#11  
Old 03-17-2012, 03:35 PM
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Default Re: kiln conversion?

Tom, both LBEs and home ovens have very little thermal mass and require continuous heat, and yet both have been successfully used to bake Neapolitan pizza. Are you really saying that the only suitable tool for making Neapolitan pizza is a WFO?

If the kiln is shallow (close to the pizza), you should be able to put just enough energy into the system to pre-heat the hearth and bake the top of the pizza. That, to me, seems to be incredibly efficient.

Last edited by scott123; 03-17-2012 at 03:37 PM.
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  #12  
Old 03-17-2012, 04:47 PM
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Default Re: kiln conversion?

Can I chime in here, I've had a fair bit of experience with both kilns and WFO's.
The refractory used in kilns varies from dense firebrick,to insulating firebrick, to hot face ceramic fibre. The kiln you were describing Scott, uses insulating firebrick. They are very light with low thermal mass which means they won't store heat. This is ok so long as you have a continual active fire while cooking pizzas. If you want to close the oven to cook roasts or bread, then your oven will not have enough thermal mass for extended cooking time.

A well insulated WFO has about the same amount of insulation as a kiln. If it is too well insulated you are waiting too many days for it to cool.

The thermal mass in a kiln is obtained from whatever you have inside it. A partly loaded or empty kiln does not fire particularly well because there is less dense material to hold the heat. You can argue about this ,but that's what happens

The other disadvantage with using insulating firebricks is that they are not as strong as dense firebricks and will be subject to damage easily when loading wood into the oven.

I am currently doing an opposite project by making a kiln using some of my oven moulds.Can't get back into it as the rain won't stop. Thinking of building a giant wooden boat instead.

Last edited by david s; 03-17-2012 at 04:55 PM.
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  #13  
Old 03-17-2012, 04:59 PM
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Default Re: kiln conversion?

Scott,
If you plan on using the existing elec. elements instead of wood, be careful to ensure that you still have the door switch operational. A stainless steel peel touching the elements could give you a hefty jolt.
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  #14  
Old 03-17-2012, 05:08 PM
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Default Re: kiln conversion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by david s View Post
The refractory used in kilns varies from dense firebrick,to insulating firebrick, to hot face ceramic fibre. The kiln you were describing Scott, uses insulating firebrick. They are very light with low thermal mass which means they won't store heat. This is ok so long as you have a continual active fire while cooking pizzas. If you want to close the oven to cook roasts or bread, then your oven will not have enough thermal mass for extended cooking time.
David, I agree, a kiln lacks the thermal mass for residual heat cooking, but the OP specifically asked if a kiln could be converted to a pizza oven, not a residual heat roast/bread oven- at least that's my understanding of his/her request. If he/she said pizza oven as another way of saying brick oven, then no, you can't convert a kiln into a brick oven. But you can definitely convert a kiln into an oven that makes pizza, depending on the size shape and how handy you are.
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Old 03-17-2012, 05:14 PM
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Default Re: kiln conversion?

Ye s, I agree and my apologies, I thought you were the OP. if the floor were dense firebrick, then that would store a fair amount of heat to cook the base and as long as an active fire were maintained then the top will cook ok too. It is also possible to add some thermal mass outside the arch to provide the extra thermal mass, but the heat has to fight its way through the insulating firebricks to get there. I still think dense bricks are a better solution.
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Old 03-17-2012, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: kiln conversion?

It can't be converted into a conventional pizza oven, which is my whole point. You can use a kiln to cook pizza, but that doesn't make it a pizza oven in the sense of this site, and for someone with no knowledge it is wrong to claim that it can.

A kiln generates the heat to cook pizza, it does not contain mass to do so on a continuous basis without running the kiln. So long as the OP understands that they would be making the equivalent to a high temp kitchen oven, and not a traditional fired oven, then we agree.
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