Hey guys, thanks for the nice comments. I have a good friend at a hardwood lumber sales so he keeps all untreated hardwood scraps for me. Usually eastern maple, oak and birch. I also have some nice dry alder tree wood but running low on it now. Matthew, as far as the sealing goes you can buy a masonry sealer and it will do a great job sealing your oven. I even used muriatic acid at first to acid wash the brick and then used the watertight seal all around and it is very clean with no salts coming through. Just a bit at the opening where I didnt really put any sealer... especially on the firebrick you don't want any there. Just be careful with the acid if u decide to use it. That is a slot for ash but I usually just scoop it out as it is just as easy for me. When I build another oven I wont bother with the ash slot. That is the same oven as my avatar and I also agree that its all about knowing your oven and I feel almost as if it has its own personality.