Points of Difference: The Dome
Question 4: Is the Dome single or multi-piece?
Single Piece Dome
The modern materials and manufacturing process we use allow us to manipulate our refractory in very unique and important ways which benefit the customer. Our dome is a great example.
Cast as a single piece of refractory and at least 4" thick in most models, a Wood Stone dome is the epitome of durable. Since we began building ovens in 1990 we have never replaced a dome on a Wood Stone oven.
The tremendous mass of the dome also creates a vital reservoir of heat. As we discussed in reference to the thickness of the floor, that "heat sink" of thermal mass is what provides high performance during heavy production.
Multi-piece dome construction is a very traditional method for oven making. It allows the builder to use bricks or pre-cast blocks in various shapes and sizes and piece them together to form the dome. One perceived advantage of multi-piece construction for the builder is that the smaller--and often thinner--pieces can be more conveniently moved and assembled by hand. That's why many manufacturers have opted for this low-tech approach to dome construction.
A major disadvantage of multi-piece dome construction is that as the ovens heat and cool, those individual blocks expand and contract. That expansion/contraction process, assisted by gravity, has a very real and measurable effect on the ovens long-term durability. Dome failures, which render the oven completely unusable, are common with multi-piece dome ovens. Over the years we have replaced scores of different competitive ovens that suffered terminal dome failures.
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