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Why do you cut the bricks? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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I'm Peter Reinhart! Ask Me Anything! Monday, February 15, 2016 7:00-8:00 pm EST

To kick off our AMA feature, we have invited author, chef and master bread maker and host of Pizza Quest, Peter Reinhart, to be our first host! Peter will be in the Forum on Monday, February 15th, from 7:00 - 8:00 pm EST. If you are unable to be online during the live session, you can post your questions in the sticky post. Peter will answer those questions during the live session on February 15th. You can view Peter's answers to your questions as well as what happened during the live session in the session thread.

Ask Me Anything New Forum Feature

You will notice a new forum at the top of the main page called, "Ask Me Anything". This forum will be used for live one hour "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) sessions hosted by people who are knowledgeable in different areas pertaining to wood fired ovens. How it works:
- Each AMA will have a "sticky" thread where the community can post questions they would like answered during the live session. This will allow everyone to participate even if you can't be online for the live session. These questions will not be answered by the host until the live AMA; if you need an answer quickly, you should post it in the appropriate Forum area for the community to respond.
- Another thread will be posted for the live AMA. Registered users who are logged in during the live session can interact with the host by asking questions and receiving responses.
- The live thread will remain in the AMA forum to view after the session.

We hope you enjoy this new feature! Please let us know if there is a topic that you'd like to have as an AMA and we'll look for a host!

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Why do you cut the bricks?

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  • Why do you cut the bricks?

    Looks like the bricks in the Pompeii oven are cut in half...Why? Can't you use whole bricks laying on their side or end? Sure it won't be quite as perfectly round, but the only way you'd notice that is if you stuck your head in the oven.

  • #2
    Re: Why do you cut the bricks?

    Wg if you lay the full length(9 inch) brick to make the round structure of the oven the mortar joints become thicker and therefore are a bit more likely to fail. If you lay the brick at its full length with the end facing inside the thermal mass of the oven is larger and will take longer to heat up but, will give you heat for longer after the firing. Many french bread ovens were built in that way. Cutting becomes a necessity as the rings get smaller at the top of the dome as well and it is a slight bit easier to cut the trapezoid from the shorter brick.
    Hope this helps!
    Dutch
    "Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity. " Charles Mingus
    "Build at least two brick ovens...one to make all the mistakes on and the other to be just like you dreamed of!" Dutch

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    • #3
      Re: Why do you cut the bricks?

      The short answer is that bricks are MUCH more stable than mortar, no matter what mortar you are using. There is a persistant problem with cracking in homemade ovens, and the reason is that there may be too much mortar even with the half brick design.

      Some of us have gone to great length to reduce the gaps between bricks for just this reason. This involves brick cutting. The good news is that with a modern 10 inch diamond wet saw, the standard low-duty fire bricks are easy to cut, even easier than common red brick.

      Of course you can lay up whole bricks in reducing polygons, but without an edge facing in, you reduce the reflection of heat back to the oven floor which is the way that pizza is cooked.

      No matter how you decide to proceed, keep us posted. We love pictures and stories of oven construction.
      My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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