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Is fireclay necessary? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Is fireclay necessary?

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  • Is fireclay necessary?

    Hi,
    As has been said numerous times, great site, very informative, sometimes too informative!
    I started building the wood fired oven from the book by Tom Jaine. Fortunately only got the base done when I came across your site and plans and have now decided on the pompeii oven.
    My main issue at the moment is fireclay. I can't find a supplier in the UK. I have found fire cement and castable, but no fireclay. I was trying to build it by the book (or by the PDF in this case!) but cannot source this product. In his book, Tom Jaine has suggested that fireclay is not necessary and to use 1:1:6 , portland, hydrated lime and sand. My question is, will this work?
    I spoke to purimachos in Bristol UK which is close to where I live and they suggested building the dome using the sand form and then filling in the joints with castable, any thoughts on this?
    He also suggested that I could make the cooking floor with castable rather than firebrick, this sounded easier than trying to get firebricks level on damp sand, but again, I would appreciate any thoughts you may have on this.

    Thanks in advance for any help

    Simon

  • #2
    Re: Is fireclay necessary?

    Terracotta building supplies to the construction industry : Hepworth Building Products

    Has fireclay.

    Any brickyard should have the stuff. A google search is difficult because in the UK any refractory product is referred to as "fireclay". Some interesting history comes up, it seems that the UK was a major producer of firebrick, and scottish firebrick ended up all over the world because of it's use as ballast in ships. It's ironic that it's so expensive and hard to find there now.

    And no, castible refractory is not a good choice for mortar. There are specific refractory mortars that will stick to the bricks. These should be available from the refractory suppliers that have the castible. And for the floor? You could make it out of castible refractory, I suppose, but brick is a better choice. A chipped or broken brick can just be pulled out and replaced, not so for a cast floor, even if you could cast it so it didn't crack.
    Last edited by dmun; 04-22-2008, 04:51 AM.
    My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Is fireclay necessary?

      Dmun,
      Thanks for your reply. Hepworth won't sell to me, only to trade, so I am now trying the local brickyards. They don't have fireclay on their websites, so I will have to go down the old fashioned route and phone them!

      The wife didn't like the idea of castable for the base anyway as it wouldn't look as good, so I wouldn't have been allowed!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Is fireclay necessary?

        Originally posted by SimonWoodfield View Post
        Dmun,
        Thanks for your reply. Hepworth won't sell to me, only to trade, so I am now trying the local brickyards. They don't have fireclay on their websites, so I will have to go down the old fashioned route and phone them!

        The wife didn't like the idea of castable for the base anyway as it wouldn't look as good, so I wouldn't have been allowed!
        Did you try a pottery store?
        That is where I got mine from.
        It's basically just powdered clay.
        My thread:
        http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/d...ress-2476.html
        My costs:
        http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...Xr0fvgxuh4s7Hw
        My pics:
        http://picasaweb.google.com/dawatsonator

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Is fireclay necessary?

          Haha, that's what I was going to say - a cast floor wouldn't look half as nice as a brick one!
          "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)

          http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/p...pics-2610.html
          http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f9/p...nues-2991.html

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Is fireclay necessary?

            Hey Dave, what's up? Every time I post a reply you get there first!!


            (...you must be faster at typing than I am...)
            "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)

            http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/p...pics-2610.html
            http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f9/p...nues-2991.html

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Is fireclay necessary?

              Originally posted by asudavew View Post
              Did you try a pottery store?
              That is where I got mine from.
              It's basically just powdered clay.
              asudavew
              What properties does it have then that make it necessary. I assumed that as it was called fireclay, it has some heat retention properties?

              Going back to my original thread header, is it necessary?

              Cheers

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Is fireclay necessary?

                Yes, it's a refractory product. It withstands heating/cooling cycles better than ordinary clay. It's cheaper than potters clay, too. Frances, in Switzerland, built her dome with only fireclay and sand, no portland, and it seems to be doing well.
                My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Is fireclay necessary?

                  Yep, so far so good...
                  "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)

                  http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/p...pics-2610.html
                  http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f9/p...nues-2991.html

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Is fireclay necessary?

                    Originally posted by Frances View Post
                    Hey Dave, what's up? Every time I post a reply you get there first!!


                    (...you must be faster at typing than I am...)
                    Nah... just faster thinker! Got ya!!

                    How's life in your part of the world?
                    Nice weather?

                    And while I'm thinking about it have you ever cooked a beef wellington?

                    I bet it work well in our brick ovens.
                    My thread:
                    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/d...ress-2476.html
                    My costs:
                    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...Xr0fvgxuh4s7Hw
                    My pics:
                    http://picasaweb.google.com/dawatsonator

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Is fireclay necessary?

                      Simon
                      Try Long & Somerville :: Homepage Once on their site search under fire bricks. They have fire clay and high alumina cement, better than OPC. for building the dome.
                      sigpicNever put off untill tomorrow what you can do today. If you enjoy it today, you can do it again tomorrow.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Is fireclay necessary?

                        Thanks for all the responses,
                        it seems that fireclay in the UK is a dying industry, potter suppliers I have spoken to say that they haven't stocked it for a long time. Builders suppliers don't even appear to know what I am talking about!
                        Thanks for the link to long and Somerville Rafv, they have two bags left and these will cost me 75! Does anyone know of any alternative?
                        I have a nice block base, hearth and insulation, and now I can't put anything on it!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Is fireclay necessary?

                          Originally posted by asudavew View Post
                          Nah... just faster thinker! Got ya!!

                          Ooooh, now that is just so depressing!!! Ouch!

                          Simon, you've probably thought of this, but if Hepworth only sells to trade, coulnd't you ask some friendly neighbourhood bricklayer to buy some for you?

                          What have other UK oven builders used then? C'mon guys, he's not the first to build in this part of the world, give us a hand here!
                          "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)

                          http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/p...pics-2610.html
                          http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f9/p...nues-2991.html

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Is fireclay necessary?

                            I did try that, but Travis Perkins who I assume buy quite a lot as they are quite big in this area have a 500 minimum order with them. So I shuuder to think what a local builder might need! long and Somerville have a 100 tonne minimum order with their supplier so they aren't looking at buying any more for a while.
                            As you say I am not the only one around here, unless they have all finished theirs and used up all of UK fireclay!! maybe there is an opportunity to set up as a fireclay supplier??

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Is fireclay necessary?

                              There have to be refractory dealers in Wales, like:


                              Refractory International Ltd

                              2m1 Unit, Redwither Tower, Redwither Business Park, Wrexham, Clwyd LL13 9XT
                              Tel: 01978 780800


                              Bob Paterson Refractories

                              80, Chester Rd, Buckley, Clwyd CH7 3AH
                              Tel: 01244 543621


                              As a side note, I didn't use any fireclay in my build, because I laid my floor directly on insulating boards, and used a refractory mortar to lay up my dome bricks.

                              As I've been saying for years, I'd think someone would make a nice little business importing brick oven supplies to the UK where prices are uniformly three times what we pay in the states.
                              Last edited by dmun; 04-23-2008, 04:16 AM.
                              My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

                              Comment

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