The clay-sand first layer will still be pretty damp to start with, so there’s a bit of a technique to getting fires going to dry it out.
You’ll need some very dry wood, newspaper and a Kindling Splitter *! Chop some fat pencil size sticks
I scrumple up a couple of sheets just inside the doorway and lay some of the kindling on top and light it! the trick is to keep adding slowly and once you have some embers and fire you can begin to push it further into the oven. I fine that laying the kindling lengthways in so air get through it works best. Pieces across tend to put it out. A good bit of blowing will help! Eventually you will have a roaring fire in there and your first layer will begin to dry out and steam!
In this section you can see the effects of our first fire – the clay-sand is getting lighter as it dried (ours is quite grey, because we use Blue Cambrian – a very grey clay) and a crack has appeared, which we will deal with when we build the doorway arch.