Firedome plus chimney - the challenge continues

See critical updates below:

Tonight I did a practice run with my Firedome this time with a chimney (water heater exhaust pipe) sitting over the top vent.  Pretty huge difference.  Fast to heat, and fast to ignite new wood.  Here's the temp data for the quick burn.

click on graph to see it enlarged

chimney mounted on top of vent

Update for the follower of this site
Jon in Albany demands details.  As a faithful reader, I am obliged to give more details, but thought I'd extend the post by answering here instead of in the comments.

The biggest problem with this thing has been the vigor of the flame.  Most of the time it's like a plasma furnace, but other times the fire burns like a girl scout fire, barely sending the inside past 500F.  The chimney, on this single run, seemed to take the fire and give it some updraft and a really good burn.  Still more testing to be done.

Fuel:  I start the fuel on the lower grate using just about 20 match light briquettes.  Once those are lit, it's all oak.  I use ca. 8" seasoned oak from year's past tree trims.  I split the logs, age tem about a year and  cut to a size that will fit beside the stone.  Half of the top grate has been removed to allow space to toss in wood.

The chimney is a piece of 4" dia. x 8" tall stainless pipe that just rests on top of the dome's top vent when open.  I also want to note I build the fire so it's offset from the cook surface.  The clay surface is on one side of the center volume and the flame is on the other.  This looked most like the configuration in pizza oven's I've seen.  So, that's it.  More testing and reporting to be done.  Stay tuned.

Update for 20-April-2012
This site is a fun way to share discoveries, mostly good.  But today, I hang my head in shame.  The furnace-like temps I got initially could not be duplicated twice since then.  

The Firedome project has been fun and addictive.  It lacks reproducibility regarding temperature.  For such a simple device, it's intriguing.  I live for this kind of problem.  At this point in the game, pizza is not about the dough recipe or the toppings, temperature is an ingredient.  The same dough topped in a 600 deg F oven is profoundly different than the same pie cooked at 900+ deg F.  Based on the last couple runs,  I don't think it's the chimney that launched the plasma beam initially discussed.  The current hypothesis is something suggested by my wife, moisture in the wood. 

Moisture content in wood is a great candidate because, to now, I've not checked it.  I started this project with briquettes.  Once those ash over, the heat drops considerably and  I began using oak or whatever the hell fell from my trees.  Using such a source is bound to be filled with all kinds of differences.  I still want to use wood because it burns hot and has low ash.  I ordered an inexpensive moisture meter for wood and will be scouting the city testing various lots of wood.  The measurement is non destructive and hopefully no supermarket managers will mind (if they catch me).  I will of course keep you all updated.


Jon in Albany said...

OK. I need more details. I actually received a request from one of my kids for more pizza out of my copy of your firedome earlier tonight.

Is this an all wood fire or briquettes with a few logs added? I am thoroughly impressed with how long you were able to keep the temperature up. The last time I fired mine, the last pizza barely made it out cooked. Is there a connection detail for the chimney or did you just place it through the lid vent opening?

Jon In Albany said...

Thank you for the update. I plan on doing some east coast testing when I get a chance. I think I even have some extra stove pipe in the basement. I love the internet...this is awesome.

Jon in Albany said...

I think a little insulation would go a long way. I once read about mineral wool blankets. I think they would work well. But then you'd need something to protect the insulation from weather.

Have you seen this?


Looks nice, but pricey. I've been thinking about making a homemade knockoff to try.

Dave said...

I had a good run the other night, 10 pizzas over 2 hours and they cooked in about 2-3 minutes each. I don't measure temps when I'm cooking but I think it was darn hot (ca. >800). I used supermarket wood cut to 8" lengths, I think good dry wood might be what makes this thing hot.

KettlePizza looks lame. Not much air flow and I'm guessing the heat is built directly beneath the pie, consequently, the whole thing might be 500 degrees or the pizzas would burn. The goal of high temps isn't bragging rights, it's many key qualities.

The insulating blanket is interesting, wonder it would ignite?

Jon in Albany said...

I don't think the temperatures would get hot enough to ignite the insulation. Depends on the insulation. I know some are rated for over 1200 degrees.

Intuitively, I couldn't pay what they are asking at KettlePizza. Although on the flip side, I amd starting to flirt with the idea of dropping too much money on a pressure cooker. The KettlePizza video I watched showed charcoal topped with logs in the back. The idea was to get heat running up the back and over the pizza toward the door. Not sure how well it would work. My addition to the homemade version would be holes on the side for a rotisserie. My current charcoal rotisserie is a hollowed out gas grill.

DeKay said...

Your site is awesome.

I think you are on the right track regarding insulation. I am going to try the pizzahacker route and made a 1:4 mix of furnace cement and perlite as discussed here.


I am going to flip the kettle lid upside down and use that as a form to make an insulated dome that will sit on top of the grill. I will leave a gap 3" - 4" tall and about a quarter way round for getting the pies in and out. My rough calculations say I should be able to get a dome at least an inch thick from a single half gallon tub of furnace cement ($12).