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Current consensus on soldier on/around floor? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Current consensus on soldier on/around floor?

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  • Current consensus on soldier on/around floor?

    What is the current consensus on placement of the soldier course on top of or around the floor? I'm tempted by the 'on-top' method so I don't have to cut the floor bricks, but I keep reading that the thermal properties are better if the soldier course surrounds the floor (BTW, what is the reasoning for this claim?).

    I also keep reading that people like the idea of replacing the floor, an argument in favor of the 'around' method...but I thought the floor is mortared down with a fireclay mortar (p.27 of the instructions, although I admit those instructions for the other method (on-top).

    Last question, is this replace-the-floor business a serious consideration? Has anyone ever actually replaced the floor? Aside from my confusion about unmortaring the floor from the insulation layer, is doing so necessary or practical? It seems to me that it would be nearly impossible to put new bricks in to make a new floor in a perfect tight pattern, even if you could get the old ones out.

    And under what circumstances would replacing the floor ever be necessary anyway?

    I'm prefer simplicity if possible, I'm not a mason...at...all! :-)


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

  • #2
    Re: Current consensus on soldier on/around floor?

    keep in mind that the floor is only leveled with the fireclay/sand mixture. this in no way 'mortars' the floor in place. there will be a slight movement in the floor bricks, slight meaing pretty much not noticeable. you could probably drill a hole in a floor brick, insert a concrete screw and pull out the brick.

    i built my soldier course on top of the floor. i insulated with 4 inch thick fb board beneath floor and 3 inch minimum fb blanket over dome. as long as you do not skimp on insulation, either way will be fine.

    to give you an example, i heated my 36" pompei for 2 hours, cooked about 20 pizzas, then place a piece of cement board to cover the opening (i don't have a door yet). i IR'd the brick at 650F 24 hours after i added any more wood. 48 hours after, the brick was still 350F. DO NOT SKIMP ON INSULATION. it costs a bunch of money but is way worth it.

    hope this helps a little, good luck!


    • #3
      Re: Current consensus on soldier on/around floor?

      Thanks. I didn't realize the mixture under the floor wasn't a concrete/cement/mortar.

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


      • #4
        Re: Current consensus on soldier on/around floor?

        In theory, the ability to replace a floor brick is a good idea. For a home oven it is not necessary, I don't know of anyone who has posted saying they have worn out or severely chipped or cracked a hearth brick in a home oven. I do know that commercial ovens, which are used constantly, may need a floor fix up after several/many years of use.
        As for any benefit thermally......WFOs are not an exact science...you will never know unless you were to build 2 ovens EXACTLY the same, side by side, with the only difference being the soldier course....then compare performance.

        Feel free to save the time and place the soldiers on top...you will never know the difference.



        • #5
          Re: Current consensus on soldier on/around floor?

          Yes, I built on top of the floor, and have no reason to regret it. Replace-the-floor is a concern for fired every day ovens, I can't imagine that a home oven would need a new floor more than every generation or so.
          My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


          • #6
            Re: Current consensus on soldier on/around floor?

            I cut mine. It seemed that it would be easier to get the soldier course right (using full size bricks outside the floor). If you use the HF wet saw, cutting the floor bricks is not hard. The blade is new at that point and cuts them like butter. I would not use difficulty of cutting the floor as a reason not to do it that way.


            Member WFOAMBA Wood Fired Oven Amatueur Masons Builders America

            My thread: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/j...oven-8181.html


            • #7
              Re: Current consensus on soldier on/around floor?

              I cut my floor bricks and built the soldiers around the outside. I've drawn myself sketches and side views of both techniques. After studying them, I'm convinced that it makes absolutely no difference thermally either way.

              Whatever works for you will make fabulous pizza.
              Ken H. - Kentucky
              42" Pompeii

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