The sun came out in the south-east of England yesterday so, like any keen oven owner, I took the opportunity to remove the winter cover from the oven for the first time since last September, 2011. It is now March 2012. So what did I find?
As usual, the rather rudimentary, tarp cover which I use to “protect” the oven has not been particularly effective. If you watch the video below you will see that water has clearly penetrated through. The outer surface of the oven is extremely friable. It seems that the water and frost have broken-down and eroded the clay from the mixture leaving partially unbonded sand, to a depth of approximately 1-2cm. Ouch!
OK, it looks pretty bad doesn’t it but apart from that, it’s not really too bad. I fired the oven up straight after shooting that video and cooked a rather splendid roast chicken in it (post to follow). So it works fine still. Clearly she has seen better days, is in need of some TLC and remedial cosmetic surgery but functionally there are no problems. The oven fired well, it retained heat and nothing catastrophic happened as a result.
What to do?
When I get an opportunity I am going to scrape off a decent depth of the outer layer (I may even go back to the insulation layer) then add a new outer skin using the same sand:clay mixture as before. I will also add a new chimney (I might get hold of an old, clay pipe to put there in its place). Finally, I’m DEFINITELY going to build a decent cover for it this year, before the winter sets in. Mark my words….well…errr…don’t hold me to it!