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gdest 01-24-2010 10:24 AM

Dome vs Barrel Ovens
After my first question concering the placement of the perlite concrete slab (below the hearth slab or above), the advice I received forced me to do additional research. It seems that the advice to put the perlite concrete under the slab is more for Barrel Ovens or ovens that you want a lot of mass to store the heat energy that will be used for repeated bread baking.

Now for my next question, I will be building a wood fired oven! Now for the type. My time at home is limited for now (I get home only every other weekend). Purchasing an oven kit is not an option at this time. I will be getting help from my son for this build.

Due to the preceived difficulty of building a Dome oven I will be building the Barrel oven...unless I am told other wise from those of you that have the experience. Based upon this, would you all still recommend that the perlite concrete go ontop of the supporting concrete slab for the Barrel oven design?

I will be doing pizza's and bread and occasional roasts and other meats/meals.

Jed 01-24-2010 05:30 PM

Re: Dome vs Barrel Ovens
Hi gdest,

Which ever oven style you decide to build, install the structural supporting slab first, then install the insulation on top of the structural slab. Whether you use perlite (or vermiculite) mixed with cement, or a board of masonry insulation under your fire brick floor, install the insulation directly under the fire brick. There are lots of discussions why, and you can search for those and read about the why's of this suggestion, but "structural - insulation - fire brick" is the correct order.

As to shape of oven: The Italian style round, dome shape has proven to be perfect for the back yard, all purpose wood fired oven. The barrel oven will also do a fine job. The consensus with most of the people on this forum (where we focus on the Italian style, round dome oven) is that the Italian style round dome oven is the better choice for the back yard cook. With out experience with both, I can only report that the people who have used both say the Italian style round dome oven is the better performer as an all - around back yard oven. Build the dome. I can't report with experience that it is easier to build than the barrel oven, but it is plenty easy - and my only caveat is that the hard part is that it is a masonry project, and masonry pieces are heavy. It can be heavy work to build an oven and the solution there is to go slow and only move small bits at a time, and put the oven together, one bit at a time!

Good luck with your build, and keep us posted with pictures.


dmun 01-24-2010 07:36 PM

Re: Dome vs Barrel Ovens
The only hard part about building a round dome is the entry and vent, and you have to build that with a barrel vault also. It's a lot of work to build a absolutely perfect dome where every brick fits seamlessly on the inside, but if you're willing to see a little mortar showing on the inside of the dome, you can just lay up half bricks all the way to the top.

I think the inherent strength of the round dome argues in it's favor. All that concrete buttressing the barrel vault ovens? It's not just for thermal mass, those tall walls have a lot of sideways force that needs to be contained.

texassourdough 01-25-2010 12:30 PM

Re: Dome vs Barrel Ovens
I agree with Jed. I have a mixed oven - my slab design is Scott's barrel design from "The Bread Builders" with the insulation below the structural slab. While it is certainly not a disaster the structual slab clearly serves as a path for heat loss. Were I doing it over I would put the insulation on top of the structural slab. The round ovens have advantages in giving you more working room for fire and pizza.

Good luck!

gdest 01-25-2010 01:05 PM

Re: Dome vs Barrel Ovens
Thank you all for your input. Now to let you all know, the Dome design wins out and the support slab will have an insulation layer ON TOP and under the oven.

I have posted another thread asking a few more questions and hopefully you all will be able to address these issues.

Ther is One issue that I have been hesitant to bring up but with all of the great advise I have been getting I am now embolden to bring up.

As I mentioned on some of my earlier postings I only get home every other weekend.......Who will be wiling to work on the project the weekends I'm not there? Location- The Woodlands, Texas.

dmun 01-25-2010 06:37 PM

Re: Dome vs Barrel Ovens
On the years I worked on my project, I often felt like the "little red hen" Toward the end I felt like uncharitable behavior toward anyone who asked "when will it be done" but never picked up a finger to help.

shvuntz 03-24-2010 01:26 AM

Re: Dome vs Barrel Ovens
hey, we built a beautiful barrel oven last year and yes although it takes a little longer to heat (ours is 1m x 1m) it works perfectly, we made roasts cakes breads and pizzas...
[IMG]<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>[/IMG]
[IMG]<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>[/IMG]

shvuntz 03-24-2010 01:26 AM

Re: Dome vs Barrel Ovens
[IMG]<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>[/IMG]

shvuntz 03-24-2010 01:40 AM

Re: Dome vs Barrel Ovens
urgh seems my photo posting doesnt work.. well click on the links below and you will see our spectacular oven!

dmun 03-24-2010 07:23 AM

Re: Dome vs Barrel Ovens
You're overthinking your photo posting. Rightclick on photobucket image, choose "copy image location", come back here, hit postcard icon over text box, paste URL in dialog box. Done. No fancy html tags required.

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