From: William Davenport <info(at)>
To: Norbert Senf <mheat(at)>
Subject: bake oven lighting
Date: Sun, 31 May 2009 09:23:25 -0400

Hi Norbert-

Started the bake oven for Elmore Mountain Bread last week.  It's a 
monster.  The block base is built up now, and just waiting for the 
concrete truck to come for the pouring of the slab, then I'll be on
to the foamglas and hearth system.

Clients are super nice - they are pretty savvy and their bakery is 
doing really well for a couple kids out in the boonies.
They use things like Facebook to keep a buzz going.

I'm trying to put together a system with a couple interior lights for 
the oven but am having trouble sourcing what is good for that 
application.  Any insight on what to use and where to find it?

Hope all is well.
William Davenport
Turtlerock Masonry Heat
30 Strong Street #1
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 660-0707


Hi William:
Something I've never researched in detail. On the oven that
Peter Moore built at Wildacres, there were provisions for lights. Maybe you
can track Peter down to find out what he does. Basically some type of
heatproof glass enclosure on each side near the front, maybe ceramic and
metal sockets ??

I'll cc this to a few oven people, in case somebody knows.

Here is a page on the construction of my sister-in-law's Bongard deck oven in France:

If you scroll down you'll see a photo showing what look like a vertical row of glass jars

That's where the lights go on this oven.

Best ....... Norbert


Date: Sun, 31 May 2009
From: John Fisher <fishermasonry(at)>
Subject: Re: bake oven lighting
To: William Davenport, Norbert Senf
Cc: Phillip Van Horn,  Alex Chernov, John McDougall, Pat Manley, Tom Trout,  Jerry Frisch, Anna Nulty

Hi Norbert, William:

No lights can really take the wood fire. So you have to remember to remove your lights  before lighting up.   

Manfred enoksson told me about a German system with a light on a side hinge. It swings into a hole in the side wall of the oven during baking, then a brick plug (hinged on the other side) replaces it during firing.   

I made those castable refractory cones (in Höje, Värmland) with handles as air inlets/peep holes. The double deck oven has eight of them. Two of them are shaped slightly differently to accomodate lights. So you just pull out the stone cone and put in the oven light during baking. The cones and lights have hooks on the handles so they can be hung up even warm. The lights are 25watt oven lamps in high temperature sockets mounted in a steel tube. They work pretty good and only rarely burn out, but they aren't used all the time either. Mostly for courses and novices. 

At saltå kvarn they have two big double-deck white ovens that were built in the sixties. The baking chambers are big and it is hard to see. So they have mounted hardware store halogen lamps onto frames that swing in beside the open baking door. They burn their elbows on them and replace an exhorbitant number of bulbs. But they keep it up because they're always having to move the bread.   

I should add that in black ovens that don't have any downdraft channels the baking is much more even and reliable. Wherever there are channels outside the baking mass (white ovens and black-ovens-with-extra-channels) there is the tendency for convection to make uneven temperatures.The result is that the bread has to moved a lot.

My opinion is that a good oven doesn't need lights. Maybe the baker has a flashlight close by until she learns the timing. But she doesn't need to turn loaves or move them around. Just in and out...

best, john fisher --- On Sun, 5/31/09,


oven by William Davenport
6' x 9' oven

Sketchup model by William Davenport

Peter Moore backyard oven:
Detail of light box. Normally it would be finished with ceramic glass and an electric light behind.