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Using Steel Plate for dome - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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Using Steel Plate for dome

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  • Using Steel Plate for dome

    What is wrong with drystacking bricks to form a round oven wall, and door, and then using scrap steel plate for the oven dome, with brick placed on top.

    The oven walls will not go anywhere after being insulated with vermicrete (not sure that's a word), and bricks don't like to move at all, especially when weighted from above.

  • #2
    Re: Using Steel Plate for dome

    Moisture will create rust which will scale and drop off onto your food, reconsider your idea, it will be a pain in the butt!


    • #3
      Re: Using Steel Plate for dome

      Actually, I know a gentleman who forms the interior walls with fire brick and the top of the dome the a classic weber grill top. He proceeds with normal dome insulation from there. He has built many ovens like this for others, and has never had a reported problem in over 25 years. The oven environment is so dry, rust would be unlikely I guess. Like I said, he's never seen a problem with this technique.

      Ducane 5 Burner Stainless / 34 Inch WFO


      • #4
        Re: Using Steel Plate for dome

        Well, I wasn't satisfied with the answers I got about using a piece of steel for the top of the wood fired oven. So, I tried it......

        I placed a flat piece of 16 guage steel on top of my brick walls. I made the piece of steel 1/2 inch smaller in each direction, so it could expand and contract as the oven temperature changed.

        I have reached a conclusion......the reason the Romans made their ovens round domes is that THEY DID NOT HAVE STEEL. By the way.....the day after a firing, you can rub you finger on the steel, and there is no soot there, it is perfectly clean.

        Furthermore, an oven DOES NOT NEED TO BE ROUND. Mine is square, and it heats up quite rapidly....HOWEVER, it is not massive, I only used split fire brick on the inside of the oven, floor and walls.
        Attached Files


        • #5
          Re: Using Steel Plate for dome


          I am glad that you are having success with your oven. However I think the point here is this. As I understand it this site serves many different purposes some of which are to educate ourselves with tips and techniques that have been time tested. Which is not to say that the best mouse trap has already been build. Progressive thinking and experimentation is a great thing but in this case the real test is about 200 years away give or take a decade.


          • #6
            Re: Using Steel Plate for dome

            Actually, I may be putting out a treatise on this forum in the very near future. The subject will be:

            A Mathematical Analysis of Wood Fired Oven Shape and Thickness

            As an MSME Drop Out (2 credits from an MSME when I changed my major to Comp Sci) I have been watching the OPINIONS of oven builders on this forum.

            Now, please don't get me wrong, there is definately an art to building masonry ovens, be they brick, clay, or castable concrete. I hope nobody will take this the wrong way......I would love it if the engineers on this forum (and I know the guy who made a GEODESIC OVEN is one) started putting some ANALYSIS into their responses.

            This is the beauty of a forum....from many is built a great pool of knowledge. An oven, built with materials which withstand compression but not tension is, in and of itself, a thing of beauty, but we CAN try to build better moustraps.


            • #7
              Re: Using Steel Plate for dome

              While I would like to see the analysis, thousands of years of practice are pretty damn convincing. They were building beehive ovens before they discovered the arch I believe.

              That said, doing something wrong for thousands of years doesn't make you right, it just makes you stubborn.


              • #8
                Re: Using Steel Plate for dome

                If it works for you, who are we to judge?
                I don't recall anyone ever stating an oven NEEDS TO BE ROUND, there are many followers of the Alan Scott design. Progressive thinking is good, you don't know if you don't try.
                Personally, here in Florida, EVERY type of steel rusts/scales. High humidity is a killer. Yes, even stainless will eventually rust. That said, I would never consider the use of steel in or around my oven.
                As for performance, I think it has been proven that a wood fired dome offers the most even heating. Air circulation which spreads the flame/heat (for lack of a better term, lets call it convection) much more evenly than a square or rectangle. Square or rectangle ovens will have cold spots in the corners, not very important if you are simply firing one pizza or baking 2 loafs of bread in the middle, but those cold spots can/will affect multiple pizzas, large bakes, or extended roasting.
                I see you are heating with gas, that is a pretty unfamiliar variable for most of this forum. We have pretty much taken the stance that the risks are to high for the average DIY oven builder. A novice hooking up gas (and using gas) in an enclosed space is a scary thing. An oven is not like a gas grill (which has vents and you can raise the lid), it would not take much settled gas for the whole thing to go BOOM.

                Again, I am not judging, glad it worked out for you and thanks for sharing. My oven is 3 1/2 yrs old...obsolete compared to many recent builds. As stated many times - ANY insulated oven is better than NO oven. Guys and gals keep building and coming up with new ideas, good for all of us and especially any newcomers.
                Just be careful with that gas...we don't wan't to see you on the news.



                • #9
                  Re: Using Steel Plate for dome

                  Well stated, alas I am no MSME or MS anything just the school of handyman hard knocks. Which is why I have been relying on this site so much. Each step of the way I have found mistakes that I would have otherwise made. However I did deviate every now and then, so far it has not compromised the project. About your analysis, I remember seeing a drawing of sorts that demonstrated in great detail the convection process of the dome. I will have to try and find it again. Good cooking to you !

                  Healthy debate stretches the imagination.


                  • #10
                    Re: Using Steel Plate for dome

                    I'm not saying they ancient Romans were wrong. The ancient Romans:

                    Built ovens that lasted thousands of years
                    Ate Italian food every day
                    Conquered everyone they knew about
                    Had parties that are legendary to this day (Toga, toga, toga!!!)

                    I'm just stating that there are different ways to skin the same cat. I offered another way to coax the fleece off of a feline. That's all.


                    • #11
                      Re: Using Steel Plate for dome

                      I am getting ready to start my brick oven and I just enjoy the idea and function of the wood fired brick construction. One of the things I'm looking forward to also is cooking other items after the pizza, using retained heat. Might not want to touch anything inside the oven the next day with a brick oven.


                      • #12
                        Re: Using Steel Plate for dome

                        Cat skinning, now THAT I have not tried. Guess I could get lessons from my neighbor. I swear, whatever it is she is always cooking, it is not intended for human consumption Rumors in the neighborhood abound.......is it dog, cat, rat, or is she simply burning garbage?

                        Thought I would lighten things up a bit.......may sound sick, but seriously...at least once a week.............



                        • #13
                          Re: Using Steel Plate for dome

                          Regarding interior rust on a steel WFO, a small update: I have been using my steel dome WFO since Sept 08 and so that makes 2 plus years of use. So far I have not had any issues of rust scale forming on the inside of my WFO. Yes, if one runs a bare hand around the inside of the oven one will end up with a rust stained hand. So my suggestion would be: don't rub your food against the inside of the WFO. Likewise I would suspect rubbing one's food against the inside of a brick or cast WFO would not be advised.

                          There are alot of domes built with a piece of structural steel in the lintel of the entry as support....How many have had problems with rust scaling?

                          Also, so far I have not had a single crack in the dome (or other steel WFO section... so that is not some cleverly worded statement to cover problems). Nor have I had any cracks or loose bricks in my steel arch entry. And when I run the rake around the inside to gather up the ashes I run the edge of the rake in contact with the inner surface of the dome without fear of catching on or damaging a brick. A steel domed WFO is not a delicate thing.

                          (Located in the damp Pacific Northwest)


                          • #14
                            Re: Using Steel Plate for dome

                            Hi Wiley,

                            One of your blogs i googled lead me to this forum.
                            Its great to be in contact with other people interested in steel framed ovens.

                            A friend and me are building a 13 mil T bared dome. The frame is pretty much welded up and ready to go. The 13mil steel flats are welded in position to make a dome skin. The dome is welded to a base plate, which encompasses the whole floor space of the oven, and some.

                            We are grinding the corners of the bricks, to shape them, to fit snuggly with each other. We are tryng to construct the oven dome without cement on the inside cooking space? We will use fire cement on the upper side of the brick, then the padded refractory blanket 25mm. On top of the blanket we will put a couple of inches of clay.

                            I wonder if the description fits the project. I will be posting photos very shortly.


                            • #15
                              Re: Using Steel Plate for dome

                              steel framed,
                              Looking forward to seeing photos of what you are describing. Perhaps you might consider starting a new thread under "Other Oven Types".