Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oven hands.

A friend of mine asked to see more pictures of the bake oven we built near Grimsby Ontario.

It was built by Evan Oxland and myself with sandstone from an historic stone house which was taken down by the the owners of the E D Smith jam factory and the land sold to the Winona Gospel Church.

There were thirty tons of squared stone from this house (not unlike this one which still standing on the E D Smith property)

It was stored on skids on the site until it was purchased by Bob Chrystian of Garden Strategies.

He contacted me and asked if we could build a dry stone oven with some of this reclaimed stone, based on this simple prototype his son David ( a prominent chef in Toronto) had cleverly constructed the year before.

This first oven was built for a 2009 Canada Day celebration at the Chrystian family farm, where over a hundred people came to partake of a roasted meal which David had prepared in his makeshift dry paver brick oven.

I designed a dry stone version of the oven using the same dimensions, using fire brick and the squared sandstone and incorporating a steel door and angle iron jamb. Bob had a local farmer make up a steel frame which incorporated the oven door idea with a skeleton of strapping delineating the inside dimensions of the oven. We built the oven in two days of grueling heat just two days before the DSWAC dry stone retaining wall course which was held on the same property.

We used some of the leftover squared limestone for that weekend workshop too.

A special exterior brick was used to line the interior of the oven, and we used this brick also to create the vaulted roof by creating a form out of sand. Everything was dry laid. The stone walls of the oven were battered and started at 16 inches thick at the base. We worked into the design of the oven a large counter top serving area made of concrete patio slabs and a small sunken bbq/grill was also incorporated into the design. The low pitched roof was created with well hearted dry laid sandstone and then 'tiled' with Credit Valley flagstone. The finished product looked like a kind of hobbit house and was vaguely reminiscent of something one might find in some remote European village.

David arrived on Sunday and was delighted with what he saw, and gave the new, old-looking dry stone oven the two thumbs up. It will be put to the test this coming July 1st Canada Day. I will give a blog report the day after on how well it works.

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