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Restoring a vintage pizza oven - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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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Restoring a vintage pizza oven

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  • Restoring a vintage pizza oven


    after deciding to build a Pompeii Pizza oven in the garden as a "2011 project" with my brother, we became aware that we actually have an old oven/fireplace in our family weekend home (built pre-WWI), a fact that had been totally neglected in the last decades.

    After asking my dad to take some pictures of it, he sent us the pictures you can find attached.

    So, to our delight, we actually had a treasure behind a bookshelf all the time - an old pizza/bread oven in our home, which obviously needs some restoration.

    I haven't seen it in person yet, but it seems to be made of clay bricks, and definitely needs some rework on the inside, as well as a new chimney.

    So, my questions regarding a restoration are:

    1.) Should we upgrade the floor with new fireclay tiles? If so, with a new sand (?) base, or just put the new tiles on the old floor?

    2.) What's the best way to restore the inner dome? Is putting some refractory cement in the gaps between the bricks enough?

    3.) Do you have any tips regarding the installation of a new chimney - I'm sure this will be the trickiest part of the whole project. The oven chimney will then lead to the "real" chimney, which I guess is right above the oven.

    4.) Is the isolation on the outside enough, or should we cover it with a new layer of stone wool (?) and refractory cement?

    Thanks for any info we can get, I'm sure this will be a fun project over the next months! I'll keep you updated with pictures, of course..


  • #2
    Re: Restoring a vintage pizza oven

    I'd be concerned about the complete absence of insulation in an oven of that vintage. If you replaced the floor, you could perhaps excavate to a sufficient depth to put in a couple of inches of refractory board, but I'd be worried that the vibration of excavation would put a lot of stress on that dome.

    I'd consider using the existing bricks to rebuild the oven with proper insulation and mortar.

    What's your flue situation?
    My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


    • #3
      Re: Restoring a vintage pizza oven

      Thanks for your reply! I will see the oven personally in some weeks, but it seems that there is at least some kind of insulation at the sides, not really at the top (which can be seen at pic #5). Do you think just insulating mostly the top more is not sufficient?

      I believe rebuilding the oven is not really an option, as the whole area is only accessable from the front; I'd then rather build a new one in the garden..

      About the flue situation - the big flue, which goes through the roof of the house, is above the oven, the flue/chimney of the oven would lead into the at first rather wide spaced house flue. Do you see any problems with that design?


      • #4
        Re: Restoring a vintage pizza oven

        I am sure you don't want to hear it, but there is no way I would attempt a restore of that oven for use. For looks and historical value, yes, but I would not put a fire in there.

        If you want to use it in place, it is a complete tear out and redo. It is not like it is in the middle of the garden; if it all goes to hell, the house could burn down.