Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Day 5. Objective: First level tandoor wall.

I got a lovely email from Paul Wright last night. He's very interested to hear about my cooking experiences with this tandoor. He ominously says "be careful the heat generated inside the tandoor is amazing". Must remember to get some nice long welding gloves.

The base didn't fully dry overnight, so I've wiped up the watery mixture with a rag. There is enough firm clay in the base that I'm happy to proceed.

My slab rolling technique is working much better today. I bought some 12mm x 12mm wood to use as a spacer when rolling. I'm rolling out on a sheet of canvas which stops the clay sticking, and using a normal household rolling pin. I'm then cutting them to size. More photos on this tomorrow.

The slabs are about 20cm wide and of varying length. The best ones are about 30 to 35cm long at the moment. My wife has done a great job of cutting all these nice and straight.

Part of the trick with these slabs seems to be to let them dry for an hour after they've been cut out. They seem a lot easier to handle then.

Lightly score the edges and add some slip to the sides and bottom...

... and jiggle them into position inside the tandoor which has also been lightly scored.

More clay slabs and some soggy clay forced into any remaining gaps and it looks like this.

After I left it to dry for about an hour ("leather dry") I cut the hole for the air vent. Then I reinforced the hole with a piece of cardboard and stuffed clay around the cardboard to create a reinforced arch.

Looks pretty solid from the inside. I've created a little ramp so that the base leads smoothly up to the edge of the hole. This should make it easier to sweep ashes out.

I've also glued some small magnets onto the door to act as a catch. Hopefully the araldite will be able to take the heat.

I've just had another look in Ranjit Rai's tandoor book. He describes the slab build technique for tandoors and says
"Slabs about 12-15cm wide and 50-60cm long and 2-3cm thick are made.
I've only got enough clay to build the tandoor 1cm thick. I hope the insulation and oil drum walls will provide the strength and thermal properties to get away with this. There's no way I'm going back to Bath and buying another 120kg of clay.

Time for a rest. There's lots of grovelling on the floor to roll out the clay and then bending deep inside the tandoor. I should add that I rolled all the clay this morning and realised it was too thick so I had to do it all again. Oh well, tomorrow should be easier.


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