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sacwoodpusher 09-07-2010 02:49 PM

Using Steel Plate for dome
What is wrong with drystacking bricks to form a round oven wall, and door, and then using scrap steel plate for the oven dome, with brick placed on top.

The oven walls will not go anywhere after being insulated with vermicrete (not sure that's a word), and bricks don't like to move at all, especially when weighted from above.

Johnny the oven man 09-07-2010 06:25 PM

Re: Using Steel Plate for dome
Moisture will create rust which will scale and drop off onto your food, reconsider your idea, it will be a pain in the butt!

Erniegarcia76 09-07-2010 07:12 PM

Re: Using Steel Plate for dome
Actually, I know a gentleman who forms the interior walls with fire brick and the top of the dome the a classic weber grill top. He proceeds with normal dome insulation from there. He has built many ovens like this for others, and has never had a reported problem in over 25 years. The oven environment is so dry, rust would be unlikely I guess. Like I said, he's never seen a problem with this technique.

sacwoodpusher 12-02-2010 05:42 PM

Re: Using Steel Plate for dome
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Well, I wasn't satisfied with the answers I got about using a piece of steel for the top of the wood fired oven. So, I tried it......

I placed a flat piece of 16 guage steel on top of my brick walls. I made the piece of steel 1/2 inch smaller in each direction, so it could expand and contract as the oven temperature changed.

I have reached a conclusion......the reason the Romans made their ovens round domes is that THEY DID NOT HAVE STEEL. By the way.....the day after a firing, you can rub you finger on the steel, and there is no soot there, it is perfectly clean.

Furthermore, an oven DOES NOT NEED TO BE ROUND. Mine is square, and it heats up quite rapidly....HOWEVER, it is not massive, I only used split fire brick on the inside of the oven, floor and walls.

mn8tr 12-03-2010 12:16 PM

Re: Using Steel Plate for dome

I am glad that you are having success with your oven. However I think the point here is this. As I understand it this site serves many different purposes some of which are to educate ourselves with tips and techniques that have been time tested. Which is not to say that the best mouse trap has already been build. Progressive thinking and experimentation is a great thing but in this case the real test is about 200 years away give or take a decade.

sacwoodpusher 12-03-2010 01:04 PM

Re: Using Steel Plate for dome
Actually, I may be putting out a treatise on this forum in the very near future. The subject will be:

A Mathematical Analysis of Wood Fired Oven Shape and Thickness

As an MSME Drop Out (2 credits from an MSME when I changed my major to Comp Sci) I have been watching the OPINIONS of oven builders on this forum.

Now, please don't get me wrong, there is definately an art to building masonry ovens, be they brick, clay, or castable concrete. I hope nobody will take this the wrong way......I would love it if the engineers on this forum (and I know the guy who made a GEODESIC OVEN is one) started putting some ANALYSIS into their responses.

This is the beauty of a forum....from many is built a great pool of knowledge. An oven, built with materials which withstand compression but not tension is, in and of itself, a thing of beauty, but we CAN try to build better moustraps.

Tscarborough 12-03-2010 01:09 PM

Re: Using Steel Plate for dome
While I would like to see the analysis, thousands of years of practice are pretty damn convincing. They were building beehive ovens before they discovered the arch I believe.

That said, doing something wrong for thousands of years doesn't make you right, it just makes you stubborn.

RTflorida 12-03-2010 01:19 PM

Re: Using Steel Plate for dome
If it works for you, who are we to judge?
I don't recall anyone ever stating an oven NEEDS TO BE ROUND, there are many followers of the Alan Scott design. Progressive thinking is good, you don't know if you don't try.
Personally, here in Florida, EVERY type of steel rusts/scales. High humidity is a killer. Yes, even stainless will eventually rust. That said, I would never consider the use of steel in or around my oven.
As for performance, I think it has been proven that a wood fired dome offers the most even heating. Air circulation which spreads the flame/heat (for lack of a better term, lets call it convection) much more evenly than a square or rectangle. Square or rectangle ovens will have cold spots in the corners, not very important if you are simply firing one pizza or baking 2 loafs of bread in the middle, but those cold spots can/will affect multiple pizzas, large bakes, or extended roasting.
I see you are heating with gas, that is a pretty unfamiliar variable for most of this forum. We have pretty much taken the stance that the risks are to high for the average DIY oven builder. A novice hooking up gas (and using gas) in an enclosed space is a scary thing. An oven is not like a gas grill (which has vents and you can raise the lid), it would not take much settled gas for the whole thing to go BOOM.

Again, I am not judging, glad it worked out for you and thanks for sharing. My oven is 3 1/2 yrs old...obsolete compared to many recent builds. As stated many times - ANY insulated oven is better than NO oven. Guys and gals keep building and coming up with new ideas, good for all of us and especially any newcomers.
Just be careful with that gas...we don't wan't to see you on the news.


mn8tr 12-03-2010 01:20 PM

Re: Using Steel Plate for dome
Well stated, alas I am no MSME or MS anything just the school of handyman hard knocks. Which is why I have been relying on this site so much. Each step of the way I have found mistakes that I would have otherwise made. However I did deviate every now and then, so far it has not compromised the project. About your analysis, I remember seeing a drawing of sorts that demonstrated in great detail the convection process of the dome. I will have to try and find it again. Good cooking to you !

Healthy debate stretches the imagination.

sacwoodpusher 12-03-2010 01:22 PM

Re: Using Steel Plate for dome
I'm not saying they ancient Romans were wrong. The ancient Romans:

Built ovens that lasted thousands of years
Ate Italian food every day
Conquered everyone they knew about
Had parties that are legendary to this day (Toga, toga, toga!!!)

I'm just stating that there are different ways to skin the same cat. I offered another way to coax the fleece off of a feline. That's all.

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