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nissanneill 06-02-2007 05:26 AM

Neillís Pompeii #4
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Just discovered that I put the other 3 threads in the wrong forum. If you want to see the first 3 with pics, go to the Pomoeii oven construction forum.

The weather is very much against me at the present, constant rain and more rain. For those not in the know, South Australia is very much in the need of rain as we are on water restrictions.
This however did not stop me as I set up a small tarp over the oven and carried on regardless. Mixing the poor manís mortar was an experience. 3 parts sand, 1 hydrated lime, 1 fireclay and 1 portland cement, was sticky and quite difficult to mix in the wheel barrow. I couldnít be bothered using the mixer as I was only mixing enough to put in the base layer of soldier bricks and the bricks holding the steel arch oven frame. Three rows later, I had used it all up. Great to work with as it is exceptionally sticky and really grabs onto the bricks, very handy when working on chains 3 and over with very sloping bricks.
I cut and installed the hearth this afternoon and redid the arch and another chain of the oven tonight. Will post these pics next time as I only finished 2 hours ago in the dark, in fact did them with the aid of the flood light and a double fluoro.


nissanneill 06-03-2007 03:43 AM

Re: Neillís Pompeii #5
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What a day. It started out with beautiful fine sunny weather and when I was ready to mix the mortar, it rained and continued for the rest of the day. I commenced by putting in the sand dome in for the top chains. It went in well and compacted to the point where I decided not to mix cement in the top inch or so. I made a pattern out of some high impact styrene, which was lying around and got it all ready to brick in to closure after lunch.
As the chains got higher, I had to cut bricks so as not to have larger mortar joints. Even with great care, there is always those bricks which do not want to line up, The inside of the dome shows that once I put in the final 2 key bricks and immediately removed the sand dome. I then climbed inside to remove the trapped mortar and see what sort of a mess I had ended up with.
It wasnít so bad, didnít have to do any serious modifications, rather leave it than interfere with the setting mortar and disturbing the bricks. I donít even need to use the angle grinder with a diamond blade on any bad or protruding bricks.
Cleaned up inside the oven and called it a day.
Next week I will put on the insulating blanket, the chicken wire and a good thick layer of cement/vermiculite. All that remains then is the vent/chimney, the tiling of the vent and the cast iron doors. I will get into them during the week and get them cast once the patterns are done. Guess I can start my first fires in it next week to commence the drying out. Not in a hurry to get cooking, so will take my time, but everyone who sees it has invited themselves over for the inaugural feast.
I will post the next pics when something new has happened.


Hendo 06-03-2007 04:04 AM

Re: Neillís Pompeii #4

Fantastic effort, especially given the lousy weather lately! Iím really impressed at what youíve achieved over the last two days. Itís looking great, and Iím sure you can smell that first pizza already Ö.

Good to see another Ďdeep throatí (!) design Ė my design for a deep vent chamber is similar, forced on me in a sense by my layout. I think your oven should draw very well.

I like the idea of the channels for fibreglass rope seals Ė can you post details of sizes of channels, seals and supplier? While Iím going down the route of a firebrick arch, I could always incorporate a rope seal into the door when I get to that stage.

Finally, how did you rig up a tarp over your work area? Any chance of a photo? I havenít ventured outside since the rain started, so things are slipping badly and I need to weather-proof my oven area so I can get going again.



nissanneill 06-03-2007 04:24 AM

Re: Neillís Pompeii #5
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Hi Hendo,
just went outside in the mist and took a pic for you.Very primitive but the small tarp is JUST big enough and it is really quite good to work under. I will leave it up to help dry the dome for the next couple of weeks.
The fibreglass rope seal was purchased in 2 metre lengths from Castworks, 8 Roosevelt Street North Coburg Vic for $15 + postage. Phone (03) 9354 4668.I had it delivered 2 days later. Very efficient people. They specialise in wood fired ovens and accessories i believe. Got onto them by Consolidated refactories.
I ordere 2 packs but only need one. The one I chose was their 18mm but it is available in 3,6, 9,12, 15, 18 and 25mm ropes
The track that I used is simply a piece of scrap stainless that I bent to an 8mm w x10mm deep channel and welded it to the frame. I have a stainless sill to put into the edge if the hearth and will wels a leg under it and high temp sealed into a groove cut into the brick edge. The vent floor is to be tiled and will provide the 8mm gap for the rope. I plan on putting a similar channel onto one of the cast doors to seal between the two when closed. It will be too difficult to include this in the casting of the doors.


james 06-03-2007 10:08 AM

Re: Neillís Pompeii #4

You get extra points for surviving a wet early winter. All I can think is how happy you are going to be when your oven is done and cooking great pizza -- and spring is coming to Australia six months from now. Right when those of us in the north who are just falling back into winter.

I like the way the two keystones in the top of the dome mirror each other. Nice touch; and some great cuts.

Well done.

nissanneill 06-03-2007 03:55 PM

Re: Neillís Pompeii #5
Thanks james,
Yes, the oven is coming on nicely. I try not to let the elements distract me from my goals and if you are prepared to work around them, well you can proceed. If it is raining, put up ashelter, if it is cold, put on a jumper or work harder, if it gets dark, set up lights. You know what I mean! Nobody else is going to do the work for me and i am not one to pay someone to do something that I feel capable of doing. In fact i prefer to do most things myself as I know that they are done properly and the self satifaction says it all.
Our winters are relatively mild when compared to some of our northern American members, but cold none the less. A cold day here is around 6 to 8įC but rarely lower. I am just south of Adelaide in the foothills just below the top of the hill, so we always get gully breezes but because we are cut into the high side of the road, our back yard is quite sheltered.
The neighbours are taking an interest in the oven construction and came in for a look last night whilst I was inside it cleaning off the bricks and excess mortar. They commented on the steam that was coming out from it. I commented that it was me. Everyone was complaining of the cold but I was sweating, keen to get it finished for the weekend. My glasses were fogging up and making it difficult to see properly. I can now see why the ovens hold that necessary humidity for good pizza cooking.


Bacterium 06-03-2007 05:15 PM

Re: Neillís Pompeii #4
Good work Neil...... yes its been quite wet.

Great work with the photos, its always good to see someone else chipping away at it.

nissanneill 06-08-2007 02:55 AM

Re: Neillís Pompeii #6
4 Attachment(s)
Friday 8th June, fine sunny day and Iím off to Bunnings for some gear to continue with the oven. I collected the thermal blanket and another 300 litres of vermiculite on Wednesday and need some chicken wire and also some perforated drainage hose for the back of the oven where it is dug into the garden. I cut the 25mm blaket and carefully secure it to the igloo dome with gavanised clouts, just into the mortar just enough to hold it in position. I then had to cut and shape the chicken wire over the blanket for the vermiculite to grip when rendered.
Time to mix some vermiculite, 5 parts to 1 of Portland cement and the careful rendering of the igloo. Started where it was easy at the top and worked my way down and around the base. It was difficult to get it to stay in place especially on the vertical surfaces but care and persistence prevailed. The first 1Ē coat is on and I will put the second one on tomorrow, with the final one on Sunday. It is then only a case of plastering the vermiculite and then the final tiling.
I have started the cast iron door patterns and will move into them if the weather is poor, in readiness for casting, hopefully next week. I have designed some special brass pivot hinges which will allow adjustment for the doors against the rope seal.
I found a potentially good disk for surfacing the hearth bricks today and will put it to the test later in the weekend. I have included some pictures and details of the disc.
The stainless steel vent will be cut and folded over the weekend if I can with the small bender that I have. I have not thought much as to the flue size but will check out the available stainless sections available through the fireplace depots here in Adelaide.
The end is getting closer and I plan on starting the curing fires early next week.


ihughes 06-08-2007 04:18 AM

Re: Neillís Pompeii #4
Nice work.
Do you plan on using a spark resistor at the top of your flue? If so I'd be interested to know if you come across any on your flue search.
We had bushfires to the edge of our street last year so I want to make sure I don't set any off.

Glad it's good weather down Adelaide way. Cyclonic conditions here in Sydney - no building for me this weekend :(

nissanneill 06-09-2007 03:07 AM

Re: Neillís Pompeii #4
Saturday 9thJune
Very easy day, at work this morning and mixed 3 loads of vermiculite/cement and laid another inch layer over the igloo. Still having some trouble getting it to stick to the vertical surfaces so I tried mixing 1/2 bucket of fire clay with 1 cement and 5 vermiculite. Much stickier and worked well
At this stage, I hadn't thought of a spark arrester, but one will be very easy to manufacture. They are simply a woven steel mesh which is rolled into a sleeve/cylinder/drum and inserted at the top of the chimney directly below the cap. The place where I normally buy my 304 and 316 grade stainless steel tubes/pipes has numerous offcuts for sale at very reasonable rates. It will be a simple task to roll one to the final flue size, tack the ends and and weld it onto the top flue section.

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