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mrkahn 04-13-2010 08:04 AM

reviving an old brick oven!
Hello all!
I just joined this great forum to see if I can find some help and info.
My wife and I are buying a house that was and old bakery from 1873 or so. The coolest thing I discovered when looking the house over is that it has a huge brick oven built into the wall of the basement! Shining a flashlight into the oven reveals a 9 foot deep chamber. It hasnt been used in many many years but looks to be in good shape. I would love to restore it and revive it but I have no knowledge of how to go about this or how to evaluate its integrity. It will be another month or so until we move in but I wanted to start a dialogue with all you knowledgeable chaps out there and see what you think.
If there is anyone you recommend that I could hire to look it over and get a professional opinion? that would be a good way to start, this great historical oven needs to come back to life!
Thanks to all.

nissanneill 04-14-2010 02:17 AM

Re: reviving an old brick oven!
Hi mrkahn and welcome aboard.
It sounds like you have gained a jewel in your crowning home.
See if you can get some detailed photographs and put up this posting.
With that detail, we might be able to better guide you to a restoration if needed. Who knows, it might be fine and ready to fire.
I can remember as a kid, (some 55 years ago) when I visited one of my mothers school friends homes in the back of a bakery and seeing the two huge wood fired ovens that were used daily for baking breads for the neighborhood. I had never seen anything like it and now I have a minature one (40" Pompeii).
You will need a good supply of wood to get it up to pizza temps.



ThisOldGarageNJ 04-14-2010 04:10 AM

Re: reviving an old brick oven!
Hey MrKahn...
Very cool... you are lucky...Im wondering a few things ?
1.. Do you think it was a coal fired oven ?? Is there a coal chute in the house ?
2..can you look up the chimney clearly to the outside ?? I would definitely have it swept
3..Can you see mortar joints in the oven, or is it dry built, meaning the stones fit each other and it is self supporting??

9 foot is a BIG oven,,, I certainly suggest having a mason look at it,,If you ask around you may find an old timer who actually has experience with something like that...

I hope it works out for you


dmun 04-14-2010 08:21 AM

Re: reviving an old brick oven!
An oven that old is unlikely to be insulated, and thus take a lot of fuel to fire. A bakery oven would have been fired every day, so it would have been less of a problem, not bringing up all that thermal mass to temperature.


Is it a single chamber oven? Does it look like the fire was in the baking chamber, or is there a separate firebox on the side or underneath? How does the oven vent?

Does the dome look solid? My suspicion is that if it looks good it is good. A nineteenth century oven would have been made with lime mortar: you can get (or make) this if you need to do repointing.

As Mark points out, the chimney is more likely to be a problem than the oven. A good chimney sweep can tell this. I wouldn't fire any wood fired chamber without a lined chimney: a plain brick interior in the oven is expected, but your chimney should be tile-lined.

And yes, we love to see pictures.

Mitchamus 04-14-2010 03:07 PM

Re: reviving an old brick oven!
can't wait to see the pics...

DrMike 04-19-2010 09:40 AM

Re: reviving an old brick oven!
Hi Mrkahn. Its funny that you posted this on this forum because I looked at that house (online) and thought about how cool it would be to restore an old oven like that. But I wasnt in the market to buy, I was selling my mothers home in the area and was researching the prices in the market. I live in port washington and would love to come by and see that oven in person. I would also give you a hand in restoring it as well. I think its funny that I was checking out the northeast forum to see if there were any local brick ovens I could see in action and your post was the first one (only one) I saw. Have a great day and welcome to port washington... Dr Mike

GianniFocaccia 04-24-2010 02:09 PM

Re: reviving an old brick oven!!!!!

texassourdough 04-24-2010 02:54 PM

Re: reviving an old brick oven!
It might be possible and clever to build an oven inside of that oven. Or to dismantle a portion of it and rebuild it as the face of a new oven. That would have some big advantages in the form of insulation and wood demand. And while it might take some engineering to make the flue/chimney work it shouldn't be all that expensive. Look forward to photos!


ThisOldGarageNJ 04-28-2010 04:45 AM

Re: reviving an old brick oven!
Hey Texas...
Thats a great idea.. If you got enough room to get in there and do it,, Maybe a modular..


Lill Dave 06-27-2010 08:56 PM

Re: reviving an old brick oven!
Hope this helps
Just built my first house, the 30 ft brick chimney made out of stones from a quarey in nanimo bc was constructed by a mason with 30 + years experience.
Find a mason to look at your oven.
It will be money well spent.

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