Subject: Fayol oven
Date: Thu, 17 May 01
From: Maine Wood Heat Inc.
To: MHA membership
We recently attended the annual Masonry Heater Association meeting at
Wildacres near Little Switzerland, in the western mountains of North
Carolina. I took with me for assembly and a working demonstration, a
model #83 (83 cm inside diameter=32.5") lePanyol bake oven core kit made
out of all natural semi-insulative elements. The oven cores are made in
France by the Fayol company, which has been making firebrick shapes for
bake ovens since 1840.
The oven cores are a new product for Fayol and I was intrigued enough by
them to travel to France in January/February this year to view the plant
and the quarry where the famous "terre blanche" (white earth) is mined.
Because of a unique geologic action, the base granite of this region of
the Rhone Valley was for many millennia covered by the Mediterranean Sea.
During that time, the granite, very pure, decomposed into two
ingredients only-feldspar and kaolin clay. When the Mediterranean
receded in recent history, the "terre blanche" became famous both as a
source of pottery clay and fire bricks for baking and industry. It also
is an unsurpassed medium for growing some of the world's finest grapes,
which in turn produce some of the world's most treasured wines,
specifically some four dozen varieties of wine all made in Tain
l'Hermitage. Bread and Wine. The world's best, both produced from the
good white earth of Lanarge and the surrounding area.
We learned everything we could about the ovens at the quarry and plant
and then hit the road for a week without a schedule, stopping everywhere
we went and asking about the ovens. The answer was the same where ever
we went. Ovens built with the "terre blanche" materials were the best.
Back in the States, we began to get extraordinary feedback on the first
few ovens being installed, both in terms of cooking performance (pizzas
in 3 minutes rather than 10) and in fuel consumption (one pizzaria owner
who used to burn one cord of wood per week in his sixth week of operation
with his new model 120 lePanyol was still on his first cord of wood!)
At Wildacres we did a crude, no mortar, no chimney assembly of the oven
and covered it with paper, sand, fire clay, 1/4 sheets of mineral wool
and then a loosely fitted 2" layer of mineral wool. The oven floor was
laid dry on a thin layer of sand and a 2" layer of mineral wool as well.
We fired the oven up for a trial burn after an assembly process that
took 1-2 hours. The next morning the oven temperature was still above
450 degrees. That afternoon we fired the oven again with between 25-30
lbs. of wood. Over the next 3 hours, we hand made and baked over 40
pizzas, averaging about 3 minutes for each pizza to cook. At the end of
the pizza party, we closed the oven door for a few minutes, then reopened
the door to check the oven core temperature. The wall and dome temps
were still 500-600 degrees F.
We extended our offer to MHA members present to purchase a single demo
unit of any size at our landed cost in order to create a national
American/Canadian pool of installations and feedback on the ovens. Seven
people ordered ovens from the 30 folks present.
We are ordering these ovens plus a model #120 (almost 4' i.d.) oven this
week. The larger oven we plan to have working and feeding staff and
volunteers at this year's Common Ground Fair in Unity, Maine on the
September Equinox weekend. We hope that this oven will be then
permanently installed and housed at the Fairgrounds to help feed the
large volunteer staff.
We are excited about our involvement with this all natural, food safe,
high efficiency product and welcome any questions and feedback you may
have on it.
Albie & Cheryl Barden
Maine Wood Heat Co., Inc.
Maine Wood Heat Co., Inc.
254 Fr. Rasle Rd.
Norridgewock, ME 04957