Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community (
-   Newbie Forum (
-   -   Difference between Colle oven and Pompeii oven dome (

sledge 07-07-2005 09:22 PM

Difference between Colle oven and Pompeii oven dome
First off let me say -- what a great forum!!! Glad I came accross this. Thanks everyone!

I'm in the initial stages of planning to build an outdoor "beehive" fireplace -- as they're called here in Arizona (but are really more like a Kiva). I'm hoping to make it a dual purpose fireplace incorporated with an oven.

When I look at the pictures of the Colle oven and compare them to the instructions for the Pompeii oven there is a distinct difference in the starting course. The Colle does not have the first row of brick standing on end with the 2 1/2" face, facing inward. It seems to have a starting row exactly like all the other courses. Is this in fact truly what I'm seeing?

Is there a specific reason for this or simply just a different design? Is the size of the brick used in the Colle oven the same as the pompeii -- 4 1/2" (9" cut in half). It's hard to tell from the picture.

Also, can anyone tell me about how many 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 9" brick are required to build the dome? Preferably the Colle one -- as I like the looks of that one the best.

Thanks again!! I'm looking forward to learning more (and posting my pictures!)

james 07-08-2005 01:38 AM

Thanks Sledge,

I've stuck my head inside a lot of handmade brick ovens, with and without fires :), and I would say that a majority of them have the first course standing on its end -- though of varying heights. In a sense, the height of the first course is one of the factors that defines the shape and curve of your dome.

That also tells me that there isn't a right or wrong way of doing it, as long as you get the dome shape and curve that you like.

The standard Pompeii plan calls for the dome set on the cooking floor, and the first course is a standard brick cut in half and set on its edge (with the cut side down).

The 42" oven has about 180 bricks in the dome. Can anyone confirm that? Also, how many bricks are on the cooking floor?


sledge 07-12-2005 06:53 PM

Okay, thanks James. I'm catching on a bit more...all in how you lay out the dome. I've spent a bit more time looking through the forum here and I'm getting a bit more info to sink into my thick skull!!

Also, a post in the thred "does anyone make special cuts in the bricks other then at the top of the dome... " by Cookinghomer really helps with the brick count. He has a CAD drawing that shows about 70 bricks in the floor and then the base circle of halfbricks. This really helps.

I've got more engineering to do regarding the smoke throat and chimney for the kiva before I can really get started building.

I'll be back!!

ColonelCorn76 07-13-2005 05:57 PM

Yes there is a reason for the side wall bricks the way they are on the Pompeii is to get the arch into a parabolic shape vs. a hemispherical one (creating a catenary curve). That gives the oven the ability to hold its shape without a lot of external supports (if you've ever seen an Alan Scott oven, it requires about 4" of concrete cladding to help keep the oven walls & dome together).

This results in a Tuscan style oven which is good for both the optimum cooking of bread and pizza (vs the flatter domed pizza-centric Napolitano design). But, the use of the standing bricks (4.5" high vs. the 2.25" of a flat brick) doesn't have anything to do with the way the oven looks from outside. All of the aesthetic photos are of the exterior of the oven which has no material relationship to the use or non-use of the standing side wall. You can make any internal oven design look like the Colle oven in the FB site.

Check out my photos at for one look.


ColonelCorn76 07-13-2005 06:23 PM

Hearth bricks
By the way, I'd recommend using a herringbone pattern for the hearth. Parallel rows of bricks is traditional but result in continuous joint lines stretching across the oven. Peels can catch on these so I perfer the herringbone pattern instead. That keeps from creating a the potential for a lip to catch a peel.

To do the herringbone design, you find the center of the oven and snap your cross lines so you've got a circle with a + in it (snap the line on your fireclay & sand mortar bed). Take your first firebrick and carefully place it so the upper right corner is in the center of the + lined up with the vertical & horizontal lines of the +. Lay 2 more bricks along this line, one closer to the front & one closer to the back of the oven. Then mark your 1st firebrick's middle (4.5" for a 9" long brick). Take your 4th brick and line up the bottom edge with the middle mark on the 1st brick. This offsets the 2nd row of bricks by a half brick. Place another brick on either end of this latest brick.

Now for your 3rd row, you're going to line up the top edge of the brick along the horizontal line of the + (the vertical one is between rows 1 & 2 and doesn't show anymore). This lines the latest brick up with the 1st row's bricks. Then you just repeat this over & over until you've got the circle (51" diameter for a 42" oven) covered with bricks. (If you're really a perfectionist you can cut the outer bricks to the actual curves of the circle, otherwise just make sure the bricks cover the circle and live with the extra parts outside...they'll be covered by whatever housing you put over the oven.)

Your hearth ends up with brick lines that look like this: -_-_-_- which will tend not to catch your pizza peels (especially the metal ones).

Your brick count will depend on your hearth floor style.


paulages 07-14-2005 01:13 AM

nice pictures jim!

ColonelCorn76 07-14-2005 07:05 PM

I love seeing what other folks are doing with theirs. I started out with a basic design hoping others could build it (James just wanted a brick-oven in every Webermania) and I'm amazed at what some folks have done. Anyone who says craftsmanship is dead in this country has got to be talking about things that evoke no passion. Everyone's doing great work out there.


sledge 07-18-2005 07:49 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Great! Thanks for all the info. Unfortunately, due to a local block shortage here in the Phoenix area I have to wait another two weeks for delivery of my supplies, so can't get started yet.

Jim, did you really mean a "herringbone" pattern for the floor? I'm not sure that, that is what you're describing in your response.

Is it like the picture below?

I certainly like that pattern for the floor, but can't say as I've seen it used on any of the other ovens I've looked at.

Would'nt this pattern use more bricks?

Also, anyone have a good source (online) for the vent and chimney parts? I see that many of the ovens have a metal vent that sits on the lintel -- where do you get these?


ColonelCorn76 07-18-2005 08:04 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Oops. You're right. My bad -- the pattern is actually called a running bond pattern. Your photo is a true herringbone. What I was describing is this one.

Thanks for picking that up.

As for the vent, I can toss you the drawings for building your own (if you can weld).

sledge 07-21-2005 09:09 PM it. I don't know though, the herringbone deal looks pretty cool! :cool: I've since seen a couple fireplace websites that had that pattern on the back and side walls...haven't seen it on the floor though.

I'm not a welder, but I can weld...if you know what I mean. The vent is pretty much covered up anyway so no one would see my not so good looking welds, right?

I took a look at your pictures...very neat by the way...and see your vent. So, you just welded it all together yourself? Looks straightforward enough. I'll most likely wait until I get closer to figure out what I really need. Was just wondering what was commercially avialable. I may take you up on the offer for drawings...but later. I'm still toying with the idea of making the whole oven enclosure also serve as a smoker. Hmmmm...not sure how to do that exactly. Will require more thought. I still have another week to wait until block is delivered as there is a shortage here in Phoenix due to all the construction.


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:37 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0
2006/10 Forno Bravo, LLC