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CvC 03-07-2012 12:17 PM

Hello from Germany
Hello everybody,

after two years of planning I just managed to convince (or persuade?) my wife of the advantages of our own Pizzaoven, so I started with the foundation last weekend.
It will be a Pompeiioven with an internal diameter of 120 cm, but until now Im not sure whether to build it from clay-brick or fire-brick. Its not a matter of money in the first way, but I would like to have an oven that is as close as possible to an ancient Pompeiioven, and as far as I know, the Romans did not have modern firebricks as well. :D
Can anybody tell me about his/her experiences with clay-bricks, especially according to durability?
The next point not solved yet is the outer form of the oven, Im not sure if I will build an enclosure or if I will go for the Igloo style. I like the look of an Iglooshaped oven, but Im not sure if it will withstand our "bautyful German weather" which I think is not quite as nice as the weather in Australia, where this design seems to be some kind of standard.
I would appreciate it very much to get some information on that as well.

O.k., quite a few questions for an Introduction, ;)

bye for now,


Lburou 03-12-2012 07:08 AM

Welcome :)
Christian, it takes some time to sort through your options for construction, take your time and go where your heart leads. You can have an igloo oven and put it under a patio cover with a chimney through the roof. A good thing to remember as you plan is that every part of the design has a reason. Download the plans and study them, it is time well spent. :)

P.S. I think your oven will last longer with firebricks than clay bricks. Haven't tried clay bricks myself, but I've read some posts here that report short lived clay bricks. The Romans certainly would have used firebricks if they were available! :)

buckeyebreadman 03-12-2012 08:01 AM

Re: Hello from Germany
Welcome Christian.....

Mingy 03-12-2012 08:05 AM

Re: Hello from Germany

Building the dome is a lot of work. Hard work. Work you will be happy is done once it is done. Most days you will be sore and wonder why you started.

So, you'll want to have the dome as durable as possible so it doesn't fall apart within a year or two. That means using the best materials you can.

In terms of the Italians and historical accuracy, while it is certainly true that they didn't have modern fire bricks and modern mortar, they also probably didn't have modern firebricks and modern masonry mortar. That doesn't mean modern bricks and mortar are better that ancient bricks and mortar for ovens, but modern materials are probably better for building walls and structures. Better also doesn't mean more robust, it means cheaper, easier to manufacture, and more appropriate to the intended use.

There is a good chance that Romans figured out the particular mix of clay and other ingredients for their ovens and used those. Rome was a very advanced society which was around for hundreds of years and a lot of building materials were manufactured for the builders. So, Marcus' bricks.

Regardless, I doubt you could find real Roman bricks being made anywhere nowadays.

Go with firebricks.

petanque 03-12-2012 03:46 PM

Re: Hello from Germany
the romans probably used naturally occurring stone and the insulation would have been not as good as todays.

They probably didn't have refrigeration or good food hygiene practices ether.

if you can easily afford the more robust/better materials use them

Neil2 03-12-2012 05:31 PM

Re: Hello from Germany
I expect the Romans had to re build theirs after every few years of daily use.

GianniFocaccia 03-12-2012 05:58 PM

Re: Hello from Germany
Given today's advanced refractory materials, do what the Romans most certainly did: build your oven with the best available, then sit back and consume copious amounts of wine with your fantastic WFO-produced meals. Ausgezeichnet!

WJW 03-12-2012 10:00 PM

Re: Hello from Germany
While the Romans didn't have modern firebricks, the bricks they had may well have been better for ovens than the "normal" clay bricks of today. My understanding is that modern clay bricks are not fired to the same high temperatures that clay bricks of the past were. This results in the clay not becoming fully vitrified (ceramic)...and the lack of vitrification results in spalling (fracturing/chipping).

I know that some people who do not use firebricks have very good luck using brick made from prior to the 1920's or so...while not firebrick, it was fired to very high temps and therefore fine for oven use.

All that being said...I have no idea how the Romans fired their bricks and to what temps...but you should not assume that they were the same as today's normal clay bricks.

Oh yeah...Willkommen


david s 03-13-2012 05:39 AM

Re: Hello from Germany

Originally Posted by Neil2 (Post 128647)
I expect the Romans had to re build theirs after every few years of daily use.

This is what I thought too, until we visited Europe and I was surprised to see many ovens with pretty rough brickwork that was so built around that it would have been nigh impossible to access and replace. Some in castles in France and England that were made from varying sized rock mortared together. They were all intact and looked like you could fire them up anytime. My guess is that they were the original build. Our ovens may develop some cracks but I'm sure they will be around for generations after we're all dead and gone, provided corrosive steel is avoided.

CvC 03-14-2012 12:29 AM

Re: Hello from Germany
Hi there,

first I would like to thank all of you for your replies to my post, it really helps to decide how you are going to build your own oven when you have the chance to hear several opinions on a certain point.


Originally Posted by GianniFocaccia (Post 128649)


In Germany, this is what Monty Burns from the Simpsons says when he is satisfied with something, but I suppose, he doesnt say this in German on the US TV? :confused:

Last Sunday I had the chance to buy some 200 old, but unused, firebricks (Schamotte), so I will do what most of you said and use "modern" material to build my oven. They cost me 90€ ct each, which is cheap here, a new firebrick is somewhere between 2 and 4 €.

This Friday I will get 3 cubicmeters of gravel, it will be a lot of fun to get it into my Garden! :mad:

I will post some pictures later,



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