Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tudor bake ovens

Well, yesterday I started and (largely) finished the bake ovens in the kitchen :) (The design is based almost entirely on Brian Long's excellent instructions in his Tudor dolls' house book, by the way. )

Here's what I learned while researching Tudor baking.  A bake oven of this period has two levels.  The baker lights a fire in the upper level and when the masonry is hot, he uses first a rake to pull out the ash and coals (which drop through a gap into the lower ash pit), then cleans the oven with a mop and puts the bread or pie in the now empty and clean but still-hot oven.  A wooden oven door seals everything up until it's baked.

Here's the basic construction of the interior, showing the three spaces for the ovens and the single ash pit, beneath.  You can see the cut outs for the gaps through which the ashes would drop, although I don't suppose anyone else will ever notice them :)

I miraculously remembered to drill the hole in the back of the middle oven for running the wiring :)  I painted the interior of the ovens and ash pit black, and cut out the facings of the unit, upper and lower, from heavy, acid free illustration board.  I think I had a drink at this point, I'm not sure ...

I covered the facings with Poly Filla and let them dry (well, more or less).   Then I glued them in place with my current favourite glue, Quick Grip. (Do you think they'll sponsor me?)

Then I aged the plaster and tried to blend it in with the rest of the kitchen. 

I want to have a fire going in the middle oven, the left hand oven will just have been swabbed out with the mop and the right hand oven will be sealed with its wooden door.  So, I have to make the three wooden doors (two of which will not be in place), I have to make the bundle of faggots and the fire for the middle oven and I have to make the bread peel, mop and rake.  Oh, and a bucket of dirty water!

And I also have to edge both the main fireplace and the bake ovens in egg carton stones :)  But I feel a huge sense of relief, knowing that the ovens are actually built.

If I can get Tiddles to build the spiral staircase on Thursday, then I can start planning the upper level.


  1. Lovely result! And a wonderful step by step guide...I know where to look, when I 'll plan my future tudor setting...;-)

  2. I just realised I have the same book :). Beautiful job, Nina. A perfect blend!

  3. I love the way your kitchen looks now!Superb job Nina!

  4. Hello Busy bee... being away for just a few days and meantime you have been working a lot on your projekt. It looks great!!
    It is also nice, for a change, to see someone working on something totally different from what I am doing.
    Have a nice day.
    Synnøve :)

  5. You're making a splendid job of this project. I'm enjoying the step by step pics too. This is going to be some size of property!

  6. Thanks so much, guys! I know what you mean, synnøve, about looking at a project that really different from one's own: it's refreshing, in a way, isn't it? I love looking at the Victorian and Edwardian and modern dolls houses for the same reason :)

    I've always taken pictures of the steps we've gone through in renovating our old house here in Nova Scotia -- I find when I get depressed about how much remains to be done, all I have to do is look at the photos of where we started, and I realize how much we've actually accomplished. Same with the dolls' house -- with the added bonus of realizing how much better I'm getting at things :)

    Irene -- it's already huge. Lord only knows what's going to happen to it if we ever complete all seven planned sections!

  7. Gosh, you are such a busy and industrious lot!! ;o)) It's a very large kitchen and you have the scope to add so much detailing etc. This is very authentic and well thought out...I can't wait to see the doors you make and the accessories too!

    Michelle xx

  8. Fantastico, me ha encantado, es Muy real.

  9. A bundle of faggots lmao.

    It is looking fab...certainly doesn't look like board any more. Great job.

    That pottery really does look great in there.

  10. And here we are, the makers of your favorite glue, Quick Grip! I would love to link to your project on our Facebook page-may I?
    Karen from Beacon Adhesives

  11. No way! Karen, that's too amazing for words! I'm your biggest fan. Seriously, the kids and I were trying to put together some spiral stairs yesterday, and it was very frustrating, until I remembered the best glue in the world, at which point all our problems were solved :)

    Yes, please! And thank you, Beacon Adhesives!


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