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matty 08-31-2008 01:55 PM

an interesting perspective
has anyone checked out the book "Your Brick Oven" by Russell Jeavons? I checked it out at the library and I thought it was interesting because he claims that he has built 4 ovens for his restaurants and in his plans for building an oven. He sais it is a complete waste of money to buy fire bricks.... he uses pressed red clay bricks and normal morter for the entire structure. has anybody read this book or have had some contradicting experience?

RTflorida 08-31-2008 02:53 PM

Re: an interesting perspective
hopefully Neill or one of the other Ausies will chime in (as that is where Russell is from and operates his restaurants). It is my understanding that the pressed reds are very popular and inexpensive in Australia and firebricks are extremely expensive ($4-$5 each), in the US, firebricks can be had from 75 cents to $2 each depending on where you live. Don't confuse the common US house brick (with holes) with an Ausie pressed red...NOT the same; again, I hope Neill steps in to explain the difference. Hopes this clarifies things a bit...until the "experts" chime in.


nissanneill 08-31-2008 04:05 PM

Re: an interesting perspective
Yeh, Hi Matty and RT,Russell is an interesting person and has a great reputation with his restaurant and oven builds. His book is only a snmall part of the person. He is a real entrapaneur??? with brick fired oven courses that he runs not only on pizza or bread but a whole host of topics from traditional Japaneses fair to spices.
Check out his posting that I created at:

for a load more information on the guy.
I am a firm believer of his brick philosophy as his ovens are a terstimonial to his beliefs.
Mind you, the 'common reds' which are our commonly called solid red bricks might be much better than others from around the globe, hence the firebrick use recommendation!


Ken524 08-31-2008 05:17 PM

Re: an interesting perspective
I'm glad you all cleared up the confusion between the Aussie "pressed reds" and common US household brick. This has caused me (and I'm sure a few others) a bit of confusion when the Aussies here recommend pressed reds.

Shoot, some of the common red bricks on my house are starting to chip and flake simply being exposed to Kentucky climate changes. I know they wouldn't last a month in an oven.

nissanneill 08-31-2008 09:27 PM

Re: an interesting perspective
1 Attachment(s)
Ken, and others,
there is an old established brick company here that sells many times more solid 4" brick pavers for wood fired ovens as their pavers are fired at 1200˚C than they sell fire bricks.
I used to live (as a baby) adjoining the 'pug holes' where they dug the clay to make earthenware pipes, pots/tubs and bricks here in Adelaide and the bricks were fired by wood in thick brick kilns for 3 days. I don't know what temperatures were achieved, but the bricks adjacent to the fire were extremely hard and shiny and known as Kilnker bricks. These are even today 50+ years later unchanged, too hard to drill with tungsten bits and still glossy as though they were glazed.
The 'solid reds' as the bricks were called are also quite hard but there were some that didn't reach the higher temperatures and today crumble in your hand.
So even today, we need to wisely choose the bricks to build with but as I have said before, my next oven builds will be with either good solid common reds, or new 4" clay pavers.
The picture was taken by me at Russell's restaurant earlier this year and shows some of the common reds that he used in this, his main oven (as he has another slightly smaller outside in a courtyard) which is used commercially 3 days a week for the past 5-6 years. No spalling nor cracking and the bricks are often free or at worst $350/1000 cleaned.


Johnny the oven man 09-01-2008 03:52 PM

Re: an interesting perspective
Neil, what is the name of the brick yard? Also, the bricks you refer to are called clinker bricks mate, most brick makers can still manufacture them as a niche market special. I think Daniel Robertson in our fair city of Melbourne make them.

nissanneill 09-02-2008 04:14 AM

Re: an interesting perspective
The brick maker that I was referring to is:

Littlehampton Clay Bricks and Pavers - South Australia - Character in Clay

They have been around for many years, in fact since 1892!


Johnny the oven man 09-02-2008 03:08 PM

Re: an interesting perspective
Thanks for the info Neil, yes Littlehampton are an old co. I have purchased bricks from them in the past, quality was an issue, they are an extruded brick, not dry pressed so shape was all over the place. I dont know if they adressed the problem.

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