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Saovicente 03-09-2014 09:00 PM

Mini Forno: The Homebrew mix experiment
6 Attachment(s)
I wanted an oven without breaking the bank and I found the homebrew mix to be a tempting solution, but I was hesitating, because if it were to fail, I would lose quite a few $$$, time and effort.

I set out to experiment with the homebrew mix by creating a miniature oven to test the durability of the mix properties and its endurance thru multiple firings, cooking, etc.

I wanted to keep it simple and straight forward without much fuss. I mixed the - added a good amount of fibers from a brown rope that was taking up space in my shed.

I went through the drying process with 3mil bags over the mix for a few days, then a few more days with a 100W bulb, then 500w ( the bulbs worked great, I have burn marks on my wrist to prove it)

After the bulbs I started with slow fires to finish the drying process ( after reading so many threads on the various steps of building an oven – I had not realized how tedious the drying process can be). You know the rest.....

The homebrew mix is a success. Onward to the Gigantic Barrel Forno, which will have steel needless and more brown rope added to the mix.

Below are a few pics on my Mini Forno in action. The Oven has a few stress fractures due to my impatience at the end mark (always the end) in drying it and possibly from moving it three times. ( It kept getting heavier with each move)

A special thanks to michelevit for his inspiration in creating a brickless oven on a shoestring budget. As for the way the economy is these days, every penny counts,

Saovicente 03-09-2014 09:03 PM

Re: Mini Forno: The Homebrew mix experiment
5 Attachment(s)
The rest of the pictures.

Please fee free to ask any questions and/or add suggestions.


cobblerdave 03-10-2014 02:11 PM

Re: Mini Forno: The Homebrew mix experiment
That is a very cool little oven.... But why a barrel oven and not a dome?
( this is not a leading question either so I can give you my views I'd like to know)
Regards dave

Saovicente 03-10-2014 08:12 PM

Re: Mini Forno: The Homebrew mix experiment
Thanks Dave

Why barrel?
1) I wanted a versatile, spacious oven I could tweak to perform various tasks (Pizza, Bread, Roasting, Baking, etc.) and keep very good heat retention throughout a few days. As a few have written here; of having the ability to quickly bring a barrel oven up to temperature even after days of nonuse. I do not mind spending the initial 1 to 2 hours to get it to pizza like temperature (Goal is 60to75mn) and then cruise thru a few days of making this and that with a few pieces of seasoned wood..
2) The look of the exterior, interior space: The linear line with the curved arch provides for more of an artistic pizzazz.


cobblerdave 03-11-2014 02:04 AM

Re: Mini Forno: The Homebrew mix experiment
You could probably get that heating time down.
Mines a 110 mm 4 1/2 in brick dome and its 1 1/2 hour to 2 hour to pizza heat.
A thinner caste shell say 50 mm is about 3/4 to 1 hr to pizza heat.
Yours should be roughly in the middle. ( so many other variables!)
Remember though tunnel ovens usually have a lot more mass due to the mass of the buttressing. You are right though its easier to bring a warm oven up to temp than a cold one.
Thanks for the reply
Regards dave

david s 03-11-2014 04:07 AM

Re: Mini Forno: The Homebrew mix experiment
You haven't mentioned how big you intend making your oven, but the larger the chamber the more fuel will be consumed. For a small oven because you use such little fuel the reheating the following day is hardly an issue, for a large oven it is. This means that if you wanted to cook a couple of pizzas one night but had not planned on cooking anything the next day, you'd probably think twice about burning a large amount of fuel for those two pizzas. Maybe you should keep your small experimental oven so you can use it for this purpose.

Saovicente 03-12-2014 04:55 PM

Re: Mini Forno: The Homebrew mix experiment
I appreciate the reply. I have read many threads on the different ways of configuring a barrel oven to maximize it's efficiency and minimize the time spent firing it plus retaining the heat.
Based on the various threads I have read ( so many good ones throughout the last few years (Barrel and Igloo)), I have taken a bit of this and that and will add of the learned knowledge from this great site and incorporate all into my build plus a thing or too from my knowledge base.

I will be starting a new thread in the next two weeks to chronicle my build and I am looking towards to some feedback as I progress forward.

I thank you,


Saovicente 03-12-2014 05:19 PM

Re: Mini Forno: The Homebrew mix experiment

Originally Posted by david s (Post 170552)
Maybe you should keep your small experimental oven so you can use it for this purpose.


As always I appreciate the input ( after all, you gave me the ideal of adding stainless steel needles ( To which I have purchased) to the mix.

As for using the experimental for mini pizza's and such: Unfortunately, I have given it to my beauty as a gift to compensate for Valentines day. It has been deemed "cute", so it will be finished with a chimney and destined for ???.

As for the dimensions of the barrel oven. It will be 36" x 48". My plan is to make it into 5 pieces (L/R Walls, Back and Front, Split arch in two)
The hearth firebricks will be within the walls of the oven. The walls are to be 9.5", but I will add 2.5" to compensate for the thickness of the firebricks. The opening will be 20"W, 12"H, arch should be about 19"H.

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Thank you,


david s 03-13-2014 01:57 PM

Re: Mini Forno: The Homebrew mix experiment
I suggest you remove your castings from their moulds after a day, then wrap them in plastic to cure for a week, then let them dry in the sun for three weeks before using them to build with.

Saovicente 03-31-2014 12:42 AM

Re: Mini Forno: The Homebrew mix experiment
2 Attachment(s)

It has been a few weeks playing with the Mini. It fires up nicely (except on windy days), and it maintains its temperatures for a few cooking cycles (mini everything).

I have begun the big boy project. Will create a new thread in the near future as I progress through the build.

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