Author Topic: Baking Stone Trials  (Read 12003 times)

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Offline Engineered Ceramics

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Re: Baking Stone Trials
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2008, 07:21:51 PM »
+1 on round - ideally ~15" - 16". 

Thanks,

Vic

How about 15.5"  that will give me a 1/4" all around a 16" x16" styrofoam pad.  I also want to put a 3/16" hole in the center so I can easily attach it to the packaging material.  Namely a 16 penny nail through both pieces of styrofoam and the part.



Offline Fingerstyle

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Re: Baking Stone Trials
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2008, 09:09:22 AM »
How about 15.5"  that will give me a 1/4" all around a 16" x16" styrofoam pad.  I also want to put a 3/16" hole in the center so I can easily attach it to the packaging material.  Namely a 16 penny nail through both pieces of styrofoam and the part.



Sure - that'd be great. The center hole might be useful (rotation).
thanks

Vic
"... I say we ride some gravity." - Patrick Rizzo http://vimeo.com/1654340

Offline Art

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Re: Baking Stone Trials
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2008, 09:57:36 AM »
Well, I tried the stone in my Weber gas grill on Saturday evening and had "mixed" results. Again, I used the same dough formulation. I should mention the fact that I only did a pizza on the grill one other time (on a cheapo stone) and had the problem of the bottom getting done before the top was ready. This time I preheated the stone and grill for just 20 minutes (the thermometer showed about 525) before I slid the pie on the Engineered Ceramics stone. I waited for 5 minutes before opening the lid to check it (same as I do in my kitchen oven) and the pie still had a long way to go (both top and bottom). I returned 4 minutes later (should have checked earlier) and, while the top was perfect, the bottom was a tad more carbonized than I expected. After some scraping, it was acceptable enough to consume. Since I have little experience with grilling pizza, I have to assume that, with a little experimentation, I could turn out a pretty good one. However, I really don't have the desire since my oven does such an excellent job. Again, thanks Bill for the chance to give this a try. Art
When baking, follow directions.  When cooking, go by your own taste.

Offline Engineered Ceramics

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Re: Baking Stone Trials
« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2008, 02:35:10 PM »
Art and Fingerstyle,

I dropped a new stone in the mail for each of you on Monday.  They have a center hole, but It's not quite in the center or straight.  If these were for a paying customer they would go in the trash.  The mold has since been corrected, and future stones should look good.

I went with a standard high alumina this time.  It's more conductive than the fused silica, so you should get a crisper pizza in your oven. 

Art, I wouldn't use it in your grill, it will just cook the bottom faster.  If you do venture onto the grill again, I'd suggest placing the alumina stone on the grill first, and stacking the fused silica on top of it.


The photo above with my grill shows a square alumina stone.  I've kept one in my grill for over a year.


I have a feeling that the thickness of the stone is critical for heat transfer in the grill since there is no insulation on the top, but I don't know what exactly it should be.


Also, once again, for the record I'll state these stone do not currently have FDA approval.

« Last Edit: September 12, 2008, 07:21:49 PM by Engineered Ceramics »

Offline tdeane

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Re: Baking Stone Trials
« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2008, 04:06:35 PM »
I'd be more than happy to try one of your stones.

Offline Art

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Re: Baking Stone Trials
« Reply #25 on: September 12, 2008, 08:05:51 AM »
Art and Fingerstyle,

I dropped a new stone in the mail for each of you on Monday.  They have a center hole, but It's not quite in the center or straight.  If these were for a paying customer they would go in the trash.  The mold has since been corrected, and future stones should look good.

I went with a standard high alumina this time.  It's more conductive than the fused silica, so you should get a crisper pizza in your oven. 

Art, I would use it in your grill, it will just cook the bottom faster.  If you do venture onto the grill again, I'd suggest placing the alumina stone on the grill first, and stacking the fused silica on top of it.


The photo above with my grill shows a square alumina stone.  I've kept one in my grill for over a year.


I have a feeling that the thickness of the stone is critical for heat transfer in the grill since there is no insulation on the top, but I don't know what exactly it should be.


Also, once again, for the record I'll state these stone do not currently have FDA approval.



I got the new stone all in one piece. Looks good. I'll be testing in the oven within a week and post pics. Thanks again, Art
When baking, follow directions.  When cooking, go by your own taste.

Offline Fingerstyle

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Re: Baking Stone Trials
« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2008, 05:15:29 PM »

Bill,

Stone arrived in perfect condition today. Impressive mass! Looking forward to testing next week. Pics appended as per your request.

Thanks,

Vic
"... I say we ride some gravity." - Patrick Rizzo http://vimeo.com/1654340

Offline Engineered Ceramics

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Re: Baking Stone Trials
« Reply #27 on: September 12, 2008, 05:35:23 PM »
I'm glad it got there in one piece, I think the new packaging is working well.

The alumina is a denser material. (1.3 x denser than corderite)  The 3/4" stone and packaging weighed 18 lbs, so the stone must weight about 17 lbs.

I'm not sure how long it will take to get to temp, but it will be longer that a standard (corderite) stone of the same dimensions.






Offline Fingerstyle

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Re: Baking Stone Trials
« Reply #28 on: September 14, 2008, 05:47:34 PM »
I'm glad it got there in one piece, I think the new packaging is working well.

The alumina is a denser material. (1.3 x denser than corderite)  The 3/4" stone and packaging weighed 18 lbs, so the stone must weight about 17 lbs.

I'm not sure how long it will take to get to temp, but it will be longer that a standard (corderite) stone of the same dimensions.

Bill,

I got antsy to test your EC alumina stone so I made a batch of 24 hr rm temp risen pies. I burned two badly, the third which baked mostly on a pan, just a bit.

I think good results can be had, just not using it as I did:
- placed stone directly on cooking grate of LBE (18" webber w bayou burner)
- preheated @ 25% burner 15 minutes to 365 F (temp/time comparable to pedestal footed Old Stone Oven 16" over a  steel 16" pan.)
- heated @ 75 %  15 min to baking temp (700 F - about 50 hotter than I expected)

Upon loading pie 1 I immediately smelled burning flour so I lowered the burner to ~ 25%. I rotated the pie with spatula qtr turns. At three minutes I removed the bottom-burnt, pale corniced pie. The alumina stone stayed at 675 - 650 with the 13" pie (remarkable heat retention!)

Five mins later, staying at 25% burner, I scraped most of the burnt flour off the stone and at 650 F put on pie 2. Again, smelling burning flour immediately. This would have been a good time to have had a pizza screen. At 625 F and 4 minutes later (pie rotated as before) I removed the bottom-burnt, top well-browned pie.

For pie 3 I tried a std. med wt. alum 16" pan. It went in at 625 F, 25% burner, was rotated and top was well baked at 6 mins. Bottom was pale, so I slid the pie directly on the alumina stone for 1 min but I misjudged by looking under the edge instead of under the hot spot, so still got some scorching.)

I'm guessing that my not using a bottom steel pan to diffuse the uneven direct flame resulted in the marked hot zones on the EC alumina stone with about a 75 F gradient from hottest to coolest zone. I used to get similar hot zones baking directly on firebrick splits.

I will test again soon, next time with a steel under pan (inverted for max surface contact with the alumina stone, hopefully getting more even heating without hot spot), go for longer slower 25% preheat, bake at 500 F target temp and crank up the burner as needed for top browning. I much prefer on stone to pans, but I think a screen would work well with this stone.

I think that with the excellent heat retention of the alumina stone, you really have to under shoot a target temp that is  based on stones with less thermal mass, because the typical drop in temp from placing the pie is much less in effect.

Dough detail:Giusto's Unbleached Performer

Flour (100%):   537.31 g  |  18.95 oz | 1.18 lbs
Water (65%):   349.25 g  |  12.32 oz | 0.77 lbs
Salt (2.5%):   13.43 g | 0.47 oz | 0.03 lbs | 2.8 tsp | 0.93 tbsp
Total (167.5%):   900 g | 31.75 oz | 1.98 lbs | TF = N/A
Single Ball:   300 g | 10.58 oz | 0.66 lbs
   
Preferment:     (Ischia)
Flour:    13.43 g | 0.47 oz | 0.03 lbs
Water:    13.43 g | 0.47 oz | 0.03 lbs
Total:    26.87 g | 0.95 oz | 0.06 lbs
   
Final Dough:   
Flour:   523.88 g | 18.48 oz | 1.15 lbs
Water:   335.82 g | 11.85 oz | 0.74 lbs
Salt:   13.43 g | 0.47 oz | 0.03 lbs | 2.8 tsp | 0.93 tbsp
Preferment:   26.87 g | 0.95 oz | 0.06 lbs
Total:   900 g | 31.75 oz | 1.98 lbs  | TF = N/A

Pies are pictured 1,2,3 - sorry about the camera phone quality.

Looking forward to getting it dialed in.  Thanks for the opportunity to test.

Vic
"... I say we ride some gravity." - Patrick Rizzo http://vimeo.com/1654340

Offline Engineered Ceramics

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Re: Baking Stone Trials
« Reply #29 on: September 15, 2008, 10:16:14 AM »
OUCH!!!


The alumina is even more conductive tan cordierite, so it may not work for an LBE.  I'll have a couple of the fused silica made in the round mold, and send you one of those.



Offline Fingerstyle

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Re: Baking Stone Trials
« Reply #30 on: September 16, 2008, 09:37:58 AM »
OUCH!!!


The alumina is even more conductive tan cordierite, so it may not work for an LBE.  I'll have a couple of the fused silica made in the round mold, and send you one of those.



Bill,

Sounds good.

Looking at the alumina and my Old Stone Oven stones I note they both have a more coarse open grain top  texture than my Pfalzgraff, which is comparatively smooth. I've used the Pfalzgraff so long, I don't remember whether this is due to the original porosity or the years of seasoning and biscuit duty it's seen.  Anyway, I've noted an apparent tendency for more sticking/burning on the rougher stones. The Old Stone must be quite soft, as I've exacerbated the problem by inadvertently abrading it scraping burn from it. Perhaps a smoother top surface would be advantageous on highly conductive stones.

Be interesting to know whether others have noted surface smoothing on their stones with time/use.

Best regards,

Vic
"... I say we ride some gravity." - Patrick Rizzo http://vimeo.com/1654340

Offline Engineered Ceramics

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Re: Baking Stone Trials
« Reply #31 on: September 16, 2008, 02:53:52 PM »
Bill,

Sounds good.

Looking at the alumina and my Old Stone Oven stones I note they both have a more coarse open grain top  texture than my Pfalzgraff, which is comparatively smooth. I've used the Pfalzgraff so long, I don't remember whether this is due to the original porosity or the years of seasoning and biscuit duty it's seen.  Anyway, I've noted an apparent tendency for more sticking/burning on the rougher stones. The Old Stone must be quite soft, as I've exacerbated the problem by inadvertently abrading it scraping burn from it. Perhaps a smoother top surface would be advantageous on highly conductive stones.

Be interesting to know whether others have noted surface smoothing on their stones with time/use.

Best regards,

Vic

In general there is a trade off between smoothness and strength.

The smoothness typically has to do with the forming process.  The finer the material the easier it is to form.

Most commercial stones are pressed.  Pressing is fast and inexpensive, but requires a finer grain material, and a more expensive die setup.

Stones that are cast can use larger grain, which increase strength (like adding stone to cement), use inexpensive tooling (at least in our case) but have a much lower production rate.

Offline Fingerstyle

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Re: Baking Stone Trials
« Reply #32 on: September 27, 2008, 02:50:45 PM »
Bill,

Fused Silica stone arrived ok. The nail wandered a bit in the styro so the bottom edge got a bit crumbled from getting banged around - very minor damage. If you glue/tape a small bit of something rigid to the styro, that might better hold the nail and keep the stone centered. Looking fwd to next round of testing.

Update - Alumina test #2 results:

I did trial 2 of the Alumina stone in the LBE, this time with a steel pan under it, and a 15 minute, 20% burner preheat to 425 F.  (a little too cautious)

Upon loading pie 1, I cranked the burner to ~50% .
After 2 minutes I began rotating the pie, and removed it at 4 minutes, stone temp 550 F.
The top was well browned but the bottom a bit pale.
I lowered the burner to lowest while making pie 2.

Pie 2 went on the stone at 500 F,  25% burner.
in 4 minutes, stone temp 650 F the pie was done, well browned on top and bottom.

I again lowered the burner again while making pie 3, which went on the stone at 600 and I upped the burner to 25%.
I began turning it at 2 minutes and it was done at 4 minutes.

Based on today's test, I think for my LBE the best method for the Alumina stone is:
steel underpan,
mostly blocked side vent,
a 20 minute preheat at 25% burner,
starting bake at ~600 F and ~ 25% burner upon placing the pie.

This method, along with covering most of the side vent with a folded rectangle of foil during preheat and except when turning or inspecting the pie delivered good results and lowest fuel consumption per pie to date!. I'm liking this Alumina stone very much!

All pies were Giustos Unbleached Performer, Ischia prefement with a 4 day fridge rise, followed by 5 hour room temp rise, peppperoni, with homegrown plum tomato sauce, and romano cheese. Pie 1 had provolone, Pies 2 and 3 hard mozz.

Flour (100%):   537.31 g  |  18.95 oz | 1.18 lbs
Water (65%):   349.25 g  |  12.32 oz | 0.77 lbs
Salt (2.5%):   13.43 g | 0.47 oz | 0.03 lbs | 2.8 tsp | 0.93 tbsp
Total (167.5%):   900 g | 31.75 oz | 1.98 lbs | TF = N/A
Single Ball:   300 g | 10.58 oz | 0.66 lbs
   
Preferment:    
Flour:    13.43 g | 0.47 oz | 0.03 lbs
Water:    13.43 g | 0.47 oz | 0.03 lbs
Total:    26.87 g | 0.95 oz | 0.06 lbs
   
Final Dough:   
Flour:   523.88 g | 18.48 oz | 1.15 lbs
Water:   335.82 g | 11.85 oz | 0.74 lbs
Salt:   13.43 g | 0.47 oz | 0.03 lbs | 2.8 tsp | 0.93 tbsp
Preferment:   26.87 g | 0.95 oz | 0.06 lbs
Total:   900 g | 31.75 oz | 1.98 lbs  | TF = N/A

Pies pictured are 1,2,3.

EDIT: Added bottom shot - perfect char!

IMO when used with a steel underpan, the Alumina is an excellent stone for LBEs - ideal heat retention and thermal conductivity. I'm going to need to up my inline skating mileage to offset my tasty test results intake. ;D

I'm looking forward to testing the Fused Silica. Thanks again for the opportunity.


Vic
« Last Edit: September 29, 2008, 03:51:27 PM by Fingerstyle »
"... I say we ride some gravity." - Patrick Rizzo http://vimeo.com/1654340

Offline Art

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Re: Baking Stone Trials
« Reply #33 on: September 29, 2008, 09:42:19 AM »
I finally got a chance to try the new "high alumina" stone in my oven. Same dough, same procedure, same temp/preheat that I always use. The first one in was a plain 15" cooked at 550 after an hour preheat. By the time the top got where we like it (about 6 minutes), the bottom was pretty dark. The second had pepperoni with sliced onion and green pepper. Monitored this one a tad closer and pulled it when the bottom looked right (about 5-1/2 minutes). The top was slightly short of my usual doneness. The bottom better but still some areas of char. Both pies were delicious and were enjoyed by all.

My thoughts about these 2 stones are that I could probably get used to their properties/quirks and be turning out my standard pizza on them after a short while. The thing is, I didn't have that problem with my Fibrament stone. It has no quirks. No burned bottoms and no underdone tops as long as I preheat it for the requisite hour after the oven has reached peak temp.  I do appreciate the chance to try these 2 materials. I believe I favor the fused silica and would have even more if it had been a flat 15x20 rectangle like my Fibrament.  I'll probably be experimenting with some sort of "2stone" cook in the oven and, who knows, I might even give the grill another chance  or two.   :chef:  art     

When baking, follow directions.  When cooking, go by your own taste.

Offline Fingerstyle

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Engineered Ceramics' Alumina pizza stone prototype test # 3
« Reply #34 on: October 04, 2008, 04:37:13 PM »
To confirm test #2's excellent results in my LBE, I retested with same recipe and method (and again, enjoyed some of my tastiest pies to date!).  Most of the technical adjustment to this stone's unique properties could be summarized: monitor stone temp closely!

Alumina-LBE method:
1) use an underpan to buffer the direct flame
2) use a lower/slower pre-heat (than for other stones - this helps balance top stone preheating)
3) cover most of the side vent during pre-heat (to better pre-heat the top stone - I suspect this may be beneficial generally, not just for Alumina stones- TBD)
4) start baking at an Alumina temp about 75 F lower (than you would for other stones - because of its greater thermal mass and higher conductivity)
5) use a lower burner boost for top browning (than for other stones, e.g., 50% instead of 75%),
6) reduce burner to lowest in between pies (Alumina stays much hotter, much longer than other stones)

For me, adapting my technique to the Alumina in exchange for better performance and lower fuel consumption is a no brainer. I could not be more pleased with the Alumina stone for LBE performance and fuel efficiency.

Next up - Fused Silica stone test. Thanks again for the opportunity!

Vic
"... I say we ride some gravity." - Patrick Rizzo http://vimeo.com/1654340

Offline Fingerstyle

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Fused Silica stone test #1
« Reply #35 on: October 06, 2008, 03:27:29 PM »
I tested the Fused Silica stone in my LBE yesterday, and am pleased to report very satisfactory results.  :)

Method:
I kept the LBE side vent 75% covered with a square of foil except when inspecting, turning the pies.
I preheated the fused Silica stone atop a 16" steel underpan in my LBE at 25% burner 30 minutes to 530 F (still a bit over-cautious from Alumina #1 (pre-underpan) test's bottom burn). 
I upped the burner to 50%, turning the pie at 2 minutes and each minute thereafter for a 6 minute, 575 final bake. Pie 1 top was perfect, bottom a tad light (predictably).

I reduced the burner to 25% for pie 2 which went on at 600 F for a 5 minute bake, coming off at ~650 F. Top and bottom perfectly browned.

I reduced burner to prep Pie 3, which went on at 625 F, and baked ~6 minutes, exiting at ~650. Top and bottom perfectly browned.

As regards performance differences between the Fused Silica and Alumina, I noted a smaller gradient from hot to cooler spots with the Fused Silica stone (~50 F on the FS, vs 75 on the Alumina) - this presumably due to its lower thermal conductivity compared to the Alumina. This could be very advantageous for LBE Neo pies at higher bake temps  - less hotspotting = fewer burned pies, or at least requiring slightly less vigilance/turning.

Both of the Engineered Ceramics stones are massive, and in terms of multi-pie LBE fuel-efficiency, both outperform my 14" Pfalzgraff and 16" Old Stone Oven stones. I think either would be excellent for commercial pizza operations, or for anyone for whom the stone staying hot between pies, and not dropping much in temp when a pie is placed is important.

Thus far, I slightly prefer the hotter/faster, more LBE fuel-efficient bake of the Alumina, but additional tests of both in a conventional oven should prove interesting. As the weather cools I'll use my kitchen oven more, and look forward to testing both there. I suspect the steel underpan on the Alumina will optimize it's performance there as well.  An Alumina top stone over a Fused Silica bottom stone would likely make the ultimate LBE (or 2stone) - Willard take note!

The three NY style pies were 24 hr room temp risen with homegrown plum tomato sauce, Romano, Parmesan, and dry Mozz., Pepperoni, black olives, pickled Jalapeno. Pie 3 was Ham and Pineapple.  :pizza:

Recipe detail:
Flour (100%):   610.6 g  |  21.54 oz | 1.35 lbs
Water (65%):   396.89 g  |  14 oz | 0.87 lbs
Salt (2%):   12.21 g | 0.43 oz | 0.03 lbs | 2.54 tsp | 0.85 tbsp
Total (167%):   1019.7 g | 35.97 oz | 2.25 lbs | TF = N/A
Single Ball:   339.9 g | 11.99 oz | 0.75 lbs
   
Preferment:    Ischia
Flour:    9.92 g | 0.35 oz | 0.02 lbs
Water:    9.92 g | 0.35 oz | 0.02 lbs
Total:    19.84 g | 0.7 oz | 0.04 lbs
   
Final Dough:   Giusto's Unbleached Performer
Flour:   600.68 g | 21.19 oz | 1.32 lbs
Water:   386.97 g | 13.65 oz | 0.85 lbs
Salt:   12.21 g | 0.43 oz | 0.03 lbs | 2.54 tsp | 0.85 tbsp
Preferment:   19.84 g | 0.7 oz | 0.04 lbs
Total:   1019.7 g | 35.97 oz | 2.25 lbs  | TF = N/A
"... I say we ride some gravity." - Patrick Rizzo http://vimeo.com/1654340

Offline Engineered Ceramics

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Re: Baking Stone Trials
« Reply #36 on: October 07, 2008, 03:58:04 PM »
Interesting results.

The stones shouldn't need a steel underpan, but but it may help spread out the heat.

Offline Fingerstyle

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Re: Baking Stone Trials
« Reply #37 on: October 08, 2008, 10:54:55 AM »
Interesting results.

The stones shouldn't need a steel underpan, but but it may help spread out the heat.

In my LBE, without an underpan the Alumina burns the bottom before the top can cook, and hotspotting is worse. My LBE is made from an 18" Weber kettle, so there's not much grill area not covered by the stone for convection to efficiently heat the top stone (two foil-wrapped split firebricks) and cook the pie top.

Probably with a larger kettle, or smaller diameter Alumina stone, and with a flame difuser/baffle lower in the kettle, uneven bottom-top doneness and hotspotting with the Alumina stone sans-underpan would not be problems.

I will test the FS without the underpan, maybe incorporating a suspended metal disk to difuse the flame below the grate.
"... I say we ride some gravity." - Patrick Rizzo http://vimeo.com/1654340

Offline Essen1

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Re: Baking Stone Trials
« Reply #38 on: October 08, 2008, 03:47:14 PM »
Fingerstyle,

One solution might be to put a different top stone in, replacing the foil-wrapped bricks which seem to be not very effective. I also have about 2" of clearance around my bottom stone so the heat can rise without being blocked by the stone.

That might solve your problem of not getting enough top heat.

Hope that helps.
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

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Offline Engineered Ceramics

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Re: Baking Stone Trials
« Reply #39 on: October 08, 2008, 04:59:22 PM »
Fingerstyle,

One solution might be to put a different top stone in, replacing the foil-wrapped bricks which seem to be not very effective. I also have about 2" of clearance around my bottom stone so the heat can rise without being blocked by the stone.

That might solve your problem of not getting enough top heat.

Hope that helps.

What kind of spacing do you have between your top and bottom stones?


 

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