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fireclay mortar ratios - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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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:
- Each AMA will have a "sticky" thread where the community can post questions they would like answered during the live session. This will allow everyone to participate even if you can't be online for the live session. These questions will not be answered by the host until the live AMA; if you need an answer quickly, you should post it in the appropriate Forum area for the community to respond.
- Another thread will be posted for the live AMA. Registered users who are logged in during the live session can interact with the host by asking questions and receiving responses.
- The live thread will remain in the AMA forum to view after the session.

We hope you enjoy this new feature! Please let us know if there is a topic that you'd like to have as an AMA and we'll look for a host!

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  • fireclay mortar ratios

    we are at the dome building stage and i wonder about the sand/cement/fireclay mix you suggest.
    you seem to use quite a bit more cement and fire-clay to sand ratio than allan scott suggest. is this necessary for a better placidity while building the free standing dome??
    i just want to make sure that more cement is better than less, since more cement will also cause likely more cracks......
    anyhow, i am very excited about the progress we are making.

    thanks for your suggestions and help

    simone

  • #2
    I used 10:3:1.5 sand/Portland/fireclay. I believe this is the same as
    Alan uses. It's fairly similar to the composition of firebricks so it
    has pretty much the same thermal properties (in terms of expansion, etc.).

    One suggestion is to remember to dip each brick in water before
    mortaring it. I took 4 of them and dropped them one by one into a
    bucket of water and then just took them out as I mortared each into
    place. The mortar sticks a little better, the bricks won't pull as
    much water out of the mortar, and it helps slow the curing a bit (slow
    curing is better than rapid curing in terms of ultimate strength).

    Jim

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    • #3
      thanks jim!
      i was just getting confused, since the pompeii write- up suggests a mix of 8:3:2.
      would it matter one way or the other?

      simone

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      • #4
        It's not an exact science. The 10:3:1.5 mix very closely mimics the
        thermal properties of the firebrick. Variations may make it stickier
        (more fireclay will do that) but will react differently to heat than
        the brick.

        This isn't nearly as big an issue with the Pompeii design as it is
        with Alan's as the joints are unexposed to the interior (no spalling
        or flaking mortar falling into the food) and there aren't the places
        where there are huge gobs of it (like the front of the vault on Alan's
        where the bricks lean into the lintel).

        A stickier mix makes it easier to mortar and to be honest, I tend to
        add extra sand/Portland/fireclay at about a 2:1:1 ratio when I need to
        make up for too much water in the mix.

        Jim

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        • #5
          Re: fireclay mortar ratios

          Has anyone tried using just Portland Cement and sand for their oven? My final problem to doing this oven is finding refractory mortar. Neither can I get any fireclay to mix up with lime to do the "homemade" refractory mortar. I am going to go with clay bricks (since I can't get any fireclay bricks) but I am stuck (pun completely intended) at finding the mortar. Any tips?

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