EARTH, WIND & FIRE


Jules, Justin work on “the bulge,” Lelach, Elijah & Ray place cob “pancakes”

Ray, David ( and, later, Lelach & her 3yr son, Elijah) came by for an afternoon of cobbing. The last few feet of the smoke funnel around the dome was completed, along with a “bulge” for the last shelf.   The anticipated lady bug shape is no longer; instead, it has morphed into a snail like-form due to Ray’s addition of a smoke funnel around the top dome.

After a few hours of hard work, it was then time to fire her up again. This time, Ray and Justin (and Elijah!) put in more wood to see how the oven would handle it.   For the first 15 minutes,  the oven smoked quite a bit, bellowing out of the “chimney.” (The excessive smoke was because the metal drum was cold and the clay damp).   

While the oven was warming up, all 8 of us pulled up a chair (or strawbale) and sat around, fascinated watching the smoke dance with the breeze (that was our entertainment for the night, no commercial interruptions).  Not wanting to waste all that fuel, it was decided to do a test run of cooking something in the oven.  So, we gals whipped up some quick baking powder biscuits.  Of course, we figured the biscuits would come out steamed instead of baked because the oven wasn’t completely dry. We placed the biscuits inside on top marble slab and waited a few minutes.  We were right in predicting we’d have “steamed biscuits”  instead of lightly brown ones.   The good news is that the oven cooked the biscuits (they certainly had a unique sort of earthen flavor) and we all agreed the first cooking experiment was a success!

Postscript 4:00pm: This evening we enjoyed a salad made from tomatoes and cucumbers with a side dish of beans that were steamed in the cob oven (an almost free meal — food & energy!)  

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  1. jenn says:

    So the firebox is below and has direct contact with the cross-fitted marble slab? Or is the firebox domed and the slab sitting atop a clay mass?

    And the smoke hole starts in the top of the back of the firebox and winds around the top/baking oven from there?

    How efficient is it? Do you make a small fire and that is enough? (knowing that firesize and heat are near impossible to describe, due to the size and the hardness of the wood… can you try to give an idea?)

  2. Anais says:

    Hi Jenn

    Thanks for your comment and question. I will try my best at explaining how this unique oven works.

    The oven was built to use as little fuel as possible but supply ample heat. For the first firing we tossed in a handful of scrap wood (1″ x 2″) and the oven was able to reach nearly 250 degrees.

    Ray, who is the inventor and experienced cobber, said that the oven should with a few pieces of wood reach in upwards of 800 degrees (and he has a feeling the oven could reach even 1000 degrees!).

    The fuel is placed below the dome, in a metal drum. The top of the metal drum houses the marble slab.

    The smoke funnel or chamber starts at the metal drum and winds it’s way around the circumference — heating the dome even more.

    The dome is heated three ways:

    1. the fuel inside the metal drum
    2. vent holes along the base of the metal slab and top of dome
    3. the smoke funnel that wraps around dome

    making this oven pretty efficient and no ashes to clean before cooking!!!

    For a look at the skelton of this cob-rocket stove visit our photo gallery at http://www.pathtofreedom.com/photogallery and click on “Cob Oven”

    I hope I have answered your questions, if not, just let me know and I’ll see if I can get Ray to describe how the stove operates.

  3. gerry medland says:

    Hi Folks,
    thanx Anais for a detailed synopsis of the cob oven,I have it down on my project list for next spring,as I am in European zone 8 I feel I may have to add a sheltered roof to my “cob vision”.It all makes for inspiring reading as well as challenging the taste buds with the description of those biscuits!Well done!

  4. Anais says:

    Greetings Gerry!

    You are welcome. Our oven,too, will hopefully have a roof structure of some sort — keep off rain and shade the cooking area from the brutal sun.

  5. jenn says:

    Thanks. I think I have a good picture now.

    I really appreciate the information you post you. Thanks so much!