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Oven_Man 12-28-2009 04:32 AM

FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven
Hi Guys
I hope the forum and its members are all well.

It's been a while since last posting but this post comes with great enthusiasm, expectation and courage. I know this is quite a long email but I do implore you to please read along.

I have finally decided to embark on a project to build my own Low Dome Pompeii (Neo Style) oven. I trust the Community at large will play a big part in my progress of building such an oven.The knowledge that you guys have attained over the years is priceless and I can only say that without it, my project won't go far.
I have also read posts of PFTaylor's Raquel Oven from the PizzaMakingForum and after receiving some great advice from him, I hope he will contribute as well.

Let's cut straight to the chase. To begin with, I would like to break down the manufacturing process of the oven in several parts, each part requiring unrivalled dedication and an eye for the finest detail. I would have to keep a birds eye on my bank balance (By the way, I donít know what my budget is right now. Ill just take it as it comes). I hope to invest as much as my pocket can afford in this project so I would site every option from every angle before diving in. I want to get the best of the best in terms of Material (Hi-Tech refractory Material, etc) and I would love to build something of a world class stature.

So getting back to the task at hand. My plan of action again, is to break apart the manufacturing process of each component that would make up the oven. From the little knowledge I have gained, thanks to Forno Bravo and The Community, I would like to break it up into 3 stages, each stage consisting of 6 parts, which are listed below.

P.S Please feel free to correct anything that seems a miss. My knowledge is of the poorest form when it comes to ovens and what you may read or find may be totally incorrect.

The 3 stages are as follows.

1) Design and Planning stage - This would entail the Cad design of the oven. Simply put, this would be the building of the oven on paper.
2) Sourcing and Cost stage - I will contact various companies to source the required Material, tools, labour, etc and do cost comparison between the companies. At this stage, I will try to source the Highest Technology Refractory Material with minimal compromise.
3) Building and Implementation Stage - With the preliminary stages 1 and 2 completed, this will be easily approachable but the hardest stage in terms of Labour.

Below is the 6 parts each stage will be broken down into.

1) Hearth - Sits below the cooking deck and has insulated boards in it.
2) Cooking Deck - Sits on top of the hearth. This is the spot where pizza's will sit and bake.
3) Landing Space - Sits at the mouth of the oven. Helpful in manoeuvring pizza in and out of the oven.
4) Arch Bricks - Laid out around the deck. This is the supporting foundation for the Dome. This part may be eliminated if I can cast my dome in such a way that it can sit directly on the hearth.
5) Dome - Sits above cooking deck
6) Vent - Sits on top of dome to draw heat.

Each part above would preferably be made into a cast.

My starting point would be to plot out the design for my Heath and Cooking Deck.

I have a few questions regarding this.

What is the difference between the Hearth and Cooking Deck.
What sort of material would you guys advise to use for the Hearth?
What material can one use to cast out the cooking deck? I want something of high quality and should be able to achieve high heat and retain it
What can I manufacture the Cast Mould from to assist in casting the Hearth and Cooking Deck.
PFT mentioned his hearth having insulated boards between it or something like that. Would someone be able to explain on this further.

I look forward to hearing from everyone and hope to get the wheels rolling on this project.


dmun 12-28-2009 05:30 AM

Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven

What is the difference between the Hearth and Cooking Deck.
What you call the hearth is two different things, a support slab of ordinary reinforced concrete, and an insulation layer. This insulation can either be refractory insulation boards, at least two inches, or four inches of vermiculite concrete.

Cooking Deck - Sits on top of the hearth. This is the spot where pizza's will sit and bake.
This should be made of firebrick, or the larger pieces of fired clay refractory material called refractory tiles. Castable refractory is concrete: it's inherently chalky. Do you want to be dragging a peel over that? I vote for something that's vitrified.
That's enough for now: have you read the FB plans? That will answer a lot of questions. In fact, reading all the "sticky" posts at the top of the forum categories will give you a basic understanding of oven building.

DaveW 12-28-2009 05:40 PM

Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven
Are you sure you want to cast it? There is something romantic and old world about a brick dome.

nissanneill 12-28-2009 07:24 PM

Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven
Also quicker (no need to make a mould which needs to be in reverse AND able to be removed), cheaper and more versatile.


Oven_Man 12-29-2009 12:33 AM

Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven
Hi Guys
Thanks for the responses.

Dmun: Thanks for the clarification. I am reading through the guide you mentioned with a fine tooth comb which should give me a good understanding of whats involved.

DaveW & nissanneill : My reason for casting of the oven is due to placement of the Oven. This is for 2 reasons. 1 is that I dont have space whereby I can permanently install the oven. Number 2 is to hopefully offer a service of Pizza Making to the community in and around me once I have perfected the art of Pizza Making. Alot of work goes into building an oven, so I am trying to build something that will be versatile and last me a lifetime.
That said, I would like to place the oven on a Trolley and this trolley will possibly be transported from place to place. I beleive that the lesser amount of pieces the oven is made up of will ensure it not falling apart during transport.

Please keep the comments and advice coming. It's really helpfull


nissanneill 12-29-2009 02:51 AM

Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven
Ah ha,
so being intended to be movable or should I say mobile, that puts another slant on the oven.
Just make sure that you use the best materials and properly reinforce it with the stainless steel needles.
It won't be a cheap exercise, as those materials are quite expensive and you will need sufficient thermal mass (thickness to absorb, hold the heat and then release it slowly), together with maintaining the fire within for pizzas but that is difficult if you intend to bake in it.
What ever you do, DO NOT SKIMP ON YOUR INSULATION unless tou have a ready supply of wood to burn or a forest close by.


david s 12-29-2009 02:53 PM

Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven
To cast an oven for a one off is really more work than it is worth, unless you do it in one piece which will end up cracking (hairline cracks which are probably ok anyway as it's a self supporting structure) unless you cast in multiple pieces that interlock. The dome is subjected to a lot of uneven and very rapid heating. There are a number of cast projects documented on this forum for research.

Oven_Man 12-29-2009 11:34 PM

Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven
3 Attachment(s)
Neil: Point taken. I plan on having the trolley for the oven built by a experienced person who will ensure it can bare the weight of the oven. With regards to the building of the oven, I plan on following the manual with minor variations. Insulation will be my number 1 concern. I dont want my forest to run out too quickly.

David: Casting the entire dome in one piece sounds like a good idea but wont it be difficult. Casting it in several pieces like 4-6 pieces will be easier.

I have attached a picture of the cast that PFT used in casting pieces of his dome. I hope to make something like this. I just dont know where to start making something like this. Maybe someone here has a guide on how I can go about doing so.

P.S Image 1 is the front view of the dome. The second picture is the top view of the dome. The third picture is that of the Cast Mould that was used to make the dome in parts

Thanks guys.

david s 12-29-2009 11:40 PM

Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven
You can try building a sand castle over which you trowel your castable then dig the sand out of the entry. I made my first three ovens this way, but now cast them from a mould in three pieces.

Oven_Man 12-29-2009 11:49 PM

Re: FINALLY!!! - Start Of Building My Oven
David, that sounds like a plan. Any guides out there on how I can go about doing a sand castel. Also you mention that you now use a mould in 3 pieces. What's you mould made of and do you have pics of it?

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