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FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven

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  • FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven

    Hi Guys
    I hope the forum and its members are all well.


    It's been a while since last posting but this post comes with great enthusiasm, expectation and courage. I know this is quite a long email but I do implore you to please read along.

    I have finally decided to embark on a project to build my own Low Dome Pompeii (Neo Style) oven. I trust the Community at large will play a big part in my progress of building such an oven.The knowledge that you guys have attained over the years is priceless and I can only say that without it, my project won't go far.
    I have also read posts of PFTaylor's Raquel Oven from the PizzaMakingForum and after receiving some great advice from him, I hope he will contribute as well.

    Let's cut straight to the chase. To begin with, I would like to break down the manufacturing process of the oven in several parts, each part requiring unrivalled dedication and an eye for the finest detail. I would have to keep a birds eye on my bank balance (By the way, I don’t know what my budget is right now. Ill just take it as it comes). I hope to invest as much as my pocket can afford in this project so I would site every option from every angle before diving in. I want to get the best of the best in terms of Material (Hi-Tech refractory Material, etc) and I would love to build something of a world class stature.

    So getting back to the task at hand. My plan of action again, is to break apart the manufacturing process of each component that would make up the oven. From the little knowledge I have gained, thanks to Forno Bravo and The Community, I would like to break it up into 3 stages, each stage consisting of 6 parts, which are listed below.

    P.S Please feel free to correct anything that seems a miss. My knowledge is of the poorest form when it comes to ovens and what you may read or find may be totally incorrect.

    The 3 stages are as follows.

    1) Design and Planning stage - This would entail the Cad design of the oven. Simply put, this would be the building of the oven on paper.
    2) Sourcing and Cost stage - I will contact various companies to source the required Material, tools, labour, etc and do cost comparison between the companies. At this stage, I will try to source the Highest Technology Refractory Material with minimal compromise.
    3) Building and Implementation Stage - With the preliminary stages 1 and 2 completed, this will be easily approachable but the hardest stage in terms of Labour.

    Below is the 6 parts each stage will be broken down into.

    1) Hearth - Sits below the cooking deck and has insulated boards in it.
    2) Cooking Deck - Sits on top of the hearth. This is the spot where pizza's will sit and bake.
    3) Landing Space - Sits at the mouth of the oven. Helpful in manoeuvring pizza in and out of the oven.
    4) Arch Bricks - Laid out around the deck. This is the supporting foundation for the Dome. This part may be eliminated if I can cast my dome in such a way that it can sit directly on the hearth.
    5) Dome - Sits above cooking deck
    6) Vent - Sits on top of dome to draw heat.

    Each part above would preferably be made into a cast.

    My starting point would be to plot out the design for my Heath and Cooking Deck.

    I have a few questions regarding this.

    What is the difference between the Hearth and Cooking Deck.
    What sort of material would you guys advise to use for the Hearth?
    What material can one use to cast out the cooking deck? I want something of high quality and should be able to achieve high heat and retain it
    What can I manufacture the Cast Mould from to assist in casting the Hearth and Cooking Deck.
    PFT mentioned his hearth having insulated boards between it or something like that. Would someone be able to explain on this further.


    I look forward to hearing from everyone and hope to get the wheels rolling on this project.

    Regards
    Oven_Man

  • #2
    Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven

    What is the difference between the Hearth and Cooking Deck.
    What you call the hearth is two different things, a support slab of ordinary reinforced concrete, and an insulation layer. This insulation can either be refractory insulation boards, at least two inches, or four inches of vermiculite concrete.
    Cooking Deck - Sits on top of the hearth. This is the spot where pizza's will sit and bake.
    This should be made of firebrick, or the larger pieces of fired clay refractory material called refractory tiles. Castable refractory is concrete: it's inherently chalky. Do you want to be dragging a peel over that? I vote for something that's vitrified.
    That's enough for now: have you read the FB plans? That will answer a lot of questions. In fact, reading all the "sticky" posts at the top of the forum categories will give you a basic understanding of oven building.
    My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven

      Are you sure you want to cast it? There is something romantic and old world about a brick dome.
      Dave
      Album: http://picasaweb.google.com/fornososo/Pizza#

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven

        Also quicker (no need to make a mould which needs to be in reverse AND able to be removed), cheaper and more versatile.

        Neill
        Prevention is better than cure, - do it right the first time!

        The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know


        Neill’s Pompeiii #1
        http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/n...-1-a-2005.html
        Neill’s kitchen underway
        http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f35/...rway-4591.html

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven

          Hi Guys
          Thanks for the responses.

          Dmun: Thanks for the clarification. I am reading through the guide you mentioned with a fine tooth comb which should give me a good understanding of whats involved.

          DaveW & nissanneill : My reason for casting of the oven is due to placement of the Oven. This is for 2 reasons. 1 is that I dont have space whereby I can permanently install the oven. Number 2 is to hopefully offer a service of Pizza Making to the community in and around me once I have perfected the art of Pizza Making. Alot of work goes into building an oven, so I am trying to build something that will be versatile and last me a lifetime.
          That said, I would like to place the oven on a Trolley and this trolley will possibly be transported from place to place. I beleive that the lesser amount of pieces the oven is made up of will ensure it not falling apart during transport.

          Please keep the comments and advice coming. It's really helpfull

          Regards
          OM

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven

            Ah ha,
            so being intended to be movable or should I say mobile, that puts another slant on the oven.
            Just make sure that you use the best materials and properly reinforce it with the stainless steel needles.
            It won't be a cheap exercise, as those materials are quite expensive and you will need sufficient thermal mass (thickness to absorb, hold the heat and then release it slowly), together with maintaining the fire within for pizzas but that is difficult if you intend to bake in it.
            What ever you do, DO NOT SKIMP ON YOUR INSULATION unless tou have a ready supply of wood to burn or a forest close by.

            Neill
            Prevention is better than cure, - do it right the first time!

            The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know


            Neill’s Pompeiii #1
            http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/n...-1-a-2005.html
            Neill’s kitchen underway
            http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f35/...rway-4591.html

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven

              To cast an oven for a one off is really more work than it is worth, unless you do it in one piece which will end up cracking (hairline cracks which are probably ok anyway as it's a self supporting structure) unless you cast in multiple pieces that interlock. The dome is subjected to a lot of uneven and very rapid heating. There are a number of cast projects documented on this forum for research.
              Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven

                Neil: Point taken. I plan on having the trolley for the oven built by a experienced person who will ensure it can bare the weight of the oven. With regards to the building of the oven, I plan on following the manual with minor variations. Insulation will be my number 1 concern. I dont want my forest to run out too quickly.

                David: Casting the entire dome in one piece sounds like a good idea but wont it be difficult. Casting it in several pieces like 4-6 pieces will be easier.

                I have attached a picture of the cast that PFT used in casting pieces of his dome. I hope to make something like this. I just dont know where to start making something like this. Maybe someone here has a guide on how I can go about doing so.

                P.S Image 1 is the front view of the dome. The second picture is the top view of the dome. The third picture is that of the Cast Mould that was used to make the dome in parts

                Thanks guys.
                Regards
                OM
                Attached Files
                Last edited by Oven_Man; 12-30-2009, 12:40 AM. Reason: Add Images

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven

                  You can try building a sand castle over which you trowel your castable then dig the sand out of the entry. I made my first three ovens this way, but now cast them from a mould in three pieces.
                  Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven

                    David, that sounds like a plan. Any guides out there on how I can go about doing a sand castel. Also you mention that you now use a mould in 3 pieces. What's you mould made of and do you have pics of it?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven

                      Place a stick in the middle for your desired height and build a sand hemisphere around it. Build your entry 63% of the height of your stick and trowel away with the castable. My moulds are fibreglass, no pics.You would probably be better off buying a kit that is already pre designed and built you just assemble it. It is easy to stuff thing up and that is a lot of wasted time,materials and cost.
                      Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven

                        I will keep that option in mind. It sounds quite simple with the sand castle option. What sort of sand would you suggest I use that can hold the weight of the cast and avoid the oven falling in and collapsing.
                        I will look around for a kit with pre-defined moulds thou i dont think it would be easy to find here in SA. Maybe a better option would be to have a company that uses fibreglass to make moulds, design one for me using my measurements and then use the fibreglass as my mould.

                        Im still open to any suggestions you or anyone else may have. I am thinking very seriously about my design when it comes to the dome. I dont want the other falling apart during the build process. That would be really frustrating considering the time and effort involved. Rather be patient and wary in this step of the process. I think the patience will carry me a long way.

                        Thanks for all the help so far and continue to feedback you comments and advice. It is much appreciated.

                        Regards
                        OM

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven

                          A sand hemisphere will hold any weight. Any kind of sand would do. mix about 8% water with it.
                          Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven

                            Thanks for that David. Using your advice, I will create a temporary sand hemisphere. I will then try and cast the dome over this hemisphere into 4-6 pieces. Once the dome dries, I will remove each piece carefully and thus have 4-6 castable pieces of the dome. I can then put those pieces together on its permanent placement directly above the cooking floor.

                            Regards
                            OM

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven

                              Hi Guys
                              As I started to type out this reply 1 day ago, an unforeseen interruption stopped me in my tracks. Sometimes, things like these happen for unforeseen reasons and in this particular case, the reason is as follows. Since completing my reading exercise yesterday of the manual for building a Pompeii Oven by James, I had some time to contemplate and think more clearly on how to approach this project. Initially my plan was to follow James instructions step by step with a few variations.

                              As you all know, this oven will be built on a movable trolley. With that, comes 3 variations in the step by step instructions. 1 is there will be no real foundation as the oven with not be on a permanent platform. Number 2 is the stand like the foundation will not be on a permanent concrete block by rather a stand fabricated from steel on wheels. The third variation is castable sections of the oven for stability and to avoid it falling apart.

                              The next variation I will mention only occurred to me during the time I had to contemplate as mentioned above. According to James, he advises that the small difference in cost and overall labour in building a 42” oven compared to a 36” oven is a small price to pay taking into consideration the effort and work that goes into building an oven. I planned on taking James’s advice and build a 42” oven. I calculated the size of the stand I would require and this came in at around 1.6 X 2 Meters. This would result in a considerably large trolley that will be needed and the thought of moving around such a large trolley with an oven on it will be difficult. After much thought, I decided that this will not be the most practical way.
                              So back to the Drawing Board for me.

                              I ask the community to for their comments and advise. From the look of things, I will most probably end up going for a 36” oven or maybe even a little smaller.

                              Just a few questions regarding a smaller oven.
                              How many 12” Pizza’s can I cook in a 36” oven?
                              In terms of overall performance of the oven, like heat retention, wood consumption, bake quality, etc, how would if fair against an oven of larger capacity?
                              In terms of ease of use like loading/unloading of pies, and taking into consideration the smaller oven opening and cooking floor space, how would it be compare to an oven of larger capacity


                              I look forward to hearing from you guys.
                              Regards
                              OM

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