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Lime mortar & wood ovens?

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  • Lime mortar & wood ovens?

    Hi good folks

    some time ago while renovating my house I discovered the joys and environmental benefits of using lime mortar for construction... I then got to thinking when preparing for my Pompeii oven if it is at all possible to use lime mortar in it's construction... especially considering that cement based mortars have only been around since ~1860's and only used widely since ~1920's/30's when it replaced lime almost totally... so all pre-1860's ovens surely would have used lime or hydraulic lime mortar exclusively

    if anyone has ANY info on this I would be most pleased to hear from them

    cheers
    Trevor

  • #2
    Re: Lime mortar & wood ovens?

    Here's a little tidbit: Cement - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Lime mortar & wood ovens?

      Thanks Mojoe... I was aware of that one.. good ol' wikipedia is always a first port of call... I should have been more specific... I am trying to see if it is possible to use non-Portland based cement as I would like if possible to use a pure lime/sand mortar without the addition of Portland cement

      cheers
      T

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Lime mortar & wood ovens?

        Ah, I see... less history and more field experience. Just from briefly scanning the net it appears to be a suitable alternative. Hopefully someone will respond with the insight you seek.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Lime mortar & wood ovens?

          Hey Trevor,

          Where are you looking to use your lime mortar in your oven project? I am working with lime plaster for internal wall finish in our house, and for the enclosure for our new outdoor kitchen.

          In general, portland or calcium aluminate based mortars work well for the construction of the oven chamber itself. They set and cure to a hard material that can (in varying degrees) withstand the heat and thermal cycling that a brick oven undergoes. You try to minimize your joints, to make the mortar less "mission critical."

          I would be very interested in learning more about Lime, and how it sets.
          James
          Pizza Ovens
          Outdoor Fireplaces

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Lime mortar & wood ovens?

            Hi James

            a reasonable why use lime link...

            the lime cycle...


            the British Lime Assoc has great info...

            a great little illustration of the lime cycle...


            yet another good site...


            I have used lime for wall rendering and for bedding/grouting sandstone paving tiles... it is a fantastic, very forgiving material... don't have to worry about it setting on you if you mix up too much... just keep it wet... can leave it covered for work the next day or even days down the track... just keep it wet/moist as it sets through drying and the uptake of CO2 from the air that it released in it's manufacture (a part of the lime cycle)... I have used commercial lime putty fro the only supplier here in Oz and made my own from hydrated lime powder and both seem to work fine...

            when I was first time going to make my own putty from the hydrated lime I was enquiring from a building supply place... run by an Italian family so thought they would know all about lime... to work out quanities etc and when he learnt of my using a mix of just lime, sand and water for my wall render he was totally aghast...

            "you can't do that... it will all fall off!!!"

            no... I said... it doesn't as I had already done it with a lime putty, sand mix with NO portland cement at all... and why do they put lime in mortar... because it makes it "sticky" and VERY workable!!!!

            lime mortar is a fantastic thing to work with... and fully recyclable... old lime mortar can easily be scraped off of old bricks etc... easily crushed without anywhere near the same energy required to crush concrete/cement based products and then reused in the next lot of lime mortar...

            basically... it starts out as limestone... is burnt and releases CO2... etc etc.. then takes back CO2 from the environment to set... and in the process returns to being limestone.... it breathes... caustic BUT non-toxic...

            HENCE... my desire to find out if it is OK in the making of wood-fired ovens... especially since surely all ovens would have been built with lime or hydraulic lime until near mid-1900's

            cheers
            T
            Last edited by TrevorML; 09-24-2007, 11:02 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Lime mortar & wood ovens?

              Where does Pozzolan fit in here? I always thought the Romans mixed pozzalan with lime to make a mortar that would set through a chemical reaction. That is how they made some of their serious marinas and other major construction projects. Is that how that made their brick ovens? I have asked various Pompeii experts, but never found anyone who could answer.

              As an aside, did Pozzolan stop being used in the middle ages? Stone construction fell back, and was replaced by more "rustic" wooden structures in many places. Still, brick ovens were built at the time, and some are still standing. Something must have gone right.

              What was the heat resistant mortar they used?

              Hmmmmm.
              James
              Last edited by james; 09-24-2007, 11:41 PM.
              Pizza Ovens
              Outdoor Fireplaces

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Lime mortar & wood ovens?

                One more thing. Thanks for the Lime cycle graphic. Nice.
                James
                Pizza Ovens
                Outdoor Fireplaces

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Lime mortar & wood ovens?

                  I just watched a show yesterday about Roman structures and yes they indeed used lime made from crushed lime stone pozzolan ash (1:2 ratio) and water not only as mortar but also for casting very large objects..I have to say it was pretty amazing to see the chemical reaction the lime made with the water then make a mold and drop it underwater to set
                  I can see substituting pozzolan ash with fly ash which according to this story causes a similar chemical reaction as pozzolan ash
                  http://www.djc.com/news/co/11133038.html

                  Originally posted by james View Post
                  Where does Pozzolan fit in here? I always thought the Romans mixed pozzalan with lime to make a mortar that would set through a chemical reaction. That is how they made some of their serious marinas and other major construction projects. Is that how that made their brick ovens? I have asked various Pompeii experts, but never found anyone who could answer.

                  As an aside, did Pozzolan stop being used in the middle ages? Stone construction fell back, and was replaced by more "rustic" wooden structures in many places. Still, brick ovens were built at the time, and some are still standing. Something must have gone right.

                  What was the heat resistant mortar they used?

                  Hmmmmm.
                  James

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Lime mortar & wood ovens?

                    Interesting thread here.
                    I love the idea of being as traditional as possible in oven construction.
                    It seems to comes down to how the lime mortar reacts to the heat.

                    The Building Limes Forum (thanks for that link, Trevor) says
                    ''12. The use of lime has ecological benefits
                    Lime stone can be burnt at relatively low temperatures to achieve full calcinations. Kilns need to reach 900 to 1,000ºC as opposed to 1,300 to 1,400 for OPC. Free lime absorbs carbon dioxide in the setting process of carbonation. It is possible to produce lime locally on a small scale and if this is done the consequent reduction in long distance transport also has ecological benefits."


                    So would the high heat of a pizza oven make the lime unstable in the lime cycle with its continued refiring?

                    Any one know?
                    Last edited by Dannyboyblue; 09-25-2007, 11:30 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Lime mortar & wood ovens?

                      Danny - I did a quick google and found this, looks safe to use lime (whew)

                      Mortar joints between firebrick in a combustion chamber should never exceed 1/4 inch in width. In fact, a smaller joint is preferred. If traditional sandy mortar is used, it should be a high-lime content mortar that does contain some Portland cement. High-lime content mortars perform well when subjected to repeated episodes of high temperatures.



                      Les...
                      Check out my pictures here:
                      http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/les-build-4207.html

                      If at first you don't succeed... Skydiving isn't for you.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Lime mortar & wood ovens?

                        I think the big question is whether a pure air-dried lime mortar will withstand frequent high heat cycles (up and down). I have to admit that I am not experienced with pure lime mortar, but it makes me nervous. With all the energy that goes into constructing the dome, it would be a shame for it to not last. So, voting on the side of caution, I would still add portland.

                        That said, my experience is limited, and there are different reasons for making a decision -- beyond what is practical and modern. :-)

                        Jim, Dave or Jeff. Do you guys have some experience here?
                        James
                        Pizza Ovens
                        Outdoor Fireplaces

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Lime mortar & wood ovens?

                          like the saying .. do as the romans do or something like that

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Lime mortar & wood ovens?

                            Trevor
                            Great question. I am in the process of repointing a structure that was most likely builr with entirely lime/sand mortar. In the research I had to do to complete this task my only concern would be the length of time to set, as you already know. Many possibilities abound in this but I might recommend the use of a small amount of portland/cal-alum cement. The mixture that was recommended to me for this point job referred to a type "O" mortar which is 6-9/2/1...sand/lime/cement...with the addition of 1 to 1 1/2 parts fireclay you might have a really good mix. Maybe even use some fly ash from one of our oven friends near you...could be interesting. Hope Unofornaio catches this thread as well as a few others that are in the masonry trade professionally!
                            Best
                            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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Lime mortar & wood ovens?

                              Originally posted by TrevorML View Post
                              ... when I was first time going to make my own putty from the hydrated lime I was enquiring from a building supply place... run by an Italian family so thought they would know all about lime... to work out quanities etc and when he learnt of my using a mix of just lime, sand and water for my wall render he was totally aghast...
                              Trevor,

                              Just as an aside, do you watch "Grand Designs" (ABCTV Thu 6pm). Last week's episode was about a couple building an environmentally friendly house in Wales, and they got the same reaction from builders when they said they wanted to use lime in the render for the outside and inside walls, as well as in the floor slab!

                              They got there in the end, but not without difficulty. I recall the host saying that the interior had a pleasant acoustic - I took it to mean that the lime render wasn't as 'hard' acoustically as normal plaster, but I'm not absolutely sure about this.

                              The website at Grand Designs - Carmarthen, from Channel4.com/4Homes is not that informative, but there is a video clip called the “Carmarthen Walkthrough” at Channel4 - Player where you can see the finished result.

                              Cheers, Paul.

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