Getting Ready to Cure our Mattone Cupola

We built our oven last summer into fall. We ran out of time to waterproof the stucco, we did fire it up one weekend though.

We covered it with a heavy packing blanket and a tarp…with air flow. A lot of snow certainly piled on top of it. It seems to have made it through the winter. Do now we are itching to get it water proofed and begin curing.

Since the oven is at our cabin, that means we are generally here weekends only. Will we need to cure over 3 weekends before use?

Model - 28" Mattone Cupola

I should also add we have 3 layers of 2" ceramic insulation, with more on top to create the “dome” look.

Normally, I’d recommend a slow cure over 6 days, but since this is a Cupola (built from Castable Refractory), you have an option that other ovens do not.

You can slowly cure the oven over 2 days - Follow this method.

  1. DAY 1 - Start a fire in the morning and keep the fire going throughout the day . Just a small fire… nothing big. If the fire goes out while you were doing something else - no worries. Just start it up again and keep it going until that evening.

  2. DAY 2 - Smart w/ a small fire, but after 3 or 4 hours, start to build the fire larger and larger. Slowly… SLOWLY get the oven to about 800°. Once you have reached that temp later that evening - go ahead and let the fire die down, put the door on the oven and let her sit overnight.

  3. DAY 3 - 30,0000… Fire the oven up as normal (takes no less than 1 hour - fire slowly).

Thanks so much. Can you clarify the 800 degrees. We have a thermo couple 1/2 way through the side and top of the dome, and 2 between the dome and insulation on the you and side. Should we use an infored pyrometer to measure the 800?

How long can castable refractory sit without being cured?

Once the Castable Refractory is rock hard (not fired - but the refractory is dry) - indefinitely.

The primary reason for firing a pizza oven is to ensure that all moisture is out of the refractory before heat / fire touch it.

If any portion of the refractory is wet, it could turn to steam and crack your oven as it is being fired. So by firing the oven slowly over several days - it will dry the oven slowly.

800°-900° - This Temp can be measured on the Pizza Oven Ceiling / INSIDE the oven.

You’ll find that inside temps are generally even - but the ceiling will be considerably hotter.