#11  
Old 07-06-2011, 03:20 PM
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Default Re: Intro from California

I think the construction of the simplest dry laid block support stand is more physical labor than building either form of oven. The oven build at least has the challenge of a puzzle. It's also possible to spend more time and expense on even a fairly simple enclosure than on the oven it's self.
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  #12  
Old 07-06-2011, 09:24 PM
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Default Re: Intro from California

Oh you are all awesome! Stoveup, I will start studying the links - and as for Brickie's extensive info and photos, I've got rellies in Oz, so I'll be right, mate, in terms of the lingo.
Lborou and Azpizzanut - the tips about insulation are useful. I was warned by the Mugniani people that some kinds of insulation work, and some don't. Actually, they argued against relying on insulation rather than on really good refractory materials in the oven itself. I think the gist was that some materials soak up the heat and don't do so well radiating it back into the oven. They were, of course, proponents of the material they use in their pre-made ovens and oven kits - and were pointing to the quality of these materials to justify the high price of their ovens - and this is why I was looking for unbiased opinions about the different ovens and kits, to either verify or contradict that theory. Do any of you have experience with those kits?
I'm not so worried about the difficulty of building a Pompeii or other oven from scratch - my husband is a farmer, and seems to be able to build anything he sets his mind to, and I'm a potter, and so can find firebrick and such. What I'm worried about is: what if we build an oven from scratch, and then find out later that we built the wrong oven? It's not like we're going to re-do it.
Anyway, I'll go ahead and read the Newbies posts, confident you are all here to help me with questions - thanks again!
Polly
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  #13  
Old 07-06-2011, 09:57 PM
eprante's Avatar
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Default Re: Intro from California

The best reasons to build a Pompeii oven are its beauty and its function. The hemispherical shape reflects heat evenly over your cooking area. I have only built one oven but I did not find it especially difficult to do. Dmun is right, the building the block stand and structural concrete concrete base are the most demanding part in terms of labor. Now if you want to build a difficult oven- take a look at Dmun's build, truly impressive. Though I think he has stated that if he were to do it again, he would do the Pompeii.
Good luck and enjoy the process.
Eric
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  #14  
Old 07-07-2011, 09:19 AM
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Default Re: Intro from California

Quote:
Actually, they argued against relying on insulation rather than on really good refractory materials in the oven itself.
Polly,

I don't believe the Mugnaini ovens are any better than any other established oven brand since castable refractory is at this point in time, a commodity. Any supplier who argues against insulation is clearly trying to differentiate another feature/attribute of their oven, in this case, their refractory.

Dmun, Lee, Bob and Eric all make good points. The principles of oven construction and function are not rocket science, which is a good reason to consider building one instead of buying a precast unit. Unless time is an issue, it is further in your favor to design and construct an oven built to accommodate your cooking preferences. If I hear you right, bread is your primary specialty but you would like an oven with the versatility to cook everything else - appetizers, roasts, soups, stews, pizzas, etc (doesn't everybody?). This sounds like a soundly insulated brick Pompeii would fill the bill nicely.

My oven is yet to be completed but I believe all of the gentlemen above would agree with me that the satisfaction of building an oven that will provide years of service far outweighs the convenience of purchasing a precast oven. $.02.

John
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  #15  
Old 07-07-2011, 09:29 AM
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Default Re: Intro from California

Quote:
Originally Posted by PollyG View Post
Do any of you have experience with those kits?
Polly,

I have a friend that installed a Mugnaini and another that installed a Forno Bravo. From what I heard and have seen, they pretty much function the same. I personally think that my home built out performs both of them - but I am clearly biased.
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:49 AM
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Default Re: Intro from California

Bob said it right:

Quote:
Originally Posted by azpizzanut View Post
There is a lot of latitude when building an oven of bricks and mortar. You can choose the size of the finished oven and materials to suit your needs and even modify the insulation and thermal mass requirements. Some choose to add extra thickness to the dome so as to retain heat for a longer period and some choose to add extra insulation, or both.
I looked at 2 local (1 commercial) refratcory pizza/bread oven manufacturers in the Los Angeles area and then FB's Casa etc.. and purely by accident clicked on the FORUM link (something I usually avoid on the interwebs) and to say I'm happy with the results is truly an understatement.

When I figured that both (pre-cast and homemade-pompeii) require a footing, a block base, a level floor, sand for leveling, piecing blocks or sections together, high-temp mortar, insulation, wiring to hold the insulation, a housing of some sort....... that's when we said let's just build our own, we have to do all this same work anyway, how hard could cutting firebrick in half be?

If you really want the extended heat retention (but longer heat up/wood use) you can put the floor bricks on edge (instead of flat) like an A. Scott oven and add a little extra dome "claddiing" with high-heat mortar to the outside of the dome and insulate the heck out of it and you'll have a custom bread oven as fine and possibly better than anything you can buy.

If you have the time, I recommend the build it yourself experience, whether you make a pompeii round or barrel arch style (but not the A. Scott type barrel). Pompeii-round is well documented on this forum but both are easy (with our help of course )

Good luck with your decission.,
-dino
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Old 07-07-2011, 09:50 PM
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Default Re: Intro from California

Fantastic, everyone! I am shedding that overwhelmed feeling already.
Dino: What do you mean, "barrel arch style (but not the A. Scott type barrel)"? What's wrong with it? (or is that part of the info that I will learn from all those links, once I get a chance to read them?)

Last edited by PollyG; 07-07-2011 at 09:54 PM.
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  #18  
Old 07-07-2011, 10:14 PM
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Default Re: Intro from California

Quote:
Originally Posted by PollyG View Post
Dino: What do you mean, "barrel arch style (but not the A. Scott type barrel)"? What's wrong with it?
Owh boy this will be good.

They are not that well built from my point of view, but hey Im a brickie so can see faults from 12,000 kms away.

I tend to try not to rain on someones parade but "those" ovens leave a lot to be desired.

If you want a barrel type follow my build, you can modify it as you see fit, at least I can guarantee my oven works, and works well, must be the 30+ years of looking at bricks that does it.
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  #19  
Old 07-08-2011, 07:50 AM
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Default Re: Intro from California

Okay, but what are the critical differences between the two?
And the overwhelmed feeling has returned, after looking through your photos, Brickie. I want an oven like THAT! and will never have one.
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  #20  
Old 07-08-2011, 09:21 AM
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Default Re: Intro from California

Polly, Here is short list of SOME of the issues AS ovens have:
-It's really, really heavy.
-It has a floating, suspended concrete slab on pins (very difficult to construct)
-the AS plans call for insulating UNDER the concrete slab floor (very inefficient)
-Barrel arch has significant outward, lateral thrust (pompeii oven is downward)
-This thrust requires encasing the whole thing in 4" of concrete.
-venting is difficult and not clearly documented.
-heat up time and fuel is considerable: that's why all pictures you see of AS ovens have cords and cords and piles of wood beautifully stacked next to them.
-all of the above (as you can see from the AS book & the pics in it) need lots of re-bar (building steel) lots of concrete and usually lots of people involved.

I culled this info from other posts on this site although it was Alan Scotts book and design that started me drooling over the idea of a wood burning oven. The owner of this FB site (James) said that it was after he built 2 AS ovens and his frustration over the build and their use that made him start Forno Bravo in the 1st place!

AS ovens certainly have their place, the best but not only may be a community where baking dozens of loaves of bread a couple times a week that has access to lots of forest wood and you have a market for the bread or an extremely large family to feed.

Pompeii ovens may be a bit harder to bake more than a few loaves of bread at a time but their positive points are soooo numerous:
-very well documented construction-dome is inherently strong-shape is inherently efficient-much less concrete and steel to build-venting works great-they heat up relatively fast-retain heat as well as you want to build it-take up less space than an AS-may be built by as few as 1 person-may be built by man, woman, office geek, computer nerd, person who's garage only contains a $9.99 tool-kit that's never been used you get the point.

I've seen so many beautiful loaves of bread come out Pompeii Ovens on this site but to be able to also smoke a turkey, roast vegis in the coals, cook a steak or whole fish like a bbq AND make world class pizza on a Saturday because you just thought of it that morning is it's best feature. Not to mention you can keep cooking or baking 3-4 days after.

-Dino
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