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



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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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

    Neillís Pompeiii #1
    Neillís 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
                          joe watson

                          "A year from now, you will wish that you had started today "

                          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.