Stone ovens I have built
I have built seven stone ovens, but most have been outdoor ones where I did not use cement. Only one was indoors. I constructed it at my mountain ecotourism resort. As I did not want smoke and flames in the room I had to block up the gaps with cement. Because I did not think I could build an arched roof for the stone oven well enough, I used angle iron for rafters. When I lit the oven, I ran into problems. The heated iron expanded further than the rock and it pushed the walls apart, making a big crack in the stove. No smoke and flames came out, however, and when the oven cooled, the crack closed up again so there was no real damage. I have described a lot of the problems I ran into when building this stone oven in Snowshoes and Spotted Dick.
I wanted to try and avoid this problem with my Ginty Creek stone oven. I decided to support the door with pillars. I put crumpled aluminum foil between the iron and the rock to give the iron room to expand.
Building the pillars for the stone oven
It took a couple of pretty intense days to build the pillars as the higher rocks needed a lot of propping up.
Installing a cookstove top on the stone oven
All my other ovens have rock roofs but I wanted to install a cookstove top on this one.
We checked the level every time we made an adjustment. There is nothing worse than trying to fry food when all the fat collects in one side of the frypan!
We drew round the edge of the cookstove top with a felt pen, made a frame of scrap lumber, then patted on cement. We placed the cookstove top on once again and pressed it into the wet cement. After about 10 minutes, we lifted it off. The cement would dry in the exact shape needed to seal the top but if the iron needed to expand more than the rocks, it would have the freedom to move.
Fingers being easier to use than other tools, both I and Mogens had cement burns by this stage. Gloves are so cumbersome to use we protected our fingers with bandaids held on with duct tape.
(My hands are not exactly ladylike at this point!)