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boccu 01-28-2007 12:00 PM

Boccu's oven
Hi all - just getting round to posting some pics of my oven in progress on this new thread.

I have just closed off the dome and am allowing it to cure slowly before starting off the curing fires. Meanwhile I am trying to work out the next step - that of building the landing vent and the chimney. Then I believe it should be all cosmetics from there on!

This is a 42" internal diameter high vault pompeii oven. Internal height approx 21"; Door width and height: 20" x 12.5". I am using 2nd hand bricks which did not permit a very tidy finish in places, but at less than one third the price of new fire bricks it is certainly worth it...... and I'll take the lead from one of the earlier FB posts by not allowing anyone to stick his head in the oven to examine it before it gets to about 500F!!

In the next couple of posts I'll put some pics of my progress to date and then pick up the discussion from there.


boccu 01-28-2007 12:09 PM

Re: Boccu's oven
4 Attachment(s)
Some pics of the dome coming up. These are the earlier stages showing levelled out brick floor, the door opening ready to join the rings and then what I think must be the fifth ring going over the doorway (I used a 'tent' angle iron for this)


boccu 01-28-2007 12:20 PM

Re: Boccu's oven
5 Attachment(s)
some more pics showing the sand form that I put in at about the 7th ring wehen I lost the battle with gravity :p . The next pic shows the final keystone going in and ........ (drumrolls please :D ).... the inside of the dome a few minutes later! I removed the sand form immediately to make sure it stood on its own. Not sure what I would have done had it not stood! :eek: So I dedicated Elton John's song "I'm still standing" to this oven!

Next step should be for me to work out how to build the vent and chimney area. I also need to decide a couple of things so would appreciate some replies here:
1. Is pointing of internal oven walls really necessary? I know it makes the oven look really much better when pointed, but is it necessary? I read somewhere that it may also be detrimental because the mortar may fall out?

2. Should I start the curing fires now or should I wait until some natural curing takes place? Are the curing fires done before or after the chimney area is ready or does this not matter?


maver 01-28-2007 02:57 PM

Re: Boccu's oven
Boccu, I think the multicolored bricks in the dome look great. You did a nice job fitting the bricks, especially at the vertex of the dome. Well done! It has been suggested here before that pointing the interior of the dome will help to prevent a hot corner of brick from spalling. Then again, I suspect you might have spalling of mortar more easily than firebrick unless you are using a true refractory mortar (like FB sells, or other commercial product like heatstop). And yes, wait for some drying before beginning curing fires. Look at the pompeii directions for the length of time.

CanuckJim 01-30-2007 05:57 AM

Re: Boccu's oven

I'd definitely point the interior bricks. As Maver suggests, exposing the corners and edges of the bricks to direct flame will cause spalling over time. Also, you don't want to cause any undue turbulence inside the oven that will affect draw. It's a hassle, I know, believe me, but you should do it, and you should use refractory mortar for it.

Mixing pointing mortar is a bit different from other applications. I've gone into pointing procedures and tools in other threads, but you should mix the mortar on the dry side, almost crumbly, so it holds together while you push it into the joints. Wait for it to set up, then use a pointing trowel to work the mortar joint flush, smooth and shiny. After that, you can use a fairly stiff brush to take off any crumbs that remain.


boccu 02-04-2007 11:38 AM

Re: Boccu's oven
3 Attachment(s)
Thanks Maver and Jim for your comments - much appreciated! As you can see from the attached I have since built the front arch and attached the chimney (somehow!! :D ) and I am now ready for the curing fires, which I hope to begin today. I also did some pointing of the more serious gaps on the internal face before constructing the arch.

Next steps will be to cover the whole dome with 4" - 6" of vermiculite concrete and the outer plastering. I will also try to 'create' some oven tools and make a door.

Still some work to go but I can almost smell the pizza and bread now!!

telehort 02-04-2007 03:05 PM

Re: Boccu's oven
Great looking oven Boccu!!!

boccu 02-05-2007 11:59 PM

How safe is it without draft door?
2 Attachment(s)
First fire - lasted about ten minutes before dying out. Lots of smoke, some of it even coming out of the chimney! :D

Unfortunately it was very windy and a lot of draught was created in the oven. After taking these pics I pushed the fire right to the back of the oven but I must admit I did get a bit worried about sparks being blown out of the oven and causing a major calamity in town!!

How safe is it really? Should there be a 'front door' that stops anything coming out but still allows air circulation? Any thoughts on this?

More pics to follow. I'll continue building (perhaps I'd better say "trying to build"??) bigger fires and then get the outer insulation and stucco on .....


maver 02-06-2007 03:30 AM

Re: Boccu's oven
Looks good, Boccu. I have a similar size oven. I have not had any worries about sparks, although when I first started curing I used some of the forms as my initial wood and that was pretty sparky stuff. With the fire pushed back to a side, little of this escapes the oven - that which does burns down before landing. With dry wood it barely sparks at all now and none of it escapes.

CanuckJim 02-06-2007 05:13 AM

Re: Boccu's oven

As usual, I think Maver's got it right. Burning lots of sappy softwood will produce sparks, though. You should try to use primarily seasoned woods, either semi-hard or hard, to keep the sparks down. A draft door definitely will help matters, plus give you a hotter fire faster. Jengineer did some drawings a while back, that he might be able to find. Over the last few weeks, I've been working with a very talented restoration blacksmith, Lloyd Johnston, to develop a combination oven/draft door. The Beta version is nearing completion, and I'll post pics of it when it arrives.


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