After reading multiple reviews and questions about problems with removing the Styrofoam mold, I decided to remove it before building the back wall of our Mattone Barile oven. I didn’t get to that phase of construction until several days after building the dome itself. I figured I didn’t need the mold for the back wall anyway. Also, while I was building the dome I had tapped the mold from behind to move it a fraction of an inch which dislodged any mortar that had stuck to it. That made it easier when, several days later, I pushed the mold from the back out towards the front of the oven. No problem! Using this approach I didn’t have to chip any Styrofoam apart or deal with pieces stuck inside parts of the dome.
I agree, leaving the oven to dry for a least a week and removing the mold before building the back wall is the way to go. But also I used another ingredient, PAM spray oil !! Pam|225x225 before I mortar firebricks.
After a week I finished the arch I tapped the styrofoam legs with a wooden block from the back of the oven and the arch mold dropped and not a single piece got stuck inside. The mold came out pristine like the day I pulled from the box just a little oily.
I think there must be some kind of a prize for ingenuity. I know it would be a disaster on several levels to use a petroleum-based spray (like 3-in-1) for that purpose. But vegetable oil will burn off, and as far as I know won’t add any calories to your bakes!
The point that you both raise is that, following this method, the arch must be allowed to set before the mold is removed. That time is built in to the instructions, so working outside of that sequence means setting your project aside for a week. If you’re doing weekend-to-weekend work, that’s easy; but someone who wants to plow through needs a strong warning to stop and let things settle before pushing out the mold.
This would make a good @FAQ for people concerned about the reports on the challenges some folks have had extracting the mold.
Thank you Matt!
I have added this conversation / topic to our Directions 2.0 folder and we will address it on the upcoming Installation Instructions update. Good catch!