Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community (
-   Introductions (
-   -   New build in Adelaide (

Justint 01-27-2012 03:57 AM

New build in Adelaide
1 Attachment(s)
Hi Everyone,

I'm underway on my build in Adelaide, Australia, but am starting to feel a little overwhelmed with the reams of information available on this site. I have read through the FB plans several times as well as Russell Jeavon's book. Like many others, these two documents have inspired me but also created more questions than answers.

I am somewhat fortunate in that I had an existing slab from a tank stand to build on, although in hind sight this may have been more trouble than it was worth. It was nowhere near level (up to 75mm out) but it has had a 10 year history of supporting 5 tonnes of water with no cracking which gives me some confidence. After lots of messing around I finally got the first course of besser blocks level and have now completed the stand including the slab. Pic attached. The stand measures 1560mm x 1750mm which by my calculations will allow me to build approx a 1000mm (40") Pompeii style oven.

So now I have reached the design stage of the oven and having trouble getting started. I have secured a pile of clay pavers which have passed the sledge hammer test but am trying to work out the best method for insulating the floor and the best materials for the floor itself. At this stage I am thinking that the ceramic fibre board option will be best. I have a selection of decent flat faced 65mm thick clay pavers that I can use for the floor but am not sure if these are suitable. Russell's book would suggest that they are but I am also considering 25mm tiles as supplied by Thermal ceramics in Adelaide. There are also varying reports on what type of mortar material to use.

So many questions! After reading Russell's book it all seemed so easy and simple but the more I read, the harder it gets. Any suggestions will be appreciated, especially from other like minded Adelaideans.


Lburou 01-31-2012 06:44 AM

Re: New build in Adelaide
Welcome Justin :)

The "O" feeling lived at our house too ;)

We chose to go with the pompeii oven plans because the design has been proven over time to produce an efficient and versatile oven. The modern adaptations made to the fornobravo plans make it a bulletproof plan. A design proven to lend itself to pizza, breads, slow cooking and more.

Rigid insulation in the floor is one of the modern tweaks to the traditional oven design adopted in the plans. A good choice.

Look for an expert to give some advice about the clay pavers. If the pavers contain some alumina, then it is a good possibility they would work. If you don't get expert input about that in this thread, try posting a question in the oven construction area. Personally, I'd go with some kind of firebrick if I could afford it.

Good Luck on your journey :)

brickie in oz 01-31-2012 11:19 AM

Re: New build in Adelaide

Originally Posted by Justint (Post 126425)
At this stage I am thinking that the ceramic fibre board option will be best.

Its too expensive, get some calcium silicate board.


Originally Posted by Justint (Post 126425)
I am also considering 25mm tiles as supplied by Thermal ceramics in Adelaide.

They are too thin and will smash when you load the oven with firewood.
Ive got 40mm refractory pavers and they have cracked from loading the oven.


Originally Posted by Justint (Post 126425)
After reading Russell's book it all seemed so easy and simple

Russells book is too vague and short on detail.

Aussie Pete 02-01-2012 12:53 AM

Re: New build in Adelaide
welcome JT, you and i are both at a similar stage, although i have most of the idea of what i'm doing under control....i'm mostly wingin it though :p
Good luck, take your time, and investigate whats on offer. The best thing i found very helpful with planning is to watch & look at all the oven builds from members from here, nearly every one of them will give you some kind of inspiration & ideas..a very talented bunch here.
Anyway, i cant give too much advice, because i'm a learner also.
Remember...."you build, we watch"...lots of pics of your process.

nissanneill 02-01-2012 01:07 AM

Re: New build in Adelaide
Hi Justin (I'm assuming that this is your christian name),
and welcome aboard.
We have quite a few members here in Adelaide, around 40 odd and another few in SA so you plenty of local advice available to you.
Russell's book is a bit light on technical detail but his ovens work and work well without problems and without an expensive price tag.
Refractory materials are quite expensive here in Australia, more so in SA, so go with the pavers that were fired at 1200˚C. Russell's restaurant had 2 layers of 2" pavers on the hearth, you can see the pics in his restaurant pics:

Where abouts in Adelaide are you located?



Justint 02-02-2012 03:22 AM

Re: New build in Adelaide
Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your responses and advice. I'm located in Panorama. I've made some progress since my last post - not so much on the build side, but more so on design and sourcing of materials. I picked up some vermiculite insulating board from Morgan Thermal Ceramics in Beverley, along with a roll of superwool insulating blanket. Total cost just under $150 which I thought wasn't bad. May need one more sheet of board ($27.50 each).

I'm going to use the clay pavers for the floor and lay them inside the dome so that they can be replaced if I have trouble later. Mortar is the next question. I am thinking just standard mortar as Russell suggests - I love the quote "remember, it is a brick oven, not a mortar oven". Does anyone have any suggestions regarding mortar or any good reason to go for a more top shelf brew?

Should make a bit of progress this weekend, so I'll post some pics as I go.

nissanneill 02-03-2012 01:12 AM

Re: New build in Adelaide
In my opinion, there is only one mortar to use, the cheapest and the one that seems to have no or less cracking, - the poor man's mortar!
3 part brickie sand, 1 part portland cement, 1 part fireclay and 1 part quicklime.
Do a search to confirm this and you might be surprised how many members use it.



Justint 02-03-2012 03:39 AM

Re: New build in Adelaide
Thanks Neil. I'm all for the poor man's mortar. But do you know where I can source fireclay in Adelaide? I assume that its a specialty product.

nissanneill 02-03-2012 07:29 PM

Re: New build in Adelaide
I got mine from Thermal Ceramics in Beverley but I have 2 bags here and you will need less than one bag.
I'm just south of you at Flagstaff Hill.
You are welcome to come around and have a good talk and check out my build, give me a personal email for the details.


Justint 02-11-2012 03:15 PM

Re: New build in Adelaide
2 Attachment(s)
Hi Again,

Finally started building yetserday and laying a few bricks - slow and steady!

I have noticed today that my mortar seems to have hairline cracks in quite a few places where it meets the bricks. Is this to be expected? I've attached some pics. I'm using the "poor man's mortar" as recommended by Neil as follows:
1 part Portland Cement (I'm using Cement Australia Builders Cement Type GB (mix of Portland Cement and contains 25% Flyash)
1 part Lime (I'm using Adelaide Brighton Hydrated Lime)
1 part Fireclay (I'm using Monolithics Moral Clay purchased from Thermal Ceramics)
3 parts Brick Sand (Pre-bagged Cement Australia Mortar Mix without the cement & lime. Packet says that it is "Brick sand")

I'm wondering whether one or more of these components isn't quite right? I bought the closest materials that I could find at the hardware store. It mixes into a sticky, pliable mortar which is really nice to work with - especially when compared to a normal sand/cement mix.

Any help or encouragement would be much appreciated.


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:59 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0
2006/10 Forno Bravo, LLC