Old 03-01-2007, 12:38 PM
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CAM CAM is offline
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Location: Stuart FL
Posts: 39
Default Re: FB Materials List

Have not had the highland 25, but have to put a word in for Glenmorangie 18. The port or sherry wood finish is great stuff. My Dad got me started on it.
Getting harder to find in the U.S. though and the price....... Duty free is the answer. Will make an effort to find try the Highland Park.
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Old 03-01-2007, 04:32 PM
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Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Prince Albert, Ontario, Canada
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Default Re: FB Materials List

Cam, Drake,

The HP 25 is pricey all right. BUT, nectar of the highland gods is well worth it. Call it a very special treat for very cold nights in front of the fire with the main squeeze. First time I saw a bottle opened, I was standing about 10 feet away. Within a minute or two, the aroma came to me. A revelation only bested by the taste and finish.

Slainte (Irish for health),
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Old 03-02-2007, 01:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: San Diego
Posts: 39
Default Singles

Best I even had was a 25 YO MaCallan from a bourbon cask instead of the usual sherry. Amazing straw colored liquid gold. Got one sip and called to see if any more was available -- nope.

If you are in Europe, find a way to join the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society. They had some amazing stuff 10 years ago. The American branch paled in comparison .

That's the one problem with hawaii. Just too warm to drink singles.
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Old 03-02-2007, 04:27 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 257
Default Re: FB Materials List

Yikes – the thread seems to have been hijacked by malt whisky lovers! I suspected that there would be some aficionados of the amber liquid out there. It stands to reason, I guess – those who like the good things in life are bound to be brick oven builders!


Your proposal sounds good to me – we seem to be going around in circles a bit on this one (or at least I am) and I hope I’m not being too obsessive about it. It just seems to me that some clarification is needed, but whatever you decide, I think the brick numbers for the dome need to stipulate either “whole” or “half” bricks to avoid confusion. And the brick size that the figures are based on would be valuable.

As for me and my 1100mm (43.3”) dome, I have ordered 100 tapered bricks – 230mm x 115mm x 75/63mm (9” x 4½” x 3”/2½”) - which will need to be cut in two to make 4½” x 4½” x 3”/2½” half bricks. I’ll let you know how I get on, but as they’re tapered, I’ll likely use more than standard bricks because each ring will have an internal height of only 2½” in lieu of 3”. My calculations resulting in 96 bricks total were based on these smaller tapered bricks, hence my concern about the Materials List figure of 180.

Cheers, Paul.
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Old 03-02-2007, 04:47 AM
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Location: New Jersey USA
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Default Re: FB Materials List

It's wonderful that you're getting tapered bricks, but that may explain the four dollar price. Tapered bricks are are a really obscure speciality item here in the US, available on special order from refractory dealers, and yes, they are really expensive.

You aren't getting all tapered bricks, are you? They are pretty much useless for the floor.

There's not an ordinary fireplace-grade firebrick available from the local lumberyard or brickyard?

By the way, the standard US firebrick, used in these calculations, in 2 1/4 inches, not three.

Last edited by dmun; 03-02-2007 at 04:50 AM.
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Old 03-02-2007, 12:50 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: San Diego
Posts: 39
Default High School Geometry Method

For my 36 in. Dia (inside dimension) project in the making.

1) Floor

a) Inside the dome Area = pi X R^2 = 1017 in2 (pi = 3.1415...)

Fire Brick 4.25 X 9 = 38.5 in2 so 26 bricks
Obviously low as many cuts so
assume 36 X 36 square or 4 bricks X 9 bricks or 36 bricks.

I'll assume 35 for my project and press on.

b) Dome on Floor design 45 X 45 inch square
or 5 bricks X 10-11 (ish) 50-55 bricks
if you assume a 45 in dia circle you get 42
In the real world you probably need about 50

2) Dome -- Inside Area = 2 X pi X R^2 (half a sphere)

If R = 18 in Area = 2035 in2
Deduct 18 X 12 opening 216 in2
Net 1820 in2

If you make this out of 2.5 X 4.25 blocks (10.6 in2) you need 171 halfs or
86 whole bricks
since my dome extends 2.5 inches below the floor I need more surface area totaling about 13 more.
So call it 100

Entry arch -- 25? (eyeball guess looking at that awesome effort on the "no form" oven.

Total -- Floor 35
Dome 100
Arch 25
Total 160

Multiply that by finagle's constant and order away. Matches the 175 count within my comfort level so at least I feel confident in ordering about 200 whole bricks. With freight to HI, I'm looking at $3/each even with me picking them up at the freight yard so overkill on the count gets to be pretty good beer money in a hurry.
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Old 03-02-2007, 11:07 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 257
Default Re: FB Materials List


The tapered (ie arch) bricks I’m getting are about the same price as normal firebricks for some strange reason. Another oddity is that the tapered bricks I’ve ordered are imported from Europe, and are cheaper than those produced locally! The only downside (if indeed it is a downside) is that they are medium duty at 40% alumina, compared with 23% alumina for the local variety. I don’t think this will be a problem for the dome, which is the only place I plan to use tapered bricks.

Because of the height of the thermowells (now cast in position in the hearth slab), I have a choice for the floor of 2 layers of 230mm x 230mm x 38mm (9” x 9” x 1½”) tiles @ 23% alumina content, or standard size bricks laid on the (3”) flat, either 23% alumina or 40% alumina. My supplier doesn’t think there will be any problems with the medium duty firebricks on the floor, even for baking bread.

Thanks for the clarification of firebrick size – I didn’t know this until now. Another reason for including brick sizes on the Materials List!

Cheers, Paul.
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Old 03-03-2007, 12:43 AM
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Location: Charlotte Bay, Australia
Posts: 264
Default Re: FB Materials List

Hendo, did you get those firebricks from Darleys, at Bacchus Marsh, Victoria? This is where I got my tapered bricks in two different tapers, 35 of one and 65 of another (for details pls see Picasa Web Albums - carioca - Forno_del_gallo ) - and they never claimed these were imported!

In any case, even allowing for the fact that all except the bottom ring bricks are supposed to be cut in half, the total number of bricks for my 39in/1m internal diameter oven is around 100!

And i seem to be cutting corners, too (pun intended) on the stand: my hexagon-spokes stand used 48 rpt 48 concrete blocks! (I am neglecting the fact that a proportion were actually half-size blocks, 2 of which I simply counted as one...) Again, see the Forno del gallo link...

At least YOU don't have the problem of WHICH type of tapered firebrick to start with, and how many layers of each type :-)


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Old 03-04-2007, 12:02 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 257
Default Re: FB Materials List


I had two choices of tapered bricks – the Victorian ones or imported. For a number of reasons, I elected to go with the imported ones.

As recommended by both Maver and me (in a private message), it seems logical to start your dome with the bricks having the greatest taper, and continue with those with lesser taper.

As part of my current dilemma, I developed a hypothetical model for estimating dome brick quantities, and applying it to your kit for a 1000mm (39”) internal diameter dome, I found the following (see assumptions below):
1. the first three rings made from 75/57mm (3”/2¼”) tapered bricks require 72 half bricks, or 36 whole bricks. This equates closely to the number of bricks in the kit (33).
2. the remaining five rings using 75/63mm (3”/2½”) tapered bricks require 98 half bricks, or 49 whole bricks. This is 18 whole bricks less than contained in the kit (67).
1. each whole brick, when cut in half, is 110mm in length (they will probably be marginally more than this, resulting in fewer bricks being needed).
2. the oven opening will ‘replace’ four bricks in each of the first three rings. This creates an opening of around 450mm or so. If you are planning a wider opening, again fewer bricks will be needed.
3. the oven opening will affect only three rings of tapered bricks, as the first ring is recommended to be of standard bricks, laid flat (but see alternative suggestion for the first ring below). The height of the opening will therefore be four rings high, which is pretty standard from what I’ve seen.
4. No allowance has been made for bricks required for the vent or oven opening.
5. Note: my model gets a wee bit rubbery for the two uppermost rings, and there is no way of knowing whether more or less bricks will be needed due to the cutting that will inevitably be required, particularly for the top ring or ‘cap’.
OK – what to do with the excess of eighteen 75/63mm (3”/2½”) tapered bricks? I have an idea. 43 half bricks (or 21½ whole bricks) could be used for a half-height soldier course as the first ring. If the dome encircles the floor tiles, instead of being placed directly on top of them, the net effect of this would be a first ring height of 75mm (3”) assuming 38mm (1½”) floor tiles are used. I know that there is a small shortfall here, and you have ended up with 50mm (2”) thick floor tiles, but I wonder if the kit was designed using these assumptions (ie half soldier course of tapered 75/63mm bricks around 38mm floor tiles inside the dome)?

This appeals to me, as the figures all tend to tie up – well, within a few bricks, anyhow. The straight bricks you’ve got could be used for the oven opening and vent, or cutting a few more tapered bricks if you do end up with a shortfall.

Gee, puzzles are fun! I can’t help but reiterate though, that my model, while seeming to be broadly consistent with the experience of other members is completely untested. The only cross checking I’ve done is to determine numbers for my first (1100mm) ring using dividers on a scale diagram which gives 26½ half bricks, versus 27 from my model.

Let me know what you think.

Cheers, Paul.
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Old 03-04-2007, 03:00 PM
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Location: Charlotte Bay, Australia
Posts: 264
Default Re: FB Materials List

Thanks for the very detailed and helpful information, Hendo!

Yes, Maver had suggested starting with the steeper taper also to me (a suggestion I initially rejected out of hand but later came back to as part of my own efforts at solving the puzzle!).

Indeed, my preferred solution at the moment is this: starting with three rings of the steeper tapered bricks, then nine rings of the flatter ones.

The Darley people told me specifically - although they did not rpt not have the benefit of having 'inherited' any instructions for their 'kit' from the retired foreman who developed it! - that the first ring should consist of whole bricks, while for all subsequent courses the bricks should be cut in half.

Because I have the extra 20 flat bricks I ordered with the 'kit', and because my floor tiles are 50mm high, I have considered using the whole flat bricks as the first course and then starting with the steeper tapered ones.

I also will keep the floor tiles entirely WITHIN the first circle of whole bricks, i.e. cutting them to fit the surrounding firebricks.

But no doubt I will have lots of fun still laying up various models of dry-laid (without mortar) firebricks in all kinds of arrangements until I come up with the most stable and most simple layout... here your calculations will prove a great help!

I'll keep you posted. At present I haven't even formed up for the hearth yet. With my unusual design this should prove another challenge... But I've bought some 6mm fibre cement boards to use as 'lost' formwork under the hearth, and will use old sheets of very thin plywood to get the outer curve right!

Cheers meanwhile, and thanks again for your help!


NB: A man in Victoria who built with normal firebricks made the point that the height of the opening should be exactly 60 per cent of the height of the dome. I will check what the FB forum recommends, but meanwhile if this is something that your model also calculates, pls let me know, ta.
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