe and proper construction of hi-speed auto-trailers suitable for heavy ovens. It’s a downloadable word file that you can get by clicking here: Oven trailers. If you want to read the 2004 NY Times articl

the upside down fire

how to build an upsidedown fire

You can greatly improve how your oven performs by how you lay and manage the fire. Here’s how and why I build what Pat Manley calls “an upside down fire.” The first principle of fire requires applying to heat to fuel. When the fuel gets hot enough, it bursts into flame. But if you pile many pounds of wood on top of your kindling, it will take a long time before all your fuel can really start burning. Meanwhile, you’ll get a lot of smoke in your (and possibly your neighbors’) eyes, and you’ll lose a lot of fuel (all that smoke counts as unburnt fuel). So turn your fire upside down! It will start small, but a small fire can heat up quickly. As it does, it will drop down deeper to ignite more fuel in your stack. The stack itself should be