Sad isn’t it? I know what you are thinking – “How did he let that happen?” I’m a truly ashamed. I am a bad oven owner! I have neglected my oven and should be reported to the authorities.
I can partly justify the state of my oven by blaming the weather. We had a terrible winter in the UK- snow, cold temperatures and rain – lots of rain! Unfortunately for a large part of the winter I left my oven, normally protected by a tarpaulin sheet, uncovered. Why? Well I don’t really know why, but I did. Anyway, by the time I did cover it up it was too late. The oven was saturated and much of the outer layer had washed away, leaving piles of sand around the top of the plinth. When I finally removed the covers last month I discovered that the situation was even worse – the brick arch had also collapsed, taking much of the chimney with it. Poor oven.
Rather than get depressed about it, now that the weather has improved a little, it’s time to start thinking about what to do to make it better. There are two options:
- knock it down and start again from scratch, or
- salvage what I can and repair it.
Having looked carefully at the oven yesterday I have decided that it is salvageable and, with some major work and TLC, can be bought back to it’s former glory, and better. The outer layer is mostly washed-away but the insulation layer is 98% intact while, most importantly, the inside oven layer is pretty solid still (there are a few minor cracks which penetrate through to the insulation layer but these can be patched-up with new mixture).
I stripped off the outer layer (what was remaining came off very easily without damaging the insulation layer) and removed the brick arch. Over the coming weeks I will do the following:
- build a new arch (a friend is designing a “perfect” arch for me using CAD which will involve cutting the bricks to size).
- install a pre-made, clay-pipe chimney which will be much more robust than the old one
- mix and build a new outer layer (and patch the cracks)
- construct a proper door to fit my new arch
- construct a permanent roof structure, similar to this one: https://clayoven.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/clay-oven.jpg
I’ll be sure to update you with progress and post lots of photos of the re-development.
To borrow a quote from the Six Million Dollar Man, “Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.” I can’t guarantee a bionic oven, or even that it’ll be faster, but I hope it will be at least better and stronger than the previous one. I shall redeem myself. Watch this space.