Sunday Volunteers Nov 11 – oven rebuild stage 1

What a beautiful day and a great turnout of people for the Sunday session at the gardens. The main focus was the rebuild of the Cob/Clay wood fired Oven. But we also did the usual range of maintenance and general gardening duties.

Now… on to the process of rebuilding the cob oven… After we discussed the processes and stages involved in the plans for the build over the next few weeks we started to mix the main refractory mortar for sticking the bricks to the base.

Then the clay mixing began… 1 part clay to 2 parts sand with water added very slowly and all using a squishing action by hand to make sure it had very little air in it and got well mixed.

We did a ‘splat’ test to make sure it was correctly mixed. This is where you drop a ball from shoulder height and if it cracks it’s too dry and if it pancakes it’s too wet – and if it splats and stays whole it’s just right. 🙂

Then it was kneaded into place on the existing slab and made level.

A little water was sprinkled on to keep it tacky and we laid the bricks out close and levelled and tapped them into place. Then we covered the brick base with some sand to let it settle and dry till next week when we build the main oven chambers.

Thanks to all those who came to help out today – and a special thank you to those who donated to help pay for the materials. See you next week! 🙂

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