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Spalling fix - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Spalling fix

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  • Spalling fix

    Hi all I'm new to this site and have never built an oven before. I have in fact “inherited” one from the Carabinieri who built it.
    My problem I believe is called ‘spalling.’ Is there a way to fix this without a complete new build? The main goal here is to get at least 6 more months use without having to risk biting down on some rocks when trying to enjoy a good pizza.
    I was thinking maybe putting in some sort of steel sheet to catch the debris.
    Thank you

    P.S. I should say that I'm working in Baghdad right now so going down to the local hardware store and getting some firebricks is not an option.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Spalling fix

    You seem to have inherited a real problem. A real brain teaser to say the least!
    These bricks look rather like under fired low grade housing bricks (as we would call seconds) which are really only suitable for interior walls that are not subjected to the weather conditions experienced outside, let alone the heat from a fierce wood fire.
    I would suggest from your pics that I would chip off the worst of the excess bricks and loose mortar and clean the bricks and mortar with brick clean (a weak hydrochloric acid wash) and try to find some high temperature mortar. If you then rendered the inside (a rather difficult task especially when laying through the entry arch on your back).
    It might really be easier to demolish the dome and rebuild it with the correct materials but under your circumstances, maybe make a fine wire mesh lining and secure it to the mortar joints with large headed nails.screws but keep away from galvanised.

    If you don't succeed the first time, try again and again until you get it right!


    • #3
      Re: Spalling fix

      I'm guessing from the fact that you used "Carabinieri who built it" that you are working with an oven built by some Italian soldier who was stationed in Baghdad during the short time the occupying forces were multi-national. Trying to leave the stupidity (IMO) of that venture out of conversation, one would surmise that the oven was built quite recently and out of materials at hand by a soldier hoping to create some sense of home and perhaps a place of momentary sanity and perhaps even joy.

      I would guess it (perhaps both) are lost causes. The oven because it is not some vestige of antiquity that is suffering the effects of time but rather a quickly built facsimile of a WFO that most likely never worked as hoped. The cement is wrong and will fail at temperatures obtained firing the WFO. Although Berryst has showed that the bricks with holes in them can successfully used in building a WFO there is no preconception that these bricks (although they look like what we know) are infact constructed to the same standards. Anyone familiar with building materials used in the Middle East are aware that commonly such materials are at best look-a-likes.

      So try some temporary fix, some patch that will hold until you leave, but don't expect anything really to work well. The parallels are prophetic.

      Stay Safe,


      • #4
        Re: Spalling fix

        what if you lined it with hardware cloth (chicken wire) and stucco with high tem mortar ?


        • #5
          Re: Spalling fix

          your best option is a steel mesh and a coating of mortar to help hold it together. ultimately it's going to fail, and i'd personally not want to be around if it does it while at high temp