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Tim F 10-25-2010 07:20 AM

Help me replicate this 1847 oven design
Hi all!

A while back I posted some photos of brick ovens built at Port Arthur, Tasmania, which was a convict settlement/prison. I went back earlier this year and have been looking through my photos of this one oven that I would love to recreate (as I think I need to build a second oven in the back yard) ;)

I have attached some pics and dimensions as far as I can figure them out. Love to hear any advice on how to build this - the layout is straight forward, a rectangular oven with rough arched roof and tapered entry. I am interested in this design because it is so small, and I'd love to have something I can fire up more quickly for small family meals and a few loaves, as opposed to the big pizza monster.

My main questions are - what kind of buttressing might be needed to support those walls, assuming they are single brick?
And how would you go about building the arch - maybe that ties into the wall buttresses?
Also any other advice appreciated!

Polo 10-25-2010 10:48 AM

Re: Help me replicate this 1847 oven design
The design in your attachment looks very much like an "Alan Scott" style barrel vault design. Do an internet search for "Black Oven" and you should find a link with several pictures of a simularly built oven. I believe the web address is blackoven.idkhosting or some such thing. Good luck


Muscats 10-25-2010 01:23 PM

Re: Help me replicate this 1847 oven design
Wow Tim;

that is an interesting oven. Extremely low ceiling, which looks like it is just hanging there. I'd say it was built with a sand mold though the difficult would be building that ceiling without it falling in given how flat it is. Are they standard sized bricks?

Tim F 10-25-2010 04:54 PM

Re: Help me replicate this 1847 oven design
I measured the bricks against my hand, they seem to be 190mm or so on the longest side and normal 2:3 ratio. The bricks were actually made on site with local clay; I saw one of the wooden brick molds they used in a display there. Next time I go back, I'm taking a tape measure ;)

It definitely looks unstable doesn't it! But that roof has been hanging there for 163 years stuck together with nothing but crumbling lime mortar.

Cheers for the tip Polo!

dmun 10-25-2010 07:01 PM

Re: Help me replicate this 1847 oven design
It seems like a pretty standard 27 by 30 inch barrel vault oven. At least the convicts had the good sense to alternate the bricks in the arch, unlike the Scot system. I like the iron door frame, which presumably had a door hinged to those two pins. If your budget will stretch to some blacksmith work, I'd definitely try to duplicate that. I also think the stone lintel in the outer arch is slick.

And of course you're not going to try to duplicate old materials: I'd advocate modern brick and insulation all 'round. Don't be so quick to condemn the old lime mortars. They are said to be flexible, and might actually prevent cracking in an oven instalation

Tim F 10-26-2010 05:31 AM

Re: Help me replicate this 1847 oven design
Yeah it's a nice design! I was amazed to see so many brick ovens there - every house had one, and most of the other buildings too. Some much smaller than this one, strangely.

I think modern materials are the way to go for sure, but lime mortar has interested me for a while. It might be good to give it a go for this build.

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