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namhaquach 06-28-2010 06:21 AM

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Hi all, I have just started to build the base of my woodoven and was going to use pavers for the dome. After doing some research on the forum, I read that I shouldn't use cement pavers. Without sounding totally ignorant, can anyone tell my why? Also, I'm not sure if the pavers are cement or clay pavers, how do I tell? I have broken one in half to see inside and it looks similar to a clay brick, it doesn't look like concrete so am I safe?

Great forum by the way!


nissanneill 06-30-2010 12:40 AM

Re: Help!!!!
Hi namhaquach and welcome aboard.
I posted a thread some time ago of a neighbor who built is Pompeii using cement paver bricks. See:

All the details are there. If there inside of the smashed brick is all one material and not small pieces of gravel/stone in it, then they should be OK to us.



namhaquach 06-30-2010 06:32 AM

Re: Help!!!!
thanks for the reply! I have decided to use the pavers I have to do the base of my woodoven. better to be safe than sorry! It will take longer and alot of mortar, but oh well. Have decided to go with making the dome out of castable as per what I have read in 'back yard ovens', an earth garden publication, pg 32-37. The article talks about clay, castable and brick ovens and briefly outlines the experience of an Allan Watt workshop. From my research, this should be cheaper than buying firebricks and almost as effective.

if i'm wrong, please let me know!


namhaquach 06-30-2010 06:50 AM

Re: Help!!!!
Been doing some more reading (holy moly there is a lot on this forum) and the conclusion i have come up with is the insulate as much as possible, dome and floor included. I have read that some people have used decomposed granite as there oven base insulation. What are peoples thoughts on this as it seems cheaper (budget) than vermiculite. What about hebel blocks?

SCChris 06-30-2010 07:14 AM

Re: Help!!!!
As you have become aware, there are a huge number of options. Concrete block for the base is the norm. They are cheap and stack easily together. Decomposed Granite isn't going to be a very satisfactory insulator, vermiculite or perlite mixed with concrete is a better way to go on top of the concrete supporting hearth. Better yet is the rigid insulating board it's more costly but you’re going to have the oven for a while so if allows you to cook over more days on the same wood fire then you might use your oven more and save on wood.

For the dome some use a castable, some bricks, some make a cob oven, all are valid. If you decide to use bricks use firebrick for the dome. Firebrick isn’t going to break down with the heat, standard bricks will; likewise concrete will also break down in the heat.

You oven is an investment, so my advice is to think about it in terms of years of use and get the best materials that you can afford, protect the oven so that it’ll last and put the oven in a place where it’s convenient to use.


namhaquach 06-30-2010 07:37 AM

Re: Help!!!!
thanks chris, my oven is part of an overall plan:

Aquaponics System

so hopefully many many years. Just funds are tight so looking at the best I can do with the least amount of outlay. I think I will go concrete base and a vermiculite mix under the dome area only. will still go castable for the dome as I think it is cheaper and will still provide satisfactory results so long as I insulate the dome.


SCChris 06-30-2010 02:22 PM

Re: Help!!!!
Take a look at Dino_pizza's base. He split the cavern in two and I think it makes great sense of the sub-oven space.

Best to you!!


namhaquach 06-30-2010 04:17 PM

Re: Help!!!!
Thanks Chris, Dino's thread is a great read (nowhere near finished reading it!). I will be starting a new thread in the design/build section.


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