#11  
Old 11-02-2005, 08:11 AM
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Default tile entrance

Everyone should go look at these pictures. They are full of good ideas for the oven builder.

I like how the rebar for the floor is tied to that in the filled block corners, should be really strong. Notice how, too the insulating layer is on top of the support layer.

The flue tile entry is a way clever idea. It involves some serious diamond cutting, but it looks really strong, and avoids iron supports with their expansion and corrosion problems. One big cut (and a potential for weakening) could be avoided if you embeded the bottom of the flue tile in your insulating concrete, and built the floor out inside the tile.

The conventional wisdom around here is that 24 inches is too cramped a size for fire-in-the-hole pizza making, but lots of people want a smaller oven, and the ideas could be upscaled for the home builder.

Good work!

David
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  #12  
Old 11-02-2005, 03:42 PM
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Hi Chris,

Nice work. You are really going to enjoy having it.

Can I ask a couple of questions?
What is the material in the castable that you used to cover the oven. Is it an insulator? Also, are you planning on adding additional insulation between the oven dome and the upper walls. I always think that insulating the heck out of your oven really helps -- particularly with smaller ovens, where the opening is a higher % of the volume of the oven chamber itself. Basically, a well insulated oven works better. :-)

Enjoy the finish, and look forward to that first pizza.

James
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  #13  
Old 11-03-2005, 06:34 PM
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Paul -- We too have a 50 X 100 city lot which is why we ended up with the smaller oven. When my husband first mentioned building a pizza oven & we started our research, the size of them made me nervous. I was worried about the proportions compared to the rest of the structures on our lot -- plus getting it past the Historic Preservation Board.

Is a "living" roof what I'm guessing it is? You actually have something growing on top? If so, that is an incredibly cool idea! Not something you see here in the subtropics, except algae.

David -- Thank you for your kind words. My husband epitomizes Paul's quote: "overdo it or don't do it at all!" This goes for garlic, chile pepper, tieing knots & tightening screws too.

James -- The insulating castable came with the Superior kit. Two 35# bags. It doesn't say on the bag what they contain (except the cancer causing crystalline silica) but they're produced by Mt. Savage Specialty Refractories in Pittsburg. Based on the 6:1 mix of Vermiculite:cement we used on the hearth insulation, I'd guess that it has more cement & maybe fire clay.

Yes, we do plan to do more insulating. The kit came with two bags. One gave us a generous 2" cover. We also have five 15# bags of vermiculite to fill between the dome & upper walls.

Which leads me to my next question. Since we have that other bag of insulating refractory left, would you thicken the dome covering? (Keeping in mind we'll use the 5 bags of v-lite.) Or would that be "overdoing it"?

Thank you all for allowing me to pick at your knowledge!
Chris
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Old 11-03-2005, 06:54 PM
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Chris,

While I would normally say that there is no such thing as too much insulation, you have a finite amount of space between your oven and upper enclosure walls -- so the goal should be to fill that with the most efficient insulation.

If we were to guess that the castable was an insulator, combined with Portland, then loose vermiculite should be more efficient.

Would everyone agree with that?

If you want to push the boats out, your could buy Insulfrax, which is about twice as efficient as vermiculite, but more expensive.

Another option would be to use the extra castable on top of the oven, where you have more space to work with.

James
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Last edited by james; 11-03-2005 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 11-03-2005, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by binkchad
Is a "living" roof what I'm guessing it is? You actually have something growing on top? If so, that is an incredibly cool idea! Not something you see here in the subtropics, except algae.
Paul -- Disregard that question. I finally read [most] of your Pompeii in Progress post & am now more curious than ever about your living roof. Looking forward to seeing those photos. I also want to compliment you on the work that's happening in the background. What a beautiful transformation!

James -- That's good news -- I frankly didn't want to wait for more cement to dry!

So what CAN we do with that extra bag of insulating castable? (Correction, the kit came w/ four bags not two.)
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  #16  
Old 11-03-2005, 09:15 PM
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thanks for the compliments, chris. the barn in the background is over a hundred years old, and was rotting from the ground up. it's almost completely rebuilt now, with a nice new radiant heated floor, new greenhouse you can also see in some of the pictures. our backyard was just a plain grass yard when we bought the house 5 years ago, and now every inch is garden, greenhouse, pond, pizza oven or patio.

i've always loved the idea of a living roof, especially since our backyard is a huge garden to begin with. a couple of years ago, i was driving through the northern part of norway, above oslo, and just about every house or barn had 3 feet of grass growing on top. upon further inspection, i found that almost all roofs are shingled with a local slate-type stone, cut into squares (1' or so) and shingled in a diamond pattern. i think this just promotes moss growth, which eventually of course builds soil, and grass ends up growing on it. it was really beautiful and had a nice natural look. i wish i had taken pictures.
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  #17  
Old 11-13-2005, 10:53 AM
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Default oven's dry!

i fired my oven up on wednesday, and got it up to pizza temp, and it finally seemed dry again. friday i had a pizza party, and fired it a couple of hours early, just to be sure. i'm still going through a lot of firewood, but i'm finally getting the temperatures i want. the floor won't stay abovt 600 unless i have an absolutely roaring fire going, but i believe this was a 750 deg. floor, and a 950 deg ceiling:

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  #18  
Old 11-14-2005, 07:10 PM
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Golly, I was so proud of my Jiffy Mix corn muffins!
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  #19  
Old 11-14-2005, 09:03 PM
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Chris,

Nice looking muffins. Did you mill the corn yourself? :-)

The main school of thought is that for mid-heat baking -- bread, muffins, roast chicken, etc., you can shovel out all of your coals and cook with just the retained heat in the dome. The coals don't add anything at that point, other than ash. Try removing the coals, and giving the oven a couple of minutes to settle, then bake.

Try the Mississippi counting method. 4 Mississippis is a pretty hot oven (about 500F), 2-3 is very hot, etc.

For pizza, keep the coals in the oven, and push them all to one side. You don't want coals behind the pizza or on both sides. The perfect flame laps about half way up the dome, and reflects heat on the pizza.

Send more photos.

James
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  #20  
Old 11-14-2005, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
The perfect flame laps about half way up the dome, and reflects heat on the pizza.
james,
by half way up, so you mean half way up the walls, or halfway meaning to the peak? i pretty much can't get 90 sec. pizza temps without having an 'up and over' flame, at least reaching the top. i can get 850F or so out of the walls without this high of a flame, but can't get above 700F on the floor or a good 950F from the top and side walls without a pretty good fire. does this sound abnormal to you?
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