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Buying materials after only 4 weeks - 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:
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Buying materials after only 4 weeks

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  • Buying materials after only 4 weeks

    I have wanted to start this from the beginning but waited until until I had something to start with. So to start I have just started collecting materials for a oven I bought 50 firebricks yesterday and ordered the Makita 9557PBX1 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder with Aluminum Case from Amazon and will be going tomorrow to get a sheet of 3/4" plywood and some cinder blocks. I live in Hemet and I am retired and need a hobby. I am just getting over having 2 hip joints replaced and will be at this for a while. This is kind of a repeat of my Hello but thought it appropriate here again!
    I have asked several questions here and some have been answered by forum members while others I have ran across in looking a the builds for information. My biggest problem revolves around products. Also why some things are done the way they are. I will start with some of the one that has me scratching my head. I would like to thank all of those who will be helping me along the way. I would also like to thank those who already have. I just hope I will be able to give as much as I can and not just take your help.

    1.First one of the things that I don't understand is why all of the builds I have seen cut the 9 x 4.5 x 2.5 bricks in half instead of just laying the brick along the circle length wise. If it is because of the joint it seems that we could angel the long brick easier and would seem to be stronger and you would be able to overlap the brick easier. Maybe only having to use 1 half brick in each course.

    2. I have ran across Luminite Cement from what I have learned this is used in Castable refractory Concrete although they call it cement. What I need to know is what else is needed to make it a castable material. I have not been able to find all of the products listed and none of the castables I have seen use clay in them. They use this kind of mix. 11%Luminite Cement 50% silica sand, 30% Fused Aluminum Oxide Powder / Grit, 3% potassium oxide, 1% titanium dioxide, 4% Iron(III) oxide or ferric oxide Iron (II) Oxide (Ferrous Oxide), no % given sodium oxide. I only put this formula here in case someone knows what of these are important as in reading a couple seemed to be waste or byproducts. I would like to make my own if possible as the cost is something else. Also if using this kind of product would seem to be the strongest connection you can make and then the width of the seems should not make much of a difference?

    3. Has to do with finding materials in Riverside, San Diego any where south of L.A California or within 200 miles. I have found firebrick, fire clay, Luminite Cement silica sand. I am close but want the castable concrete without having to ship at double the cost of the concrete itself. I would like to use Soapstone for the floor again any help please.

    4. I read one builder who said you can cook less but you can't cook more so what I am trying to figure out is what size to go with. If it were up to me it would be the size of the Staples Center in L.A. for those who live on the moon and don't know it's where the Laker's play. I know cooking 1 Pizza or 3 loafs of bread at a time and taking around 3 minutes I will never need anything bigger than a 36" oven but I want to cook 1 or 2 turkey's or a 75 to 100 lb suckling pig what would I need plus other things needed for a dinner.

    I will leave it here for now as once I get a sheet of 3/4" plywood and some cinder blocks and start marking it up and running a course or to of brick for fun I know I will have more questions.


  • #2
    Re: Buying materials after only 4 weeks

    1 and about half bricks. Once you get up the courses, you'll find that you end up with the dreaded Vees between the courses. This is the shape that the bricks leave for the next course brick to bridge over. Halves and in my case 1/3rds 2/3rds and 1/4rs tend to make a really nice hemisphere.
    2 about castable, I don’t know anything about it, I know I like bricks..
    3 materials in So Cal, you have a huge variety of locations including James shipping. For bricks, you have at least 3 from any number of locations. You also have Pacific Clay in Lake Elsinore and they do sell 2nds time to time. You have Foundry supply and service in Santa fe Springs, they’ll know about castable rigid board insulation and ceramic blanket. White Cap supply knows about Stone Wool insulation as does Pacific Insulation.
    4 regarding size. Size matters when you need it. In a 36 you’ll be able to do a whole mess of pizza and still have enough room for a good sized roast and all of the fixings. A 42, what I have will take a bit more of a foot print and a bit less wood to heat and I’d bet there won’t be many times that you say that you wish it were bigger..

    Oh yea, Soapstone.. In Anaheim I found a couple of fabricators with shops between St College Blvd and S. Sherman St., just off of Ball. Sorry I don’t have the name or address. I got the lead from Soapstone International. These folks say they have shops in Anaheim and San Diego.. I think their SD address is really Escondido. Google them up and give them a call, tell them what you want is 3cm cut off leftovers from jobs. Make sure that they understand that you’re going to use it in an oven and that dark material without veins is desirable for thermal stability. When you go to fabricate the material the wet saw will work well. Think about thermal mass, I haven’t done the numbers so I can’t tell you about how a 3cm floor of SS compares to a 2 brick floor. I know the numbers are there to work and tell you. After my time with the oven I can tell you that thermal mass and insulation are great bed fellows. I think John, Giannifocaccia, has worked the numbers here.



    • #3
      Re: Buying materials after only 4 weeks

      Chris is right. My soapstone came from a Craigslist ad which unfortunately I didn't keep the details on. There a number of places off of State College Blvd in Anaheim that carry soapstone cutoffs. The outfit Chris referred to with a location in Anaheim and San Diego is more pricey ($20/sq') than what I paid. . You might try contacting a cabinet-maker who does soapstone countertops.

      I went with a 3cm soapstone 'top' with 2 1/2" firebrick floor underneath since I am keen to do more residual heat cooking. Of course, if you are unable to locate affordable soapstone a straight firebrick floor works perfectly fine.



      • #4
        Re: Buying materials after only 4 weeks

        Thanks for your time. I bought a Harbor Freight 10" saw today and am really wanting to get started. I been looking on Craigslist and it looks like it will not be to hard to find some. Do you know how Granite would work. I really want it for a top over the firebrick. I want to be able to take it out if I want. Only being at this for a month and doing as much reading as I can I have a hard time with the fact that a bread oven and a Pizza oven only have about 2 inches difference in size. Since I will be doing more cooking and less pizza I thought that I would raise the floor by 2 inches or lower it depending on what I am doing. I would think that would work. First I thought I would make a cast of castable cement and make it 2" or 2.5" deep and as wide as the opening in the oven and make it fit almost to the back. But Soapstone or granite would be easier and look better when not in use. Similar to a Granite cutting board. What would you or anyone think of encasing the bottom of the insert in steel something like the door would be made.
        Last edited by Hank10746; 08-14-2011, 12:51 PM.


        • #5
          Re: Buying materials after only 4 weeks

          Granite will not be stable in the heat. If you want something other than firebrick to lay your pizzas on then soapstone is what you want.

          The tried and true FB oven design is very forgiving as long as you don’t stray too far. I can’t recommend enough staying within the plans. Things like thermal breaks and extra insulation in my mind bring big returns for a bit of time and money. Even a bit of extra mass is cheap as long as you don’t forget the insulation, and you’ll be able to cook for days on a load of wood if you follow the plan.

          I don’t like the idea of encapsulating anything that will get oven heat in steel. My bet is that the dissimilar materials would ultimately fail at the joints due to uneven expansion during the heating and cooling cycles.

          Take a deep breath and spend some time searching for Soapstone, you’ll find it at a price you can tolerate. If you start to build the oven, with the understanding that you’re going to add 3cm of SS to the floor later you have months of time before you have to have it.


          PS remember what you're really doing is creating an oven that fits the hand made, qulaity, food you want to be able to make. This is the absolute opposite of the fast food we're surrounded by. Even the 90 sec. pizza is only fast in it's completion. Taking your time on the oven build will be rewarded with a quality oven.
          Last edited by SCChris; 08-14-2011, 05:36 PM.


          • #6
            Re: Buying materials after only 4 weeks

            2 25" by 70 inch slabs. I don't know how the veining might be..

            Green Iorn Soapstone Granite



            • #7
              Re: Buying materials after only 4 weeks

              Heya Hank!

              How's the build going?