web analytics
Using balls inside oven during construction - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


1 of 2 < >


Hello, Forno Bravo Community Forum members.

As many may have noticed already, the Community Forum site was briefly down today. While working on scheduled routine maintenance, we encountered an error when trying to add a software update. As the site is now back up and running, some of you may notice that some recent data has been misplaced from November 10th up to today. We are currently working on resolving the issue. The forum has full operational capabilities and we encourage all forum members to continue actively posting in the threads.

We apologize for any inconvenience that this issue may have caused you. The Forno Bravo family values each and every member of our community. If you have any issues or concerns, please feel free to let us know on our issues thread here:


Thank you for understanding.
2 of 2 < >

Forno Bravo Forum Thread Message

Hello, Forno Bravo Community Forum Members!

The Forno Bravo team has heard the feedback in regards to the community forum. We wanted to take the time to re-enforce our commitment to a fully engaged Forum with professional moderation.

Our top priority as a company is to fix all forum errors and issues that you are experiencing. As we are swiftly working on these problems, we want to say that we highly value the Forum Bravo Community Forum and every single community forum member.

We have set up this thread so that every member can address any concerns, issues and questions about the forum. Please feel free to ask whatever you would like in regards to the forum; let us know what issues you are experiencing so we can work on resolving them as fast as possible. However, we stress that we would like constructive engagement, so please be specific about the issue you are experiencing.

Thank you for all of your patience and continued support.

Link to topic: http://www.fornobravo.com/community/...with-new-forum
See more
See less

Using balls inside oven during construction

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Using balls inside oven during construction

    I have built my oven, two courses to go, using a 34" ball for courses 7, 8 and 9, then a 24" ball for courses 10, 11, 12 and the last bricks. It has worked very well. With each additional course I would adjust the pressure in the ball, either up or down, to fit the bricks. Where the circle of bricks was a little out of "round" I would adjust by using wedges.

    I would recommend this method to anyone starting out with their construction.

    Ciao for now,

  • #2
    Looks good, any finished photos, especially a profile showing the final shape?


    • #3
      Canadians have an unfair advantage

      (M) Well, Davy, now that I see you live in Canada that explains your success. The clear cool air clarifies the mind and makes work easier than for your warmer southern neighbors.

      (M) I wrote you privately about the previous disappearance of your photos and hope that these will remain, but I have some other serious questions:

      (M) You wrote, in part:

      (D) "using a 34" ball for courses 7, 8 and 9, then a 24" ball for courses 10, 11, 12 and the last bricks."

      (M) If you used a smaller ball for the last courses did it need to sit on a partly deflated 34" ball to reach the top? ____

      (M) Did either ball expand significantly - noticeably beyond it's normal full circumference? ____

      (M) Since your dome is essentially very close to a true hemisphere I would have assumed that one ball, the top half of which was close to the interior radius of your dome, e.g. 21" would have sufficed.

      (M) I understand, of course that a ball is spherical and that only the top 1/2 would be helpful in supporting your bricks; the first few courses would not need any support. I tried ballons with my 8 vanes but had only limited success; but of course I only live in Oregon.

      (M) I have many questions because my spatial visualization is poorly developed. Any clarification on how those balls responded to changes in internal air pressure might be helpful for others too. I'd also be curious to know the cost of each ball: $___

      (M) Thanks for your time.

      (M) P.S. Stuart, I think there is a good chance that Davy will post on PhotoBucket and if he chooses to make his images public, we may see far more than the 4 he's shared to date.


      Last edited by Marcel; 04-22-2006, 07:41 PM. Reason: Wrong geometric term
      "Everything should be made as simple as possible, ...
      but no simpler!" (Albert Einstein)


      • #4
        Balls are easy to use

        As marcel has noted I hope to put my 50+ photos of oven construction onto photobucket so all can see the stages I went through.

        The first 6 courses of my 42" oven went up without having to have any inside support. In an earlier thread I espoused the virtues of not using wedges to get the right angle, but to use one's eye and a level instead. The wedges got in the way of putting in mortar. I found it easier to slather down a blob of mortar then put the brick on top and adjust it accordingly for angle.
        The 7th course suffered greatly from gravity so needed a helping hand. I put the 34" ball (purchased at Toys R Us for $10) on the hearth and inflated it with my compressor until it came out far enough to support the 7th course. (The ball at this point was not fully inflated.) Because my 7th course was not perfectly spherical I had to use wedges here and there to support the brick between the brick and the ball. Apart from getting the angle more or less correct it was important to ensure the bottom edge of each brick was placed directly over the top edge of the underlying bricks.

        For course 8 I had to deflate the ball slightly because the circle of bricks was obviously getting smaller. I just let a little air out and bingo!

        Although I could probably have continued using the 34" ball I decided to switch to the 24" swedish gym ball. It was closer to the shape that I wanted and it was sturdier in construction than the bigger ball. (I didn't tell my wife what I was doing with her ball.) I found the gym ball better support than the big ball because the sides did not squish in when the weight of a brick was added, as happened with the 34" ball.

        I have now ground to shape all the bricks needed for course 12, and just have to put some mortar around them. They will not need much mortar as they all fit tightly now. That will leave a "hole" in the top of the oven about
        5" across at the bottom and 7" across at the top. I'm not sure yet how I will fill this hole.

        I will post some more photos as soon as I have them.

        Ciao for now,


        • #5
          12th course finished

          I have just finished dry fitting course 12 after grinding each brick to fit snugly. When I was satisfied with the fit I then applied mortar. The attached photos show the dry fit stage then the mortared stage.

          Just the key bricks to go and I'm done. I'm already starting to taste that pizza and imbibe with red wine. I'm feeling Italian so will end with ...

          Ciao for now,


          • #6
            Oven construction photos at Photobucket

            I think forum members can now view my oven photos at:

            If this works I will include all of my photos if anyone is interested in seeing them

            Ciao for now,


            • #7
              Fine Job


              Innovation, attention to detail and a willingness to take you time resulted in an excellent job. Congratulations. Marcel is correct, as mostly always, because we Canadians do have an unfair advantage. He marked it down to clear air, but we both know it's the beer, eh.

              Last edited by CanuckJim; 04-24-2006, 05:39 AM. Reason: Typo
              "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827