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Pompeii in Progress... - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Pompeii in Progress...

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  • Pompeii in Progress...

    Hello all. I am happy to say that I am joining the elite WFO club. I've wanted to open a gourmet pizza/deli shop for some years now. Currently my father I own and a gourmet dog treat company, which is a great business but my heart and stomach have been pulling me towards the food business. Finally, the time is about here. The location is about complete. I have acquired pizza ovens over the past few years, but I must say the more I fell in love with all that is true pizza the more my desire for an authentic brick oven grew. I sold my pizza ovens, but even that additional income was not enough to have a custom wfo and grill professional bought/built. To get my location to the point where I was truly I proud to put my name on it, took far more investement than I anticpated. It is is an historic building, built with very old buildings comes very old problems. Long story short, money was very tight and the final project, the brick oven, became a financial issue. Well after some research I said wfo or bust. I did most of the construction and renovation on the building myself with the help of some loyal friends so I decided I wasn't stopping there. I was nervous, and did some second guessing and so did others but I stuck with my gut and the oven is under construction. This forum has certainly given me some renewed confidence and I must say I am excited to join you wfo enthusiasts. I very thankful I came across the forno bravo pompeii plans, and this forum!

    I do need some advice though. The foundation and hearth is built and it's time for the cooking floor and dome. It is spaced for about a 48" oven. I do not have any insulation for under the cooking floor. I am in the process of buying the fb board. Is this enough insulation??? Since this is for commercial use, should I use 2 layers of firebrick for the floor for improved heat retention??? This is my next step so I would really appreciate some feedback. Thank you all.
    -Mark
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Pompeii in Progress...

    Two inches of FB board, which is a mineral fiber refractory insulation, should suffice. Additional firebrick, or firebrick on edge, is really not needed, if you want to go crazy, use more FB board, not more brick. That said, a commercial oven that never cools down won't have a performance problem with a thicker brick floor like an intermittently fired home oven would, but there's really no reason for it.


    Good luck with your project. Keep us posted.
    My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Pompeii in Progress...

      Thanks for the feedback. I read on the james commercial oven post that the modena oven has 6" of under dome insulation. This is composed of high efficiency solid state refractory insulating tiles. Is this something I should look into or is 2" FB board all I need? The Modena has two layers of the tiles. Would maybe one layer of tile and one layer of FB board be a solid bet? I really just want to garauntee that insulation is never an issue as I plan to really have this oven cranking around the clock. I thought just to double up on FB board, but I need 4 as it is and to double that price is costly and I want to be sure this would be a wise decision; efficently and structurally speaking. Also, should the tiles or fb board be mortared down. I have a few bags of heatstop 50 thus far. Just going around in circles on this issue and any addtional help would be greatly appreciated.

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      • #4
        Re: Pompeii in Progress...

        Got my Fb board in and its back to it. I think one layer should suffice. If I'm not mistaken the first course should not be mortered down to the cooking floor to allow for thermic expansion. Is this correct???

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Pompeii in Progress...

          you are correct. One layer of the FB board should be really good.

          Not mortaring down the first layer is good advice, IMHO.

          Some unasked for advice:

          As you lay down the floor keep in mind that the ceramic board really sucks the moisture out of the clay.

          I tried and tried with moist clay and got frustrated. I finally gave up and used dry clay to level the floor. my floor is still very level after 2 years.

          Have fun!!!

          Christo
          My oven progress -
          http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/c...cina-1227.html
          sigpic

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Pompeii in Progress...

            Great, thanks for the advice. My next debate is whether I should lay the floor bricks on their side for increased heat retention. If so would having that many seems be an issue? By the way, Christo your oven is certainly impressive. Well done.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Pompeii in Progress...

              Final thoughts are in and I'm ready to rock. I am going with the single layer of firebrick laid flat. It's all about a hot cooking surface and a hot pizza. The Pompeii is excently designed and I'm going with it. Saves me on wood and heat up time. I was worried that it may not hold enough heat for an over night roast and not losing surface heat when really cranking out the pies, but I'm sure I'm covered and that it's more about being well insulated. Back to work...

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              • #8
                Re: Pompeii in Progress...

                I Finished laying the cooking floor. As I plan the dome build it seems that it is going to be a bit difficult to build being that it is a corner build and rather high off the ground. Would it be concievable to build the dome on a slab of wood and transfer it onto the cooking floor; then insualte??? I'm anxious to get started but was pondering over the pros and cons. Any thoughts?

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                • #9
                  Re: Pompeii in Progress...

                  Originally posted by mkenniso View Post
                  Would it be concievable to build the dome on a slab of wood and transfer it onto the cooking floor; then insualte???


                  I really do not think this is feasible. Maybe you could build a temporary scaffold or step nearby to make it easier to build the dome.

                  Drake
                  My Oven Thread:
                  http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/d...-oven-633.html

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Pompeii in Progress...

                    It's possible to build your dome in very close quarters: You end up standing on the floor for the first few courses. If you have headroom above it and can stand up, you're ahead of what I had to work around.

                    As far as pre-building your oven and moving it into position, it's what the makers of the FB Artigiano do: I'm not exactly sure how they do it. I think you'd be better off building a "ship in a bottle" than trying to move a homemade dome once it's done
                    My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Pompeii in Progress...

                      Agreed, I've given it more thought. I'll work around it. Thanks. One more question before I get going again... My cooking surface is not perfectly level. I bought the FB board and really wasn't thrilled. Each board was a differnt thickness, some corners were roughed up, and density was also inconsistant. So, I had to use a thicker amount of sand/fireclay to offset the uneveness. My firebrick is also inconsistantly shaped. Thickness varies from end to end and the sides are a little uneven as well. Leveling was an issue. After finishing the cooking floor some areas of the floor are higher/lower than others. A peel doesn't seem like it will really catch in anyone spot, but just generally concerned that I should redo it. Frusrtated to say the least, but just want to do this right. Basically there is a gradual slope, the left and right side sit a bit higher than the center. Not sure how this will affect the cooking or dome constructing. The bricks are sunk in pretty good, tough to lift out of place. Can I sand down the high spots? And is too much sand/fireclay underneath an issue. If I did sand the high spots I'm worried about losing thermal mass in the floor. As always thanks for the input.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Pompeii in Progress...

                        Many of us have used a belt sander or grinder to level the hearth bricks with great success. Both kick up a lot of dust...wear a mask. If using a grinder, be extra carefull, its easy to grind too much. A couple of members have been told that sanding or grinding the fired face of a firebrick could lead to pitting but I've been using my oven for 3 yrs and can't see any ill effects to my sanding the entire surface smooth as a baby's bottom.

                        As for losing thermal mass, I have to ask - how far out of whack is your hearth? If it is more than 1/16 - 1/8" you might want to start over.
                        Whether you use sand, fireclay, or refractory mortar - you just want enough to level the surface and hold the bricks in place while building the dome...not set them firm in a thick bed of mortar like floor tile or a block wall.

                        RT

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Pompeii in Progress...

                          I think I would only grind it if you find that, once in use, it is giving you trouble...
                          My Oven Thread:
                          http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/d...-oven-633.html

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Pompeii in Progress...

                            No, it's not that severe. My hearth was great. The FB boards I recieved varied at least 1/8" and my some bricks over 1/16" from one end to the other. Just made the process a little more difficult. The boards were too absorbent to use the fireclay/sand wet, and the mixture wasn't firm enough to use dry. I ended up laying aluminum foil down as a moisture barrier from the FB board, which worked, but just wasn't fully satisfied with the end result. I might just be splittin hairs though. I'll give it a run before I start sanding it down.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Pompeii in Progress...

                              I'm on starting the 5th course this week. I am happy so far; plan on posting progress pics soon. Can I ask what the average heigth of the cooking surface is from the ground. I think I wish mine was few inches taller, standing 45". I was also wondering about the heat loss horizontally from the cooking floor. I built my dome on top of uncut bricks and in a couple areas there is almost a full brick on the outside of the dome. Would it be wise to go back and cut them back closer to the dome?

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