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Refractory Cement / Mortar - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Refractory Cement / Mortar

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  • Refractory Cement / Mortar

    Hello all.

    This is my first thread on the forum and I'd like to ask a couple of questions.

    Now the weather's improving I'm about to resume work on my pizza oven using FB downloaded plans and recycled firebricks from a demolished bakery, great bricks! I built the insulated slab and herring boned the oven floor last Autumn but mothballed everything for the winter.

    Q. Will my refractory cement / mortar air dry like normal cement or does it need to be fired to set hard? My firebrick floor mortar still seems a little tacky!

    Q. The interface between the dome and the entrance arch seems to be crucial to the strength of the oven. Should one construct dome and arch simultaneously, arch first or dome?

    Any help or advice gratefully accepted

    Thankyou

  • #2
    Re: Refractory Cement / Mortar

    G'day
    A1..... I would be checking with the manufacturer on that mortar. That's not right . I have heard of one member who used a air set material that didnt fair well over the winter months in the wet and cold. You'll find that a lot of members here use a home made refractory cement of 3 sand 1 clay 1 Portland cement 1 lime. You find too hearth floors are usually not mortared together or mortared to the dome to allow for movement.
    A2 the transition between dome is something that takes a bit of effort to do well. You don't have any problems with strength both the dome shape and the arch are some of the strongest building methods.
    All of the this is in the free plans still Ask any question.
    Regards Dave
    Last edited by cobblerdave; 03-19-2014, 08:00 PM.
    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


    • #3
      Re: Refractory Cement / Mortar

      Some refractory mortars are designed to harden with firing. Unfortunately the change occurs at a higher temperature than we fire to so they don't work too well. Use the home-brew instead.
      Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Refractory Cement / Mortar

        Cobbler Dave....

        Thanks, I didn't plan to mortar my first course to the oven floor, just the joints behind.

        I'll get back to my mortar supplier for manufacturers specs on the curing temperatures of their mortar. If this is too high I'll go with your recipe. If it doesn't cure I'd have an oven held together by gravity, not mortar!

        Thanks for the advice
        Last edited by Mike Spear; 03-20-2014, 12:19 AM. Reason: Forgot thank you at end

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Refractory Cement / Mortar

          G'day
          Funny you should mention gravity ... The dome owes it strength to gravity.
          Once you put that last brick into place it only as strong as mortar holding the bricks in place. The last brick goes in and now gravity takes over making it a super strong structure. That mortar now just holds the units ( bricks) in position.
          And us oven builders come along and introduce fire and heat to this .... Heat goes up ... Uneven expansion ... You'll need more than gravity to keep this structure up..... and cooking
          Love to see a pic of those bricks
          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

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Refractory Cement / Mortar

            CobblerDave.....

            Thanks for your last..... I 'phoned my supplier (Central Refractories, Falkirk, Scotland.) and the boss man there assured me the refractory mortar they sold me is air dry / set. I was doubtful because when I laid my herringbone firebrick oven floor I brushed dry mortar into the joints like a grout and then sprayed the oven floor with water. This stayed tacky for longer than I was happy with, but he said this was because the top layer of dry mortar was too wet a mix, while the dry mortar underneath remained dry!

            I'll crack on with the build, using 10 mill. expanded polystyrene insulation as a former for the dome which will look like an eight point star from above. When the dome's done Ill break the polystyrene out from the door arch.

            Any comments, hints or advice would be most welcome....

            Awrabest.... Mike Spear

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Refractory Cement / Mortar

              G'day
              So what temp does that mortar set at? Like Davids said usually at a higher temp than our ovens get to. And heating it to low will only put uneven stresses that with bring the structure down.
              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

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Refractory Cement / Mortar

                Gday Mike
                Further to the mortar you have. I have to admit I was a little thrown by the term Air dry mortar, so I set about a bit of investigation.
                I went and goggled central refractories in Falkirk and checked out the mortar. At first it didn't tell me much . I took a copy of the ingredients and googled the local company that supplies here in Brisbane. Low and behold same ingredients in the refractory cement that I'm familiar with.
                Not much difference but I did notice a higher percentage of Alumia and a higher Mpa in your local refractory cement.
                The other difference was the term used "air set" cement. That was easy to understand. Air dried makes it sound like clay that will turn back to slop if rewet and not fired.
                Sorry if I have caused any confusion, but from my end it looks like you have the right stuff.
                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

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Refractory Cement / Mortar

                  Originally posted by Mike Spear View Post
                  CobblerDave.....

                  Thanks for your last..... I 'phoned my supplier (Central Refractories, Falkirk, Scotland.) and the boss man there assured me the refractory mortar they sold me is air dry / set. I was doubtful because when I laid my herringbone firebrick oven floor I brushed dry mortar into the joints like a grout and then sprayed the oven floor with water. This stayed tacky for longer than I was happy with, but he said this was because the top layer of dry mortar was too wet a mix, while the dry mortar underneath remained dry!

                  I'll crack on with the build, using 10 mill. expanded polystyrene insulation as a former for the dome which will look like an eight point star from above. When the dome's done Ill break the polystyrene out from the door arch.

                  Any comments, hints or advice would be most welcome....

                  Awrabest.... Mike Spear
                  G'day Mike
                  I built with ply form which I burnt out later ( scary in the extreme)
                  The main disadvantage of building to a form is that you can't see what is going on in the inside of the oven and you can't clean and regrout as you go.
                  I'm pretty masonry impaired anyway but I was faced with gapes and uneven brickwork. Its still a dome and strong, holding up and cooking well nearly 4 yrs now.
                  If I was to build again I wouldn't bother again with a bricksaw unless one just fell in my lap. The bricks stick up there pretty well for 5 or 6 rows I'd use a 1/2 dome shape to orientate the bricks. Easy to get out of the way to check and clean. Simple sticks to hold the bricks till they grip after that.
                  The final layers a simple circle of ply held up with a block of wood and a car jack. Built a sand form on top, finish the last bit the, drop the jack and clean up.
                  There is no real right or wrong way as long as it achieves a dome and suits you
                  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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Refractory Cement / Mortar

                    Hi Dave.

                    Thanks for the advice, and many thanks for the confirmation research on google re the mortar. That's reassuring. The build is going to be one of those jobs you put off starting for fear of screwing up and then finish thinking "that wasn't so bad!"

                    I've posted a pic of where I'm at at the moment and will try and post more as the build progresses. The best tool I've found so far is this forum..... what a great place for advice!

                    Kindest regards..... Mike.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Refractory Cement / Mortar

                      Picture is in photo gallery. It's called 'hearth and stand. build in Scotland'

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Refractory Cement / Mortar

                        G'day
                        Yes I found it the other day its first off at the top of the forum, you'll notice I have posted a comment. Yes I do like your work on the stand that really nice brick and stone.
                        You should continue a "build thread" on your efforts.
                        If you post something you'll find a paper clip icon near the smiley face at the top click on it and follow the promps

                        Name:  b748991af8397bf6b4ab0d43f5fd9f70.jpg
Views: 3
Size:  946.8 KB

                        Told you masonry impaired

                        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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Refractory Cement / Mortar

                          Restarted build last week after cold winter and extended spring holiday. Happy to report refractory mortar is setting just like ordinary concrete mix. Oven archway entrance now complete. I've posted a photo of the early stages of the archway build. This was relatively straightforward given that I'd built a really good former. The former has one eighth inch plywood shims underneath and at the sides which will be removed before I draw it out of the arch.
                          Brother in law lent me a mini disc cutter which goes through my bricks like a hot knife through butter!
                          Next step is cutting the polystyrene insulation board to make the dome formers in a star shape viewed from above and then the dome.
                          More later with pics.
                          Last edited by Mike Spear; 05-18-2014, 11:07 PM. Reason: Uncomplete

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Refractory Cement / Mortar

                            G'day Mike
                            Newly missed you post till I saw you pic at the top of the forum, could miss that stand its a beauty.
                            Great to hear your making progress. So you going the dome vanes construction method, fair enough. If I've caught you some enough, cover the floor with some thin ply or cardboard, it will help to stop any dribs of cement sticking to the hearth floor. Makes your clean up easy.
                            Why don't you post what you planning . You'll get some advice to steer you around the tricky bits, and keep you out of trouble.
                            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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Refractory Cement / Mortar

                              Posted some early photos and will get whole slide show on asap. Dome started, now thinking of insulation for completed dome.
                              Thought I'd do six inches of vermiculite / cement mixed to an oatmeal consistency, then eventually (after I've roofed it) fill the surrounding cavity with loose vermiculite.
                              What do you think?

                              Comment

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