Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


On Monday I posted on Facebook in a state of high excitement, due to the imminent arrival of the finished steelwork. Well, it arrived and we lugged it inside. Yesterday and today, Guy, Dave, and Dave's mate Garry have been putting it all together and mortaring in the bricks. Here's the lowest deck in position with the bricks finished:

You can also see the top of the super dooper fire door. Here is the view through the oven door with the lid on - the view I'll have during baking:

And here are all three decks in position:

The top deck is around eye-level. Attentive readers will remember that a few weeks ago I said I'd like to see Dave laying bricks whilst standing on his head, and I can tell you that he pretty much did that to get them in there. I'm pretty cross with myself for not getting a photo.

I'm also pretty cross with myself because the top one would have it's lid on... but I was too mean in my estimate of how many bricks we'd need, and I'll have to go and get some more tomorrow. If Christie's have the right size in stock it should all be done by lunchtime, when the chimney is due to arrive. If I have to order them it will take a bit longer, which is a frustrating prospect.

Our completion deadline of March 21st (ahem, revised deadline), seems awfully soon.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Lovely bit of beech

I finished sanding the surface of my workbench today, and I am pretty stiff in the forearms. It has taken a while, but I think it was worth it; I have more physical day to day contact with the bench than any other tool in the bakery.

The intimate contact of such lengthy sanding contains many opportunities for interpreting the patterns in the grain - a reward for virtue, as it were. Here are some of my favourites.

These two are pure Hebridean sky-island-seascapes:

And this streak of silver could be the side of a salmon:

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


David Henderson, the blacksmith who is fabricating the steel parts of the oven, has been brilliant. It has taken a bit longer than either of us expected, but he has more than earned his money on this project. I went up to inspect the progress yesterday, and it is looking great. Even better he promises delivery by the end of the week. Here are some pictures.

The three decks stacked up:

 Looking in through the open door. That mesh will need to be lined with screed and firebrick:

Lovely. It'll be a bit of a scramble, but I think we're still on course to meet our revised reopening date of the 21st.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Insulation, and hot faces

With the blockwork done, we were almost finished with the firey end of things. When the mortar was dry we first tipped several hundred litres of loose fill vermiculite into the void:

Then we screeded the hot faces of the fireplace, the combustion chamber and riser sleeve:

And lastly we topped up the insulation, and screeded the whole top:

With all that done we are waiting for delivery of the steelwork. In the meantime, I'm making a workbench. So far I've spent 2 days on my knees with a plane and a sander, smoothing the work surface. That makes it sound like a chore and several people have told me to use a floor sander. But actually it's very satisfying, just the right combination of physical work and constant judgement. Also, every hour that I spend doing it will make my baking life more enjoyable; at this point I am really looking forward to baking again.