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Let the fun begin! - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Let the fun begin!

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  • Let the fun begin!

    Hello All,

    Let me start by saying that I should have NEVER NEVER shown my wife this site.
    So I blame all of you for making me start this project!

    I'm going to build a Pompeii oven pretty much by the book, will probably have alot of questions but thought it would be fun to document the build here.

    Had a few issues (and bound to have some more) sourcing some materials here in the UK. This is where I hope I might be able to lean on the forum for a few pointers.

    My wife's parents are Italian and live about 40K away from Naples. Every year we drive across europe from the UK to see the family and often go out for a REAL pizza (None of this deep pan meat feast junk)!

    So my challenge is to build a 36" igloo oven as cheap as possible and as quickly as possible. Wife's getting inpatient ;-)

    Started off last weekend pouring the foundation slab. 6" of reinforced concrete.

    Worked the slab until it was nice and smooth, then some b****y bird decided to stomp over it!

    I've attached some photos and will post some more soon. Any comments / pointers greatly recieved.

    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Let the fun begin!

    Was the bird eatable ?


    • #3
      Re: Let the fun begin!

      Well I managed to build the stand and pour the top slab over the easter weekend. I really liked the dry stacking method to build the stand and once the re-bar and concrete was set it was rock solid. Wife asked if I was building an oven or a bomb shelter!

      Framed up the inside and outside shuttering to pour the slab, used abit of vegatable oil as a release agent, i'll keep you posted as to if it worked or not.

      Just to give you a quick run down of costs so far. We have been sourcing / scrounging everything as cheeply as possible, I love salvage and reclemation yards so most of the materials so far have come from these.

      Blocks - 45 X £1 each @ Reclamation Yard.
      Rebar and Mesh - (enough for whole build) £10 @ Reclamation Yard.
      Framing wood - Free (leftovers at home plus a quick raid @ my father-in-laws!)
      Oven Bricks - Free. Going to use Bricks from Electrical storage heaters for the whole floor and dome. A skip raid produced over 80 bricks and after speaking to the contractor who was replacing these storage heaters I should get another 50-60 within the next couple of weeks!
      Sand and Cement. Reckon of about 10-12 bags of cement and and about 50-60 bags of ballast. To be honest I've lost count!

      OK, Photo time, more to follow...

      Attached Files


      • #4
        Re: Let the fun begin!

        The completed slab!

        The circle is 3' of pearlite concrete to act as insulation for the oven floor. The 'little helper' is Millie my 9 year old Daughter.
        Attached Files
        Last edited by pjchick; 04-07-2010, 04:49 AM.


        • #5
          Re: Let the fun begin!

          Well done Peter!

          Now the fun begins!!

          Look forward to the rest of the build
          My Oven Thread:


          The difference between a successful person and others is not the lack of strength, nor the lack of knowledge… but rather, the lack of will power.


          • #6
            Re: Let the fun begin!

            Quick work Peter.
            I've been months on mine, and only now getting to the hearth stage (and still not quite there yet!)

            Not much in the way of useful materials in the reclamation yard locally, I even asked him about firebricks, and you would have thought I'd shoved a lemon in his face . Lol.

            Good luck with it.



            • #7
              Storage heater bricks

              Hello again,

              I've been looking at some of my storage heater bricks. It looks like they will work out perfectly.

              I'm going to lay some whole bricks in a herring bone pattern inside the oven for the floor.

              My plan is to cut each full brick into 1/4 and use these to make the dome. The bricks have a flat side and the other side has a lip on one edge. At first I thought this would be a pain however it seems that the gods are smiling on me, for if you stack the blocks the lipped edge to the outside of the dome it forms an almost perfect 36" arch without the need for shims or packing.

              I cut up a couple of bricks with my angle grinder and dry stacked them as a test. I'm hoping I might be able to do without a form with this method. I'll see how brave I feel when it comes to actually start.

              As always, some photo's.

              Attached Files
              Last edited by pjchick; 04-07-2010, 04:51 AM.


              • #8
                Re: Let the fun begin!

                Hello All,

                Had abit of time this weekend to do some work on the oven.

                Managed to cut the bricks for the oven floor, they are bedded on 3" of perlite concrete.

                The rest of the weekend was spend cutting the large bricks down ('orrible job!)

                I had an old tablesaw I bought years ago for £35. I removed the guard and fitted a diamond blade (B&Q £26).

                Don't be dumb Facemask, Goggles and Ear defenders are a MUST here!

                Also I REALLY don't recommend my brick cutting solution for the following reasons:-

                1 ITS NOT SAFE! - No guard to protect your fingers.
                2 ITS NOT SAFE! - It creates ALOT of dust and noise.
                3 ITS NOT SAFE! - See points 1 and 2!

                Next time I will definately hire a water saw - it's worth it.

                Oh well, with the grotty part done I can now move on to the nice (I hope) bit, actually building the dome.

                Photo's as always...

                Attached Files


                • #9
                  Re: Let the fun begin!

                  Great to see someone else going down the storage heater route, can't wait to see how it turns out.
                  I am still on the hunt for old storage heaters.



                  • #10
                    Re: Let the fun begin!

                    Well finally started laying some bricks. I managed to put down 5 courses plus start the arch. I initally tried to cut a standard arch but couldn't get it to sit or look right. Facing the prospect of cutting the arch again for the third time I binned it and went with a much simpler (for me) approach. It should be fine, only time will tell.

                    I have been cutting each block into a wedge shape rather than keeping them square, this has kept the mortar joints tight. On each course I've slightly increased the angle. Average 25/26 blocks per course. with 50 'ish for the first soldier course.

                    When working I have a 3' plywood disc covering the floor of the oven with my homebrew 'tool' pivoting from the center. Not sure yet how high i'm going to be able to go before I'll need to switch to a mould, I'll find out soon enough!

                    Planning on doing some more over the weekend.

                    Any thoughts comments pointers or suggestions welcome.

                    Photo time...
                    Attached Files


                    • #11
                      Re: Let the fun begin!

                      Hi Peter.

                      Excellent progress.

                      What about posting a pic of your "indispensible tool"



                      • #12
                        Re: Let the fun begin!

                        Looking great, what type of mortar are you using?
                        How many full storage heater bricks do you think the whole job will end up using?


                        Ryan Sim-Savage


                        • #13
                          Re: Let the fun begin!

                          Couldnt resist it - laid another couple of courses yesterday evening. All going well so far. It's begining to look like an oven at last!

                          Jon, I'll take some pics of "indispensible tool" when I have chance probably over the weekend. It's LOW tech but it works.

                          The motar mix i'm using is 2:2:1 Soft sand, Fireclay and Cement. I made a couple of sample mixes and rolled them into small balls and 'fired' them in my Chiminea. The mix held up pretty well, a couple of cracks but I think that was because they were pretty damp when I fired them but seemed solid. By cutting each block into a wedge I've kept my mortar joints pretty tight so hopefully if the mortar isn't perfect it shouldn't be a disaster.

                          (I'm of to make an offering to the pizza oven gods just in case!)

                          As to the number of bricks I havn't got a clue! I promise to do a count when I complete the dome I reckon I've used 60-70 'ish full blocks in the dome so far and I'm on th 7th course. Luckily I seem to have an almost endless supply!

                          Photo time...
                          Attached Files


                          • #14
                            Re: Let the fun begin!

                            I like your octagonal entryway. That's very distinct on FB.

                            Website: http://keithwiley.com
                            WFO Webpage: http://keithwiley.com/brickPizzaOven.shtml
                            Thread: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f21/...ttle-7878.html


                            • #15
                              Re: Let the fun begin!

                              Peter - looking really good. I can't believe your luck with the storage heater bricks.
                              Was down my local tip earleir, and did ask if they had many storage heaters in where I would be able to reclaim the bricks, guy said that while they do get them in, it isn;t very often, so would take me absolutely ages.

                              Ive resigned myself to forking out £300+ for fire bricks.