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Newbie to build better homes pizza oven

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  • Newbie to build better homes pizza oven

    Hello to everyone.
    I have been going to build a pizza oven for years and have finally decided to take the plunge and give it a go.I have decided to go with a better homes style oven instead of a full blown brick oven like the pompei ovens.I have plans to use ideas from both types in my oven.I have been wondering what type of clay to use.The plans say to use a ball or terracotta clay because of their plastic content but not fire clay as it has not got a high plastic content.What i am wondering is can i use a mixture and also does anyone know what fireclay grog is and would it be any good to use.Iam going to build my oven slightly larger than the BHG one and incorporate a layer of insulation on top 25mm thick.Do i need to then cover the insulation with a vermiculite layer or can i leave it out and put a render mix straight over the insulation layer.Ihave everthing ready to start the base this weekend weather permitting as its been a bit wet the past few days.Any ideas on the clay issue would be much appreciated.Thanks,
    BUNDYMARK.

  • #2
    Re: Newbie to build better homes pizza oven

    Hi Bundy Mark,

    Man, I don't really want to say to much here, because I am working on old memories.... But it seams to me the plan you are looking at had a couple of fatal flaws... You would go to the trouble to build the oven, but it wouldn't work very well. And I don't really remember what the details were... Maybe it was the insulation..

    Does the plan show to put a good bit of insulation below the cooking floor?

    Steve

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    • #3
      Re: Newbie to build better homes pizza oven

      If it is this one:

      Pattern Sheet: Wood fired Oven - Better Homes & Gardens Magazine - Yahoo!7 Lifestyle

      I would probably make some changes like adding more insulation under it and skipping the sand/decomposed granite.

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      • #4
        Re: Newbie to build better homes pizza oven

        And 25mm (one inch) of insulation on top, even high grade refractory insulation, is not nearly enough. You need two inches of refractory blanket, or four inches of vermiculite concrete concrete minimum.

        I'm way out of my area of expertise here, but i seem to recall that clay or cob ovens need more air circulation over the insulation than stucco (render) provides.
        My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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        • #5
          Re: Newbie to build better homes pizza oven

          I actually attended one of the courses run by Alan Watts who was the builder in Better Homes and gardens pizza oven, lovely man, lots of knowledge.

          I wouldnt build one of those clay ovens if you expect to get long term service out of it.

          We built both the clay and refractory oven in the 2 course and I ended up building the refractory model for myself.

          The clay oven was fired the next day and some lucky buyer drove home with it still cooking a chook on the back of his trailer..
          The English language was invented by people who couldnt spell.

          My Build.

          Books.

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          • #6
            Re: Newbie to build better homes pizza oven

            Iwas thinking of using hebel blocks instead of the granite and sand to fill the void in the base and then use 50mm thick hebel over the base to act as insulation and use fire bricks as the floor and build the oven up from there.

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            • #7
              Re: Newbie to build better homes pizza oven

              Hi Mark and welcome aboard.

              I have everything ready to start the base this weekend weather permitting as its been a bit wet the past few days.
              I was always lead to believe that the weather up there in Queeensland was"beautiful one day, perfect the next"!
              I personally think that you are playing with death going down that path. I myself would go with the tried and well proven method and follow methodically the Pompeii plans that are free to download. I also have seen the Better Homes and Gardens ovens and let's be realistic, it is something that filled a couple of pages in a monthly magazine and little if anything has been followed up nor heard of again.
              To put the finances and effort into an oven, go for the known rather than the unknown. Although the other members will try their best to answer your questions, are not familiar with this oven, nor with some of the methods/processes involved.
              All the best and I hope it all works out well for you.

              Cheers.

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

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


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

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              • #8
                Re: Newbie to build better homes pizza oven

                Mark
                Yep I downloaded a set of these plans as well when doing my investiation of the different oven types. The main thing that tipped my thinking was the fact that both the cob and brick types involve clay the differnce one was air dryed and the other fired. The effort involved in both is about the same but a brick oven is going to last a hell of a lot longer as the brick will put up with the heat and the whole thing will not melt in the next rain. Check out a mag called backyard ovens by Earth Garden( you'll find it at any newsagents) its not a lot on detail but it does compare many types. Allen Watt is in there as well and yes he builds a fire brick refactory cement ceramic insulation oven as well as the cob.
                Good luck
                Keep us all posted on your build regardless of the type
                Regards
                Dave
                Measure twice
                Cut once
                Fit in position with largest hammer

                My Build
                http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f51/...ild-14444.html
                My Door
                http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f28/...ock-17190.html

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                • #9
                  Re: Newbie to build better homes pizza oven

                  Originally posted by nissanneill View Post
                  I was always lead to believe that the weather up there in Queeensland was"beautiful one day, perfect the next"!
                  The only problem being is Queensland is full of Queenslanders . But I did get married to a Queenslander so they cant be too bad!! LOL

                  I agree in regards to the Clay oven. I too saw that ep when they built one and was really considering building one...but the amount of things that can go wrong with them, and the amount of life you get from one is just not worth the effort IMO. You cant leave them in the weather unless you go to great lenghts in weather proofing it and there is a chance it could all just go BANG if it gets too hot! Like everyone else has said, building a brick or refactory cement WFO is the way to go. Not as hard as you may think...just do a heap of research into which one suits your needs the best.
                  Good luck with it all.

                  Scott
                  Last edited by scottz; 11-10-2010, 06:03 PM. Reason: spelling

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                  • #10
                    Re: Newbie to build better homes pizza oven

                    Hi all,
                    I have been working away so this is the first chance i have had in a few days to check out the forum.So i get the the idea from all of the comments that the clay oven is not the way to go and to look into the other types.I guess the only reason i shyed away from the pompeii oven was the amount of firebricks i would need and cutting and of course the cost of the bricks so now i will have to work out whether to build from scratch or go with a kit.I think because i am not in a capital city it may be easier for me to go down the kit route as just trying to find the basics in Bundaberg has been proving tad difficult.Oh well time to have can of rum and cola and ponder what to do.
                    BUNDYMARK p.s It rained again last nite just as i was feeling keen to do some concreting today.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Newbie to build better homes pizza oven

                      BUNDYMARK, there is a refractory supply company in Brisbane, called Total Refractory Management that could supply most of your requirements. Your best shot would be using castable for your dome instead of clay.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Newbie to build better homes pizza oven

                        Johnny,
                        Thanks for the info on total refractory management in Brisbane.I checked them out the other day and all seemed ok.They had a link to a wfo maker which made a decent sized kit oven which i could land in Bundy for a lot cheaper than the ones in WA.It doesnt have the pizza peels and soforth but i can really pick them up anywhere when i need them.I just hav to convince the minister for finance but when i told her she seemed interested so heres hoping.
                        BUNDYMARK

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                        • #13
                          Re: Newbie to build better homes pizza oven

                          Dear Mark
                          Most of the replies you have got (including my own) have tried to stear you towards a brick oven. I think I have forgotten the most important point To Build the thing regardless and it even states in the PLANS use common bricks if you have to. Your original plan was to build an oven using the plans from BH&G right... well there is a bloke in Brisbane that has used the BH&G plans with a few changes. He used HEBEL for his hearth insulation, Firebrick Hearth, Clay oven and Hi tec dome insulation. If you check out" New guy in brisbane wants to build an wfo "he has a reply in there. His tag is backyardpermaculture and that rely has a link to his blog which shows his build.
                          Using castable to build your dome now that is interesting. I checked out a few things did you realize that the premade forno ovens are made of castable? They have a section in the forum on" other types' and theres a bit in there on casting domes. seems a big thing with our NZ friends over the ditch seems fire bricks are more expensive so casting the dome from castable is a cost effective option for them.
                          Keep posting you progress I'm interested to see how you go

                          Regards
                          Dave
                          Measure twice
                          Cut once
                          Fit in position with largest hammer

                          My Build
                          http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f51/...ild-14444.html
                          My Door
                          http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f28/...ock-17190.html

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                          • #14
                            Re: Newbie to build better homes pizza oven

                            Dear Mark
                            interested to find out hows things are going

                            go well
                            dave
                            Measure twice
                            Cut once
                            Fit in position with largest hammer

                            My Build
                            http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f51/...ild-14444.html
                            My Door
                            http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f28/...ock-17190.html

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Newbie to build better homes pizza oven

                              Mark, I'm in exactly the same boat! I got excited about the idea of a cheapish option, as I don't think I'll be living here for more than another couple of years, and the BH&G oven looked great. An expert I saw locally said sourcing the right clay was VERY difficult and that it wasn't worth the effort and risk to go that route. Now I'm stuck in limbo - wanting to make an oven that cooks ok, looks ok, won't fall apart and won't cost the bank. The thing I'm wrestling with now is whether I can get away with not using firebricks, but use standard solid bricks for my dome instead. Most advice I've seen seems to suggest that this is a real option - especially as I don't expect the thing to last for ten years. What do you experts think of this?

                              Good luck Mark, James

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