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reviving an old brick oven! - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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reviving an old brick oven!

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  • reviving an old brick oven!

    Hello all!
    I just joined this great forum to see if I can find some help and info.
    My wife and I are buying a house that was and old bakery from 1873 or so. The coolest thing I discovered when looking the house over is that it has a huge brick oven built into the wall of the basement! Shining a flashlight into the oven reveals a 9 foot deep chamber. It hasnt been used in many many years but looks to be in good shape. I would love to restore it and revive it but I have no knowledge of how to go about this or how to evaluate its integrity. It will be another month or so until we move in but I wanted to start a dialogue with all you knowledgeable chaps out there and see what you think.
    If there is anyone you recommend that I could hire to look it over and get a professional opinion? that would be a good way to start, this great historical oven needs to come back to life!
    Thanks to all.

  • #2
    Re: reviving an old brick oven!

    Hi mrkahn and welcome aboard.
    It sounds like you have gained a jewel in your crowning home.
    See if you can get some detailed photographs and put up this posting.
    With that detail, we might be able to better guide you to a restoration if needed. Who knows, it might be fine and ready to fire.
    I can remember as a kid, (some 55 years ago) when I visited one of my mothers school friends homes in the back of a bakery and seeing the two huge wood fired ovens that were used daily for baking breads for the neighborhood. I had never seen anything like it and now I have a minature one (40" Pompeii).
    You will need a good supply of wood to get it up to pizza temps.


    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
    Neill’s kitchen underway


    • #3
      Re: reviving an old brick oven!

      Hey MrKahn...
      Very cool... you are lucky...Im wondering a few things ?
      1.. Do you think it was a coal fired oven ?? Is there a coal chute in the house ?
      2..can you look up the chimney clearly to the outside ?? I would definitely have it swept
      3..Can you see mortar joints in the oven, or is it dry built, meaning the stones fit each other and it is self supporting??

      9 foot is a BIG oven,,, I certainly suggest having a mason look at it,,If you ask around you may find an old timer who actually has experience with something like that...

      I hope it works out for you



      • #4
        Re: reviving an old brick oven!

        An oven that old is unlikely to be insulated, and thus take a lot of fuel to fire. A bakery oven would have been fired every day, so it would have been less of a problem, not bringing up all that thermal mass to temperature.


        Is it a single chamber oven? Does it look like the fire was in the baking chamber, or is there a separate firebox on the side or underneath? How does the oven vent?

        Does the dome look solid? My suspicion is that if it looks good it is good. A nineteenth century oven would have been made with lime mortar: you can get (or make) this if you need to do repointing.

        As Mark points out, the chimney is more likely to be a problem than the oven. A good chimney sweep can tell this. I wouldn't fire any wood fired chamber without a lined chimney: a plain brick interior in the oven is expected, but your chimney should be tile-lined.

        And yes, we love to see pictures.
        My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


        • #5
          Re: reviving an old brick oven!

          can't wait to see the pics...
          My 2nd Build:
          Is here


          • #6
            Re: reviving an old brick oven!

            Hi Mrkahn. Its funny that you posted this on this forum because I looked at that house (online) and thought about how cool it would be to restore an old oven like that. But I wasnt in the market to buy, I was selling my mothers home in the area and was researching the prices in the market. I live in port washington and would love to come by and see that oven in person. I would also give you a hand in restoring it as well. I think its funny that I was checking out the northeast forum to see if there were any local brick ovens I could see in action and your post was the first one (only one) I saw. Have a great day and welcome to port washington... Dr Mike


            • #7
              Re: reviving an old brick oven!



              • #8
                Re: reviving an old brick oven!

                It might be possible and clever to build an oven inside of that oven. Or to dismantle a portion of it and rebuild it as the face of a new oven. That would have some big advantages in the form of insulation and wood demand. And while it might take some engineering to make the flue/chimney work it shouldn't be all that expensive. Look forward to photos!



                • #9
                  Re: reviving an old brick oven!

                  Hey Texas...
                  Thats a great idea.. If you got enough room to get in there and do it,, Maybe a modular..



                  • #10
                    Re: reviving an old brick oven!

                    Hope this helps
                    Just built my first house, the 30 ft brick chimney made out of stones from a quarey in nanimo bc was constructed by a mason with 30 + years experience.
                    Find a mason to look at your oven.
                    It will be money well spent.


                    • #11
                      Re: reviving an old brick oven!

                      Mr Kahn any news about your oven??


                      • #12
                        Re: reviving an old brick oven!

                        I just found this thread. I also have a old oven built into the wall of my old house built in 1882. It's about 6 feet deep and about 3 feet wide with a dome top. The top of the chimney was removed years ago when the roof was reshingled. I'm hoping to add a safe metal chimney through the roof witch is only about 4-5 feet above the top of the oven. I'll post some pictures if anyone wants to see it.


                        • #13
                          Re: reviving an old brick oven!

                          1882! I missed this yesterday somehow. Please post some pics. I would love to see them
                          I don't care what folks say behind my back........They are either braggin' or.......lyin'

                          joe watson

                          My Build
                          My Picasa Web Album


                          • #14
                            Re: reviving an old brick oven!

                            Maybe I haven't posted enough to be able to add pictures, this is only my second post here.. I don't see how???


                            • #15
                              Re: reviving an old brick oven!

                              Can someone explain to me how to post pictures? or PM me a email-address and I'll send the pictures to you to post for me. Thank you.